The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

November 18, 2013

Could West Virginia football program get any lower?

MORGANTOWN — I think it became full blown for all to see in West Virginia University’s 31-19 football loss to Big 12 cellar-dweller Kansas that the Mountaineers can’t get any lower, performance-wise.

And rapidly growing numbers of WVU students, alumni and just plain fans have had their fill of this 2013 season of what has been — more than not — a highly respected football program — one of which to be proud.

I thought young Dana Holgorsen, WVU’s third-year head coach, and his staff were outcoached all the way from Lawrence, Kan., to Morgantown.

Their players were not performing as if they had been adequately prepared for a Big 12 conference game in which WVU was a 6 1/2-point favorite for the first time this year.

You’ve got to give veteran Charlie Weis, Kansas’ second-year head coach, and his assistants a lot of credit. They started a true freshman quarterback and the Jayhawks played very well with a variety of different plays.

Keep in mind, too, that this totally unexpected triumph snapped Kansas’ 27-game losing streak in conference competition. The Jayhawks’ last such win had been posted on Nov. 6, 2010.

It was the longest losing streak in NCAA history in any conference.

West Virginia, as a result of this most embarrassing defeat that I can recall, promptly ended its all-time record of 11 consecutive football bowl appearances. That’s shameful because this team obviously is not deserving.

I’m told that Athletic Director Oliver Luck declined to discuss the sad, sad state of this current program.

Yet isn’t Luck, a former Mountaineer quarterback, the “national championship dreamer,” the one who hired Dana Holgorsen as the head coach some three years ago? Sadly, he did.

What’s more, in doing so, Luck had the full support of President Jim Clements and the do-nothing WVU Board of Governors.

Interestingly, all of those powers-that-be are named defendants in lawsuits on various charges yet to be decided in Monongalia and Kanawha Circuit Courts.

As for Clements, it was announced a week or so ago that he had resigned to become president of Clemson University. There are already some people who hope Clements takes Luck with him.

WVU (4-7, 2-6 Big 12) now is assured of its first losing since 2001. The team completes this disastrous campaign on Saturday, Nov. 30, at home against Iowa State, the last-place occupant in the Big 12.

The Mountaineers, who gave up 31 unanswered points to Kansas, have won only six of their last 19 games. The program had averaged 10 wins a season from 2005-11.

In the last year of that wonderful run, Holgorsen went 10-3 in his first season here with the late Bill Stewart’s players — not Holgorsen’s recruits.

“I would guess that this would be an all-time low,” Holgorsen told the media after the loss at Kansas. A guy who has been covering WVU sports for some 70 years couldn’t agree more with the beleaguered head coach.

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