WVU 24, Rutgers 21: That Score Sounds About Right
A smart football man (Bill Parcells?) once said: You are what your record is.
At 9-3, West Virginia is currently:
-- A second-place Big East team.
-- Capable of playing a perfect game and beating a Top 10 team at home (Pitt).
-- Capable of playing a perfect game and just losing to a Top 5 team on the road (Cincy).
-- Capable of having its wheels come off altogether. On national TV (South Florida).
-- Capable of throwing up plenty of offense on inferior teams (Liberty, Colorado, East Carolina, and Auburn).
-- Capable of being unable to close the deal (Auburn).
-- Incapable of summoning consistent offense—the two swift, balanced, and flawless opening drives against Rutgers were offset by the offensive ineptitude of pretty much the rest of the game.
-- Helmed by a 225-pound quarterback who can flatten a 260-pound defensive end with one of the toughest stiff-arms you've ever seen.
(Questions: are we going to find out that Jarrett Brown suffered some sort of injury earlier in the game, even before the Rutgers player fell on his hand after his fumble? Are we going to find out this was like the Syracuse game last year, when we learned only after the game that Brown couldn't raise his throwing arm above his head?
Otherwise, how do you explain WVU's total abandonment of the downfield passing game after the first two drives, and the near-abandonment of the passing game altogether? You can't say it was the weather; the weather didn't stop Rutgers from completing a bomb for a touchdown. This was truly puzzling.)
-- Capable of having a safety savvy enough to know his spot in a passing zone defense, jump the route, intercept a pass, and return it for a touchdown. The team is also capable of having the same safety who is slow enough to get beaten deep for long touchdowns in two consecutive games.
-- The home of one of the elite running backs in the game, who is forced to run behind an inexperienced line that can get him 220 yards against an inferior opponent (Colorado), but only 65 against an evenly matched foe (Rutgers). It is one of the crimes of the century that Noel Devine couldn't spend three years running behind Steve Slaton's line.
-- Going to a solid B-level bowl game, the Gator, where, unfortunately, it will be only a supporting player in a game that will be dominated by the Bobby Bowden narrative. Thankfully, the Seminoles are an inferior team (see above), so West Virginia—as it did against UConn—should be able to overcome emotion and the rooting interest of much of college football to win the game and gain a 10-win season.
And then it would be a 10-3 team. And that's about right.
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