West Virginia-Cincinnati: Hitting the Belief Point
Final afternoon thoughts on West Virginia's most significant visit to an opponent's campus in 27 years.
That big guy in the picture is a winner, through and through. The only thing wrong with Jarrett's quarterback play is his relative inexperience. That's why he can't go through his progressions and that's why he forces the ball, gets happy feet, and takes off when that primary receiver isn't open.
Mountaineer fans and coaches alike have to give him a chance. If he can't produce before halftime, Geno has to go in.
It's been done before. Cincinnati won the Big East last year using four different QBs.
Similarly, Bill Stewart is a winner, both on the field and off. He, too, is suffering from not being in the canoe long enough. Mountaineer fans have to give him a chance. And, tonight he has to coach like there is no tomorrow. In college football, there may not be.
In my previous two articles this week, I did not express my surprise that the line started at nine-and-a-half and dropped to nine. Well, I am shocked. I was originally looking for 13-and-a-half to 14. Either way, I don't see West Virginia covering unless there is a radical change in the quality of play in all three facets of the game.
That was harsh, but true.
Tonight's X-factor is Tavon Austin. If he can give WVU the moxie Noel Devine hasn't been able to give recently, Tavon could, as a true freshman, lead the Mountaineers back to the what I call the Belief Point. The Belief Point (BP) is the juncture at which the young men suddenly think they can win this thing and therefore become very dangerous people.
West Virginia hit BP in the locker room at halftime of the 1984 Boston College game when Don Nehlen told them they were going to bring the house after Doug Flutie and "have some fun out there." It worked. Result? 20-6 halftime deficit erased for a 21-20 victory.
The 1982 Mountaineers reached BP somewhere in transit to Norman, Oklahoma. 42-27 WVU.
Bill Stewart, back when everyone liked him, implored his charges by explaining to them how to beat 2007 Oklahoma, or anyone, leading them to BP in the pregame locker room. That would be West Virginia 48-28, making Jimmy Johnson and Barry Switzer simultaneously look like idiots.
Rich Rodriguez's Sugar Bowl team hit BP somewhere during Steve Slaton's third touchdown run and never let up, even though ABC lost hope right before the fake punt.
In Cincinnati, the Mountaineers need to reach that Belief Point about two days ago.
In conclusion, the Bearcats are for real. They have speed on both sides of the ball, giving the Mountaineers very difficult matchups. And, they're playing hosts in a viper pit. I repeat: WVU will have to undergo a major change to even pull off a Connecticut.
If West Virginia beats Cincinnati tonight, I would have to rank that victory at least fourth on my list. That would place them right up there with No. 3 1982 Oklahoma, No. 2 2007 Oklahoma, and No. 1 1984 Boston College.
And finally, if WVU falls behind and comes back to win, it's number one, baby.
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