Welcome to the Friday Feedback, which will attempt to guide you through West Virginia’s bowl likelihoods. It’s certainly one of these three: Holiday, Car Care or Pinstripe.
A lot is going to happen over the next 36 hours to scramble and sort things, but we can get through this. To begin, here’s the order of picks:
Fiesta Bowl, Cotton Bowl, Alamo Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Holiday Bowl, Car Care Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl, Heart of Dallas Bowl and, this year, because there are nine teams eligible, an extra bowl, but let’s not worry about that. It’s in Shreveport, La., and I don’t want to worry about that.
And let’s make one thing clear, too: A WVU loss tomorrow puts it in the Pinstripe Bowl, though WVU may still end up there with a win. It’s tricky.
Actually, let’s make two things clear: We’re assuming outcomes here, OK, and who knows what happens in the final week of the Big 12 season? Oklahoma is mentioned a lot below. I’m assuming Oklahoma beats TCU tomorrow. If not, watch out.
Baylor is hot and has the offense a bowl would like to feature and the Bears play Oklahoma State tomorrow. I’m assuming Oklahoma State wins that, but a Baylor win could create a crowd of 7-5/4-5 teams and invite a certain chaos.
(That’s the trouble and the pointlessness of projecting bowls. A weekend’s worth of games is a lot of material.)
Nevertheless, I want you to be careful to track Kent State, Oklahoma and Pitt this weekend as they figure to shape WVU’s eventual destination and whether or not you will attend. Or care.
Why Kent State? The Golden Flashes might be BCS bound. If they win tonight’s MAC title game against Northern Illinois — and NIU is a touchdown favorite, despite being ranked four spots lower by the BCS — then Kent State is more likely than not getting one of the three BCS at-large spots.
Kent State is No. 17 in the BCS. A team from a league without an automatic BCS bid (like the MAC) that finishes in the BCS’s top-16 and above the champion of a BCS league gets an automatic bid. Louisville won the Big East last night and isn’t in the BCS’s top 25.
The Cardinals beat Rutgers, which is Kent State’s most meaningful win, and that might harm Kent State’s top-16 cause, but a win over NIU, which is No. 21, might mean more. If No. 16 UCLA loses to No. 8 Stanford in the Pac-12 title game, and Kent State wins, Kent State is all but safe.
(If NIU wins, it probably doesn’t have enough juice to get into the top 16.)
If Kent State wins, the other two at-large BCS bids most likely go to Oregon and either Florida or Alabama, that if Alabama doesn’t beat Georgia in the SEC title game. Oklahoma would lose its spot — and that assumes Kansas State takes care of Texas and wins the Big 12.
You’d have Notre Dame v. Alabama/Georgia, UCLA/Stanford v. Nebraska/Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl, Kansas State v. Oregon in the Fiesta Bowl, Florida/Alabama v. Louisville in the Sugar Bowl and Georgia Tech/Florida State v. Kent State in the Orange (and, boy, if 6-6 Georgia Tech beats the Seminoles, you have the worst BCS game ever).
So now the Big 12 has Kansas State in the Fiesta and then eight other teams for its eight bowls. The Cotton wants Texas for a matchup with Texas A&M, but probably can’t pass on Oklahoma. Let’s say Oklahoma goes to the Cotton. Then Texas goes to the Alamo, Oklahoma State goes to the Buffalo Wild Wings and things get interesting.
TCU, Texas Tech and WVU all project to be 7-5/4-5. Someone has to go to the Holiday. TCU can make this simple by beating Oklahoma, which would give the Horned Frogs back-to-back wins against Texas and the Sooners, push the record to 8-4/5-4 and rally fans to trek from Dallas to San Diego — and TCU has been good to bowls.
The team with the highest profile is probably WVU, but all the talk about Geno Smith as a first-round pick and Tavon Austin’s star quality is drowned out a little by the fact WVU is probably 7-5 and would be on the West Coast without a lot of fans. Ratings are always good for the Holiday, too, so some of these variables are somewhat negligible. They matter, but I’ve been told to be realistic, too.
Also working against WVU here is losses to both TCU and Texas Tech. The regular season and the standings seem to matter more in the Big 12 than in the Big East — remember that Gator Bowl sham against Florida State?
Now, I mention fans and traveling, but the Big 12 handles the cost of unsold tickets. Still, there’s some logic used in all this because, no, the conference doesn’t want to eat a lot of tickets. The Holiday Bowl allots 11,000 tickets to each team and knows going into it the Pac-12 team has to do a lot to help fill the stadium, as will the community.
Really and truly, the difference between TCU, Texas Tech and WVU isn’t a great one for the Holiday. Now, the difference between TCU, Texas Tech and WVU at the Pinstripe? Much, much greater.
Syracuse is an top option there from the Big East, but if Pitt wins Saturday at South Florida, Pitt is bowl eligible and that Backyard Rumble in the Bronx is appealing.
Syracuse can get a similar following at different bowls. Pitt is known for not selling bowl tickets. The bowls know and understand both. The allotment is just 5,000 for the Pinstripe and that is thought to be a reachable number for Pitt if paired with WVU. Is it reachable if Syracuse is paired with Texas Tech?
Remember, too, this is the Pinstripe’s last chance to get any sort of a rivalry in its game. Pitt and Syracuse are the ACC’s property next season. The Pinstripe can strike now, though it’ll have to
pull some strings get some breaks to have it happen. Don’t discount that. A 7-5 team is going to the Pinstripe.
There’s the Car Care in Houston between the Holiday and Pinstripe, but the Big 12 probably isn’t pushing two Texas teams out of Texas. I wouldn’t count WVU completely out there because there’s a good alumni base and it’s a new location that might inspire some travel, but the Big Ten opponent really almost requires a sure thing from the Big 12 and TCU or Texas Tech or even Baylor can do that.
So, in short, a Kent State win or even an Oklahoma loss puts WVU in the Holiday or Pinstripe, though a Pitt win could, in theory, make the Pinstripe a little more likely.
Now, if Kent State loses, Kansas State beats Texas to win the Big 12 and Oklahoma wins and the Sooners get into the BCS, which is the widely assumed conclusion, the Big 12′s bowl selections are pulled up one and WVU has a much better shot at the Holiday — Texas to Cotton, Oklahoma State to Alamo, TCU/Texas Tech to Wild Wings and the Big 12 likely to want to keep TCU/Texas Tech in Texas at the Car Care with Baylor as a shoe-in for the Heart of Dallas.
Here’s where it seems the thing might unravel: Kent State loses, Oklahoma wins, Kansas State loses. Oklahoma is the Big 12 champion, but does Kansas State have the juice to get to the BCS? Probably.
The SEC is getting two BCS teams — either Alabama or Georgia to the national title game and then either Alabama or Florida to the Sugar Bowl — and the Pac-12 is getting two teams — Stanford/UCLA winner to the Rose, Oregon as an at-large.
A league can’t get three. A non-AQ probably won’t get in if Kent State loses. Notre Dame is already in. The Big Ten and ACC only get one this season. Who would be 10th beside Kansas State, which has a sneaky good traveling fan base?
So in that scenario, assume the same thinking as with Kansas State as the Big 12 champion and Oklahoma as the at-large with regard to the subsequent WVU scenarios.
The nightmare scenario? Kent State and Oklahoma lose and Kansas State wins the Big 12. The Sooners have three losses, but still might be an at-large team. It would be hard to give Florida State or Nebraska an at-large big after a loss in its conference title game — and maybe now you see a little bit of sense in not having a Big 12 title game.
The weirdest part of this is if Kent State and Oklahoma lose and Kansas State wins the Big 12, the big winner might be Clemson. Look at the BCS standings and find me an eligible team that would be more worthy — and the Tigers got thumped in their last BCS game.
Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted — and I’ll spare you further confusion with the wacky link that usually goes here.
Shameless plugs aside, do we get anywhere near 50k for Kansas?
What shameless plug? The one for my book? The hardcover version? The one on sale now? I’m putting the over/under at 49,000. Who wants action?
I say 45k on Saturday.
As much as people want it to be, Senior Day – as an event – is never a draw. At the end of the day, it’s a freezing weather game (forecast says mid-50′s but I’ll believe it when I see it) pitting a WVU team (1-5 in its last six games) that has virtually nothing on the line going against a 1-10 Kansas team.
The only real draw is that it’s probably going to be a close game and you’ve heard of the other team’s coach. But no one has ever gone to a game to watch a guy coach.
I bet you I can find some people to disagree with that last part. Mack offers two other interesting over/under numbers: 50,238 (Oklahoma game) and 45,111 (JMU game). I based my 49,000 on a suspicion it’ll draw better than the Pat Whiteout — NOT about Pat White — because it won’t be as brutally cold, it’s not a night game and I figure some will treat this as their bowl game, because they probably aren’t going to a bowl game.
What a relief – I thought WVU’s defensive coordinator might wear something with the WVU logo on it especially after a win.
Sacre gold and bleu!
The 25314 said:
Derelicte fashion: check. Relax hat: check. Where is _eForest’s a piano key necktie?
These are the questions I need to ask.
Bobby Heenan said:
Can we get a question about what coverage we’re in when the opposing offense is inside the 10? Looked like Chestnut was passing WR’s running outside/fade routes off to a phantom safety while he inexplicably rolled up to cover who knows what in the flat.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a CB pass off a WR running a deep fade inside the 10. I may be wrong here, but I believe it’s most common to have the corners playing man from the hash out, only passing off inside routes and taking anything outside all the way to the back of the endzone in man. It’s just such a long lateral distance for the safety to run to cover the deep corner of the endzone.
Can someone else shed some light here? Is it Chestnut being confused about coverage, or is that really his responsibility to pass that guy off and Cook or another safety should be there?
I think Cook messed that up and got too flat, too shallow or too much in the wrong play. That’s a coverage WVU runs a lot and Chestnut should have had an interception on it at another point in the game. He jammed the receiver, forced him outside, let him by and then dropped because the linebacker fanned out to cover the shorter route. The ball hit him in the hands, which is a terrible place to hit a WVU cornerback. They like to zone up and have a linebacker rush out to the flat and keep a corner over the top of the shorter route, in case that route turns and runs. Ideally, the safety can handle the receiver, who, ideally, would be off schedule after getting bumped. It just seems like a weird ploy in the red zone, where things happen fast.
So is _eforest playing this “relax” bit up as something he thinks is funny or is he genuinely that dumb/apathetic? Maybe someone should tell him that antagonizing isn’t a good way to engraciate yourself to a fan base that is loudly calling for you to be run out of town
Seemed like a pretty clear counter punch, but it also seemed like Mike Tyson punching Buster Douglas when they next cross paths. Just a little delayed, no? I know you don’t care about this, but I have to deal with the guy and I’ve found him to be pretty professional with the part of the job that involves me. He’s always out there. He stays as long as there are questions. He doesn’t get mad — and he has had opportunities. He’s been weird and on edge before, but this time, he had a little fun. For a guy who hasn’t had fun, I’m OK with that.
Maybe it’s petty but I’m with Patchy.
Would it kill these coaches to freakin’ wear a shirt that says “West Virginia”, or a hat with a flying WV?
It’s part of marketing the school.
Just remember this when they’re discussing marketing ability and marketing potential for the Tier 3 package, for the walls inside the stadium, for playing home games in Maryland, so on and so forth.
roba belcher said:
all of the above posters should find another team to support, they sure are not WVU fans. These comments belong in the comic section. Anyone who critisizes what someone else wears reeks with conceit.
Uhoh. Roba, thanks for breaking through and commenting, but what do you say of an operation that begs fans to wear gold or blue to particular games, and to stripe the stadium for others, and to buy shirts or sweatshirts to make it happen, but doesn’t have coaches who play along? That’s what bothers the above posters. There’s a union that is not a union.
The 25314 said:
Win your games and wear whatever you want. Lose five in a row, you better wear the logo. It’s symbolic of being fully invested in the success of the program and not just something you do from 9-5. _eForest is a clown.
That’s what they’re talking about, roba.
At least he wears his hat correct for interviews.
Eh, he wears his hat backward to say hi to his mom on television. Can we let that go?
Other than Tavon, Joseph is the biggest bright spot of the year — though I recognize that playing a true freshman safety has not always been pretty. Someone stop me if I’m going crazy too, but doesn’t DeForest coach safeties, and doesn’t he deserve some credit for Joseph’s fast development?
OK I think I’ll go jump out of a window now.
Joseph has been coached, I assure you. It’s been a little bit of happenstance because injuries have prevented WVU from doing more, but they gave Joseph somewhat simplified duties. Important ones, but not terribly complicated or exotic. He’s done that well and built and sustained and then again built confidence. Seeing things a few times while only doing a few things helps young guys play like older guys.
Karl is a pleasant surprise along with Isiah Bruce and Shaq Rowell….I’m not sure who the safeties coach was (I thought Dunlap was supposed to work with them) but Cookie was as big a disappointment as Karl Marx Joseph Stalin was a hit with the People
Included for the effort. I want guys who care.
Jeff in Akron said:
So, describing Joseph as the Energizer Bunny, I wonder if Mr. Rock and Roll enjoyed his position coach’s description.
“Karl, your coached called you a bunny.”
/Falls down, pins self
I got a laugh when a WVU sports site I get Facebook feeds from wrote a headline about the “schematic disadvantage,” apparently oblivious to the loaded history of that word choice. Tell you what though — if WVU loses this one, it’s going to hurt like hell for Holgorsen.
I would disagree with Mike a bit on the idea that Weis was viewed as a home run hire at the time. A lot of fans hoped for the best, but saw him as a disappointing fallback hire. The home run hire was supposed to be Urban Meyer. It was a given that he was coming to South Bend — the media rehashed a quote ad nauseum that that the Irish were his “dream job.” When he left them at the altar for Florida, the fan base went into shock, and the national writers had a field day with columns about how this proved Notre Dame was no longer a power program.
I’d forgotten about Urb. Good recall. There’s never a consensus on Notre Dame, though. As for Dana, yeah, he might want to win this one, on several levels. And if he doesn’t, I’m rushing to the Weis presser and I’ll be Decoding Charlie Weis so everyone understands the blows he throws, OK?
A little bravado can go a long way. In Charlie’s case, it looks like it will follow him for the rest of his career. I don’t think Weis is as good of a coach as Weis thinks he is, but I think the guy is considered by his peers to be very good at what he does.
I’m surprised this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often. I mean, these are very competitive guys with large egos operating in stressful environments. Probably doesn’t have a lot to do with the outcome Saturday, but it’s interesting on Monday and Tuesday….
This is a really good point. Coaches, on some level, are egomaniacs. It’s either obvious or tempered or muted. They can control it or it controls them. But it’s in them and, honestly, it ought to be. Yet it seems to me they’re a little scared to say something that might come back to haunt them. Now, get struck first, or perceive that you were struck first, and it’s on!
Down South said:
Sorry to go off topic, but I may need a blog post explaining the various bowl scenarios for this team in light of the fact that there are nine eligible Big XII teams and (I think) only seven bowl tie-ins. Nine of ten teams bowl eligible and, per David Ubben, none of the nine were beaten by a team that wasn’t also bowl eligible. Tough league to break in a new defensive coordinator and a really young defense. Thank goodness Holgorsen finally got around to learning magic.
Oh, gosh, magic. I forgot about that. Reminds me of this: Could we work to pull together the top 10 quotes from the team this year? I have a feeling that will be included. And can one top the time Stewart called Nate Sowers a great American immediately before Sowers was academically ineligible for a bowl?
What upsets the most about the penalty on Tavon’s return is that it negated possibly the most exciting football play I’ve ever seen in person, and I was at last week’s game… and the 88 PSU game. Now it’s like it never happened, doesn’t even make the highlight reel.
On Alston-Holgorsen downplayed the importance of a big back in his system soon after arriving at WVU. I really hope he’s reconsidering that position. It’s clear that having an effective run game, with a guy who can push forward a few yards and keep the offense “ahead of the sticks” is what makes his passing attack really click.
The big back thing is happening. Dreamius (!) Smith is 6-1 and 225 pounds and he’s a junior college guy who’s committed to WVU. And the Mountaineers are seemingly committed to big backs now.
“Get a lead, force the Jayhawks to pass and that seventh win comes a little easier.”
I don’t understand this. Seems like an oxymoron to me.
“…trying to figure out ways to stay one step ahead of the defenses”
We can help you with that.
… my bad. Good points, both of them. I guess I have to suspend certain norms with this team.
“The Jayhawks don’t even really try to pass the ball anymore.”
Thanks for the jinx. They’re going to probably throw it all over the secondary now.
IMPORTANT: Notify the Center for Disease Control that an outbreak of Fast Break Palsy is reported in Morgantown, WV. Epicenter: WVU Basketball Practice Facility.
Funny, but Murray had a laugh about this after the game, too, and said he had the jitters and he’s still not used to playing games on a big stage.
I hope Keaton Miles realizes how good he could be.
He’s a wild card. I really wonder how well or for how long Murray or Kilicli can guard Big 12 bigs outside the paint — and that’s a must. Miles has to adapt to that for WVU to be good, I think. He can cover different positions, but he can score at them, too, if he figures it out.
Jeb Hartness and Zelton Steed sound like 2 guys Don Draper is going to meet on a business trip in the new season of “Mad Men.”
One of them ran as though he’d had a few too many Lucky Strikes, too. I’ll leave it at that.
Pleasant surprises thus far:
1. Staten is a scorer. All I’ve heard is that he’s a pure passer, but it’s always nice to see another scorer on a Huggins team.
2. Henderson and Harris, in that order, are ready to play.
3. Keaton Miles seems to be getting it.
This team has more potential than last year’s team, and as much as I miss Kj and Truck (yeah, I miss Truck), this year’s team doesn’t need Deniz to be KJ because there’s so much more help. I hope Deniz realizes, or is made to realize, that leadership can be subtle. I’m already tired of his bold quotations in the papers.
Harris is an interesting watch. I can see him as a guy Huggins pulls aside and says, “Listen, you’re getting 7 to 11 minutes a night right now. Guard that guy like your scholarship depends on it and only try to score on cuts and slashes and occasional tips and you grow from there.” And if Harris does, WVU has something there.
If we had average corner play this year we would be 9-2 with the same defense, maybe 10-1.
Let’s not kill a fly with a grenade, WVU rushing defense in 28th in the country.
A new corner’s coach who feels he can coach up the talent we now have and coming in is all that is required to compete next year., imo.
Nuking the entire defensive staff would set us back a year unless it is a pre-assembled staff that has worked together in the past.
Sure DeFo is goofy but did anybody watch all-world DC Mike Stoops in action?
Well, first, why on earth would you run against WVU? I felt like Oklahoma kept WVU in the game by running, at all. When teams do run against the Mountaineers, it’s usually not for much — but someone gets out every now and then for a big one. The Mountaineers are No. 40 now, by the way, and are in for a treat Saturday against Kansas. Still, I just see corners spinning on tape and say, “Hey, kid, you’re throwing 52 times Saturday.” As for changes, I’m really not sure you’re going to see the blood-letting most desire.
Roger Murdock said:
Daron Roberts should stop pretending to be something he isn’t.
Enjoy the weekend!