Joe Sadlek/All-Pro Photography

West Virginia’s Mario Alford scoots 72 yards with a fourth-quarter touchdown catch against Texas.

 

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — In what has become an exhaustive rite of summer, USA Today is counting down its worst-to-first FBS team rankings.

Today brought West Virginia … at No. 78, out of 128 schools. (For those scoring at home, that’s only a notch ahead of No. 79 Buffalo and who knows how far behind a certain school in Huntington that hasn’t surfaced yet.)

As alarming as that projection sounds, such is the tainted runoff from a 4-8 season that featured embarrassing losses to Kansas and Iowa State.

Among the not-so-gentle zingers lining columnist Paul Myerberg’s summer preview: “Another loss to Kansas should be followed by a stampede of updated résumés.”

He also clamped down hard here: “(Dana) Holgorsen needs a rebound to improve his job security. The Mountaineers, meanwhile, need a rebound to prove another simple fact: that West Virginia football still matters.”

What a whopping dent to WVU’s national perception. While it’s hard to quantify the impact of negative media vibes, suffice to say West Virginia coaches aren’t thrilled to see their program being panned by a newspaper with the nation’s third-highest circulation. Even if that circulation is comprised predominantly by hotel guests.

A couple points from Myerberg’s entertaining assessment beg disagreement, however:

1.) He describes Oliver Luck’s call for improvement last December “as shaky a plug as you’ll find on the coaching circuit.” But in reality, Holgorsen is Luck’s man through-and-through, a coach whose firing would cast a stain on the athletics director legacy. My guess is nothing short of an implosion—something in the 2-10 or 3-9 range—would force Luck to change coaches.

2.) He suggests West Virginia’s receiving corp “lacks game-breaking ability—there’s no make-’em-miss blazer here.” Perhaps Myerberg didn’t see Mario Alford blazing through the Texas and Iowa State secondaries late last season.

In summation, Myerberg predicts a team that will be on the bowl bubble while noting “it’s hard to locate the Big 12 wins.”

Mountaineer Nation can take heart that in 2013 Myerberg forecast WVU to win seven games, and we all know how mistaken he was about that.

Read USA Today’s complete preview here.

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Comments

  • Medman

    Hey folks, lets get realistic and quit slamming anyone who expresses their predictions as to the outcome of this football season. Some who post here attack anyone who says we may be in trouble and they essentially profess that if you do not support WVU 100% on every single issue, you are a creep, disloyal, loser fan. This is the perfect example of people who themselves have lost touch with reality and are incapable of having an objective thought about what is going on with the WVU football and basketball programs. Both programs are likely to finish in the bottom third of the league and that is reality, but I will be cheering for every win and praying that we do better than what seems to the likely outcome.

    • Steve

      What makes you think that both programs are likely to finish in the bottom third? The basketball team last year didn't finish in the bottom third. The football team had a rebuilding year. It was expected that 2013 would be a tough season after losing it's three best offense of players to the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

      If you want to be negative go right ahead. But there certainly are a lot of positives to both teams especially the recruiting in football in the additions made in basketball.

    • 4WVUinzjY

      Agree...born and raised WVU fan but this is not fiction..,hoping and praying for our gold and blue.

      • LivLuvDubV

        I Love my team, support our coaches, AD, and staff. We are deeper, more mature, and have some playmakers. We could hire Saban and if he had the transition our program has had over the past 3 or so years and he would have struggled. We've moved up a tier, playing with Big time programs, and with that comes a learning curve and exposes deficiencies. I think we are on the right path, and our time will come.

  • Waterman

    Look guys we went from the Big Easy to the Big 12. I think everybody would agree the level of competition went up a couple of notches. Look at the quality coaches which Holgerson now has in place. Remember Rich Rod took quite a few seasons to get to the point of being a winning program. Last year we had several games won but did not have the depth to keep the lead. Our quality of recruits have gone up and so will the wins. I might be in fairyland, but I can see a shocker in Atlanta when we play the Tide. Remember they don't have a proven QB yet and we have switched back to the 3-5-3 D which might just give them a lot of heartburn.

    • notorious

      I keep on forgetting that the step up to the Big 12 is the reason we have gotten smoked by Syracuse twice, SHUTOUT at Maryland, and barely beat Bill & Mary. We lost to Kansas last year, traditionally one of the worst D1 programs in the nation.

      The only thing I'm excited for this season is seeing if the people that irrationally love Dana Holgorsen come up with new excuses for his failures. The day he is fired is the day this program can move forward. Luck has done a good job as AD, but he whiffed BIG TIME on Holgorsen.

      • Jim

        Syracuse???? Dork! MSU dog.

      • Steve

        If you don't like the coach then don't watch the games, read about WVU, or post negative comments.

        • susanf1218

          You don't control this board or the content within. If YOU don't like the comments, then how about you don't read them??

    • GoEers

      It will be hard for Bama to replace a 3 year starting QB just like it was for WVU last year. WVU will have to go after Bama's secondary as that seems to be their Achilles heel.

  • J I

    I think if Luck doesn"t have the heart to fire Holgerson, then replace both of them

    • GoEers

      Yes that would be smart to replace Oliver Luck considering he made WVU over $30M more than what they would have made in the old Big East and with their old 3rd tier rights agreement. That's a brilliant plan on your part.

      We got a bunch of geniuses posting today.

      • susanf1218

        Some people care about more than money. Obviously not the Luck supporters, though.

        • Steve

          If he is the athletic director at a major university that plays in a big 5 conference he better care about making the university money in order to improve athletic and educational facilities. Susan you are very uneducated and just down right miserable. Does posting negative and hateful comments about those who have had successful lives and careers make you feel better about yourself since you have accomplished nothing other than using your welfare checks to have high speed Internet access? Shame on you Susan. Please go out and get a job!

          • susanf1218

            Steve - o, are you ever right about anything?? It certainly doesn't appear that way. And for your information, I happen to hold a Master's Degree, a professional certification AND have been employed my entire adult life. So please keep your ignorant, uninformed ASSumptions to yourself. And grow up!!

  • Hman

    AL game is going to be a toss up. We will be better than people think. If, we iron out our QB position (on a quick note), we will be very good.
    REALLY, did you expect them to give us any love, after last year's QB debacle. Too many 3 and out's last year. And, under a minute. We are solid deep in about every position. Plus, we have some gamer-time...coming this Summer. We need to show up for AL. If, we do. we will be okay. WV made a very good move with Tom Bradley. And, Gibby, will get Tom, to whip those DL players to the next level.

  • TruthTeller

    How is this any surprise to anyone? WVU is one of the most hated college programs in the nation.
    Outside of the true Mountaineer fan base that is.
    Any chance the media can belittle WVU they will.
    I don't care what the media say because we all know they lie and lie and lie. Who cares what these haters say? Who are they? What do they know? WVU will have a good season this year.
    WVU is due. LETS GO MOUNTAINEERS!!!

    • Steve

      Things could always be worse truth teller that could be stuck in conference USA forever and making a poultry 2 million in TV revenues. They could also be playing a schedule that includes former Division II team that just now made their way up to Division I. See truth teller even though you use several screen names (hi big Larry or should I call you by your real name Larry jeffords), it's always easy to spot an admitted WVU hater like yourself.

      • susanf1218

        "poultry" two million, Steve-o?? Once again you are WRONG. The word you were looking for is "paltry". Maybe you should spend less time attacking those with whom you disagree and more time taking a refresher course in grammar and spelling.

        • Steve

          Yes Susan you are correct it is paltry and not poultry. That's what happens when you use Siri for creating posts. Thank you for pointing this out. Based on your comments you are such a knowledgable football fan...actually you're nothing but a lonely, miserable, WVU hating troll. I can only hope that all the hatred that you spew out on just about every WVU article somehow makes you feel better about your lonely miserable life.

          • susanf1218

            Oh Steve-o, how do you know ANYTHING about my life? If anyone is lonely and miserable, it is you b/c you obviously have nothing better to do than to attack anyone who disagrees with you. Get a life. And some therapy for your anger issues. And, unlike you, my life does not revolve around WVU's football team and its ups and downs. I just find people like you to be amusing and pathetic.

      • TruthTeller

        Steve you need to stop the drinking and the drugs. You have very little brain matter left. Anyone that can comprehend the English language can tell I am a very devoted WVU fan and have been for over forty years. I am not one of those false or fair weather fans.Through all the loses and wins I was there each week pulling for my eers. Steve get some help there buddy. Start small with the alphabet and work your way up to a fifth grade reading level then keep working towards college level. With the right help you will get there someday when you can comprehend those big words just like us big men can.

        • Steve

          Truth teller you're one of the biggest Marshall trolls on here. Do you have any better come backs other than thinking that you actually use big words that I don't understand? I have more degrees than you have flees in that trailer that you live in. We all know that your other screen moniker is big Larry. So stop acting like a WVU fan. You're a disgraceful human being and a Marshall troll.

          • susanf1218

            You spelled "fleas" wrong there, genius!

  • Mister Man

    Oh no!!!! We're going to lose rick.

  • mad hatter

    as much as i hate to say it, they are spot on, and bull pin, you can argue all you want and drink all that kool aid, but it ain't going to improve the talent that holgie has accumulated at wvu.
    there is a very reasonable chance that we will start the season 0-4. Then we have to face up to the idea of dulicating last yrs. record, and facing paying holgie nearly 3 million bucks to coach us again in 2015.
    Ollie, you certainly have embarrassed all wvu fans with these fat contracts given to holgie and higgie.
    It's definitely going to be a sad yr to be a mountaineer.

    • Steve

      Don't worry about the fat contracts mad Hatter. WVU is in the big 12 conference and is on its way to making over 25 million a year.

      Since you live in Huntington, you probably need to be more worried about Marshall and that pathetic scheduled and pathetic conference they are playing in right now. That's embarrassing and that's sad.

    • GoEers@hotmail.com

      It's so sad that you are a Marshall fan but have to keep reading and posting on wvu articles because your favorite team is irrelevant...must be hard to face the facts that you are a jealous envious Marshall troll

  • Worm

    Wow. The program has fallen further than I could have imagined. Not much for the money being paid to this staff. Bill, Rich and Don gave a lot more for far less. I'll continue to support with a donation and season tickets. My 32 straight year but I have to admit it becomes harder to write the checks. I fully understand why people stop going. Never been a Kool Aid drinker more of a realist.

    • Steve

      I'll never understand why true fans stop going. Just because of one bad year?

  • Jim

    Like others, I think the ranking of 78 is justified. We blew four 4th quarter leads, lost to KU and IS. Still don't know who are QB is gonna be. Bitch-slapped by Baylor, turned the ball over 27 times, ranked near the bottom on 3rd down conversions, couldn't score from the red zone. But.......
    Held Oklahoma to one TD at home, Took the Longhorns to O/T, bitch-slapped OSU. Pretty fair performance by a team with no experienced QB, wide receiving corps with game-breaking ability. The other part of this story: Polls do NOT mean a damn thing this year! AP, USA Coaches, etc.....are out with the new playoff system. Even though they will appear in print, they are not used by the selection committee. So Paul (I never played the Game Myself) Myerberg the two minutes you took to write this worthless article are lost to you forever. GO MOUNTAINEERS!

  • Ole Sasquatch

    Got to have that Mountaineer Spirit! It spreads like lightning. Starting with all the Coaches (we don't need no third person objective analysis from any of our coaches being interviewed after the game) I want to hear all coaches with passion! That's what Mountaineer Sports was born of.
    I could give a good x';x?x! what the USA paper thinks or their know nothing writers.

  • Jay

    In fairness, WVU football gave a performance in 2013 which warrants being ranked #78 preseason, one above Buffalo, in 2014.

    If they don't like it, the remedy is only three letters long: Win.

  • rick

    just sickening to see how far this program has dropped. i'll give it this year and hope he turns it around......if not, then they have lost me and other fans.

    • Steve

      Bye Rick. Don't let the bandwagon run over you.

    • GoEers

      I certainly hope it loses fair weather fans like yourself Rick.

  • FED UP WITH DANA

    I BARELY SEE A WIN OVER THAT DIVISON 2 STANDOUT TOWSON ,, BAMA WILL BE A DEBACLE, HOLGERSON HAS TO GO

    • FNP

      I'm fed up with the fan base. The fans at WVU have been horrible since the year they came calling for RR's head when he went 3-8. It took him a couple years to turn things around and he put WVU back on the map. I agree that if Holgs doesn't right the ship and get WVU to a bowl game then they need to look a different direction. I think the D staff is correct and they should hold on to them.

      • gjperkin1

        I agree. I take WVU OVER any school but FSU since I've lived in WV ive always said 75% of all WVU fans are the most fair weather fans there are. Even in really good years the don't sell out the stadium. No matter what your team does you have to support them. Here not so much

        • TruthTeller

          Ohio State are the worst fair weather fans in the entire country. They lose one game they take everything off their cars, take all the banners down, don't wear jerseys, t-shirts or hats within an hour after the loss. I know I have lived there and witness it myself.

    • James

      CAPITAL LETTERS ARE ALWAYS THE BEST WAY TO GET MY POINT ACROSS

      • Jay

        LOUD NOISES!

  • JJ

    I'm a loyal fan but inclined to go with the USA Today writer on this one.
    I see three/four wins...and search for a new head coach.

    WVU alum and fans won't sit for another 4-8 season and Holgerson's lack of a legit starting QB is the worst part.

    • Mister Man

      Some won't stand for another 4-8 season, either.

  • Loyal Mountaineer

    It was fun always being picked in the top quarter of teams each year, but before that time, WVU thrived on being overlooked. I think we will be a solid team this year that will show great improvement. We are much deeper than we have been since Holgerson arrived, and I doubt we get hurt as bad by injuries on defense as we did last year. That unit was solid until it was down 11 contributers. Let's start with a shocking win over Alabama and then keep rolling. It would be 2005 all over again, sans 3 of the greatest to ever suit up in the Old Gold and Blue.

    • Mister Man

      Yeh buddy.