Wednesday was International Talk Like a Pirate Day, a holiday that needs no explanation.
Tomorrow in Morgantown, WVU needs to inaugurate its own holiday: Kick Some East Carolina Pirate Booty Day.
A buddy of mine at work asked me, “What, exactly, kind of statement would a blowout of East Carolina make?”
I answered, “Possibly the same kind of statement an Oklahoma/Florida blowout of [whoever] has made.”
I look at the AP Top 25, and I see No. 6 Cal 156 points behind No. 5 WVU, which is virtually nipping at Oklahoma’s heels—only 46 points behind.
So there’s substantial separation between No. 5 and the rest of the country.
But Cal has a woeful Arizona team coming to Berkeley on Saturday, and WVU has a better-than-you-think East Carolina team coming to Morgantown—an East Carolina team that in the past two years has been one of only two teams (the other being South Florida) to solve WVU’s rushing attack.
SO...to keep pace ahead of Cal, who's likely to run rings around Arizona, WVU needs to hang at least 50 (and preferably 60) on the scoreboard while holding ECU close to single-digits.
If Cal notches a blowout win and WVU posts another modestly dominating win (see its victory over Maryland), I can easily imagine voters vaulting the Bears to No. 5 and dropping the Mountaineers to No. 6.
Yes, I know this is crazy talk. I know this is only Week Four, and that the key games—LSU vs. Florida, Oklahoma vs. Texas (in Dallas), USC vs. Cal and Oregon, WVU vs. Louisville and Rutgers—still lie ahead.
But we’re dealing with an irrational system—one that rewards gaudy wins over C-level teams and punishes those who don't run it up.
What's more, if a team gets too far down in the polls as the season goes along, it has no hope of climbing back into the national championship picture.
And to think, only two dreamy, blissful weeks ago, all WVU needed was a) to keep winning and b) for someone to beat LSU. Twice.
Despite the Big East’s run of success—5-0 in bowl games last season, four teams in the Top 25 now—the conference is still devalued against the SEC, Pac-10, and even the Big 12. One loss throws a team not only out of the national championship hunt, but nearly out of the Top 25.
Just ask Louisville.