Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

MICKEY FURFARI

December 2, 2013

Column: How much lower can WVU's program get?

MORGANTOWN — How much lower can West Virginia University’s football program get in the wake of a 4-8 season?

Isn’t there any leadership in that institution that’s at least concerned what the damages thrust upon the Mountaineer fan base by Oliver Luck and Dana Holgorsen the past three years or so?

Luck, WVU’s highly paid athletic director, surely saw that only 33,733 fans watched the Mountaineers blow a 31-7 lead in a 52-44 triple-overtime loss to Big 12 cellar-dweller Iowa State. That was the third-lowest attendance in the 34-year history of Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Holgorsen, who keeps blaming himself in his third year as a head coach at any level, had looked on two weeks before as his team lost 31-19 in a similar style of setback at struggling Kansas.

Keep in mind, too, that West Virginia was favored in both of those Big 12 contests. What’s more, those two embarrassing defeats brought the total to five or six in what were considered by some observers as winnable games in 2013.

This will be remembered by many as a campaign in which the Mountaineers failed to attract a capacity crowd of 60,000 fans a single time while playing six home games.

It is also interesting to note that Holgorsen’s squad is only the fifth in WVU’s 121-year, 720-game football history to finish a season with as many as eight losses.

The others were in 2001 (3-8), 1978 (2-9), 1960 (0-8-2), and 1950 (2-8).

Going back to last year, WVU has won just six of its last 20 games (.300 percent) since that 5-0 season’s start and No. 5 rating in the polls. It finished 2012 with a 7-6 record.

That’s strictly a fact—not an opinion.

There are those who think the school’s highest paid football staff in history has done a bad job of recruiting, teaching and game coaching. They also disagree with Luck and Holgorsen that the program is headed in the right direction.

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MICKEY FURFARI