Monday, April 23, 2012

Big 12 Orientation, Week 1: West Virginia Football.

This is West Virginia Coach Dana Holgorsen.  He likes to get fucking DRUNK.

WVU At-A-Glance:  
  • Overall record of 701-457-45.  
  • 0 National Titles.
  • Have won 15 Conference Championships between the Southern Conference and the Big East, most recently last season.  
  • 31 Bowl appearances with an overall record of 14-17.  
  • Boast one of two Division 1 rosters only featuring players lacking adequate dental care.  The other?  Colgate, shockingly.
School Mascot:  A coal covered miner smoking a rock of crystal meth with a fistful of green stamps and a stomachful of fatherless children.  Think Rowdy, but less smiley, more frowny.

History with TCU:  The two teams met once in the 1984 Bluebonnet Bowl with WVU pulling out a 31-14 victory.  You remember, the one where TCU stud RB Kenneth Davis was held to just 19 yards rushing and TCU's defense gave up over 500 yards of total offense.  A game like that would make Gary Patterson the second TCU head man sent to a premature grave on the sidelines, but fortunately no coaches were harmed during the making of that rout.  A performance like that would be utterly unrecognizable from the teams GP has cultivated over the years.  The score was 31-7 at halftime with TCU adding a stat-padding TD in the third quarter to make the margin closer than it looked.  Unless TCU's current players - none of whom were born when this game took place - hold bizarre, 28 year old grudges against non-rivals, I think it's fair to say "REMEMBER 1984" isnt' going to be GP's war cry this season.

Recent History:  When we last saw the West Virginia Mountaineers they were in the midst of blowing up the scoreboard in the Orange Bowl against Clemson to the tune of 70-33, capping a 10-3 season.  You read that correctly.  Outside of a very curious scalping from Syracuse, things could not have gone much better under first year head man Dana Holgorsen, even though he wasn't prepared to wear the headset last year.  You'll recall the WVU Coaching fiasco:  After foolishly hiring ex-coach Bill Stewart in a knee jerk, feel good move, WVU football had become a bit stagnant, so Holgorsen was brought in as OC/Coach in waiting before this past season to spice things up.  The only problem?  Stewart wasn't on board, and to show his dissatisfaction, began asking local media members to dig up dirt regarding Holgorsen's late night casino exploits in order to discredit his new assistant.  Unfortunately for Country Bill, this whole plan backfired miserably and resulted in his premature ousting.  In the long run this was a good move because you can't imagine WVU would've had the success they did with Stewart and Holgorsen at each other's throats; in the short run it made WVU look every bit as dysfunctional as the residents of the state the university calls home.  The program has flirted with national prominence throughout their existence but ever since Rich Rodriguez took control of the program in 2001 they've mostly stuck to the national spotlight, notching six Big East titles and 3 BCS bids, all victories.  In fact, in Rodriguez' last year they were one win away from playing for a national title before falling to then-lowly rival Pitt in a move known around these parts as "SMUitis2005"  Let's just say the Mountaineers are a much, much better fit with the winning tradition of the Big 12 than aggy ever was.

WVU 2012 Outlook:  When the last impression you have a team is of them putting up 70 points and nearly 600 yards on a team in a BCS bowl game and realize that both the QB and leading WR from that game are both returning, that's kinda spooky as an opponent.  Yes, Geno Smith - by many accounts the most talented QB in the Big 12 next season - and Tavon Austin will be back in Morgantown for year one, as will leading rusher Dustin Garrison and overall team leading receiver Steadman Bailey. While learning a new system on the fly, last year's offense ranked 6th in overall passing yards at 346.8 yards per game and 13th in points scored at 37.6, so having 8 total pieces back and an extra year under their belts is troubling, to say the least.  Defensively, the Mountaineers aren't going to put too many scares into anyone, returning  7 starters from a unit that gave up 27 points per game last year, but in a Big 12 league where the object is simply to score a bit more than the other team, they should fit in just fine.  Oklahoma will be the favorite, but you'd have to imagine WVU is 1B to their 1A with the Frogs being a slightly lagging 2.  The Mountaineers have a favorable schedule as well, getting Oklahoma, Kansas State and TCU in Morgantown with an early October trip to Austin being the biggest road hurdle unless you count OSU, which you really shouldn't.  My favorite part of their schedule, though?  In the "must win" scenario of scheduling a homecoming game, the Mountaineers chose, you guessed it, the Baylor Bears.  Well played, WVU, well played.  Many have marked their calendars for the first weekend in December and the TCU/OU game for deciding the Big 12 title; truth be told, WVU may have had their say in the matter well before then.  

Miscellania:  You might be familiar with Dana Holgorsen's on-field reputation- he is of the Hal Mumme/Mike Leach "Air Raid" tree starting at Valdosta State and riding the rails with Leach at Tech before jumping to Houston and then Oklahoma State.  You also might be familiar with Holgo's off-field rep, namely the events at the Mardi Gras Casino last spring where he apparently stayed up past his bedtime and he was not interested in hitting the sack, resulting in a forced removal.  Come on, pigs - you can't interrupt a hot roll!!  But it gets better;  in the ultimate act of shitting where you eat, non-Petrino division, Holgorsen was reportedly banned from the bar at the hotel where he was living in Morgantown.  If you can't drink in the confines of your home home, where CAN you drink? And it gets worse as Holgorsen reportedly had five previous alcohol related run-ins with Johnny Law prior to that, including one when he was coaching Houston but was in town for a game, although most of them are casino related.  Seriously, Rain Man, get your act together.  It would appear that Holgorsen has grew up a bit after he was given the keys to the castle, but you have to imagine given the tenuous circumstances under which he was given control, Andrew Luck's dad was a bit concerned with his hiring choice.  That shows you just how little faith they had in Bill Stewart.  Also, WVU once employed Bobby Bowden before he foghorn leghorned his way down to Tallahassee.  The more you know....

Big 12 Orientation, Week 1: West Virginia

In the weeks leading up to TCU's official move to the Big 12, on July 1, we'll be introducing you to each of the Frogs new (and old/new) conference rivals by dedicating a week to each of them.  Over the course of the week, we'll bring you up to date on many aspects of each university- including their athletic teams, their fanbase and anything else we feel like you'll need to know before the Frogs begin playing them on an annual basis.

We start with the other newcomer to the conference, the West Fuckin' Virginia Mountaineers.  WVU, unlike many of the other flagship state universities in the Big 12 that have  "U" said last in conversational references to the school, is correct.  West Virginia University was founded in 1867 and has always been located in Morgantown, WV.  It has a student body of about 29,000 and has an endowment of $405 million.  It has produced 25 Rhodes Scholars and ranks #164 on the US News & World Report list of best colleges in America.

Athletically, the Mountaineers ranked 40th in last year's NACDA Directors' Cup standings, and have placed as high as #37 (in 2009-10).  The Big 12 will be their fourth conference home, having previously been a member of the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in the 1920s, the Southern Conference in the 1950s and '60s and the Big East since 1991.  They have spent much of their existence, at least on the football side, as independents. 

As a fan base, Mountaineer fans have quite the reputation of being wild, crazy and inhospitable to outsiders.  Their most notable traditions include their human Mountaineer mascot, the carpet roll to introduce their basketball team to the court, and of course- burning couches. 

Stick around for plenty more about West Virginia as the week goes on, but first a video to give you a first impression:

TCU-San Diego State recap

I couldn't find a photo from the series, so this one will have to do

The rebound that TCU has been on in the second half of the season continued with this weekend, despite the Frogs having a second win streak snapped at nine game.  The 2-1 series win over San Diego State came on the same field that the MWC Tournament will be played on in May.  Now that they've improved their overall record to 23-14 and seen their RPI continue to inch forward, that tournament may not be the difference between another NCAA Tournament berth and sitting home- but that will depend on how they can close out the regular season, starting with a very important non-conference game against A&M tomorrow night at Lupton.

 Neither Andrew Mitchell nor Stefan Crichton had their strongest outings of the season, but there is still good news in the starting pitching rotation.  As the weeks go on it becomes more and more apparent that Preston Morrison is the best newcomer on this year's team.  In Saturday's win, Morrison tossed 7 full innings, giving up just 1 run on 5 hits, striking out 7 while not walking a batter.  For the season, he is now 6-0 with a 1.35 ERA with the second-most innings pitched on the team.  Opposing batters are hitting just .197 against him, and he has walked just 6 batters all season- compared with 40 strike outs.

Offensively, the Frogs hammered out 27 hits over the weekend (7 of them for extra bases) to improve their team batting average just a bit up to .249.  They were led by senior Jason Coats, who went 6-for-13 on the weekend with 2 doubles and 4 total runs batted in- at least one in all three contests.

Up next is a sold-out Tuesday night home game against Texas A&M, who comes in with a record of 28-12 and an RPI of #18- meaning the Frogs can earn some much-needed respect from both the computers and human poll voters with a win over the Aggies.

Morning Dump


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