Monday, October 31, 2011

It's Gameweek! Week 10 Primer

Matchup: West Virginia v Louisville

When: Saturday, 12:00p, Big East Network

Line: WVU -13

West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 2715 yards, 20 TD, 5 INT
Dustin Garrison, RB: 517 rush yards, 141 pass yards, 5 TD
Tavon Austin: 56 rec, 1239 all purpose yards, 5 total TD
Stedman Bailey, WR: 43 rec, 815 yards, 7 TD

Louisville Players to Watch:
Teddy Bridgewater, QB: 1029 yards, 7 TD, 6 INT
Michaelee Harris, WR: 26 rec, 356 yards, 2 TD
Dexter Heyman, LB: 55 total tackles, 10 TFL, 3 sacks, 2 INT
Hakeem Smith, S: 43 total tackles, 4 TFL, 8 PB, 1 FF


How do these rivals respond on and off the field following a bitter battle to get into the Big 12. WVU ultimately got the spot, but it wasn't pretty. Look for Louisville to play with a bit of a chip on their shoulder, trying to prove that the Big 12 took the wrong program. As for the fans? Well, expect a lot of talk going both ways. It will be eventful, though I'm sure WVU officials are happy that it wasn't Louisville who got it over WVU...or this weekend could have been really ugly.

It's a battle of the best offense and the best defense in the Big East. Something has to give, right? WVU's offense will certainly go right at the best defense in the conference, but can they survive another slow start? Will Louisville look to cut off the run, or go right after Geno Smith? How about the Louisville offense against the WVU defense? Can Teddy Bridgewater do enough against an inconsistent unit? A lot of questions to be answered on Saturday.

WVU once again controls their own destiny. And you wonder if this team is going to get back to playing on a high level following the second half of the Rutgers' game. The team stepped up after six quarters of mediocre play. Whatever that lapse was, it was quickly forgotten with how the Mountaineers did in that second half. WVU has plenty of tough games left, but if they play to potential they should fare well.

Will we see changes on the defense? Specifically at the cornerback position. Broderick Jenkins ended the game with two picks, but more importantly just flat out played better than Pat Miller. Miller had another tough game, which included two pass interference calls. He has made some nice plays this year, but has been inconsistent at best. Jenkins may have earned himself more playing time. We'll see on Saturday.

WVU-Rutgers Final Thoughts

Well, not exactly how you write it up, but a win is a win. The Mountaineers did well to deal with the adverse conditions, and are backing to controlling their own destiny. It also looked like the conference realignment wasn't much of a distraction. It was plenty of a distraction to the fanbase.

Most Valuable: Shawne Alston. The big back took advantage of the conditions, and bruised through defender after defender. The junior finished with 110 yards and two touchdowns, including a 52 yard scamper early on. Alston was also asked to do a lot of blocking due to the injury to Ryan Clarke, and ended up performing admirably. All-in-all it was an outstanding day for Alston.

Least Valuable: Pat Miller. Not a day to remember, again, for Miller. The cornerback got owned the entire game, allowing for numerous big gains. He also picked up two pass interference calls on the same drive, including one of 4th down. Broderick Jenkins would come in and outperform Miller by a mile. It makes you wonder if there will a change in the starting 11. Miller has made some big plays this year, but just hasn't been consistent...though in his defense, really nobody has on that unit.

Most Surprising: The final score. Didn't expect 72 points to be scored in a blizzard. We got the mistakes and turnovers you would normally get in a game like that. However, a plethora of big plays did come to some surprise. Now, normally with weather like this the offense will be on an advantage due to the bad footing, but that many big plays in the snow is ridiculous.

Least Surprising: Rutgers blowing the lead. The Knights haven't beaten WVU since the mid 90's, meaning no lead is ever safe in this rivalry. And just like many games before, the Mountaineers made adjustments at halftime and Rutgers had no answer. Greg Schiano has to be ecstatic that WVU is leaving the Big East. He is now a whopping 0-11 against the Mountaineers.

Play of the Game: Geno's 1-yard TD run. The 4th down play called for Geno to look for Tyler Urban in the endzone. However, Smith felt it was wiser to fake the pass and go for the line himself. He beat the safety and dove into the endzone to give the Mountaineers the lead for good. The quarterback showed great leadership in the 4th quarter, especially on that drive.


Quarterback: Geno had some trouble holding on to the ball in the fun weather, but ended up playing a solid game. His completion percentage was good, and made some big throws when needed. And, even ran a little bit, including scoring the game winner.
Grade: B+

Running back: Alston was the featured back in this snowy game, and even Tavon Austin got the reverse game going. The team went for over 200 yards, proving that when needed, this team can pound the rock.
Grade: A-

Wideout: Yes, a few drops in the tough weather, but also some sensational catches. The receivers did well to pick up as much yardage as possible after the catch.
Grade: B+

Offensive line: A good bounce-back week for the unit. Geno had time to throw the ball, and the ground attack went for over 200 yards. There were a few penalties picked up, but did handle a very good defensive line.
Grade: B+

Defensive line: Created little havoc in tough conditions. Created some pressure, and finished with one sack. Julian Miller did recover two fumbles.
Grade: C+

Linebacker: Struggled against the run most of the day, but did do better in coverage. Still a work in progress.
Grade: C

Secondary: Another day to forget for the majority of the unit. Coverage was loose, and tacking was also shambolic.
Grade: C-

Special Teams: Kicking games were a mess in the snow. There were a few badly taken penalties. However, coverage wasn't terrible. Mixed bag.
Grade: C

Coaching: The halftime adjustments seemed to work for the defense, as they shutout Rutgers. The offense was called well, and some aspects of special teams seemed to improve
Grade: B

Friday, October 28, 2011

Dear Big East, Thank You

Dear Big East Conference,

I’d like to personally thank you for the many years of joy and enrichment that you have provided me and Mountie fans the world over. It’s hard to think that we’re leaving, being one of the last founding members in the Conference. Leaving only Rutgers behind. But that’s just it. The writing was on the wall. For WVU football to stay relevant, we had to leave. There really wasn’t a choice in the matter.

We’re moving on. And you will as well. We will miss you, I’m sure, particularly during the months of December to March. Big East Basketball has been at the pinnacle of the sport for some time now. And will continue to be.

Think of it this way…if Pitt, Syracuse and us give you 21 million each to leave early, you’ll be set for a long time. Use the money wisely. Replace John Marinatto. Keep on playing roundball. You don’t need this football weirdness anymore. Gobble up the good basketball programs out there that don’t have football, and make yourself even stronger.

You will be missed, Big East. Thank you for 20 great years.


From the Blue Lot

Each week, Danks and Dookiestyle will answer questions about the Mountaineers upcoming game...

What's the response to last Friday's debacle against Syracuse?

Dookie – Who knows. It seems like everything regarding WVU football right now is up in there air. It seemed as if we had developed some stability, at least on the field, leading up to the bye week and going into Syracuse. A strong national ranking…nationally televised game…

And bang. Snotted.

The response would be to destroy Rutgers on the road, and on national television. But…it’s a road game. Those are proving to be hard this year in the Big East for all teams. Hopefully, WVU comes out the winner. A response that would be reassuring to the fans would be a strong defensive and special teams performance.

Danks: PAINNNNN. Well, hopefully. That was one for the worst losses in recent memory, and hopefully one that embarrassed the hell out of them. I expect a much different attitude tonight, one that is much more focused. I also expect that if people do screw up they may not see the field again. It's time for accountability. This team can't afford to lose another game in conference.

I think a quick start will go a long way against a Rutgers team that is struggling offensively. Plus, WVU always beats the Knights...always. And, no I don't believe in jinxes.

Do you think that all of this conference shit is having an effect on the team?

Dookie - It has to be having an effect on the entire program. You wanna say that it shouldn’t, and that the coaches should be keeping the team focused and what have you. But this stuff is everywhere. It has to be on their minds.

Put it in perspective…you’re 19 years old, playing football for WVU and you are from New Jersey. Your whole family gets to see you play at least once a year. And next year, you may not be playing an away game in New Jersey or Connecticut, but in Manhattan, Kansas or in Iowa. Probably would be on your mind a little bit too.

Danks: There is no question. These kids want to know what their future is, and it's not that hard to get wrapped up in all the news on blogs and Twitter. Hopefully now that WVU is headed to the Big 12, the kids and the fans can get back to matters most: winning the crappy Big East.

Should be just kickoff out of bounds?

Dookie - It certainly couldn’t hurt at this time. Or move some starters on to the coverage team. Motivate them by cutting their playing time. Just absolutely shocking how that could happen after a bye week. Just tell the ref to spot the ball at the 50. At least save some time for the offense to get back on the field.

Danks: Yes...Yes.

WVU-Rutgers Preview

The Mountaineers look to turn things around, following a pathetic performance last week. WVU did nothing right in a loss to Syracuse, and now find themselves needing to win out for a good chance at the BCS bid. The Mountaineers face a Rutgers team that has exceeded expectations, but are also coming in off a loss. The Knights also haven't beaten WVU since 1994, so the Jersey boys will be amped and ready to go.


West Virginia: The offensive line is in for a battle. Rutgers has one of the better lines in the Big East, and will come right after Geno just like Syracuse did. It worked well for the Orange, so the Mountaineers better be ready to slow it down. The line has been inconsistent this season, but usually play better coming off a shaky performance. Look for Geno to possibly speed the tempo up to get the ball moving quicker than last week, which should help the line. The pass game may have been hurting, but the boys did block fairly well for the ground game. Dustin Garrison and Shawne Alston continue to be the stalwarts for the Mountaineers. Both are averaging over 4.5 yards per carry. Look for the two to be used a bit early on to keep the defense honest. If the find space, then Geno should have more time to look down the field towards his group of receivers.

Rutgers: Gary Nova will get the start once again for the Knights, and will certainly be looking for Mohamed Sanu. Nova has been mistake-prone, and can't afford to lose too many opportunities on Saturday. This means quick plays, and high percentage passes to Sanu should be the recipe. Sanu is having an unbelievable year with 65 catches and six touchdowns. But, someone else needs to step up. Mark Harrison and D.C. Jefferson need to start getting into the mix to help this pass attack branch out. The ground game hasn't been great either, which put even more pressure on Nova. They face a defense that allowed a heap full of points last week, so we'll see if they run some misdirection and play-action to confuse the Mountaineers.


West Virginia: No idea what to expect from a unit that completely whiffed last week. Syracuse did whatever they wanted for 60 minutes, while the Mountaineers stumbled all over the field. The defensive line got no pressure on the quarterback...again. The linebackers were out of place, and the secondary decided to really not cover anyone. It's been a confusing year for this unit...just no consistency at all. Julian Miller and Bruce Irvin have struggled to get pressure on the quarterback by themselves. Look for Jeff Casteel to bring a linebacker or two early to try to loosen up the line. The secondary has to play better. They are in for a serious battle with Sanu, and will have to keep watch of the other talented receivers. The Mountaineers will give up some's just how they are built at this time. However, if they can get back to tightening up when it matters most, it would be highly beneficial.

Rutgers: This unit is solid. The Knights are strong up front, though are coming off a game without a sack. That can't happen against WVU if they want to be successful. Justin Francis needs to get loose against the WVU line. Like most quarterbacks, Geno makes mistakes when the pressure is on him, so Greg Schiano will bring the pain. The secondary better be up to the task. They will be in a serious battle against the Mountaineer receiving core that hasn't been stalled by anyone. The first step will be to slow down the run, something they haven't really done all year. Plus, it's hard to stack the box against an offense that spreads you out on every play. Again, they need to get to Geno to have any success.

Special Teams:

West Virginia: The coverage has now allowed three return touchdowns. They are near last the nation in net punting, and Tyler Bitancurt even missed an extra point last game. Expect the Mountaineers to once again make some changes in the coverage for this weekend. Tavon Austin and Brad Starks should be doing most of the kick returning.

Rutgers: San San Te is a streaky kicker, who is coming off a rough game. Justin Doerner is a pretty good punter, and a good kickoff specialist. Jeremy Deering and Jordan Thomas are very dangerous kick returners, who could be in for big days. Sanu should be doing the punt returning.


First off, I can't wait to see Eric LeGrand bring the Knights out. That will be quite a scene in Piscataway this weekend. Just great to see the kid doing so well. As for the game, expect the Mountaineers to come in with a lot of energy early, following the brutal game last week. The defense may even make a big play or two early against the young offense for Rutgers. The Knights will keep this game close, and may even get to Geno themselves. If Rutgers can win the turnover battle, then it should be a close game all day. However, just too much firepower for the Mountaineers will give them the victory at the end of the day.

Prediction: 34-21 West Virginia

WVU is Officially in the Big XII

Just check out Classy!

More Reports – WVU to Receive Offer to Big 12 Today

CBS is reporting that WVU will be officially announced today as a new Big 12 member.

CBS’s source says the Big 12 will stay at 10 members for right now, and that the board voted to include WVU this morning.

Keep your fingers crossed. I’m not celebrating until I see the press conference.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Conference Realignment 2011: The WVU, Big XII Timeline

In case you missed anything from the last two days, here is an attempt to try to timeline everything that has happened.


-New York Post first broke the news that WVU was set to leave for the Big XII.

-Several media outlets started to pick up the story, including CBS Sports. Brett McMurphy reported the same thing, that WVU was in if Missouri was out. This certainly felt concrete, considering McMurphy has been all over realignment from the start.

-Pete Thamel of the New York Times followed that with the news that WVU "applied and was accepted" to the Big XII.

-Later in the day the news came out that it was essentially a "done deal", and that a press conference was scheduled for Wednesday.

-And then all hell broke loose. Starting with the statement from WVU Athletics that there would be no press conference on Wednesday.


-WVU fans woke up to disturbing news. The Dominion Post was reporting that Louisville made a late push, and the Big XII basically told WVU to sit tight.

-Later in the morning, used the Post article, and went further saying that the Big XII "needed more information".

-The opened up a whole pile of rumors, many saying that Sen. (and Louisville Grad) Mitch McConnell (R-Ken) had influenced the Big XII's decision in some way. However, there were no concrete stories to prove this, until...

-Pete Thamel of the New York Times dropped a bomb regarding the situation, and said it's "too close to call" between WVU and Louisville. He also wrote that numerous sources claim that McConnell had contacted OU President, David Boren, a former senator, and others to "push" the Louisville cause.

-Well, you knew the WV senators wouldn't let that go, so statements from both Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller, as well a Rep Shelly Moore Capito were released condemning the alleged actions of McConnell. Manchin took it a step further by even suggesting an investigation! You can find all the statements on

-Rockefeller ended up speaking to Boren and others about the situation, while Manchin took to the mic to voice his concern.

-Numerous tweets throughout the night gave WVU the lead, while others said Louisville. However, the most interesting may have come from Chuck Charlton from the Dallas Morning News, who tweeted "Because of the messy, awkward situation, two sources say Big 12 might consider Louisville and WVU together as a compromise."


-This morning has been relatively quiet, but it's early.

-USA Today is reporting that WVU may still be the frontrunner, with a decision possibly coming before the weekend.

-Brett McMurphy also laid out how close WVU was to already being a member of the Big XII. And, yes...very close.

-Jenn Menendez of the PPG writes about Manchin's appearance on MSNBC this morning. Manching said it "was a "done deal" before the move stalled."

-According to Dennis Dodd(CBS), all three senators have been lobbying their fight to Boren for weeks.

-Stay Tuned...much more to come!

Conference Realignment 2011: A Sad Day For College Sports

Where to begin...

It's amazing how pure joy can turn to utter madness in the span of about 24 hours, but that's exactly what happened to the Mountaineer faithful. Tuesday was one of the better days in recent memory, when we were told that WVU had been accepted to the Big XII and a press conference was scheduled for Wednesday. Unfortunately, it all came crashing down starting Tuesday night with the news that the presser was postponed, and by Wednesday morning all hell broke loose.

Yesterday essentially turned into one of the most absurd days in recent that makes you embarrassed by sports and the human race. The stories of political influence started to take over, with seemingly everyone having their own take of what the outcome may look like, and how much influence is coming from both sides.

It's absolutely sick, really. Nobody wants congress getting involved...I'm certain that's the last thing we need.

Is Louisville to blame for all of this? Of course not! They are just doing what WVU would be doing if this was turned the other way. Louisville understands how important it is to get out of the sinking Big East. And, I hope the Big XII eventually invites them too. It would be a short trip for WVU fans, and an ongoing rivalry.

The major blame has to go the Big XII's way. If you believe that all the reports were true that WVU was verbally accepted and a presser was scheduled (and I do believe it considering nobody denied anything on Tuesday), then this is all on the leadership of a conference that really can't afford to be unstable. The last thing the Big XII needs is more dissension moving forward, considering some of those schools could still take off on the drop of a dime.

Even with this instability I certainly hope WVU gets in. The Big XII chaos still pales in comparison to what is happening in the Big East. It would just feel a bit better if WVU felt a little more welcome. But, at this point I guess beggars can't be choosers.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Flying Dub-V Top 25, Week 8

Here is a look at the Top-25 for this week.

1. LSU (8-0)
2. Alabama (8-0)
3. Oklahoma State (7-0)
4. Stanford (7-0)
5. Boise State (7-0)
6. Clemson (7-0)
7. Oregon (6-1)
8. Arkansas (6-1)
9. Oklahoma (6-1)
10. Kansas State (7-0)
11. Michigan State (6-1)
12. Nebraska (6-1)
13. South Carolina (6-1)
14. Wisconsin (6-1)
15. Virginia Tech (7-1)
16. Michigan (6-1)
17. Texas A&M (5-2)
18. Houston (7-0)
19. Arizona State (5-2)
20. Penn State (6-1)
21. Texas Tech (5-2)
22. USC (6-1)
23. Cincinnati (6-1)
24. Georgia (5-2)
25. West Virginia (5-2)

Big East Preview, Week 9

A shakeup last week has some new teams looking to stay on top. Can Syracuse keep the momentum going, can WVU and Rutgers get back on track? And, Pitt and UConn may be playing for that final bowl spot. Great storylines as we head deeper into the season. To the picks!

Last Week: 1-2
Overall: 32-15

Bye Week: South Florida, Cincinnati

Connecticut at Pittsburgh: Huge game for both of these teams tonight. The Huskies are looking to build on some momentum from before the bye. Meanwhile, the Panthers are trying to kick the tires of a stalled offense. Tino Sunseri just hasn't given Pitt what they need, but Todd Graham will stick with him...for now. The Panthers will concentrate on the ground game, which may be tough to get going, since UConn is one of the best teams in the country against the run. This means Sunseri has to show up. Fortunately for him, the Huskies are terrible against the pass. Expect Pitt to have open receivers throughout the game. UConn will give up some pints, so Johnny McEntee needs to be efficient. If the Huskies are sloppy early, they could be out of this one quickly. Look for Pitt to bring the pressure early to get to McEntee. If they can cut off the run, and make McEntee uncomfortable, the Panthers should win somewhat comfortably.

Prediction: 27-17 Pittsburgh

Syracuse at Louisville: The Orange are flying high after dismantling WVU last week. The offense was fluid, the defense was punishing, and special teams had a big score. It was the first time this season that Syracuse played a full game. Louisville also had a solid weekend, taking down Rutgers in a tight contest. The Cardinal defense continues to play well, while the offense tries to figure it out. This is an interesting matchup. If the Orange play like they did last week, then they will cruise. However, we have only seen that once in seven games. Expect the Orange to have to rely on the pass quite a bit. Louisville's the kind of defense that can make you one dimensional. It's also a defense that is much more opportunistic than WVU. If the Cardinals can win the turnover battle early they will have a chance...not a huge one though. With Chandler Jones back for Cuse, Louisville's offense is going to be in for a long day. It should be a close game, but Louisville is just not strong enough offensively to pull this off. Syracuse does enough to continue the winning.

Prediction: 24-20 Syracuse

Game of the Week: (25) West Virginia at Rutgers: The Mountaineers come in off one of the worst losses in recent memory, and better not show any hangover. If they do, the season is probably over. Meanwhile, Rutgers is struggling to find players to step up offensively. Gary Nova is making too many mistakes, and Mohamed Sanu is the only playmaker on the team. The Knights will have to rely on the defense to get the job done this week, and it's hard to think WVU will struggle two weeks in a row. If the Mountaineer defense can just play respectable, WVU should win comfortably. Full preview on Friday.

Prediction: 34-21 West Virginia

Conference Realignment 2011: Not so Fast, WVU

Yesterday, it was a done deal. Today, it's on hold.

WVU may not be heading to the Big 12 after all. is reporting that sources say it hit a "bump" last night. The Big 12 is going to take a bit longer to decide, and potentially make vote early next week.

Also, the Dominion Post is reporting that the major reason for this is a "late push" by Louisville. The Cardinals were at one point the favorite to be the first team into the Big 12, but WVU overtook them over the last week. Louisville also seems to have an ally in Texas Tech, following comments made by Tommy Tuberville yesterday about travel. It makes you wonder if that is one of the snags.

This is just another chapter of pain for Mountaineer fans, who have been dying to find a new home ever since Syracuse and Pittsburgh took off. It will certainly be embarrassing at this point to have to crawl back to the Big East. Hopefully that wont be the case.

UPDATE: Pete Thamel of the New York Times just dropped a bomb on Twitter.

PeteThamelNYT Pete Thamel
Just filed to NYT: After being told it was accepted to Big12, WVU in holding pattern. Its "50-50" and "too close to call" with Lville.

Big East Power Rankings, Week 8

1. Cincinnati (6-1, 2-0): Got a major scare at South Florida, but pass the test. Now the team to beat in the Big East. Next Step...Bye Week for the bowl eligible team.

2. Syracuse (5-2, 1-1): Deserve to be in the second spot this week after an impressive thrashing of WVU. Now have a great chance at the BCS. Next Step...Trying to avoid a letdown at Louisville.

3. West Virginia (5-2, 1-1): Pathetic performance at Syracuse has WVU asking a lot of questions this week. Next Step...Trying to regroup at Rutgers.

4. Rutgers (5-2, 2-1): Not a great performance last week in Louisville. The offense needs more than just one person to step up. Next Step...Hosting West Virginia.

5. Pittsburgh (3-4, 1-1): This is probably too high, but the rest of the conference is a crap shoot right now. Next Step...Hosting UConn tonight.

6. Louisville (3-4, 1-1): A nice win over Rutgers may jumpstart Louisville's season. Next Step...Big home tilt against Syracuse.

7. Connecticut (3-4, 1-1): Still has time to sure things up a bit to make make a run at a bowl. Next Step...Roadie tonight in Pittsburgh.

8. South Florida (4-3, 0-3): The wheels have completely fallen off in conference play. Next Step. A much-needed Bye Week.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Looking Forward to the Big 12

Trips to New Jersey and Connecticut will now be replaced with trips to Texas and Oklahoma if the news of WVU heading to the Big 12 is true. I, for one an excited about the new step for the Mountaineers, and look forward to those trips to the heartland and south.

WVU's football program should fit in well. They will be competitive wherever you put them, and let's not forget the last time they played a team from the Big 12 it was in the Fiesta Bowl...a game I'm sure Oklahoma fans would like to forget (Yes, I know WVU played Colorado twice, but they are gone). Sure, a lot has changed since then, but the fact that WVU is 2-0 in BCS games, shows they will not back down to anyone.

Dana Holgorsen also has some serious connections in the Big 12 world. Holgorsen has been on staffs at both Oklahoma State and Texas Tech, where you can still see plenty of his influence. He also knows the recruiting grounds of the conference, which should help expand WVU's recruiting base. Holgs has already been able to snag players like Dustin Garrison and Paul Millard, so we'll see if it continues.

Basketball is a different story. There is the chance for WVU to roll right in and be a major conference player. Not that football can't be that, but this is a Mountaineer basketball program that has been one of the more consistent performers recently. Since 2005, WVU has been to four Sweet 16's, one resulting in a trip to the Final Four, and an NIT Championship in the only year they missed the Tournament. There's no doubt this program will remain competitive with Bob Huggins at the helm.

As for the Women's team, Mike Carey continues to get premier talent, and has been a serious player in the Big East for the past decade. Look for the Lady Mounties to continue to stay competitive in another deep conference.

The Mountaineer Women's Soccer program will be a team to beat yearly in the Big 12 as well. The perennial Big East power will join a deep conference that has five teams in the RPI Top-50. WVU (26th in RPI) should make an immediate impact in the conference, the bigger question is what will happen to the Men's team? The Big 12 doesn't have Men's soccer. Maybe an invite to Conference USA?

The Olympic sports will be in for some great competition as well. The Big 12 is very strong in practically all of them, and should only help the WVU compete level. This is certainly an exciting time for Mountaineer athletics, and things will be looking differently soon enough.

As for the Big East, I will say that it is sad to see the conference dying. There's not much better in sports than the Big East Championship at the Garden in March every year. It's hard to believe that the event may be close to death. Sadly, the Big East brass just wasn't up to the task of understanding how important the football side was. As we all know football is King, but not to certain individuals in Newport, RI. I can't but think this all could have been avoided, but WVU had to lookout for its own interests...and the Big East is just too unstable.

Okay, I'm ready to mess with Texas!

Conference Realignment 2011: New York Post Says WVU on the Way to Big 12

Well, here is the news that West Virginia fans have been waiting for...if true.

The New York Post is reporting that WVU is set to replace Missouri, when the Tigers eventually head out to the SEC. The Post article goes on to say.
The Big 12 held a board of directors meeting yesterday, and a source said the league's plan is to hold on to Missouri, which wants to leave for the SEC, for one more year then replace it with West Virginia.
This is huge news for WVU fans that have been destroying the Internet to find realignment info for the past two months, ever since Syracuse and Pitt announced a move to the ACC. The Mountaineer faithful's first choice seemed to be the SEC, but the Big 12 became an attractive locale since Texas and Oklahoma decided to stick around.

WVU will fit in well athletically. The Mountaineers have solid football and basketball programs that should be competitive right away. The soccer teams might dominate the league, and the Olympic sports should show well also.

The biggest hurdle will certainly be the travel. The closest school right now is over 800 miles away, but this is the direction we are going in now. Don't forget, Boise State may be in the new Big East.

With WVU seemingly on the way out, it will be interesting to see what happens to the football version of the Big East. Rutgers and UConn are still waiting for the ACC to call, and Louisville and Cincinnati will certainly be hoping that the Big 12 goes back to "12" teams. The future of the Big East just continues to get more and more dire. I guess that proactive approach didn't pay off.

UPDATE: Multiple sources are now reporting that WVU is headed to the Big 12. Brett McMurphy from CBS, who has been all over realignment just tweeted this...

: West Virginia to Big 12 w/in 24-48 hours after Missouri withdraws from Big 12, sources tell

Very telling news right there.

MORE UPDATES: Pete Thamel of the New York Times writes that a source with direct knowledge of the situation says WVU has "applied and are accepted" to the Big 12.

Thamel also writes that the Big 12 is planning to stay at 10 teams...for now.

ANOTHER UPDATE: Mitch Vingle of the Charleston Gazette just tweeted this....

: Confirmed. WVU to Big 12 is a done deal. There will be a press conference with the Big 12 folks tomorrow.

And that might do it folks.

Conference Realignment 2011: Missouri Still in the Big 12...For Now

The conference waiting game continues for West Virginia, following the news Monday night that Missouri has yet to withdrawal or decide to stay in the Big 12. Interim Conference Commish, Chuck Nienes spoke to the Kansas City Star, saying
Missouri did no submit a letter of conditional withdrawal nor did it notify the conference on Monday of plans to leave.
The Big 12 Board of Directors met on Monday, and the hope for everyone in the entire universe was that Missouri would end this national nightmare. However, the wait continues for basically every school associated with the Big 12, SEC, and Big East. Missouri still seems to hold the fate of WVU, Louisville, Cincinnati, and possibly BYU as well. If they go, then a whole new round of debate begins about which one of these teams is best suited to fill Mizzou's void.

However, it may be a moot point if the Big 12 does decide to go 12 teams. In the scenario, it seems likely that WVU and Louisville would both be heading out of the Big East. And, if Missouri is gone, Cincy or BYU could be that final team.

If Missouri stays, then look for the WVU to SEC rumors to fire back up, which will really be good for nobody. Even though it makes sense, there hasn't been any concrete evidence that the SEC is a huge fan of bringing the Mountaineers in.

So, again a big thanks to Missouri for keeping the ridiculousness of conference realignment alive by holding out as long as humanly possible, and completely messing with the fate of half the country.

Former Mountaineers in the NFL, Week 7

PacMan Jones: Bengals were on a bye. He is off the PUP.

Ellis Lankster, CB, Jets: Registered two tackles for the Jets in a win over San Diego.

Pat McAfee, P, Colts: Six punts averaging over 46 yards per, in a loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Corey McIntyre, FB, Bills: Bye Week for the Bills.

Ryan Mundy, FS, Steelers: Registered one tackle in win over the Arizona Cardinals.

Chris Neild, NT, Redskins: Didn't register any stats in loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Robert Sands, FS, Bengals: Bye Week for the Bengals.

Owen Schmitt, FB, Eagles: Bye Week for the Eagles.

Steve Slaton, RB, Dolphins: With everyone healthy, Slaton was inactive Sunday against the FIghting Tebows.


Brandon Hogan: Still technically on the PUP, but has begun to practice.

J.T. Thomas: Injured Reserve

Monday, October 24, 2011

It's Gameweek! Week 9 Primer

Matchup: West Virginia at Rutgers

When: Saturday, 3:30p, ABC

Line: WVU -6.5

West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 2,497 yards, 18 TD, 5 INT
Dustin Garrison, RB: 494 yards, 6.7 YPC, 5 TD
Tavon Austin, WR: 48 rec, 624 yards, 2 TD, 1 return TD
Stedman Bailey, WR: 41 rec, 764 yards, 6 TD

Rutgers Players to Watch:
Gary Nova, QB: 890 yards, 7 TD, 5 INT
Mohamed Sanu, WR: 65 rec, 683 yards, 6 TD
Khaseem Greene, FS: 66 total tackles, 6 TFL, 1 FF
Justin Francis, DL: 27 total tackles, 4.5 sacks, 7 TFL


How does WVU respond from an awful outing? Hopefully with some passion. The Mountaineers were punchless Friday night against Syracuse. They better have their arms up, because Rutgers will do more of the same. Expect another physical game, and if the Mountaineers can't match the intensity, it could be another long day. I imagine that practice this week will be pretty rough.

What defensive unit shows up? The confident group that dismantled Connecticut? Or the soft unit that allowed Syracuse to do whatever they pleased? Jeff Casteel just doesn't have a consistent group this year, which does have some to do with inexperience. The linebacking unit has really been hurt by youth. However, the biggest problem has been the lack of a consistent pass rush, which has broken everything else down. Rutgers' line has struggled a bit this year, so we'll see if WVU can break through. We'll also see if Pat Miller gets replaced at left corner following a few tough outings.

Can Special teams wake back up? The unit looked very good against UConn, but it all came crashing down Friday night. Missed kicks, poor blocking, even worse has just been a nightmare for Dana Holgorsen. I don't know if scheme or personnel. All I know is it needs to be changed, because obviously it's not working.

Rutgers hasn't beaten WVU since 1994. Since then, the Knights have only been close a handful of times in the 16 losses. They have to feel pretty good on Saturday. Rutgers comes in with a pretty talented defense, but wil have to play smart offensively. WVU is prone to playmakers, so look for Mohamed Sanu to get a lot of looks, especillay if Pat Miller is on him. The natives are restless for a win over the mighty Mountaineers, so it should be a fun atmosphere on Saturday.

Conference Realignment 2011: Reports say WVU first in line for Missouri's Big 12 Spot

With Missouri potentially making a conference decision soon, the Big 12 is preparing for either scenario. The conference will be proactive if Mizzou does make the split to the SEC. Soonernation's Brandon Chatmon writes...

If Missouri leaves, (Oklahoma AD Joe) Castiglione said the Big 12 has a "Plan A" and "Plan 1-A" but did not discuss specific teams outside of BYU. He also said he was hopeful Missouri would remain in the Big 12.

"I think our intent would be to move as quickly as we could," Castiglione said. "There may be other issues that hinder our ability to move as quick as we want. Behind the scenes we will be doing as much as we can as quick as we can to resolve it."
So, what is the potential Plan A or 1-A? It's not public yet, Chatmon writes that West Virginia could be the first team called.
West Virginia could be the top choice to replace Missouri if the Tigers left the conference, a source with direct knowledge of the Big 12's expansion plans told's Andy Katz on Satuday. The source said the league is more inclined to go to 10 teams in the short term while it assesses the pros and cons of 10 or 12 teams.
We have heard this before from Katz, and you wonder if it starts to gain steam this week, especially with Missouri possibly leaving.

Chatmon also includes quotes from an Austin American-Satesmen story, where a Big 12 official said WVU would be an upgrade over Missouri. In that article by Kirk Brohls, a Big 12 official claims that...
“West Virginia has better football than Missouri, better basketball than Missouri, a better budget than Missouri and more passion among its fans than Missouri. They’re better, anyway you turn ‘em. The travel’s not good (to Morgantown, W. Va) but that’s it.”
So, as we head in to another week of uncertainty, maybe the light at the end is getting closer and closer...and that light is more South and heartland than Southeast.

WVU-Syracuse Final Thoughts

Well, that was a fun Friday night...for Syracuse. WVU was completely ambushed by a fantastic game plan, executed perfectly by the Orange. The Mountaineers had no response, other than puking all over themselves. This was one of the worst losses in recent memory.

Most Valuable: Stedman Bailey.
The wideout went for over 100 yards for the fifth straight game, including a spectacular catch-and-TD run early in the ball game. Bailey continues to have an extraordinary year.

Least Valuable: Everyone else. Just an awful performance.

Most Surprising: No Fight. Syracuse punched WVU in the mouth early and often. The Mountaineers had absolutely no answer to that intensity. They were blown off the ball, run over, knocked around, and generally destroyed by the Orange. This team needs to toughen up as soon as possible.

Least Surprising: Special Teams faltering...again. Another wretched performance that saw Syrcause break one return for a touchdown, and nearly a second. And to top it off, Tyler Bitancurt missed a PAT. Whether it's scheme or personnel, somebody needs to take some responsibility for this shambolic play.

Play of the Game: The Final Whistle.


Quarterback: Geno was hit early, and visibly shaken. He missed open targets, slow on the tempo, and had a few picks. Not a great night for Smith.
Grade: C-

Running back: Dustin Garrison and Shawne Alston combined for over 100 yards rushing, granted some was in garbage time. But, the boys did average over five yards a rush, and were successful on short yardage. Overall, not a bad day.
Grade: B

Wideout: Pretty good game for this unit, when WVU actually had the ball. Stedman went over 100 yards, Brad Starks made a great TD catch, and Tavon Austin did what he could. Sadly the game didn't warrant more opportunities.
Grade: B

Offensive line: A terrible night for pass blocking. Syracuse ate up the line, consistently hitting Geno all night long. The unit did run block well, but that gets lost considering Geno nearly died. This unit needs to get tougher.
Grade: D

Defensive line: Completely non-existent. No pass rush, struggled to slow the run, and picked up some foolish penalties. Took a major step back.
Grade: D

Linebacker: Didn't make a play the entire night. Couldn't stop the run, and did absolutely nothing to slow down the tight ends.
Grade: D

Secondary: Not a game to remember. The tackling was poor, and the coverage was even worse. Pat Miller alone might be responsible for three wide open Syracuse touchdowns. Just an awful performance.
Grade: D-

Special Teams: Well, the return was good. Everything else, disgusting.
Grade: D

Coaching: If there were adjustments made at halftime, they didn't show. Steve Dunlap might want to hide this week, considering his kick coverage failed once again. A lot of work to be done before Rutgers.
Grade: C-