WVU Football: What Does the New Top 10 Ranking Mean?

Amit BatraCorrespondent IIISeptember 4, 2012

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 01:  The West Virginia Mountaineers run onto the field before taking on the Marshall Thundering Herd  on September 1, 2012 at Mountaineer Field in Morgantown, West Virginia.  (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

In this week's AP Poll, the West Virginia Mountaineers are ranked No. 9. So, what does being in the top 10 do for the WVU football program?

Well, fans and teams shouldn't be caught up in the polls too much just yet.  After all, it was just one game and Michigan and Boise State were the only top 25 teams to lose. 

Don't get me wrong, it's nice to have a high ranking. It helps teams to get in the national championship picture and it also means more for teams that are in the smaller conferences.  Should rankings be administered to the public at this point in the season? Well, that's another story for another day.

This is the first time the Mountaineers have been ranked in the AP Poll's top 10 since the 2008 season. 

While WVU did look great in the game against Marshall, the first three games shouldn't be the main test. The huge exam will be graded based on how the team does in the Big 12 Conference. 

The Big 12 was a mixed bag in Week 1. While teams like Texas and Oklahoma weren't extremely impressive, you had Oklahoma State put up 84 points (yes, I'm aware it's Savannah State—still impressive). Baylor also looked strong with quarterback Nick Florence leading the way.

In the latest AP Poll, WVU is tied with South Carolina for the ninth spot with 980 points. It is still the second-highest ranked team in the Big 12. Five teams are ranked in the top 20 from the Big 12, while six are ranked in the top 25 (Kansas State at No. 21). 

Expectations went through the roof following the Marshall game. This was due to Geno Smith's performance, Shawne Alston's running game, almost scoring 70 points once again and a whole lot more.

WVU hasn't had this much hype with the Heisman/National Title talks since the days of Rich Rodriguez

What is a top 10 ranking signify now? Well, it signifies that a program is strong at the moment. It signifies that the preseason hype is still quite strong. However, there isn't much more you can say with that topic.

Rankings will mean more as the season progresses. For West Virginia's sake, it should just focus on the schedule and each week. The bye week should tweak some problems with the defense/special teams units, and the Mountaineers should be ready to face James Madison.

Critics and fans will judge the rankings as it is, but WVU needs to just stay away from all the hype and expectation it sees right now (I know, easier said than done). 

For you, the fan, it's an enjoyable time to be a Mountaineer fan. Enjoy the wild ride this season will present.