Tuesday, August 30, 2011

West Virginia v Marshall Preview

Time to take a closer look at the Friends of Coal Bowl. West Virginia hosts Marshall, and looks to remain undefeated against their little brother. Dana Holgorsen will certainly be looking for a stunning debut from his boys.


West Virginia: WVU will bust out the new system for the first time in this game. Much more speed, much more passing, much more fun. However, don't let the offense fool you. When run correctly, the offense is very balanced. Last year, Kendall Hunter ran for over 1,000 yards in the Holgorsen system. So, look for Geno Smith to pass first to set up the youngsters at running back. Smith was solid in his first year starting, throwing for 24 touchdowns. His efficiency was good, but could stand to improve his accuracy. He will have many of the same targets, including Tavon Austin, who may play the role of Justin Blackmon. Stedman Bailey and Ryan Nehlen will start on the outside, and converted tight end, Tyler Urban should provide good size on the inside. The rushing attack will be interesting. Three freshmen and Trey Johnson will be fight one another for carries. The initial depth chart shows Roberts as the number one, but that may not matter. These guys will all get their opportunity to shine. The biggest question will be on the offensive line. One of the weakest groups in the conference last season, WVU's line will have to play bigger, faster, and stronger in this offense. Smith was hit far too often last season, and one hit could certainly derail the season. It will be interesting to see how this unit plays early, especially against a pretty good Marshall front seven.

Marshall: The Herd will start a true freshman at quarterback. Miami product, Rakeem Cato will get the start in his first ever game. It fits, considering the Herd offense will be inexperienced at all of the skilled positions. Martin Ward is the leading returning rusher. He finished with just 345 yards on the ground, and one touchdown. After him, Tron Martinez will get some looks. Aaron Dobson will lead the receivers. Dobson did have a nice 2010 campaign. He will lead a young receiving and tight end corp. The offensive line is a very solid bunch. Good experience, mixed with good technique is a recipe for success. The group will give Cato and the youngsters plenty of opportunities to move the football this season.


West Virginia: WVU has to replace quite a few players from one of the best defenses of 2010. Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller are both back to anchor the line. Najee Goode will run the linebacking unit, and Ketih Tandy is still around to harass receivers. However, the rest of the secondary has plenty of questions, which will put some pressure on the front six. Miller and Irvin may be the best sack-tandem in the country, but will that group be able to slow down the run? If not, the passing game will open up, and really put the pressure on the young safeties. However, this is Jeff Casteel's baby and is one of the best in-game adjusters in the country.

Marshall: The Herd will be led by Conference USA First-Teamer Vinny Curry. The defensvie end finished with 12 sacks last season, and is hoping to build on that. He is one of nine returning players for Marshall, including the everyone in the secondary. This unit will have to show better maturity in 2011. The linebacking unit will be young, and will probably be a bit susceptible early on. This unit should be pretty solid against inferior offenses, and should gain in confidence.

Special Teams:

West Virginia: The Mountaineers will look to improve in this category from 2010. Kicker Tyler Bitencurt regressed from his first year, and punter Corey Smith is in his first year at the helm. Kick coverage has been a disaster since Rich Rodriquez left, which is interesting considering Bill Stewart was the Special Teams' coach...well...maybe that makes total sense. WVU will have to improve right away in that department. Kick/Punt returning duty will be split between Stedman Bailey, Tavon Austin, and Devon Brown. That's a pretty solid crop of speedsters.

Marshall: Tyler Warner returns as the primary placekicker. Warner hit just five field goals in 2010. Kase Whitehead is a very accurate punter, and will probably be used quite often early on. Troy Evans is the primary return specialist. He had an over 20 yard average last season on kick returns.


West Virginia: Dana Holgorsen steps into his first game. It's hard to truly get a gauge of how he will do, considering it will be his first game. e's an offensive genius, who wisely gave Jeff Casteel complete control of the defense.

Marshall: Doc Holliday spent a lot of time wearing Mountaineer colors during his career. He took over the Herd job last season, after many thought he would be Bill Stewart's successor. He has faced the Mountaineers once, and nearly beat them.


Marshall always seems to play up to WVU ever since this series was renewed a few years back. However, the Herd just don't seem to be a very good matchup this season. West Virginia has superior talent, and should be much more efficient offensively. Having a true freshman gets his first collegiate start on the road in Morgantown is no easy task either. Plus, Marshall's skilled positions just won't be enough of a threat to the younger Mountaineer defense. Expect WVU to have success early. Holgorsen will surely want to show off the new offense, and also show he belongs as a head coach. Cato will have the pressure on big time. A few mistakes early from him will probably lock up the game for Mountaineers. The effort will be there from Marshall, but sheer effort isn't enough to take down WVU.

Prediction: 35-14 West Virginia

Big East Preview, Week 1

And we are back! The Big East opens the season with your usual jokes, and a few potential statement games. Must-wins for seven teams, and a potential conference attention-grabber for South Florida at Notre Dame. A perfect week for the Big East is not out of the question.

Last Week: 0-0

Overall: 0-0

Bye Week: None

Murray State at Louisville: After a solid season that ended in a bowl win, the Cardinals come in with a chip on their shoulder…still. The media won't believe that Louisville is back, but Charlie Strong and company are out to prove many wrong. They start the year against a very poor FCS team, which was blasted in its one game against an FBS opponent in 2010. Look for the Cards to try to get big time QB recruit, Teddy Bridgewater comfortable early on. There's a lot of pressure surrounding this kid, so building up the confidence early will be key. The Cardinals' defense has some new faces to break in as well, especially the secondary. Look for Victor Anderson to have a solid start to the campaign as Louisville rolls.

Prediction: 34-10 Louisville

Fordham at Connecticut: It hasn't been the best 2011 for the Huskies. It started with an embarrassing BCS appearance. Then Randy Edsell bounced. If that wasn't bad enough, UConn decided to hire Paul Pasqualoni. A few transfers here, and a couple ineligibles there and we have finally reached the season. The Huskies are ready to prove they will be competitive Fordham is most know for their Law School so don't expect much of a fight. UConn should easily roll, and try to get new starters at QB, RB, and WR comfortable before the schedule truly begins.

Prediction: 31-7 Connecticut

North Carolina Central at Rutgers: Greg Schiano just wants to put 2010 behind. He finally gets the chance this week, as the Knights host some team I've never heard of. The maturation of Chas Dodd is extremely important at the beginning of the season if Rutgers wants to compete. The receivers are solid, the rushing attack should be pretty good, but will Dodd keep up? The Knights will also have to get better on the lines, but shouldn't be tested by NCC. Rutgers rolls.

Prediction: 42-14 Rutgers

Austin Peay at Cincinnati: "Let's Go Peay! Let's Go Peay!" That is the best cheer in college sports. Sadly, they are not even the 150th best football team. Zach Collaros and the Bearcats will have a nice warmup to get ready for the rest of the season. The senior signal-caller will look to get off on the right track in the race for conference player of the year. This game will also show-off Isaiah Pead. Look for total ball control from Cincy as they housel the Peay-boys.

Prediction: 38-13 Cincinnati

Buffalo at Pittsburgh: The Panthers are out to show the world that they should be the conference favorite. Todd Graham's new offense should make the Panthers much more efficient if Tino Suneri is up to the task. The QB had a satisfactory first year as a starter, but that's not good enough. Sunseri won't have the experience at receiver like he had last season, so accuracy is a must. Look for Ray Graham to pick up where he left off on the ground last season. The Panther rusher had a breakout 2010, and is looking to do more this season…if he can hold onto the ball. Buffalo comes in with a former Big East QB at the helm with Grad-transfer, Chazz Anderson. The Bisons are coming off a dismal year, and won't enjoy the start of 2011. The Panther defense will hammer Anderson, and Graham should have a field day.

Prediction: 40-3 Pittsburgh

Wake Forest at Syracuse: Doug Marrone and the Orange probably can't wait any longer for Thursday night. With numerous injuries and arrests, training camp has been rather interesting in Central New York. The Orange open with a down ACC team in Wake Forest…a must-win game for Cuse and the conference. Ryan Nassib looks to build on a pretty solid 2010 campaign. The gunslinger will have plenty of targets to choose from even though Marcus Sales is too busy selling rock. Look for the Orange to use Antwon Bailey frequently to establish the ground attack. Wake is changing defensive philosophies so Syracuse will have an opportunity to take advantage of the growing pains. The Orange defense should also be up to the task, even if the offense is slow to get going. The Deacons starting QB, Tanner Price does return from last season, but did lose some of his most important receivers. The Orange have struggled against the ACC recently, but there is no reason they should lose to a floundering Wake Forest team. Plus, it's a home game for the Cuse. Could be a close game early, but too much from both sides from the Orange will lock it down in the second half.

Prediction: 27-17 Syracuse

Marshall at West Virginia: The debut of Dana Holgorsen is an interesting one as West Virginia hosts fake rival, Marshall. The Herd had the Mountaineers dead to rights last season before Geno Smith's heroics saved WVU. Now, Doc Holliday will have to keep his players in check. If the Herd show too much emotion early, they will be boat raced right back to Huntington. Smith and the offense will have the spotlight squarely on them, as the offense takes its first run under Holgs. Defensively, there are some questions as well. Can sack specialist, Bruce Irvin play every down? Will the linebacking unit be deep enough? However, the biggest question in this game will be is Marshall good enough to be a true test for the Mountaineers? Sure, it's the Herd's biggest game, but the talent difference is not even close. The full preview will be coming tomorrow.

Prediction: 35-14 West Virginia

Game of the Week: South Florirda at Notre Dame: A Holtz is finally back in South Bend. However, this time it's on the visiting side. Skip Holtz brings his Bulls up, and is looking to give the Big East some serious respect early on. B.J. Daniels will have to bring it early. The Notre Dame defense, while improving, will still be susceptible to a versatile QB. But, which Daniels will show up? If it's not the consistent one, then it's going to be a long day for USF. The Bulls have to be able to establish balance if they want to beat the Irish. Meanwhile, the linebacking unit will have to pace the USF defense. Brian Kelly will have Dayne Crist throwing all over the field, so look for the Bulls to mix blitzes. The Irish rushing attack may be the key factor in this game. If the passing game opens up just a little bit for Notre Dame, they'll control the majority of the game. The Bulls can't afford to get down by more than one score. Daniels and company are just not built for the major comeback. Look for Notre Dame to take an early lead, and control the majority of play.

Prediction: 28-20 Notre Dame

Former Mountaineers in the NFL, Preseason Week 3

Here's a look at the participation for the former Mountaineers in Week 3 of the NFL Preseason.

Jarrett Brown, QB, Browns: Had a productive night, going 4-4 for 35 yards and a touchdown.

Robert Sands, S, Bengals: Registered one tackle against the Panthers.

PacMan Jones, CB, Bengals: Will start season on PUP list.

Brandon Hogan, CB, Panthers: Still not back from ACL injury.

Selvish Capers, OL, Redskins: Continues to underperform in camp. Most likely will be cut today.

Chris Neild, DL, Redskins: FInished with one tackle against the Ravens

Pat McAfee, P, Colts: Had a busy night with eight punts for a 51 yard average.

Corey McIntyre, FB, Bills: One catch for six yards for Buffalo's starting fullback.

Sidney Glover, S, Bills: Didn't record ay stats in game three. Did survive the first major round of cuts.

Wes Lyons, WR, Steelers: Finished with one catch for 13 yards in game three. Survived cut day.

Ryan Mundy, FS, Steelers: Two tackles for the safety. Listed as the number two free safety.

Mortty Ivy, LB, Steelers: One tackle in game three, and continues to be on the bubble.

Jock Sanders, KR, Buccaneers: Two punt returns for 30 yards. However, Sanders was cut after the game.

Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: Still out with a hamstring. May not survive the final round of cuts.

Ellis Lankster, CB, Jets: Didn't register any stats in game three.

Darius Reynaud, KR, Giants: Still dealing with a hamstring.

Scooter Berry, DL, Texans: Didn't register any stats vs San Francisco.

Owen Schmitt, FB, Eagles: Didn't register any stats in game three. Is expected to be the starting fullback for the Eagles.

Anthony Becht, TE, Chiefs: Was just signed on Aug 25th.

J.T. Thomas, LB, Bears: Didn't register any stats in game three. Listed as the primary backup at OLB.

Monday, August 29, 2011


It's time folks. It's time to take a closer look at the first game of the season.

Matchup: West Virginia vs. Marshall

WHEN: Sunday, 3:30p, ESPN



Geno Smith, QB: 2,763 passing yards, 24 TDs, 7 INT
Tavon Austin, WR: 58 rec, 787 yards, 8 DS
Najee Goode, LB: 44 tackles, 1 forced fumble
Bruce Irvin, DE: 22 tackles, 14 sacks

Martin Ward, RB: 345 rushing yards, 1 TD
Aaron Dobson, WR: 44 rec, 689 yards, 5 TDs
Vinny Curry, DE: 94 tackles, 12 sacks


The Debut of Dana Holgorsen was supposed to be in 2012. However, the early exit of Bill Stewart sped up the process. The big question is how will this team respond? Holgorsen has been mildly satisfied with practice, but those are only practice. The big test will come against a team that WVU has never lost to. It took about 55 minutes for the Mountaineer offense to wake up last year in Huntington. There is no doubt that Holgorsen wants to put a number up early to show what this new offense is all about.

How will Marshall react? Yes, it's not the same exact team, but there are certainly enough players and coaches who remember the one that got away last season. Doc Holliday will have to keep his players grounded to make sure their emotions don't get the better of them. Marshall just needs to stay within striking distance to give themselves a chance...kind of like what WVU did last year.

Is the WVU Offense line ready? The boys better be, because Vinny Curry and company will be after it all game long. Marshall rushed and pounded Geno Smith last year, and will look to do the same in 2011. The Mountaineer line will have to play much better if they want to win comfortably.

Hey, is that beer in the stadium? Your'e damn right. Beer sales are now legal in Milan Puskar Stadium. What kind of impact will it make? Other than a few hundred thousand dollars going to the school each year, not much. People have blown it way out of proportion. Many collegiate stadiums sell it already, so it's nothing new.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Let's Realign the Conferences...Part Four, The Stadium Capacity Strategy

People love complaining about the conference structure in college football. Sure, there are some strange combinations, and long roadtrips, but it could be worse. And I'm here to show you how worse(or awesome) it could be.

Part 4: Stadium Size!

Enough with stadium diversity, it's time to line up the big boys with the big boys. I really have nothing else to say about this...it's pretty self-explanatory.

The Big Dog Conference: Now, this is a conference. All giant stadiums, and all solid programs. This is a dream conference fro college football fans everywhere.

Michigan (109,901)
Penn State (107,282)
Ohio State (102,329)
Tennessee (102,037)
Alabama (101,821)
Texas (100,119)
USC (93,607)
Georgia (92,746)
LSU (92,542)
UCLA (92,542)
Florida (88,548)
Auburn (87,451)

The Medium Dog Conference: This is a pretty damn good conference as well. A lot of national championships can be found with this group. Pretty dirty too.

Texas A&M (83,002)
Florida State (82,300)
Oklahoma (82,112)
Nebraska (81,067)
Notre Dame (80,795)
Wisconsin (80,321)
Clemson (80,301)
South Carolina (80,250)
Arkansas (76,000)
California (75,662)
Miami (75,504)
Michigan State (75,005)

The Pro-Stadium Conference: Yes, there's a reason why Tulane, Temple, and USF are this high on the list. The pro stadiums give the squads a bit of a boost in conference realignment, even though they should be nowhere near this.

Washington (72,500)
Arizona State (71,706)
UAB (71,594)
Missouri (71,004)
Iowa (70,585)
San Diego State (70,561)
Rice (70,000)
Tulane (69,703)
Temple (68,532)
Kentucky (67,606)
Virginia Tech (66,233)
USF (65,857)

The Rival Conference: Some good rivalries remain intact here. Pitt-WVU, UNC-NC STATE-UVA, Texas Tech-Oklahoma State, Purdue-Illinois, BYU-Ole Miss...well, maybe not that one.

Pittsburgh (65,050)
BYU (63,725)
Purdue (62,500)
Memphis (62,380)
Virginia (61,500)
Illinois (60,600)
Mississippi (60,580)
Texas Tech (60,454)
Oklahoma State (60,218)
West Virginia (60,000)
North Carolina (60,000)
NC State (57,583)

The Basketball Conference: Some solid basketball programs here, including numerous former National Champs. Now, all we need is Larry Eustachy and some Natty Ice.

Louisville (56,000)
Arizona (56,000)
Mississippi State (55,082)
Iowa State (55,000)
Georgia Tech (55,000)
Oregon (53,800)
Colorado (53,750)
Air Force (52,480)
Rutgers (52,454)
Indiana (52,180)
UTEP (52,000)
Maryland (51,500)

The One with the Trip to Hawaii Conference: Looks like tuition at Syracuse just skyrocketed.

Minnesota (50,805)
Kansas (50,300)
Kansas State (50,071)
Baylor (50,000)
East Carolina (50,000)
Hawaii (50,000)
Stanford (50,000)
Northwestern (49,256)
Syracuse (49,250)
TCU (46,000)
Oregon State (45,674)
UCF (45,301)

The All-American Travel Conference: We are going New England, Southwest, Mid-Atlantic, Northwest, Midwest...basically everywhere but the Southeast.

Utah (45,017)
Boston College (44,500)
New Mexico (42,000)
Vanderbilt (41,448)
Fresno State (41,031)
Army (40,000)
Connecticut (40,000)
Marshall (38,019)
UNLV (36,800)
Southern Miss (36,000)
Tulsa (35,542)
Washington State (35,117)

The Pathetic AQ School Conference: Cincy, Duke, and Wake should all be booted from AQ status. You can't even have a 40,000+ seat stadium? Pathetic!

Cincinnati (35,097)
Navy (35,000)
Colorado State (34,400)
Duke (33,941)
Boise (33,500)
Wyoming (32,580)
SMU (32,000)
Houston (32,000)
Wake Forest (31,500)
Louisiana-Lafayette (31,000)
Middle Tennessee State (31,000)
Arkansas State (30,964)

The Safety School Conference: So, you can't get into that reach school? Well, here are all your backups...all in one conference.

North Texas (30,850)
Louisiana Tech (30,600)
San Jose State (30,456)
Louisiana-Monroe (30,427)
New Mexico State (30,343)
Utah State (30,257)
Western Michigan (30,200)
Eastern Michigan (30,200)
Central Michigan (30,199)
Akron (30,000)
Troy (30,000)
Nevada (29,993)

The MAC Conference? Yeah, pretty much.

Buffalo (29,013)
Toledo (26,248)
Northern Illinois (25,500)
Kent (25,000)
Miami (OH) (24,286)
Ohio (24,000)
Bowling Green (23,724)
FIU (23,500)
Ball State (22,500)
Western Kentucky (22,000)
FAU (20,450)
Idaho (16,000)

Part 1 can be found here.
Part 2 can be found here.
Part 3 can be found here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

YouTube Time: The Greatest Pass Ever

This was easily the greatest play I ever saw in Mountaineer Field. It was also the loudest I ever heard that stadium. Simply remembered as the "Greatest Passing Play in the History of Life Itself." Rasheed Marshall goes deep to Travis Garvin for 93 yards against Virginia Tech.

The Mountaineers stumbled out of the gate in 2003, but after nearly beating Miami in the Orange Bowl, WVU was poised to turn things around. They certainly did with a proper-pounding of Virginia Tech, who was number three at the time.

Early in the third quarter, the Mountineers essentially locked it down when Marshall found a streaking Garvin wide open. Marshall put it right on Garvin's hands, and everything else was cream cheese. The Hokies did have nine guys in the box...the gamble didn't exactly pay off.

WVU went on to lose the Gator Bowl that year. Marshall would graduate in 2005 and played some Arena ball, and Garvin robbed a Foodland.

Deep Thoughts, WVU Style

Jabarie Hinds is heading to Morgantown after being cleared by the NCAA. The freshman point guard was highly recruited out of New York and will add not only depth at the position, but some significant minutes. He could push Truck to the 2-guard spot, and end up starting for this Mountaineer team. This may be a young team, but should be Huggy's first true athletic squad. Look for some running and gunning in the Colesium this season.

Should we be concerned with Dana Holgorsen's comments regarding Geno Smith? He has been very reserved to say anything positive about the kid, and continues to press that the job isn't safe. I'm probably overreacting. It's a new system, and every single player is under a serious microscope. I guess we should wait until the Marshall game to get a true idea of how Holgs feels about Smith. Let's be honest, it's been a longtime since we had a football coach who went the "tough love" route. Maybe Holgs and Huggins are long lost brothers.

Best of luck to both the Men's and Women's soccer teams in 2011. Each team heads into the season ranked in their respective Top-25s. And, each have top class coaches. There are many things I miss about living in Morgantown, especially Friday nights at the Dick cheering on our great soccer programs. Kick some ass, Guys!

We send out our very best to Pat Summitt, who revealed this week that she is facing a serious battle with Early Onset Dementia at the age of 59. Nobody has done more to build their respected sport over the last 30 than she has. Without Summit, nobody cares about the Women's game...and it sure as hell wouldn't be on ESPN. I have always said that she could have coached on the men's side and had the same success. Summitt will continue to coach, which means her tremendous footprint will continue to grow. I hope Dementia is ready for a serious ass-whooping.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Former Mountaineers in the NFL, Preseason Week Two

Jock Sanders, WR, Buccaneers: No catches, but did have one kick return for 25 yards, and two punt returns for 10 yards.

Wes Lyons, WR, Steelers: Had one catch for 15 yards. Should be noted that he also had a touchdown catch called back due to a penalty.

Mortty Ivy, LB, Steelers: Three total talkes, as he continues to battle for one of the last spots of the 53-man roster.

Ryan Mundy, S, Steelers: Finished with four tackles, one of them solo.

Owen Schmitt, FB, Eagles: Didn't register any stats in game two, but is expected to be the starting fullback.

Selvish Capers, OL, Redskins: Continues to struggle as a backup in camp.

Chris Neild, DL, Redskins: Two total takles in game two.

Pat McAfee, K/P, Colts: Finished with a 57.4 yard average on four kicks, with a long of 60 yards.

Jarrett Brown, QB, Browns: Another rough day for Brown, finishing with a passer rating of 39.6 passer rating.

Sydney Glover, S, Bills: Had a nice game with two takles, one for loss, and a pass-defensed.

Corey McIntyre, FB, Bills: Didn't register any stats, but is expected to be the starting fullback.

Steve Slaton, RB, Houston: Still dealing with a hamstring issue.

J.T. Thomas, LB, Bears: Registered two total tackles in his first career game.

Darius Reynaud, WR, Giants: Missed game two wit a hamstring.

Robert Sands, S, Bengals: FInished with three total tackles in game two.

PacMan Jones, CB, Bengals: COuld be removed from the PUP list this week.

Ellis Lankster, CB, Jets: Registered two total tackles against the Bengals.

Brandon Hogan, CB, Panthers: Still coming back from an ACL.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Let's Realign The Conferences...Part Three, The Year Established Strategy

People love complaining about the conference structure in college football. Sure, there are some strange combinations, and long roadtrips, but it could be worse. And I'm here to show you how worse(or awesome) it could be.

Part Three...Year Established!

Yeah! Let's go old school with it, and talk 1800's football. You know, when the game looked more like slow-motion rugby, and the losing team was fed to rabid wolverines...well, maybe not, but you get the idea.

The strategy is simple...the teams are lined up by the year the team was established. Alphabetical order was used to split up some of the more popular years. That's about it, really. So, here you go!

(note: year established is not necessarily the year they joined FBS or 1-A)

Part One can be found here.
Part Two can be found here.

1. The Traditional Conference
Talk about the traditional programs here. Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Navy, Cincinnati. Wait...what? How the hell were the Bearcats one of the first teams? And, yes Rutgers, we know your the oldest school playing at this level.

Rutgers (1869)
Northwestern (1876)
Michigan (1879)
Navy (1879)
Kentucky (1881)
California (1882)
Minnesota (1882)
Cincinnati (1885)
Indiana (1887)
Notre Dame (1887)
Penn State (1887)
Purdue (1887)

2. The Blah Conference

I bet you can't wait for that Duke v Miami (OH) game? I'm sure Syracuse is going to love paying for those trips to New Mexico and California.

Duke (1888)
Miami (OH) (1888)
New Mexico State (1888)
North Carolina (1888)
USC (1888)
Virginia (1888)
Wake Forest (1888)
Iowa (1889)
New Mexico (1889)
Syracuse (1889)
Washington (1889)
Wisconsin (1889)

3. The Practical Conference

This conference kind of works. Most teams are in the midwest, and many play one another already. Army and Eastern Michigan would struggle just a little.

Army (1890)
Colorado (1890)
Illinois (1890)
Kansas (1890)
Missouri (1890)
Nebraska (1890)
Ohio State (1890)
Pittsburgh (1890)
Vanderbilt (1890)
Akron (1891)
Eastern Michigan (1891)
Stanford (1891)

4. The Power Conference

Now, this is a conference. Every team is from a Big-six conference with the exception of Utah State. Storylines galore.

Tennessee (1891)
West Virginia (1892)
Alabama (1892)
Aubrun (1892)
Georgia (1892)
Georgia Tech (1892)
Iowa State (1892)
Maryland (1892)
NC State (1892)
South Carolina (1892)
Utah (1892)
Utah State (1892)

5. The Geographically Messed-Up Conference

The entire country is represented in this conference. BC could travel to the south, southwest, and northwest all in one year. Some serious programs here as well with Texas and LSU anchoring.

Virginia Tech (1892)
Boston College (1893)
Colorado State (1893)
Kansas State (1893)
LSU (1893)
Ole Miss (1893)
Oregon State (1893)
San Jose State (1893)
Texas (1893)
Tulane (1893)
Wyoming (1893)
Arkansas (1894)

6. The Lopsided Conference

Ummm, not exactly a deep conference. Actually, one of Oregon, A&M, or Oklahoma should win the damn thing every year. Idaho v Washington State will garner huge east coast ratings.

Buffalo (1894)
Idaho (1894)
Ohio (1894)
Oregon (1894)
Temple (1894)
Texas A&M (1894)
Washington State (1894)
Marshall (1895)
Mississippi State (1895)
Oklahoma (1895)
Tulsa (1895)
Central Michigan (1896)

7. The Legit Conference

Anther pretty solid conference. Teams that may not get the attention they deserve. The taxpayers of Connecticut wouldn't enjoy the travel costs, but oh well.

Clemson (1896)
Connecticut (1896)
Michigan State (1896)
Nevada (1896)
TCU (1896)
Arizona State (1897)
Arizona (1899)
Baylor (1899)
Northern Illinois (1899)
Louisiana-Lafayette (1901)
Louisiana Tech (1901)
Oklahoma State (1901)

8. The Garbage Conference


Western Michigan (1905)
Florida (1906)
Hawaii (1909)
Troy (1909)
Arkansas State (1911)
Louisville (1912)
Memphis (1912)
Middle Tennessee State (1912)
Rice (1912)
Southern Miss (1912)
North Texas (1913)
Western Kentucky (1913)

9. The Defensively-Challenged Conference

Wow, we are talking about some serious points being put up in this conference. Take the over, unless Jacory Harris is your quarterback.

UTEP (1914)
SMU (1915)
Toledo (1917)
Bowling Green (1919)
UCLA (1919)
Kent State (1920)
Fresno State (1921)
San Diego State (1921)
BYU (1922)
Ball State (1924)
Texas Tech (1925)
Miami (1925)

10. The Lack-of-Depth Conference

This conference would probably come down to FSU v Boise State every year. Maybe the occasional South Florida, but we know how they choke every season.

Louisiana-Monroe (1931)
East Carolina (1932)
Boise State (1933)
Houston (1946)
Florida State (1946)
Air Force (1955)
UNLV (1968)
UCF (1979)
UAB (1991)
South Florida (1997)
Florida Atlantic (2001)
Florida International (2002)

WVU Love in the CFL

Shockingly on two former Mountaineers can be found n the CFL this season. You know what they say...Mountaineers just hate Canada. Actually, nobody says that. I guess we can add them with UFL boys and just have one post next time.

Lance Frazier, CB, Saskatchewan: 16 tackles on the season so far for the former Mounty corner.

Avon Cobourne, RB, Hamilton: Already with 459 yards on the season, Cobourne continues to have success up north. He was the Grey Cup MVP just a few seasons back.

WVU Love in the UFL

Since we track the former Mountaineers in NFL I figure it's only fair to check out the boys in the UFL. I know most people have no idea what this league is, but WVU fans will notice that two of the more popular players of the late-2000s have found a place in the league. Here is the list. I'm sure I have missed one or two. CFL to come next!

Pat White, QB, Virginia: May get a good chance to play, considering he's battling Mike McMahon and Chris Greisen for the starting job.

Noel Devine, RB, Omaha: The recently-signed Devine joins a backfield with Maurice Clarett, Shaud Williams, and Marlon Lucky. What is this, 2006?

Antwon Lake, DL, Las Vegas: Was part of the 2010 UFL Champion Locomotives.

Todd Sauerbrun, P, ?: He is still listed as a Florida Tusker. That's a problem, because the Tuskers became the Virginia Destroyers. He is not listed on the Virginia roster.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

YouTube Time: WVU Women's Soccer Edition

In honor of the WVU Women's Soccer team being ranked 21st to start the season and being picked to win the American Division in the Big East, we here at the 'Dub felt it was neccesary to throw some "YouTube Time" love their way.

The team has been incredibly successful over years, including 11 straight trips to the NCAA, and two Big East championships. Head Coach, Nikki Izzo-Brown went over 200 wins last year, and will head up another solid squad in 2011. Best of luck ladies! Bring home the hardware!

Deep Thoughts, WVU-Style

Brad Starks may be on the outside looking in. Both Dana Holgorsen and Asst. Coach, Shannon Dawson have said very little about the speedy wideout. And what has been said isn't very appealing to the guy. It's really not surprising. In a pass-happy system, you would think you'd want receivers that have plenty of experience at the position. Starks, a converted quarterback, has put up some decent numbers over the last two seasons. However, he isn't known for his route-running and hands...not a good combination in this system. Starks might be better suited to go back to quarterback at this point.

The running back battle has been confusing. WVU may have 11 backs on the roster, but has one stepped up yet? Or two? Or three? Possibly. The names that keep getting thrown around the most are all actually all freshmen. Vernard Roberts was the preseason number one. But, both Andrew Buie and Dustin Garrison continue to impress. Meanwhile, Shawn Alston will probably be heading over to practice with the big backs, considering he is now listed with the fullbacks...unofficially.

More praise for Goode. Holgorsen continues to praise Najee Goode for his play and maturity. The linebacker didn't get a ton of publicity heading the season, especially with three potential high round picks along side him in Keith Tandy, Julian Miller, and Bruce Irvin. However, Goode may be the most important part, as he anchors the linebacking core. He finished with 47 tackles last season, and is certainly poised to break out in 2011.

Wherever Virginia Tech Goes is where WVU should go. Who doesn't miss the Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy? Ideally, the Mountaineers would be in a conference with all the good rivals. Let's throw WVU, Pitt, V-Tech, Penn State, Notre Dame, Maryland, Syracuse, and a few others together and call it good.

Anyone else feel this is the year Marshall gets decimated? I sure as hell do. The Herd's chance was last season. Marshall now has to deal with a WVU football team looking to make a statement as soon as they possibly can. A head coach looking to show what he can do. A quarterback with a chip on his shoulder. A defense that continues to be told it's not deep enough. Good luck, Doc.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Former Mountaineers in the NFL, Preseason Week 1

Here's a quick look at the participation for former Mountaineers in the NFL last week.

J.T. Thomas, OLB, Bears: Did not play in the first game with a hip.

Wes Lyons, WR, Steelers: Was targeted once with no receptions.

Ryan Mundy, S, Steelers: Led the team with eight tackles, and chipped in with a pass breakup

Mortty Ivy, LB, Steelers: Second on the team in tackles with six.

Chris Neild, DT, Redskins: Played late in game, didn't register a tackle.

Selvish Capers, OL, Redskins: Saw time in game one.

Robert Sands, S, Bengals: Registered four tackles in his first career NFL game.

Pac Man Jones, CB, Bengals: Did not play in game one.

Jarrett Brown, QB, Browns: 1-2 for 13 yards and a pick in limited time.

Jock Sanders, WR, Buccaneers: Targeted once, with no receptions. However, led team in punt return average with 17.0 ypr, including a long of 21.

Darius Reynaud, WR, Giants: Had one catch for five yards, and returned two punts for a total of 14 yards.

Sidney Glover, CB, Bills: Didn't record any stats in game one.

Corey McIntyre, FB, Bills: Didn't record any stats in game one.

Pat McAfee, P, Colts: Averaged over 45 yards per punt, and even nailed a PAT.

Owen Schmitt, FB, Eagles: Registered one carry for two yards.

Brandon Hogan, CB, Pathers: Still not back from ACL injury

Ellis Lankster, CB, Jets: Two tackles in his Jets' debut

Steve Slaton, RB, Texans: Did not play in game one

Scooter Berry, DT, Texans: Didn't record any stats

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

WVU 20th in Andy Staples' Preseason Power Rankings...and is Fleetwood Mac

West Virginia is getting some preseason love from si.com. Andy Staples has placed the Mountaineers 20th in his Preseason Power Rankings. WVU is sandwiched by a few old foes; Virginia Tech(19) and Notre Dame(21). Now only if we could play them.

In true Staples' fashion, the rankings are themed. In this case, WVU is compared to Fleetwood Mac (most overrated band ever in my opinion). Staples compares the offseason drama in Morgantown to that of Mick Fleetwood and Bob Weston, amongst other things. It's actually quite dead-on. Also, check out LSU's write-up. I think that's the best one.

The Mountaineers are the Big East favorite this season, with some believing they could be a dark horse for the National Championship. Bottom-line is the pressure will be on heavy for first-year coach Dana Holgorsen.

YouTube Time: Famous Amos' First Carry

Amos Zereoue was a fine Mountaineer. Famous Amos rushed for over 4,000 yards in his three seasons at WVU, finishing with 40 touchdowns. By the time Zereoue was gone he had broken nearly every rushing record.

Strangely enough, his first carry as a Mountaineer might be his most famous. The 1996 Big East Rookie of the YEar took his first collegiate carry 69 yards to the house against rival Pittsburgh.

Zereoue would go on to play in the NFL for six years, before retiring. After football, he opened an African restaurant in New York City, and now plays club soccer.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Predicting the Big East Offensive Awards

Offensive Player of the Year: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
If Mountaineers are going back to the BCS this season, they will need Smith to have a epic year. Considering we are picking WVU to win the league, it only makes sense he wins this award.
Others Considered: Zach Collaros, Ray Graham

Quarterback of the Year: Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
See Above
Others Considered: Zach Collaros

Running Back of the Year: Ray Graham, Pittsburgh
Last year's breakout star is looking for an even bigger 2011. It should happen now that he is the lone star in the Panther backfield. Look for Graham to be active in the passing game as well.
Others Considered: Isaiah Pead, Victor Anderson

Wide Receiver of the Year: Tavon Austin, West Virginia
Many are expecting Justin Blackmon-like numbers for Austin in the Dana Holgorsen system. Though smaller in size, Austin can go get it anywhere, and will plenty this season.
Others Considered: Mohammed Sanu, Mark Harrison, Mike Shanahan, D.J. Woods

Tight End of the Year: Josh Chichester, Louisville
This is a bit of a reach, but Chichester easily has the most potential at this position. The former wideout should be used more often in 2011, and his size makes him nearly impossible to defend.
Others Considered: Nick Provo, Ryan Griffin

Lineman of the Year: Moe Petrus, Connecticut
Hard to go against a guy that has started every game of his career. Look for him to be a multiple award-winner at the end of this season.
Others Considered: Justin Pugh, Mike Ryan

Place Kicker of the Year: Dave Teggart, Connecticut
This man has ice in his veins. The most clutch kicker in the league is poised for another big year, especially with an offense that won't find the end zone too often.
Others Considered: Ross Krautman, Chris Philpott

WVU 19th in ESPN Preseason Power Rankings

West Virginia did make one preseason poll...of course it doesn't count for anything. The Mountaineers are ranked 19th on ESPN's Preseason power Rankings list, sandwiched by Georgia at 20, and number 18 Ohio State.

The Mountaineers are the Big East favorite this season, with some believing they could be a dark horse for the National Championship. Bottom-line is the pressure will be on heavy for first-year coach Dana Holgorsen.

The 19-ranking is interesting, considering the Mountaineers couldn't crack the Coaches' Poll. It seems that WVU and the Big East get a little bit more respect from the ESPN pundits. Or maybe the pundits are just looking at how weak the Big East is, and how WVU should easily get to 10+ wins. Whatever the case is, it seems that the 19-ranking is more legit than being out of the top-25 to start the season. You would think a team picked to win a super-six conference should get a little bit more recognition than they have been getting. But, that's just life in the Big East.

Monday, August 8, 2011

2011 Big East Team Predictions

1. West Virginia: Yes, there are some questions surrounding the offensive line and the new-look defense. Plus, it's a new scheme for Geno Smith and company to lock down. However, if the Mountaineers play to up to potential it should be plenty enough to win the Big East.
Biggest Test(s): at home against LSU 9/24
Biggest Trap(s): at Maryland 9/17, at South Florida 12/1
Most Important Factor: The health of Smith

2. Pittsburgh: A lot rides on the success of Tino Sunseri. His numbers were pretty good in 2010, but that's not good enough to make a BCS trip. Either way, Todd Graham should be a refreshing change in Oakland...and should bring success.
Biggest Test(s): at WVU 11/25
Biggest Trap(s): at Louisville 11/12
Most Important Factor: Sunseri, Sunseri, Sunseri

3. South Florida: Some have them winning the conference. However, the Bulls are the perennial choke artist. They need to prove it at this point. Offense should be better this season, and the defense is always stout.
Biggest Test(s): at Notre Dame 9/03, at home against WVU 12/01
Biggest Trap(s): at home against Louisville 11/25
Most Important Factor: BJ Daniels staying consistent

4. Syracuse: The Orange should be right back in the mix again this season, with plenty of talent coming back. This is your prototypical dark-horse pick. If the above teams hit a snag or two don't be surprised if the Orange claim the crown.
Biggest Test(s): at home against WVU 10/21, at Pitt 12/03
Biggest Trap(s): at Tulane 10/08
Most Important Factor: Successfully replacing Delone Carter

5. Cincinnati: Expect the 'Cats to make a solid comeback this season in year two under Butch Jones. Zach Collaros could have an epic final year, but it won't be enough. Cincy just isn't a complete team.
Biggest Test(s): at home against NC State 9/22, at WVU 11/12
Biggest Trap(s): at Miami (OH) 10/01
Most Important Factor: Consistency on the defensive side

6. Louisville: The Cards will continue to improve, and should be a tough out. Charlie Strong will have some questions to answer early on, including who the starting quarterback will be. One thing's for sure: The Card Defense won't make it easy on anyone.
Biggest Test(s): at Kentucky 9/17, at UNC 10/08
Biggest Trap(s): at home against Marshall, 10/01
Most Important Factor: Offensive balance with the new gunslinger

7. Connecticut: New starting quarterback, new starting tailback, new head coach, and a partridge in a pear tree. It could be a long year in Storrs. The Huskies will sell be solid defensively, but way too many questions on the offensive side to have a chance.
Biggest Test(s): at Vanderbilt 9/10
Biggest Trap(s): at Buffalo 9/24
Most Important Factor: Finding a QB, who does more than trick throws

8. Rutgers: Once upon a time, the Scarlet Knights were the worst team in the Big East. And, it seems they may be right back there. Great receivers, not much else. Rutgers won't be terrible, but they sure as hell won't be good.
Biggest Test(s): at UNC 9/10
Biggest Trap(s): at Army 11/12
Most Important Factor: The Maturation of Chas Dodd

Individual Conference Predictions coming tomorrow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Notre Dame is the Biggest Nerd in the Big East

Notre Dame is the highest ranked Big East school on the Forbes' Best College List, coming in at 18. This means that South Bend's students are the biggest dorks in the conference. Congrats to the Irish on their exceptional prowess in Dungeon and Dragons, protractors, pong, and virginity. I also look forward to having one of you as my boss someday.

Here's a look a the rankings

18: Notre Dame: Nerds

47: Georgetown: Still Top-50...still nerds

119: Villanova: I'm sure Jay Wright will screw this ranking up somehow

156: Providence: They're still in the Big East?

207: Syracuse: Ouch, a little low. At least the J-School is Top-5!

210: Connecticut: Just couldn't pass Cuse, could ya?

232: Marquette: You'd think it would be higher. What else are you going to do other than study in Wisconsin, tip a cow?

266: Rutgers: That's about the same as their football ranking

321: DePaul: Hey, they aren't last! Congrats!

336: Pittsburgh: Wait, but Pitt alums keep telling me they're a premier institution.

358: Seton Hall: A low ranking and the schools in New Jersey...bad combo.

403: West Virginia: Whatever, we're good at drinking.

502: St. Johns: Somewhere Chris Mullin is shaking his head

521: Cincinnati: C'mon Cincy, we can't put "The" in front of your name until you crack the Top-500.

561: South Florida: Surprised it's this high.

579: Louisville: Congrats Louisville on being the least nerdiest.

WVU Not Ranked in the Coaches Poll to Start Year

West Virginia will not be ranked in the Coaches' Poll to start the season. The Mountaineers sit 12 votes behind the 25th-seed, Penn State...a team they would probably destroy. WVU is joined by the rest of the Big East on the outside looking in. South Florida(9 votes) and Pittsburgh(3 votes) are the only other conference schools getting recognition.

It's a little surprising that the Mountaineers didn't crack the Preseason Top-25. The program was picked to win the conference, with many calling them a darkhorse for the Top-5. However, being the Big East favorite doesn't carry a lot of weight anymore, especially after a dismal 2010 season for the conference.

The Mountaineers will have a lot to prove early on, especially against LSU, who will start the season ranked 4th. If WVU can run the non-conference table look for them to be in the Top-20 as they head into the conference schedule.

Side Note: Why does Doc Holliday get a vote? Dude doesn't even coach a real program.

Here is the Top 25, with Oklahoma coming in as number 1.

YouTube Time: Major Harris and the Busted Play

Dateline: Oct 29th, 1988. I'm pretty sure this is the greatest busted play in the history of football. The story goes that Harris forgot the play he called, and ended up running the wrong way. However, Harris schooled seven Penn State defenders and found the endzone. Just a typical play for the Heisman candidate.

The Mountaineers ended up routing the Nittany Lions 51-30, and Harris went on to have a Hall-of-Fame career in Morgantown.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WVU and Syracuse Lead the Conference...in Awesomeness

A big congratulations to West Virginia and Syracuse for cracking the Princeton Review's Top-20 Party School list. WVU is a perennial contender for the top spot, but actually fell out of the Top-5, into 6th. Morgantown has a tremendous reputation, which includes couch burning, bottle-tossing, and general riff-raff...activities that this writer never took part in during his five years on campus.

Syracuse came in at number 12. An underrated party school, the Cuse should probably be higher, mainly because there is nothing else to do in upstate New York. Seriously, what the hell do you do in Cuse, try not to get mugged? All joking aside, Syracuse is a good spot, and also the home of where this author got engaged to his Syracuse-alum wife...in a bar of course.

As for the rest of the conference...what the hell? Only two schools in the Top-2o Party School list? How lame can the Big East be? This is more important than the BCS. At least none of you squares made it on to the Stone Cold Sober list with BYU.

Side Note: It's nice to see that the three schools I applied to back in the day all made the list.

Here's a look at the full list.

Top 20 Party Schools aka Fun Schools:

1. Ohio University, Athens, Ohio
2. University of Georgia, Athens, Ga.
3. University of Mississippi, Oxford, Miss.
4. University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
5. University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Calif.
6. West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.
7. Penn State University, University Park, Pa.
8. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Fla.
9. University of Florida, Gainesville, Fla.
10. University of Texas, Austin, Texas
11. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
12. Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
13. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.
14. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, Wis.
15. DePauw University, Greencastle, Ind.
16. Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
17. Arizona State University, Tempe, Ariz.
18. University of Maryland, College Park, Md.
19. University of Vermont, Burlington, Vt.
20. University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C.

-courtesy of big lead sports

WVU is the Big East Favorite

So much for easing into the job. It will be a trial by fire for Dana Holgorsen after WVU was piked to win the conference. Honestly, it would be a trial by fire even if WVU wasn't. There's always pressure in Morgantown to win, especially with the way things went down for Holgorsen to be in the position he is in at this time. The drama-filled offseason ends with the start of camp this month, and there's no doubt the first-year head coach is looking to put the Summer behind him.

The enthusiasm surrounding this Mountaineer team is very high. The offense will be led by one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the country, Geno Smith. The junior is also a darkhorse pick for the Heisman. The defense is anchored by a strong line, but will have some questions in the linebacking unit. However, the trust in Defensive Coordinator, Jeff Casteel gives Mountaineer fans faith that it won't be an issue.

The schedule is interesting. LSU and Pittsburgh are at home, but road games at Maryland, Syracuse, and South Florida will make things difficult for WVU to run the table. This is a team that has been 9-4 for three straight years. That number should increase this season if the Holgorsen offense catches on quickly. However, there is no lock of winning the league, especially having to play in Tampa, possibly for the BCS bid. WVU doesn't exactly have the best track record at South Florida.

Regardless of the media prediction, WVU is a perennial favorite in the conference. Consistent play has given the school that reputation. However, the Mountaineers haven't been to a BCS game since 2008, and the natives are getting restless. Will this be the season? Or are there just too many questions surrounding the new head coach and system? One things for sure...WVU will beat Marshall.

2011 BIG EAST FOOTBALL PRESEASON MEDIA POLL (first place votes in parentheses)

1. West Virginia 188(21)

2. Pittsburgh 162(2)

3. USF 151(1)

4. Syracuse 98

5. Cincinnati 96

6. Connecticut 76

7. Louisville 60

8. Rutgers 33

-courtesy of bigeast.org