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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  • Ben Dover

    Remember, 78th is a pre-season ranking... WIth the very real possibility of winning only 2 or 3 games this year, I seriously doubt that WVU will finish the season ranked that high.

  • don

    Meyerburg is right on thr money. We will be extremely lucky to win 4 games. Couple the worst defense in wv history, virtually no quarterback, very lame o-line, and in a conference way over our heads and you have a recipe for another humiliating year. On the bright side, we'll be rolling in the money and the previous whipping boys in the big 12 will now have a sure win on their schedule. Sort of like scheduling a featherweight fighter against the heavyweight champion; no chance of winning but a good payday

  • Big T

    I've said it once, and I'll say it again. It's the "Curse of the Stew".

  • Big Larry's Wife

    Yes, cry in front of us all the time. Now quit fooling around on the internet and get your fat butt back on the mower.

  • Big Larry

    It is a sad sad day to be a WVU Mountaineer football fan...wherever you may be...

    And yes, After WVU loses to Alabama by twenty (20) points...

    It is perfectly Okay to cry in front of your wife and children...

  • WV Proud

    Get Crest in Early and often. He will take his lumps this year and be ready for next year. Crest is the only hope wvu has of being competitive in the Big 12. He is the real deal. If the O-line will give him a little help I think this kid can be special. If he gets hurt, we are screwed. There are no more
    D-1 quarterbacks in Morgantown. A D-1 offensive line would help.

    • J the C


  • Regis Traubert

    Luck Hologerson Big 12 all big mistake when fans cant drive to away games nobody wins .this is not a soccer club, are colors are old gold and blue and I guess you cant see the Deforest threw the trees.

    • Webb

      So Regis, I'm just curious, how many times did you drive to Connecticut or South Florida for the away games???

  • Demetrius Stump

    Look up William Crest on YouTube and tell me if WVU has a future QB. He's committed to WVU and will be a Freshman this year.

    • shawn 108

      This guy should be a beast!! I think he may even see the field this year. Plus I believe that Trickett is better than he showed. All these haters on here forget that a bad as we were. We were close in a lot of games NO RESPECT SHOUD EQUAL HUNGRY MOUNTAINEERS!!!

  • Joe Manchin

    6-5 season. With my pull I can get Trickett from FSU back home for 2016.

  • Rick55

    I seriously disagree with the idea that WVU is one of the most hated teams in America, or that the media has it out for us. After all, as Allan pointed out, the same publication last year actually overrated us.
    Realistically, I just cannot find the enormous improvement that would be necessary to be a contending team. I do think they will be improved, but that's a tough schedule and I'm not sure if that improvement is going to be reflected in the their record.

    • Jim

      Are you freakin nuts??? ESPN, College Game Day, Sirius XM (not Bill King), Jake Trotter, Chris Childers, David Ubber have all condemned WV to another lowly season. None of the above take into account the known FACTS the led up to last season't debacle, or the steps that have been taken to fix the issues. No, it's much simpler to write the Mountaineers off and accept that THEY know everything about everything. That's OK with me though. I take great pleasure in picturing media types eating a raw crow sandwich. I for one would relish the vision of watching some reporter from above put a microphone in front of Dana or an assistant coach/player and they telling the reporter to "go shove it"!

    • TruthTeller

      Well Ricky you must have always watched the games on ESPN with the sound down and wearing a blind fold. There were several times WVU was picked to lose by two or three touchdowns even after winning the conference championships. You must also love Obozo and Hillary Clinton. We all know how they love us and never tell any lies do they? Ricky you must live with your head in your butt or in the sand.

  • Randy

    Ebb and flow. Ebb(Holgerson)-Flow(Stewart). Good plan Oliver.

    • scott

      yeah...the lies sure did "flow" from Stewie didnt they?

    • J the C

      Right Randy. Check your quiver. You're a few arrows short!

  • william

    What a sad day to be a Mountaineer fan wherever you may be-
    When WVU schedules Towson and Georgia State
    Mountaineer fans do you feel great when you win big against these WEAK teams?

  • Rob

    A sun-belt team (Troy) is rank above WVU...It's embarrassing

  • william

    That's what you get when you hire a kid,
    next coach hire a REAL MAN!

  • gv

    I think it is George Bush's fault!