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Thursday, July 20, 2006

West Virginia for the National Title? Not so fast

According to many pre-season pubs and college football web sites, the West Virginia Mountaineers are a popular "dark horse" pick to win the National Title this year. They're the clear favorite in the Big East and are ranked anywhere from #2-#10 by the "Summer Experts" thus far.

Due to that fact coupled with their Sugar Bowl win in January and the knee-jerk (over)reaction by many on the Internet when one's team is criticized (even if points are valid), this is one of those posts that I know is going to piss off fans of the Mountaineers. But I'm not writing it to poke the team in the eye, I'm merely giving my honest opinion. So let me start by saying I like West Virginia. I have family that went to West Virginia. Some of my relatives still live in West Virginia. But, West Virginia, you're no national title contender.

Period. Even if you go undefeated.

Look, it's not really your fault. It's your schedule.

Your non-con schedule consists of Marshall (losing record last year), East Washington (winning record...in Division 1-AA) and Maryland (losing record) before you get into the Big East where the only team with a pulse (and a ranking last season) is Louisville. It's a schedule that would give Bill Snyder a hard on.

I know, it's not your fault the Big East crumbled around you. But without a playoff system in college football, the regular season record - along with its strength - is the measuring stick we have.

Both. Together. Not just the "0" in "L" column.

Yet for some unknown reason, fans always think - and pollsters vote - as if the record trumps all. Like there is some law that simply being "undefeated = national title" contender. If that were the case, there are a hell of a lot of high school and D-III teams that should have a shot at Tempe next January.

Harsh? Yes, but the truth sometimes is. Don't kill the messenger.

As I mentioned, I like West Virginia. Really do. And I hope they go undefeated. But even if that happens, it doesn't mean they should be considered for the National Title.

And don't blame me. Blame the schedule.


Johnny said...

None taken! It's tough to have this kind of schedule, and have all the hype around the team. The future should get better with home and home series against Auburn, and Michigan St. The rest of the Big East is going to have to get better, outside of Louisville, before our schedule becomes a non-issue.
As far as this year goes, we just have to win all our games and see where that puts us.

Anonymous said...

i'm from WV & my family tree looks like a wagon wheel!

now lil jimmy, tell your baby brother jojo to go buy me a pack of cig's!

Anonymous said...

Don't kill the messanger? It's your "honest" opinion, buddy. It's not scientifically proven data. While everyone else (all the magazines) is saying they have a shot, your honest opinion discredits them (which is your right to state your opinion). If they go undefeated and there are not two other undefeated teams WVU makes it to the national championship, that includes a one loss B-11 team. That's just my honest opinion, don't kill the messanger.

Anonymous said...

I think the fallcay in argument comes to light here: "If that were the case, there are a hell of a lot of high school and D-III teams that should have a shot at Tempe next January."

Ah, but WVU should be a very good team and be capable of defeating quality teams. WVU showed what it could do against the SEC champ in the Sugar. I admit the margin of error should be smaller since there are less challenges, but to discount the quality of WVU because of who they play is silly.

Would you argue that last year's Texas team wouldn't be worth of the National Championship if they played a weaker schedule during the regular season?

Yost said...

Anon 10:34, while I respect your opinion, in mine, if WVU goes undefeated, they should not make it to the national championship game over any one loss SEC team - period. A one loss ND (look at that schedule), a one loss Big XII team as well as most one loss Big 10, ACC and Pac 10 schools.

As for Texas last year, they would not have gotten there -- and shouldn't have -- w/ WVU's current schedule. In fact, a lot of the reason Texas did make the game was BECAUSE of their tough schedule. That road win in Columbus was "worth" more (or should be) in voter eyes than any three games on the current WVU schedule.

Anon 11:22,

As I said, not fair, but if you simply go by Ws and Ls and not the SOL, then why should any team ever play a tough non-con game again? Why not schedule, 1-AA schools and other patsies?

Since all teams don't play and there is no playoff, relative SOS is the only way to measure one team against another that doesn't play. And with really NO super tough games (sorry, Louisville doesn't count), WVU shouldn't be rewarded w/ a BCS title shot even if it does go undefeated.

Anonymous said...

Conversely, if getting beat by a quality teams is better than winning, why not play the '85 Bears, '95 Nebraska, etc... Winning is the point of playing the games.

I agree if other teams win all of their games, then WVU will be the odd man out. But I don't understand why getting beat by Cal, Iowa, or Oklahoma is worth more than beating Pitt, Rutgers or Connecticut.

jeff said...

Let's take 2004 Auburn into consideration. Usually, any undefeated SEC school deserves the NC trophy right off the bat; but they barely scraped by in some games and just adequately got the W in others. What about 2005 Oregon? Their only loss was to SoCal and yet they still couldn’t get any love in the BCS because they could get the W but never really dominated.

If WVU wants to be taken seriously after playing this schedule, I expect an average point difference of 20 to 25 - and that’s being conservative.

Anonymous said...

I agree with yost. There are 10 or 15 teams in the country that would probably go undefeated against that schedule. If WVU does it, it proves that they are one of the top 10-15 teams in the country, that's it.

I think, for example, that if the loser of the OSU-Texas game in September goes undefeated the rest of the year, they would be more deserving. Why should those teams be punished for playing each other instead of scheduling a I-AA scrimmage?

Second random complaint: I hate that so many preview magazines rank the teams based upon who has the easiest schedule. It creates a self fulfilling prophecy.

Reed4AU said...

jeff said: "Let's take 2004 Auburn into consideration. Usually, any undefeated SEC school deserves the NC trophy right off the bat; but they barely scraped by in some games and just adequately got the W in others."

Those 2 close games were against LSU and BAMA who were bothe great Ds and good teams. The reason they were left out wasn't because of the scheduling of the Citadle or the fact they didn't win by a large margin(which they did). The reason they were left out was because they started the season 17th an OU and USC started 1 and 2 and went undefeated. Pollsters pretty much refuse to drop a team from the top spots unless they lose.

Anon said: "But I don't understand why getting beat by Cal, Iowa, or Oklahoma is worth more than beating Pitt, Rutgers or Connecticut."

Use Fla as the example. IF they lose only 1 game say the one at Auburn, but win the rest they deserve a shot over an undefeated WVU team. They will have defeated LSU, BAMA, UGA, Tenn, FSU. The only team WVU plays is Louisville. Or take ND(who hope only beats USC), if they only lose 1 game they certanly deserve it more because of their schedule.

Anonymous said...

Florida will not beat FSU in Tally.
What's the over/under on how many times Urban Myth cries this year.

Mathew said...

I wholy agree andhave been saying as much since WVU started getting all of this love in the early offseason. Unless they play a real non-conference schedule, no Big East team should be in the National Title game, regardless of if they go undeafeted. They simply won't have proven that they deserve to be there.

Anonymous said...

need a playoff system (like basketball).....

Is the Big Ten or the SEC eliminated in basketball because they don't play the big east schedule?

It is settled on the court...

and more often than folks think, the big east loses in basketball..

....Just like the Georgia Bulldogs went down in last year's sugar bowl.

How can WV be eliminated (by proclamation) if they are undefeated and no one else is?