MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — We’ve dusted off media guides, Googled till our fingers turned sore and conversed across offices and cubicles … all in an effort to answer this week’s burning question:
Is Georgia State the worst opponent WVU has faced in the last 30 years?
The Panthers (0-2) have lost two games rather handily to Samford and UT-Chattanooga this season, making them 1-14 in their last 15 games against FCS teams. Oh yeah—two offensive line starters left the team this week, and an assistant coach was reassigned. (Even West Virginia safety Darwin Cook struggled to be diplomatic this week when asked about GSU’s strengths, finally replying, “Their uniforms are cool.”)
This is a rock-bottom program, no doubt, but can it really be the puniest to line up against WVU in the past three decades? To assist, we narrowed down the chronological list of previous patsies:
1983: WVU defeated Pacific 48-7. The I-AA Panthers were bad—3-9 bad—but they beat Oregon, so no way they’re the worst.
1983: WVU defeated Ohio 55-3. The Bobcats finished 4-7, beating teams that were a combined 9-35. Georgia State would gladly take four wins this season against anybody. 1983 Ohio, you’re safe.
1988: WVU defeated Cal Fullerton 45-10. That Titans team went 5-6 and featured future CFL legend Mike Pringle, so even though the program disbanded four years later, we’re inclined to
1988: WVU defeated Bowling Green 62-14. How offensively challenged were the Falcons on their way to a 2-8-1 record? Quarterback Rich Dackin had a 0-to-9 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
1993: WVU defeated Eastern Michigan 48-6. Those Eagles were 4-7 yet Louisville saw enough promise in coach Ron Cooper to hire him two years later. EMU gets immunity.
1995: WVU defeated Kent State 45-6. The Golden Flashes (1-9-1) ranked 107th out of 108 Division I-A teams in scoring offense and 98th in points allowed. POSSIBLE WORST-TEAM CONTENDER.
1997: WVU defeated Rutgers 48-0. Don’t think a major-college team belongs in this discussion? Well these Knights were 0-11 and posted the second-worst scoring margin in I-A. Ask JaJuan Seider how bad they were—he saw mop-up duty behind Marc Bulger.
2002: WVU defeated UT-Chattanooga 56-7. Pathetic team. Brought in UCLA transfer Ryan McCann and still lost its first nine games. Coach was fired at season’s end. Meets all the criteria for POSSIBLE WORST-TEAM CONTENDER.
2006: WVU defeated Eastern Washington 52-3. The Eagles went 3-8 in a down season sandwiched between FCS playoff berths.
2010: WVU defeated Coastal Carolina 31-0. The Chanticleers were only 6-6 but won the Big South and reached the FCS playoffs. Wethinks they would handle Georgia State by two touchdowns.
2011: WVU defeated Norfolk State 55-12. The Spartans won nine games, advanced to the FCS playoffs and actually led West Virginia 12-10 at half. Norfolk State wouldn’t have the same second-half meltdown against GSU.
2012: WVU defeated Kansas 59-10. Don’t think a conference rival belongs on this list? See Rutgers circa 1997. And remember the Jayhawks (1-11) earned their lone win, barely, against an FCS team and managed to go an entire season without a wide receiver catching a touchdown.
As always, we welcome your recollections on the blowouts of yesteryear.