That Texas Tech/West Virginia game was really unpleasant to watch, real “must-miss” TV. At this point, there is not much left to do but examine how it all took place, and doing so by finding the lighter side of the debacle.
There are eight reasons for the thick coat of shellac Texas Tech pasted on West Virginia in Lubbock Saturday:
a. Aliens abducted WVU quarterback Geno Smith and replaced him with a Jay Cutler-clone.
b. During film study last week, West Virginia graduate assistants mistakenly cued up tape from the Baylor/Louisiana-Monroe game.
c. The Mountaineers were not acclimated to the thin air in Lubbock (elevation 3,256 ft above sea level), according to Al Gore.
d. The wind, clocked after the half at 40 miles per hour by WVU head football coach Dana Holgorsen, was an issue for Geno Smith. This was of course the same wind that must have miraculously become calm when Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege dropped back to pass.
e. West Virginia’s visit to Lubbock was the second trip to the state of Texas in as many weekends. This was the same time frame in which Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan gained in their polls as they crawled all over the state of Ohio and other states without much sleep.
f. Saturday the 13th was dangerously close to Friday the 13th.
g. Texas Tech woke up just as the coin was tossed and thought Bobby Knight had returned as Tommy Tuberville’s leader in a shamanic trance-journey.
h. And totally ridiculous and grossly unsubstantiated speculation got around Facebook in the third quarter that Holgorsen had hired his drinking buddies to fill the defensive coordinator positions. You have to think, however. If they’re not drinking buddies after this game, they’re missing a good chance.
Either West Virginia’s defense is absolutely incompetent or it just doesn’t believe in themselves.
I go with the latter, knowing 1) the former is an asinine precept originated by the “drinking buddies” rumormongers, and 2) there is not much difference in athletic ability between WVU’s defensive backs and linebackers and Texas Tech’s receivers, at least not six touchdowns' difference.
I don’t know what to say about the defensive players getting their respective acts together, nor do I have any more suggestions other than to completely forget about Texas Tech. In fact, they should to a man completely forget about the last play, the last hour or what they had for breakfast. Focusing on “The Now,” moving on, is a good way to not repeat the past.
West Virginia football sports a decent 5-1 record. I’ve moved beyond my eight reasons and have decided to support a valid statement that the Mountaineers are looking ahead at a golden opportunity.
Sure, WVU is in the middle part of second 10 in the inaugural Bowl Championship Series rankings.
So, the human polls, the coaches and the Harris experts have been known to give the Mountaineers a break when they deserve it.
And, it’s a fact that the computer one-third of the BCS poll has never given West Virginia a break, deservedly, because of the weak schedule the Big East hung on its neck like an anchor.
But this time, it is different. The tough meat of WVU’s Big 12 Conference slate is coming up! Of the next half-dozen games, four are with teams that have been listed in any one or several of the six computer rankings!
Kansas State, TCU, Oklahoma and Iowa State have been getting some algorithmic love. Peter Wolfe, for example, has the Wildcats sitting atop his rankings. Wolfe has West Virginia 16th and Iowa State 17th, with Oklahoma at seventh and Texas Tech at eighth.
Wes Colley with his Colley Matrix has Kansas State sixth. The other four services—Jeff Sagarin’s, Richard Billingsley’s, Jeff Anderson’s and Chris Hester’s and Kenneth Massey’s—list K-State no lower than fourth.
Oklahoma has hit the top 10 with Sagarin (ninth), Billingsley (10th), Wolfe (seventh) and Massey (sixth). TCU is 22nd in Sagarin’s list, just behind Texas Tech, which, interestingly, is eighth with Colley, 12th with Billingsley, eighth with Wolfe, seventh in Massey’s rankings and 10th with Anderson’s and Hester’s rankings.
This brings me to my point.
It’s not over.
If my fellow nerds and I share one and only one trait, it is our abhorrence of French cruller schedules and our respect for wins over tough opponents. And, if West Virginia ever had a lineup of tough opponents coming head on, it is now.
Peter Wolfe, as I stated earlier, ranks WVU at 16th. The Mountaineers are 14th with Wes Colley, 13th with Richard Billingsley, 10th in Ken Massey’s list and 12th in Jeff Anderson’s and Chris Hester’s rankings. Jeff Sagarin scrapes near the bottom with West Virginia at 18th.
Three of the four are flying to Morgantown. It’s truly a golden opportunity.
Look first at the Big 12 title. The league is always screwy, but so much so that this year’s champion will probably have one conference loss. If West Virginia beats Kansas State and Oklahoma, and it certainly can outscore both of them, many tie-breakers should fall to the side of the Mountaineers.
There’s your BCS bowl.
Don’t count out a national championship run. Sure, WVU will need help. But consider these:
a. Florida and South Carolina will get caught up in the Southeastern Conference East division race.
b. LSU hosts Alabama November 3.
c. Only one of the four can come out on top December 1 in the SEC championship game.
d. Oregon has a light schedule, until the game with Oregon State.
e. Notre Dame has it ultra-tough, with games at Oklahoma and at Southern Cal. It could lose two and be out.
f. Ohio State is out, and
g. On December 2, there could be no undefeated teams.
It’s going to be a mess, like perhaps 2007?
A lovely mess.