This is a weird age of Mountaineer athletics. It is, perhaps, the most successful of any era ever in the history of the school overtaking the mid 2000s in terms of department wide triumph. Top to bottom, there is not a single program that is not on the rise. From basketball to womens soccer to mens golf to yes, even football. All are trending in a positive direction. But visit any message board, average blue lot tailgate, or section 123 at Mountaineer Field, and you would have no idea. People are furious at our shitty football team with our even shittier coaches. They’ve had enough. Get that Dana and his staff outta here and get ’em outta here NOW.
Ok. I want everybody to take a deep breath. Let it out. And let’s figure out the actual state of our program. It isn’t “horrible” or “pathetic” as many people have been saying. It is surprisingly the opposite. It is remarkably fantastic. Not just football. But West Virginia University athletics as a whole.
I have been a Mountaineer fan since the late 80s when I was crawling around section 123 spewing toddler obscenities towards Penn State and Pitt players alike. And although my fandom started out HOT with the 1988 season, it soon faded to become the absolutely acceptable 5-7 win per year decade long campaign that lasted until the early 2000s. Big wins followed by heart wrenching losses, this was the norm for us. And fans were not exactly thrilled with it, but used to it nonetheless. Then Rich Rodriguez brought his running wild spread offense in to town and we experienced a crazy stretch of national success before the Big East was murdered in broad daylight by money grubbing suits. This was not the norm. And we liked it, a lot. But nobody can truthfully say this was against top tier competition (minus the BCS wins) and with Rodriguez departing and a few years later, us joining a real, albeit wrong geographic conference, the opponent level drastically improved. So that becomes the point of this entire post. We are good. Our opponents are good. Like really good. All of them. Just look at our schedule. Imagine what you would think if, 20 years ago, someone told you we would be playing Texas and Oklahoma this season along with FOUR other top 15 ranked programs. It would have been unimaginable. Put the shine down you would say. Yet here we are with a chance at 9-3 and maybe 8-4 with that slate. Even 7-5 with this schedule is somewhat positive. No, really.
Reasonable people, our schedule is hard. Accept that. We have put millions and millions of dollars into our program the last few years. Upgraded concourses, locker room, weight room, new massive videos boards and screens throughout the stadium, new turf without the crown, new practice fields, and a new team room. We have the best staff we have ever had. We are getting the best recruits we have ever had. And we have the best talent and most depth we have ever had. We won 10 games last year! Just yesterday we took a big time recruit from Pitt and Penn State. He wanted to come to Morgantown. Badly. He wanted to be a part of this. We are building one of the upper tier programs in the Big 12. Sustainability is the goal. That is unfathomable to me. But we are doing it. I mean, would you trade places with Texas right now? What about Florida, Tennessee, Ole Miss, or Arkansas? What about Pitt? What about Maryland? What about Louisville? If you have a logical cell in your brain, the answer is an immediate NO.
This is why we all need to silence the Fire Dana people. These people are the exact people who got mad at Clay Travis for naming us in the top 10 dumbest fanbases in America. Because he is absolutely right. Most of those people are the same folks that wanted Butch Jones roaming our sidelines. Good call. Same folks that think if we fire Dana, ol’ Nicky Sabans is gonna be on the next train out of Tuscaloosa to save his dearly beloved home state’s football program. Jimbo Fisher is coming too to coach defensive backs. And Chip Kelly will leave ESPN and come be the offensive coordinator. Oh, and then when they do all come, the same people will bitch about having their season ticket price go up $5 a ticket to help pay the $10 billion in coach salaries. Obviously I joke, but sadly, some people truly believe we would be in a much better position starting from scratch. Wrong. So so so wrong. We would be destroyed. It would take a decade to recover, if ever. We would be Kansas.
Who would we get that is better at head coach, defensive coordinator, or offensive coordinator? NOBODY. There is nobody that would take our program to greater heights than we have in front of us right now. We are primed. We have QBs. We have athletes at every position on both sides of the field. We have dudes. And we have a legit schedule for the next five years.
Yes, the losses the Virginia Tech, TCU, and Oklahoma State hurt me just as bad if not worse than it hurt you. Very much so. Why else would I be mashing the keyboard at work on a Tuesday to vent about this? But in the few days that have passed, I have cooled (Kwantel Raines helped). And I have realized something. No matter what it is, it is never that good and it is never that bad. We are fine. Other teams are good. That is what we get for being in the Big 12. It is a great predicament to be in. The sooner you figure that out, the happier you will be as a fan. We can beat anyone on any given Saturday. Just like every team in America. Other than Alabama, parity is prevalent in college football. And that is awesome.
The crazy thing about our situation is we get to play another top 15 team in our building in less than four days. And you know what, we are probably going to beat them. How lucky are we?
And just for fun, lets see how our other programs are doing over the past year:
Mens Basketball: 28-9 NCAA Sweet 16, Preseason ranked #10
Womens Basketball: 23-10 NCAAs, Preseason ranked #15
Mens Soccer: 8-5-4 Ranked #15
Womens Soccer: 2016 National Runner-up, Started the year Ranked #1, currently #7
Volleyball: 12-18 last year, 14-9 this year
Baseball: Runner-up in Winston Salem Regional, First regional in 21 years
Rifle: 5 straight National Championships
And for some REAL fun, lets see how we stack up against the mighty Pitt Panthers:
Football: 4-5 with crowds like this….
Mens Basketball 16-17, No Postseason, Picked 15th out of 15 teams (DEAD LAST) in ACC Preseason poll
Womens Basketball 13-17, No Postseason, Picked 13th out of 15 teams in ACC Preseason poll
Mens Soccer 8-9, Unranked
Womens Soccer 3-12-3, DEAD LAST in ACC Standings
Baseball 23-30, 13th out of 14 in ACC Standings
Hey fellas, step back from the ledge. We’re good.