Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

June 24, 2014

Column: USA Today has WVU 78th in football countdown

MORGANTOWN — Like Las Vegas oddsmakers, USA Today’s Paul Myerberg sports writer doesn’t rank West Virginia highly in that newspaper’s early college football predictions in a copyrighted piece.       

In one of its thorough pieces, USA Today analyzed West Virginia in its No. 78 ranking among 128 college teams. That’s what is called a countdown from No. 128 to No. 1.       

Myerberg wrote, “We can define West Virginia’s in-progress slide in many ways, using many metrics, relying on many forms of statistical comparison and calling on any number of just-the-facts descriptions, but let’s keep it simpler.”       

Then he recalled that Coach Dana Holgorsen’s team was the first in the Big 12 Conference since 2009 to lose to both Kansas and Iowa State the same season.       

“That’s one way to put the Mountaineers’ current existence into perspective,” the writer stated. “If you’re searching for another, consider that WVU is 4-12 after September during the past two years.       

“If you’re looking for a third, consider how last year’s squad didn’t merely finish ninth in the Big 12 in total defense this is now par for the course- but also fifth in total offense.”       He noted that’s about 50 percent of Baylor’s national best clip.       

West Virginia’s preseason ranking a year ago by USA Today was No. 57.       

The Mountaineers finished with a deeply disappointing record of 4-8. WVU was 2-7 in the conference.

Holgorsen, in his fourth year as a head coach at any level, has a record of 21-17. That includes a 10-3 mark in 2011 with players recruited by the late Bill Stewart, when he was replaced that year.

WVU has 14 starters returning. Seven on offense and seven on defense.

The USA Today writer recalled, “Baylor is what WVU was supposed to be—and what WVU was for a short time, during its 5-0 start as a member of the Big 12 conference in 2012.       

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