Mullen Mauled

No, there was not a tiger attack in Morgantown last night. However, Mullen did get beat down pretty good on the Statewide Sportsline. Almost every caller bashed his motion offense and questioned every facet of his offensive game plan against ECU.

Normally, our fan base is somewhat out of touch with reality on these call-in shows but last night most callers really knew their stuff. I only punched myself twice because of a caller’s statement.

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Program in Meltdown: West Virginia

Note: You knew it was coming.

As 5th Year Senior told us yesterday, “everybody fucking panic!” I certainly am. Why? Because Coach Stewart and the Mountaineers certainly left a lot of doubt on Saturday. In fact, the doubt dial is turned all the way up to 11.

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Unintentional Comedy Hour

Funny Man

All one really needs to do for a quick chuckle is simply look at Marshall beat writer Doug Smock’s picture. That picture is hung on the ceiling over my bed so the girls I trick into sleeping with me know that they could’ve done worse. However, after I give them my O face they realize Mr. Smock would’ve been the better choice.

Ol’Dougies looks can be mocked but I’m a nice guy so I will not do that anymore. Instead let’s take a look at his Monday column in the Charleston Gazette.

So let’s take a stab at an issue today – Marshall’s 2008 football schedule. Is it, as some would assert, too tough to handle?

Alright, after this he has write that Moo U actually has a chance to beat WVU, Wisconsin, and Cincinnati to give the alumni some glimmer of hope for the upcoming season.

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Why Yes, We’ll Take Your Free Stuff

WVU and Panasonic have entered into an exclusive deal that makes Mountaineer facilities the proving ground for all of Panasonic’s newest audio/video equipment. Before the cutting-edge technology is available to rest of the nation’s programs (and professional teams), it will be installed at WVU’s Mountaineer Field and Coliseum.

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Dr. Dre Drops Some Knowledge

Today, the WVU College of Law hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Rodriguez Law,” discussing the legal topics involved in the case. Professors Tom Cady, Vince Cardi, and ‘dre cummings (ed. — yes, it’s in all lower-case letters) spoke on the topics of tort law, contract law, and NCAA institutional control.

When asked for their opinions on whether WVU would be able to recover the full 4 million dollars from Rodriguez, all three professors agreed that the matter would likely be settled out of court in order to avoid costly litigation.

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Bill Stewart Hired, Nuclear Fallout Results

Coach Bill Stewart has a little over a month until signing day, which is his first test as a head coach and recruiter. He then has approximately 8 months until the 2008 season opener, which is like a final exam compared to this first signing day. As much as I hate to say it, I just don’t know how he’s going to fare in those tests.

But, apparently, Stewart Mandel already knows. And the picture isn’t pretty.

Dismiss it as being overly pessimistic, but this is the what the national public is being spoon-fed. Whether we like it or not, this is what people will eventually hear enough that they feel they must accept it as gospel.

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The Sky Is Not Falling

Stewart Mandel, like a lot of outsiders, paints a pretty gloomy picture of the future of Mountaineer football.

Michigan’s good fortune comes at the expense of West Virginia fans, now reeling from their second crippling blow this month. (And unlikely to be comforted by rumors that native Terry Bowden — out of coaching since 1998 — is believed to be Rodriguez’s most likely successor). The first was a gut-wrenching Dec. 1 loss to arch-rival Pittsburgh that knocked the Mountaineers out of the BCS title game.

I don’t see it the same way. Rodriguez has built an upcoming program at West Virginia. The key word is program. We have made significant strides in recruiting and facilities to compete year-in and year-out on the national stage. If WVU makes a splashy hire — and I believe Bowden would make good waves — we can continue to reap the seeds that Rodriguez has sewed. Or some other farming metaphor.

Either way, the sky is not falling for West Virginia football. As long as Pastilong makes a good, quick hire, this program is not going anywhere. We have the personnel and money (thanks, Michigan) to lure a very good coach. The next two weeks could very well decide the next 10 years of Mountaineer football.

Personally, I’m seeing this glass as half full.

[Stewart Mandel @]

My Expectations Are Unreasonable

I am finally coming to grips with the fact that I am a Nebraska fan. Or an Alabama fan. Or a Michigan, Ohio State, USC, LSU, etc. fan. I might not wear the colors of those teams (well, except Michigan, but that’s a coincidence), but I have much in common with their fans. We all have unreasonably high expectations.

This is a departure from my expectations growing up as a Mountaineer fan. I was only 6 in 1988, so while I have some memory of the Fiesta Bowl, it’s not vivid enough to truly register. In 1993, at the age of 11, I was officially really into the Mountaineers. But 1993 jumped out and surprised us all. If 1988 was the planned pregnancy, 1993 was the accident. Still a welcome addition but not quite sure how or why it happened.

Both 1988 and 1993 were the rewards for putting together one good team, not a program. Most WVU fans knew that it was only a fleeting moment of glory — that WVU hadn’t quite reached the promised land of college football programs. This was quickly confirmed by the down years that came after each undefeated season.

Even in years when we were supposed to be good — 1996 and 1998 — there was always something in our way. Whether it was Tremain Mack in 1996 or vastly underachieving in 1998, WVU was just not meant to get back to a major bowl. Each time we got to the door, we simply weren’t able to knock it down. And each time we got close to that door, we were repelled even further away. Finally, with 1993 just a faint glimmer in the rear-view mirror, Coach Nehlen succumbed to the up-and-down nature of Mountaineer football. Coach Nehlen had done all he could with the program. He had done a lot — even put WVU on the map — but after 20 years, the act gets tired. We needed a fresh start.

Then came Rodriguez and expectations reached a fever pitch. Here was the coach that would finally take us to the heavens of college football. Then came 3-8. The hopes of Mountaineer fans returned to the ground. 2002’s record of 9-4 restored hope, but starting the season 1-4 in 2003 dashed that progress. Of course, finishing that season with 7 consecutive wins got hopes up again. So much so that 2004 was finally going to be our year. But, yet again, the Mountaineers failed to live up to the lofty hype and finished with 8 wins. The same pattern seemed to be repeating itself.

Well, a funny thing happened in 2005. Just when we were least expecting it, the Mountaineer program we had all hoped for was finally born. Walking into the Georgia Dome that Sugar Bowl night, I had hoped we would win. Did I believe we would? Not necessarily. Only the truest of homers would have been sure of a Mountaineer win. But as the dust settled, after the Slaton runs and the Georgia bombs and the fake punt, I walked out of that stadium with a new view on Mountaineer football. No longer would I be satisfied with 7, 8, or 9 wins. No, after that performance and with this talent, we need to hit the stratosphere.

It’s November 13, 2007, and we’re almost there. Closer than we’ve ever been before. The current talent is there. The recruiting is there. The attendance and support is there. But now, on this same day, we sit 8-1 and I’m not thrilled. Even after those years of suffering through mediocre seasons, tormented by flashes of brilliance. Finally, we seem to be one of the elite programs in the country. In my dreams, it’s all I ever wished for growing up. To be consistently counted on in national championship and Heisman previews. Finally, we’re there. And I can’t get over the fact that we only won by 7 against Louisville. Frankly, this scares me.

What will I do if we actually do win the MNC? What will my expectations look like then? If we never get there, will I be a sad, depressed, curmudgeon of a fan for the rest of my life? Shouldn’t I enjoy BCS bowl games when over 90% of schools don’t get there?

The truth is, I won’t be truly happy until we win that national championship. If/when that happens, WVU will finally be legit. Until then, you’ll find me continually bitchy and irritable.

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Why Charley West Voted For "C"

In the poll to the right of this post, we have given you the readers the chance to grade the Mountaineers performance halfway through the 2007 season. As you can tell, the overwhelming majority of readers have selected “B” as their grade of choice. I, on the other hand, chose “C”, and let me tell you why…

So far, we sit 5-1 and ranked #9 in the country. Five years ago, this would be one of the best seasons in Mountaineer history. This year? Disappointment. If we were a dominating 6-0, we would most likely be ranked #2 in the country and staring straight in the face of a national championship berth. That would obviously deserve an “A” grade.

Now, here is where it gets interesting. From my seat, we could still be 6-0 and only receive a “B” grade. If we had looked unimpressive in our wins and had to rally from behind several times, I wouldn’t feel comfortable giving us the highest rating. Why? Because I know we were capable of more.

Now, in 2007, with expectations and talent levels so high this season, 5-1 just doesn’t deserve an “A” or a “B”. Of course we’re capable of more, but we have looked beyond shaky in at least 2 games this season.

Here is exactly how I would break it down:

  • A: 6-0, dominating every opponent
  • B: 6-0, close wins and low scoring
  • C: 5-1
  • D: 4-2
  • F: 3-3 and worse

We’ve come to expect so much from this program and team that I just can’t stand to settle for anything but the best. It’s a far cry from 2001 but it’s where we are. It’s where we’ve always wanted our program to sit. To grade this season a “B” is a slap in the face to all of the progress we’ve made.

Refuse to settle as fans and hopefully our players and coaches will follow our lead.

Note: In the comments, explain the madness behind your own vote. Or not. Either way…

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