Al’s Weekly College Football Preview, Week 1


Today’s blog post was written by future staff writer Alan Searles.

Dear Blog Followers of Al (BFAs),

Labor Day weekend; that time of year when we begin to immerse ourselves into the iconic American sport of football once again. The almost palpable feeling of fall weather on its way, folks gathering around the tailgate, phoning in of wagers, staying up late for west coast games, and talking smack to friends and family across the country all meld together into a daily sense of euphoria comparable to a fine cheese and your favorite spirit after a hard day’s work.

Always a chilling moment when I first get to write these words to you for the first time in a year. It has been 255 days since I last spoke to you and I have cried almost daily. Thankfully the off-season has been filled with plenty of facets that have helped bridge the gap between the seasons starting with basking in the glow of the Orange Bowl victory, Heisman pundits touting Geno Smith, national praise for Holgorsen and Tavon Austin, preseason polls, Derechos (may my grill RIP), a Dale Jr. victory, “Holgo’d” becoming a adjective (adj., I got Holgo’d last night), and all of the hype surrounding our first year in the Big XII. All of the attention, mostly focused on this blog’s analysis of the Mountaineer’s, has been quite humbling and appreciated, but as they say, we gotta take them one blog at a time; therefore at the beginning of each year, we are always obligated to start out with the rules.

Following the guide of NCAA and its president Mark Emmertt, as well as in accordance with consumer protection agency regulations, the Blog will try to clearly disclose any rules, notations, or punishments. As an improvement from the past, I will stipulate the actual rules from notes as well as clearly separate the primary and secondary violations. Without further ado:

Primary Violations

1. The Blog is based upon my opinion and thus should be regarded with the utmost respect. Any mutterings otherwise and you will suffer a three week ban of watching MAC football, lose texting privileges, and beHolgo’s DD for a month.

2. Ohio State, the buckeye nut, and the greater state of Ohio are all poor representatives of football and our nation. Need proof? That guy from the movie The Patriot who killed hundreds of women and children wanted Ohio as his prize when the Brits won the American Revolution. Ohio was always destined for evil. Ohio and its subsidiaries will be properly treated in the most inappropriate manner I can think of. Anyone who objects will be forced to sit in the left lane on the interstate behind an Ohioan minivan going 15 mph slower than the right lane.

3. The Big Ten Network may not be covered in the TV schedule. This is a rule largely because I have strong fears that Jim Delany is a devil worshipper. The times and regional coverage in the schedule will be based on what is convenient for me. Any requests for changes to modify the previous statements or complaints are considered a violation. Punishment is watching all games with 3D glasses on a non-3D TV.

4. I have a general distaste for Notre Dame. Not for their history or success, but due to the irrational love fest they receive as well as the fact that they are given unfair advantages in BCS play. Any inexplicit, irrational, or homerism defense of the Irish will not be tolerated. Since you are likely Irish if you violate this rule, the punishment will be a one week potato famine for your family and a month ban from any Lou Holtz motivational videos or Rudy.

5. While reading this Blog you should face towards Morgantown, close and reopen the monitor to your laptop five times, while muttering the lyrics to Country Roads. Ohm chants are optional. If viewing via a desktop monitor, turning off and on the screen five times is an acceptable resolution to not being able to shut the screen. Failure to do so is bad karma. You shall be reported to the Mountaineer Athletic Club and any MAC membership benefits shall be revoked.

Secondary Violations

1. Every time you see a grammatical error or find some other issue with my writing, please remember that I am probably drinking, and if you really care about pointing these out, maybe you should be as well. If you reply about an error, self punish yourself to two Schlitz beers. If you hit reply, but catch yourself before sending, drink one.

2. Competitive banter is appreciated. Your beer spilling, livid tirades are not considered banter, but will likely cause some tailgate humor. If you respond with an angry tirade that isn’t productive, you will be sentenced to watching Sun Belt football . . . on Saturdays.

3. Any unauthorized reproduction or selling of this blog is a violation of the Bro Code and will be prosecuted. Your punishment is shame.

4. I refuse to buy into the NCAA’s Bowl Subdivision crap. It is still 1-A and 1-AA in my world and I do not find that politically incorrect. I will not address the Big Ten’s new division names either. They are ridiculous. I’ll consider Nebraska part of the West division and Penn State in the East. Any reference to this nomenclature will be a violation. Sit quietly and reflect on Craig James’ career.

5. If you hear the song, Sweet Caroline . . . well you know what to do. There are no exceptions. Work, church function, wedding, 5 year old birthday party, at the bar, or elevator music are all perfect times to let people know how you feel. Sing it loud, sing it proud. Your punishment for neglect? Obtain Pitt season tickets and attend each game, even if you are there alone.


– To the newcomers or to some of the readers who are starting to lose their memory, you may be wondering at this point how did I get on this blog? Why am I still reading? What is the meaning of life? Did I just soil myself? Well to answer your questions, 1 – you were either referred, you asked to be on, or The Blog selected you. 2- You don’t have anything better to do. 3 – the meaning of life is 42. 4 – You need this.

– A lot of people ask what an BFA is. Mr. Jay Stewart coined the term and I liked it, so it stuck. Blog Followers of Al.

– I cannot guarantee that all internet links are appropriate to watch at work or in front of your children. I will try to stray from anything that will give you a virus, but I cannot guarantee that you perform the act in the video that you will not get hurt or receive a virus. This link for example is one of my favorites and is relatively harmless, however; the humor may have to be explained to your young daughter if she is watching. Here is another example. Even this one may be interesting to explain. You know what though, all of these were published on a channel owned by Disney.

– I would be remiss if I did not at least give you the opportunity to opt out this blog, especially with the consumer protection laws today. Please opt out here if need be and take a moment to provide feedback as to why you hate me.

2012 WVU Analysis

I could waste a lot of time and likely give myself carpal tunnel by typing a recap of why our offense is going to be great this year and you could waste a lot of time reading what you have already read 36 times this year. As much as I’d love to give you another 20 minutes to ignore your kids/signficant other, I have to focus some of my time over at my new knitting blog as well, so I will just give a quick note on offense and spend a bit more time on defense.

The defensive side of the ball has received more criticism than government ran social programs this summer. There is much founded in this as we lost the undisputed top three defenders in Goode, Irivin and Miller, but lets not act like your heart is stuffed with ricotta and have a heart attack just yet (mine is stuffed with an interesting mix of Asiago and Muenster, so I should be concerned). I do think there will be plenty of question marks and moments/hours of tribulation through our first year facing Big XII offenses, I just don’t see quite the doom and gloom that has been cast by some (conspiracy started by Chuck Landon?).

Starting with the corners; I think we will be OK. Miller and Jenkins have yet to prove that they can live up to their hype, especially with miller and it looks like the freshman Kyeremeh is pushing for time, which isn’t a bode of confidence for the experienced duo. My crystal ball shows moments of ineptitude, but not quite as bad as Tandy in 2010. Safeties I feel pretty sold with the Orange Bowl hero Cook, and freshman standout Karl Joeseph; I think they will be average in the league.

The linebackers is where I have a lot of hope. Terrence Garvin is easily the biggest play maker on this side of the ball, although at times inconsistent. He is moving down into a hybrid linebacker spot that should let is talents and size excel. The remaining group of Snow, Francis, Rigg, Petteway and Barber make up a youthful bunch that really came on at the end of last year. Francis is the lone senior who hopefully fit into this “easier” defense to learn. While Snow, Barber, and Rigg struggled at times last year, remember that they were freshman and a sophomore respectively. Add a lot of young experience and another year I think by mid year they could be an above average squad.

D-Line . . . this is where I don’t have great answers and frankly you could see it coming this time last year. I think Wright and Clarke are solid players, but don’t compare to the loss of Miller/Irvin and the back fill isn’t close to where wright and clarke were last year. Hopefully Shaq Rowell can make big strides and a couple of the freshman that will have to play can give some quality reps, but those are big IFs just to get us to decent or serviceable level. The great fear here is that with a pass happy league you need to get to the quarter back. To make matters worse, with the prolific offenses, it is crucial to have depth so that your troops aren’t exhausted. I hope I am wrong, but I feel i’m more likely to show my genius one this one than my concessional misstep.


There really isn’t much to preview here, but I feel compelled that I must have a game week section. I live just outside the kitten’s den of Huntington and even here there hasn’t been much hype outside of WSAZ and the irrational blathering on the part of the guys on The Drive, 1490 AM. There is some hope in that there may be additional spark with a Sophomore led Rakeem Cato offense that has some national outlets predicting them as contenders in the CUSA East. While that may garner preseason excitement, in terms of how that may translate into an opportunity to knock off big brother; well I think you would be better off betting on History Channel coming out with an Ice Road Truckers, summer edition.

It simply doesn’t appear to be in the cards for an average MU team to jump up and knock of one the better teams in Morgantown in the last year that they are scheduled to play. I am afraid the the fine folks of Cabell County are going to have for quite some time before they have a realistic shot in taking done the Eers.

That being said, I won’t be the least bit shocked if they pour it all on the line and keep the game close at half like they have done many times, so do me a favor and hold the texts to late in third. Even then, realize that by the time I actually receive said text in the black hole that is gameday cell service in Morgantown, that we probably will have ripped off 21 straight.


I have gone back and forth on whether I really even wanted to touch on this as the intent of this blog is to be a light hearted football conversation, but I do feel the urge to pass along my sentiment. There has been a raging debate on whether the NCAA should be involved in the case and to what point. Questions have arisen over their authority, the precedent set in delving into non-football issues, the relevancy of the sanctions made, and effect on the innocent players/fans/coaches. Great arguments can and have been made for why the NCAA overstepped their bounds on each of these topics, but personally, in every debate I have had with someone on this, which has been many, it always come down to the fact that we are talking about an organization that covered up and knowingly provided a venue for child molester for an extended period of time.

Whenever I come across that part, I just can’t find it in me to feel a bit sorry for PSU and what has been dealt to them. Academic fraud is terrible. Cheating is frustrating and most of the other “illegal” football activities are debatable, but this is an issue that defiled human decency.

Does that mean it should be outside of the realm of the NCAA to pass judgement? Probably, but again, I don’t feel a bit bad for them, not at all. I also understand the persistent argument of why continue to punish the innocent people outside of Paterno, Schultz, Curley and the likes who are already gone, but I ask you to point to me to another scholastic or “real life” business scandal that the ramifications didn’t punish more innocent people than it did guilty.

Look at USC or Ohio State right now, there are millions of fans, coaching staffs and approximately 100 student athletes each, that had zero to do with the sanction or inappropriate behavior. How about Wall Street’s issues; do you not think that thousands of innocent employees lost their jobs over the failures of ousted board members? What about the millions of people that had their 401k’s crippled by the dismantling of these organizations? Do we want to think there were no innocent bystanders swept up in the Heather Bresch/WVU scandal; students or professors? Does that mean that the governing bodies shouldn’t be charged with attempting to establish punishments that avoid collateral damage to the innocent; certainly they should, but if it were that easy then they would have already endeavored to do so.

My point is that this was such a gross lack of control that there needed to be like punishments and unfortunately their are always innocent bystanders caught up in the process. I do feel awful for the people who have lost something that they hung their hat on during fall Saturdays, put yourself in their shoes and realize it is not their fault, but there is and always will be a place for punitive damages in our society . . . and I still don’t feel bad for their program. I’ll try to limit any further serious talk.

Articles, Quotes and things

File this one under why we don’t belong in the Big East

A great read on college football and TV. Take some time to read if you want to be informed about what runs this game we love.

I am pretty sure these guys were just getting fired up about tailgating. This is why I both fear and respect these creatures.

Folks, it is always important to be prepared for football. If you are worth anything as a tailgater, you have been practicing. If not, please study.

Twas the night before football and all were off in a dream. The dream has been going for months on end and tomorrow we shall have no need to dream anymore. College football will be upon us and all will be right in the world. I wish you all a happy season and first weekend.