The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

College Sports

July 23, 2013

A guess: WVU will finish 6-6 — at best

MORGANTOWN — It shouldn’t have been surprising to any football fan that West Virginia was chosen to finish eighth in the Big 12’s preseason poll for its 10 schools.

Third-year head coach Dana Holgorsen lost 22 seniors from last year’s squad, including three of the greatest offensive players in the school’s history. Quarterback Geno Smith, four-way scorer Tavon Austin and wide receiver Stedman Bailey most certainly will be missed this season.

All three were high picks in the National Football League Draft — Smith by New York Jets and the other two by the St. Louis Rams.

Keep in mind, too, that the Mountaineers finished the 2012 season with a totally unacceptable 7-6 record, despite that terrific trio’s presence.

After a blazing 5-0 and No. 5 national ranking start, West Virginia suffered its most disastrous drop in the storied program’s history.

This year’s preseason poll position is the lowest for WVU since 2002. That team was selected sixth among eight teams in the Big East Conference.

Holgorsen, who admitted in April that “there are no expectations whatsoever,” finds only Iowa State and Kansas ranked behind his team in the media preseason Big 12 Conference poll.

A year ago West Virginia was No. 2 before season’s start.

Oklahoma State, which won its first Big 12 Championship in 2011, is favored by the voters to take the title this fall. The Cowboys are followed in order by Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Baylor, Kansas State and Texas Tech.

Having lost nearly two dozen players from the 2012 squad, Holgorsen brought in nine junior college transfers in what appeared to be a desperate attempt to have a respectable season, if possible. I can’t recall a year that WVU ever recruited that many JUCOs.

Holgorsen obviously has enjoyed just one outstanding season during his short stay. That was a 10-3 record in 2011 with talent recruited by the late Bill Stewart, whom he replaced.

Has WVU’s football recruiting been as fruitful since he took over? Time will tell.

Last year’s defensive unit might have been the worst in this writer’s 68 years on the Mountaineer sports beat. Its statistics were among the lowest NCAA Division I ranks of 120 schools.

WVU coaches vowed in the spring that the defense will be much better this season. Mountaineer fans hope they’re right.

The offense, Holgorsen’s specialty, may or may not be quite as good or as productive.

The media types were not allowed to watch a single scrimmage prior to the annual Gold-Blue affair, which was under wraps.

However, WVU director of football communications Mike Montoro said that Holgorsen, unlike the dozen or so of his predecessors that I’ve covered, did not have any scrimmages during the 14 days of actual spring practice. Does that sound strange?

Anyway, it’s pretty much a guessing game for me as far as prediction goes.

So I am hereby guessing that West Virginia will finish this season with a 6-6 record — at best.

1
Text Only
College Sports
  • Mountaineers beat Buckeyes 4-1 in lefty Vance’s first career start

    In his first career start for the WVU baseball team, sophomore left-hander Ross Vance struck out 14 en route to a 4-1 victory over Ohio State on Tuesday evening at Hawley Field.

    April 15, 2014

  • Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage

    There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage last Saturday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Wesleyan edges CU twice in softball

    The Concord University softball narrowly dropped a pair of games to No. 17 West Virginia Wesleyan, 2-1 and 4-3, Sunday afternoon at Culpepper Field.

    April 14, 2014

  • Concord baseball shuts out Cardinals

    The Concord University baseball team posted two shutout victories on Sunday, extending its winning streak to seven games by beating conference foe Wheeling Jesuit.

    April 14, 2014

  • dana Much still to be answered this fall

    In Saturday’s paper, I compiled a list of five things to watch at West Virginia University’s annual Gold-Blue Spring Game. Now, after watching the football scrimmage that concluded this year’s spring drills and taking some time to process what I saw, it’s time to go back and revisit those five points and how they turned out on Saturday.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • D’Antoni speculation now seems to have legs

    Kareem Canty got what he wanted, and Marshall fans should find out this week if they will get what they want.

    April 13, 2014

  • millard Specials teams shine at Gold-Blue Game

    The scoreboard said the Gold (offense) beat the Blue (defense) 37-27 in Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game at Milan Puskar Stadium using a modified scoring system that rewarded the defense for stops and turnovers and the offense for scores.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • syvertson ‘Huey the Punter’ makes transition to LB

    The first reaction of the 10,000 fans in attendance at Milan Puskar Stadium for Saturday’s Gold-Blue Spring Game when No. 42 shot through the offensive line and put junior college transfer quarterback Skyler Howard on the ground in the second half was to ooh and aah.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • crutchfield Crutchfield again named Furfari Award winner

    Already the winningest men’s basketball coach in college history in terms of percentage — yes, better than guys like John Wooden, Adolph Rupp and Roy Williams — West Liberty’s Jim Crutchfield is heading into some lofty territory within the confines of his home state.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Five things to watch at WVU spring game

    Spring practice will come to an end for West Virginia University this afternoon when the Mountaineer football team hosts the annual Gold-Blue Spring Game at 1 p.m. at Milan Puskar Stadium.

    April 11, 2014

AP Video