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.