The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

November 29, 2012

WVU needs to seal a winning season

By Mickey Furfari
For The Register-Herald

MORGANTOWN — Last week’s 31-24 victory over Iowa State on the road couldn’t have been more timely.

It ended the Mountaineers’ five-game losing streak, made the record 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the Big 12 Conference and made them bowl-eligible.

But West Virginia isn’t out of the woods yet. There’s unfinished business in this 2012 football season.

The Mountaineers can’t take Kansas (1-10, 0-8 Big 12) lightly in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Mountaineer Field/Milan Puskar Stadium.

It is a “must-win” game to assure this year’s team of a winning season. It needs to finish with a 7-5 record. That would prevent WVU from winding up with a losing mark of 6-7 if it lost a bowl game.

There have been teams with 6-6 records that lost in postseason play and ended up 6-7.

The thought herein is that the NCAA should have required at least seven wins — not six — to become bowl-eligible. I think that would be more meaningful.

Surely WVU players and coaches would feel better with a seventh victory against Kansas in Saturday’s 2:30 p.m. contest at home.

That would assure them of a winning campaign for the year, regardless of how the team fares in a bowl.

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Kansas is coached by Charlie Weis, formerly  head coach at Notre Dame and now in his first year with the Jayhawks. They have lost 20 straight league games.

They weren’t much better in 2011 at 2-10.

This will be only the second meeting between the two schools. West Virginia blanked Kansas 21-0 on Nov. 6, 1941, in Morgantown.

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Did you know that the struggling 1-3 season’s start by the West Virginia men’s basketball team is the school’s worst since the 1979-80 campaign?

What’s more, the 44-point loss at Gonzaga was the worst in head coach Bob Huggins’ outstanding career. He is the nation’s third-winningest among all active head basketball mentors.

But Huggins remains hopeful that his Mountaineers will quit making mistakes, start playing better together and quit slipping into cold shooting skids.