Run, don't walk, away from your sports book representative on this West Virginia at Cincinnati game. The 10 points aren't worth diddly. No upset alert here.
The Mountaineers, from coaches to players, and surrounded by the fans, are looking for a victory by looking for momentum. That's ridiculous. If you have to find mo', he's just not there.
West Virginia is winning ugly, which is a euphemism for barely winning. A win is a win, is a win, it is said, but you don't beat Top-Five teams by waiting for them to screw up. You have to be proactive, hitting receivers downfield, running misdirections, blitzing, taking chances, like going for it on fourth downs, and playing perfectly aggressive special teams.
That's not happening in Morgantown right now.
In fact, it's even worse on the road.
Here's a free history lesson.
Over the past 40 years, West Virginia has pulled off victories as underdogs several times. The biggest ones, which I call The Eleven, are:
11. 1984 Penn State 17-14
10. 2005 Louisville 46-44 3 OTs
9. 1975 Pittsburgh 17-14
8. 2003 Virginia Tech 28-7
7. 2002 Virginia Tech 21-18
6. 1981 Florida 26-6
5. 1993 Miami 17-14
4. 2005 Georgia 38-35
3. 1982 Oklahoma 42-27
2. 2007 Oklahoma 48-28
1. 1984 Boston College 21-20
That's a rather impressive list. I'm proud of those Mountaineer teams that took the big boys down, winning in coal miner dinner-bucket fashion over everyone's elites.
The issue is, it's been 40 years, and there are only 11. Worse, only three have been on the road where West Virginia overcame the opponent's decided advantage. They are:
2002 Virginia Tech in Blacksburg
2005 Georgia in Atlanta
1982 Oklahoma in Norman
2002 Virginia Tech came off a bye week. The Mountaineers had a month to get ready for 2005 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. And, Don Nehlen has admitted to conducting meetings, and practicing for the Oklahoma game as early as spring drills.
Bill Stewart has had six days to prepare for visiting the No. 5 team in the nation that plays in a cracker box snake pit where the fans are practically in your face.
Doesn't look too good.
I hope I'm wrong. And, Connecticut's performance may prove to have revealed a nick in Cincinnati's armor. Maybe Stew has found that nick and will attack it. Maybe.
The coach led a Mountaineer team out of the depths of football hell to pull off one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Bowl Championship Series. It's going to take that kind of effort to do it again, because a victory over the Bearcats is along similar proportions as the Fiesta Bowl.
As the astronauts used to say...Godspeed.
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