AP Justice: WVU Earns a Bump in the Polls
- No. 3 Florida barely—barely—got by unranked Ole Miss, 30-24.
- A lethargic No. 2 LSU fought off a pesky No. 12 South Carolina at home, 28-16.
- A crisp No. 5 WVU completely dominated unranked East Carolina in all three phases of the game, holding the Pirates to less than 100 yards of total offense until late in the game. Final score: 48-7.
- Only No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 1 USC held up their ends of the bargain, blowing out both of their opponents. (As of this posting, USC is handling Washington State, 47-14.)
In recent weeks, the AP voters have been rewarding gaudy wins over no-name opponents and punishing solid wins over better squads.
As it stands, WVU should absolutely jump over Florida—and should maybe even shimmy right up behind USC and Oklahoma into the No. 3 slot.
Do I think either will happen?
Of course not.
Because the problem with irrational systems is that they don’t behave in a rational fashion.
The same voters who punished WVU the previous two weeks (dropping them two spots after two wins) and frottaged all over Florida and Oklahoma for pummeling weak opponents will most assuredly act like conservative jurists this week: non-activist.
That means that despite WVU’s exceptional win, and even with the struggles of Florida and LSU, the AP Top 5 will probably look like this:
No. 5 may actually be optimistic, as the Mountaineers could fall below Cal—the AP voters’ new darling, who whupped up on hapless Arizona but still managed to allow a terrible team to score 27 points.
Call me bitter.
As for today’s game—I’m not sure I can recall a game in which WVU more thoroughly controlled all three phases. To demonstrate:
Pat White does a Phil Simms and goes 18-for-20 for 181 yards, with two TDs throwing, two more running, and no INTs. The starting running back goes over 100 yards, the backup QB adds 82 yards rushing, and White distributes passes to eight receivers, with five guys touching the ball on one drive alone.
The Mountaineers D holds ECU to 160 just total yards (the number was less than 100 for most of the game) and 13 first downs, notches four sacks, gets one INT, and limits the Pirates to 2-for-10 on third-down conversions.
K Pat McAfee is 2-for-2 on FG attempts and perfect on PATs. WVU punts only once while forcing ECU to punt seven times. The Mountaineers pick up 93 yards on punts returns and commit only three penalties.
ECU’s only TD came in garbage time against WVU’s second-teamers. I don’t know, frankly, how the Mountaineers could have played better.
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