If you're a college football writer, taking a two week midseason November break from writing college football is similar to the maestro stepping out for a couple of beers during his symphony's rendition of Aaron Copeland's Appalachian Spring.
But break I did.
My short sabbatical took place in the midst of West Virginia head coach Bill Stewart's quest for scoring production. The Mountaineers can't rely on the stellar defense every game. The big "what-if" is "what if there is a regression to the mean touchdown and a field goal against that awesome D and the game depends on the offense?"
Before my two weeks off that began November 6, the answer to that question was not in favor of WVU.
Then, at Milan Puskar against Cincinnati, coaches Stewart and Jeff Mullen found a way to ring their side of the scoreboard to the tune of 37 points. Along with the typical low point yield by the defense, the players, who according to b/r's Jeff Woollard like the head man, threw a big ol' wrench in the Fire Bill Stewart web site mechanism.
During my time away, the only television I watched was The Weather Channel for Local on the 8s. That meant no football or ESPN. That's sacrilege, but it had to be done.
My exposure to football was limited to two games I attended.
I found my way to Morgantown to witness the aforementioned rout of Cincinnati. Yesterday, I walked the mile to the playoff game, where I saw the No. 1 seeded neighborhood high school being upset by the eighth seed, a smaller, slower team from the Rust Belt near Pittsburgh that executed a near-perfect and precise display of triple option football.
The last two articles I pecked out were tributes to Bill Stewart, the man. He's 2-0 since then, perhaps enough, as written by b/r's Tom Perry, to take Stew's head coaching career "off life support."
I am most impressed by Stew and whatever he did during his time away from football games to right the ship we call West Virginia football.
College kids in the 11th year of the 21st century know bull**** when they see it. As well, they don't mind calling you on it. So, there was Bill Stewart with his team near anarchy after losing to UConn and Syracuse. Whatever he did in the two weeks afterwards was magic, as his Mountaineers racked up 54 points and held their opponents' offenses to 13.
I don't know what Oliver Luck is up to, but with West Virginia seriously in the hunt for a BCS bowl, the Fire Bill Stewart cadre (and that has to include me) is beginning to have a difficult time being convincing.