Holgorsen, WVU Have Plenty of Time to Prepare for BCS Bowl - WVU Football, WVU Basketball, News - Mountaineer Sports

Holgorsen, WVU Have Plenty of Time to Prepare for BCS Bowl


Dana Holgorsen isn't about to apologize to anyone that his Mountaineers received an automatic BCS bowl bid through a hectic three-way tie to the end the season.

As official word came out Sunday evening that the WVU football team would be matched up against Clemson in the Orange Bowl, the inclusion of the No. 23 Mountaineers with their 9-3 record and Big East crown was used as fuel for arguments against the BCS system.

Add in Michigan and Virginia Tech's at-large invitations and there will be plenty of reasons for teams and college football fans to question the way the top bowls are decided.

But the way it is now, somebody had to represent the Big East, and that somebody just happens to be a team that looked all but eliminated from the race after an embarrassing loss to Syracuse and a setback to Louisville that was only slightly less so.

In the time since that home loss to the Cardinals, Holgorsen's team has strung together a three-game winning streak that, while extremely ugly at times, has resulted in an Orange Bowl appearance.

"We just challenged the guys to just get a little bit more excited to play the game and telling the guys that when you face adversity like that, you've got to rally the troops and get everybody to focus on what's important, which is getting excited about playing the game of football," says Holgorsen.

Despite the frustrations of falling behind to each one of their final three opponents in the fourth quarter and seeming incapable of putting together any sort of consistent success on offense, the games have certainly had their share of excitement.

Wins over Cincinnati and South Florida literally came down to the final play of the game and the WVU defense had to hold strong against Pittsburgh in order to win the Backyard Brawl. Holgorsen may prefer to win a game where his team leads start to finish and puts away the opponent early, but he'll also take what got the Mountaineers to a BCS bowl berth.

"Regardless of what happens, you've just got to keep playing, you've got to keep playing, you've got to keep playing and you've got to find a way to win at the end," he says. "For the last three games, our guys have been able to do that."

Now he and his guys have a month to prepare for the Tigers. With just 15 practices allowed before the bowl game, it's important that the staff does well to balance the schedule so the team doesn't spend too much time away from football between now and Jan. 4, 2012.

"Shoot, that's a month from now," says Holgorsen. "You've got to give them some time off, you've got to go through finals, you've got to give them some time off for Christmas, but you've still got to get a bunch of work done. You can't take two weeks off and then get out there and expect to have your timing right and all that. You've got to balance a couple things."

Holgorsen says the one thing he won't need to do is try getting his team fired up to play the game. It's the Discover Orange Bowl. If the Mountaineers can't get motivated enough just based on that fact, there's no point in playing the game.

West Virginia also has a chance to prove itself on a national stage. There is plenty of dissent from fans who believe the Big East doesn't deserve a BCS bid and especially not for a team that got dismantled on national television to a Syracuse team that has lost every game since and failed to make a bowl at all.

Clemson may have fallen off in losing three of its final four regular season games, but by loading up on Virginia Tech in the ACC title game, the Tigers proved just how formidable an opponent they can be.

Holgorsen will have his hands full with bowl preparation and recruiting throughout the month of December, but just like his players, he has all the motivation he needs to push through it.

After all, in just his first year as a head coach, he has the opportunity to play in a BCS bowl game. Regardless of how he achieved that distinction, it's his job to show that his team belongs on that field in Miami.

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