The bowl aspirations are gone after an ugly loss to Kansas.
Instead, the Mountaineers will finish the season in two weeks against another struggling team in Iowa State. The Cyclones will face the Kansas Jayhawks this weekend before making their first trip to Morgantown.
To say this season has been a disappointment to the Mountaineer fan base is an understatement. Before the season began, the coaching staff had a good feeling about their team heading into their second year in the Big 12 Conference. What has transpired in the first 11 games has been anything but satisfying. Coach Dana Holgorsen has been quoted to have been losing sleep over and over after watching a miserable offensive season. After witnessing one of the worst defensive seasons in Mountaineer football history in 2012, defensive coordinator Keith Patterson hoped to change the fortune. The defense got off to a good start, but the injuries have piled up to the point that many true freshman are getting playing time as a result, and have stunted the growth of the unit. This season is almost in the books, and the Mountaineer seniors have one last shot to get a win and leave on a positive note.
Regardless of what happens against Iowa State on Nov. 30, the season will conclude early for the first time in 12 years. The disappointment of the fan base is at an all-time high, but Coach Holgorsen says fans need not to worry.
"I like the path we're on," said Holgorsen. "Obviously 4-7 is not anywhere close where we'd like to be, but we're building a program."
Since the Mountaineers will be staying at home this holiday season, Coach Holgorsen and his staff look to take advantage by getting out on the recruiting trail.
"Recruiting is huge in the Big 12," said Holgorsen. "When you can walk in to those guys' houses and sell them on all the venues and things the Big 12 has to offer, you get the best players."
If any lessons were learned this season it's that depth may be more important than ever in a physically taxing conference. At last count, the defense had 15 players injured, and 10 of those are out for the season. It is obvious that depth is a key to having success in the Big 12, and Coach Holgorsen realizes the role it plays.
"I mean you look at Baylor, and look at how they can just throw any back in there," said Holgorsen. "They lose a guy, then they put one in that may be just as good, if not better."
The Mountaineers lack this kind of depth. In the loss to Kansas, the loss of Jared Barber and KJ Dillon shined through. The West Virginia defense gave up over 300 yards on the ground to a Kansas team that has been averaging less than 300 yards per game this season at 298. To make matters worse, the Jayhawks scored 31 points, nearly doubling their season average of 16 points per game.
Despite the poor performance on defense, pointing the finger at one unit in particular is selfish. The team as a whole appeared flat and unmotivated after an emotional loss to Texas. Injured senior linebacker Doug Rigg voiced his opinion on Twitter during the game.
"My boys are playing with no heart out there," said Rigg.
The loss to Kansas, which ended a 37 game conference losing streak for the Jayhawks, will stick with Mountaineer fans for the remainder of Holgorsen's days as head coach, and could possibly be the one of the most embarrassing losses in program history.
But then again, look at the bright side; the loss happened in a disappointing year. The season will conclude on Nov. 30 when the Mountaineers welcome the Iowa State Cyclones to Milan Puskar Stadium.