Jan 4, 2012; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; West Virginia Mountaineers head coach Dana Holgorsen on the field before a game against the Clemson Tigers in the 2012 Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-US PRESSWIRE

College Football Preview Week Three: The Bye Week Blues, Conference Realignment, JMU

Dear BFAs,

Let me first say that having a bye week in week two is soul wrenching. It’s kind of like rounding the bases for the first time with your high school girlfriend and then she gets sent off to boarding school. You have one life changing moment and then you are back to eating mom’s meatloaf while watching law and order. I can’t speak for y’all, but for me this malady has led to an unrealistic anticipation for a game against 1-AA program.  I am thoroughly pumped to traverse out of the mountains to the land of politics to beat up on a school sponsored by an old ass politician.

Every year we are forced to endure the week leading up to a 1-AA game where all we hear about is how “we have to be careful”, “take it one game at a time”, “this team is really dangerous” and a host of other enticements designed to keep the fans and players into the game or providing an excuse for the coaches should they lose.  Lets just state a few facts:  JMU is a good 1-AA squad.  They beat Virginia Tech two years ago.  If we play at 95%, we should crush this team.  The nature of an upset is usually a combination a few items; the favorite not being as good as people think, the dog not being as bad as people think, a lack of focus, and most importantly, letting that team hang around in a close game for an extended period of time.  Given those conditions the 1980 US Hockey team can beat the Russians, Appy state can beat Michigan, that nerdy kid can get the prom queen, and JMU can beat WVU.  It can happen, but honestly this is an exercise in seeing if our offense can stay sharp, the defense can improve against inferior competition, and us fans should enjoy a convincing win.  At least our coach can make “coach speak” humorous.
Now, Pitt losing to Youngstown State, that is because they are just bad.

What we Think we Might Know

*Ar-Kansas lost to Louisiana-Monroe.  It didn’t take a crystal ball to predict that the Mad Hatter Lite would lead them into a bizarre slip up at some point this year, but versus U-LM comes as a bit of a surprise.  On the flip side of the coin, this team is too talented to pack it in, so do not be shocked if they pull a major upset later in the year now that they are off the national radar (dropped out of rankings).  The luster of this weekend’s game against Bama however; is quite tarnished.  At least the Razorback fans are staying positive.

*While this man had Florida losing to TAMU this weekend, in watching the game my skepticism of the squad was confirmed.  Unless they continue to improve steadily, we can chalk this squad up as a pretender.  The Fighting Muschamps head into Neyland this weekend for an intriguing matchup against the Vols.  I am quite sure that Florida is a mediocre SEC team; we will find out whether Tennessee has raised from the doormat of league into mediocre status or perhaps even the high end of the middle echelon.

*Wisconsin will still win its division.  This still does not qualify them as a good team.  With OSU and PSU ineligible (not that 0-2 PSU looks like a contender anyway), Wisconsin will really have to go the extra mile to be bad enough to lose the division, but don’t be fooled, they do suck.  We shrugged off last week’s narrow win over Northern Iowa as a week one mishap, but losing to a down trodden Beaver’s squad is not what the Madison faithful had in mind.

*Stanford vs USC may be a better game than we though.  The loss of Luck and the rest of their offensive led most to believe that they will shift back into mediocrity.  A three point win over San Jose State did not compel us to think otherwise, but destroying a decent Duke team coupled with USC’s three quarter struggle with Syracuse leaves the feeling that they may just have a chance against USC.  The Trojans do appear to have the sick offensive talent that we thought they had, but I am not overly sold yet that they are the caliber of team to go undefeated.  Around the rest of Pac 12, we have a mixed bag of results.  Newbies Colorado and Utah suffered terrible losses, Leach squeaked by with his first W, and the two former WVU coaches led each of the Arizona teams to big out of conference wins.  Curious to know other’s thoughts on RRod beating our new conference foe in Oklahoma State . . . happy for him, indifferent, or hate him till he dies?  Indifferent here.

Conference Realignment

Remember last year when we were all sitting on the edge of the toilet seat waiting for the next bowel movement in college football drama machine?  Man, I miss those days.  Sleepless nights, pre-mature drunken SEC celebrations, interstate political battles . . . it was perfection.  Those of you who feel like I do, have no fear because much like the Twilight series, the drama never ends.  I am not talking about the lame FSU to Big XII rumors, but rather the demise our beloved WVIAC.  Remember when I suggested they pick up WVU and Marshall to solidify the constituents?  Chalk this up to another crisis that could have been diverted by The Blog.

This got me thinking, what if the realignment wheel in the sky didn’t actually happen last year and we were stuck in the Big East?  First of all, John Marinatto probably wouldn’t have “resigned” and would be sitting at a Fazolis right now, stuffing his face (who is kidding who, that’s exactly what he is doing right now), but there are questions to be sifted through.  Would we have the same preseason love?  Even though it would be the same team that would be setup for less losses, it seems inevitable that we would not have enjoyed the media darling status of the summer if it were not for the Big XII story lines.  What would be better for WVU in 2012?
I won’t begin to argue against the exposure, money, bowl tie ins, or recruiting impact, but you have to think that we would steam roll through the Big East, outside of perhaps Louisville.  Its no guarantee that we would still be a preseason top 12 team sans the media hype, but we should at least still be a top 15 team.  Couple that with an undefeated, Red Bull slugging season, there is no way we are not considered in the top three at year’s end.  The only hitch to my hypothetical is that we would still be playing at FSU, but whats wrong with that??

Other Things

For those who go to the stadium, some interesting notes here.  Will be curious what/when these come to fruition.

If you didn’t get to see the episode on NBC Sports Network about Mountaineer coach Daron Roberts, you can read about it here.  Pretty cool to have this guy on our team.

The ACC shocked the world last year in upgrading their talent with the vaunted programs of Syracuse and Pitt (currently 0-4).  Today they have continued the onslaught on the college football world by adding Notre Dame!!!  This is such a big deal . . . oh wait, you say that Notre Dame is only bringing their non-football teams?  Aw shucks.  Yep, what you are thinking is correct.  The must anal and aloof conference in the nation just got worse.  What would be intriguing to know is whether the Big 10/XII told them to bring everything or leave it.  It will also be interesting to see what occurs now as many felt that the leagues were waiting to see what ND would do before making their next moves.  We may well see another crazy year.

As always, tailgate with pride my friends.

-Sleepless in Charleston

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Tags: Big 12 Dana Holgorsen WVU

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