A little help here, please.
I've checked out the lines. Please show me live odds for Coastal Carolina's road match-up with West Virginia.
I can't find one.
The Mountaineers are tied with Utah for 24th in the nation according to the USA Today coaches' preseason poll. WVU is also 24th in The Sporting News' preseason poll.
The Sporting News is important because in their preseason magazine that highly regarded sports service has taken the trouble to give each FCS school at least a quarter or half column.
TSN picked Coastal Carolina, 5-6 in 2009, to finish fourth in the seven-team Big South Conference.
West Virginia lands at the number two spot in TSN's Big East preseason poll.
This is a mess.
Now, the Mountaineers have, against my wishes, played in the recent past FCS programs further up the FCS food chain. Examples:
James Madison (2010 preseason number 8) visited in 2005.
Eastern Washington (number 21) made the long flight in 2007.
Villanova (2009 FCS champion) held tough in 2008.
Liberty (FCS contender during 2005 through 2007) in 2009 embarrassed WVU with a 33-20 "moral victory," pun intended.
Despite the WVU's successes against the aforementioned FCS teams, it was still unacceptable for a West Virginia program looking for national prominence to schedule any championship series team, euphemistic or whatever.
But, Coastal Carolina?
It's a live-action mess.
For West Virginia, this is a lose-lose situation. There is little conceivable good that will happen on Saturday September 4 in Morgantown.
For example, West Virginia plays Geno Smith at QB and his nine returning offensive starters in the first half only. In the interest of evaluation and not running up the score, Bill Stewart will probably have Barry Brunetti get some playing time in the second half.
Result? The starters:
a) don't get anywhere near full game experience and conditioning,
b) get the dangerous "take it easy on them" sportsmanship teaching moment from the head coach,
c) all this happens six days before the Mountaineers travel to Huntington, West Virginia, to play an absolutely stoked Marshall team in a viper pit with 38,000 crazed, blood smelling, delirious fans.
My best recommendation? The better of the lose-lose? Bill Stewart should direct his charges to run the score up to wherever, at least the magical fifty, and accept nothing less from the defense than shutout ball.
The brutal Internet writers will not like that tack, calling it unfair. But, the players, the eighteen returning starters and Geno Smith, will get the message that this is the way it's going to be today. And every day.
By this, the game with the Chanticleers can have meaning.