It is unclear just how organized this event will be, but there is a move afoot to have a Whiteout at West Virginia University's home football game this Saturday night. The idea is for Mountaineer fans to wear all white to the game to honor Mountaineer quarterback Pat White. It is hardly even debatable that a WVU football player has ever been more worthy of such a tribute.
White has been the catalyst which has propelled West Virginia to three Top 10 finishes and two Bowl Championship Series Bowl wins. He recently became college football's all time leader for yards rushing as a quarterback. He has done so with class and humility. He has said all he wants to be remembered for is being a good teammate. Coming from some players' mouths those words could sound hollow. From Pat White, they sound sincere.
Indeed, there will be tears flowing from many Mountaineer faithfuls this Saturday when White runs onto Mountaineer Field for the last time. One question is, just how many will be in the stands to shed that tear, and how many will be at home watching on TV?
White's senior campaign has not gone as well as planned.
The Mountaineers, ranked eighth in the pre-season, have stumbled through the 2008 season and own a 7-4 record entering Saturday's game with South Florida. There will be nothing significant on the line in this game. At least nothing compared to what the Big East schedule makers envisioned when they set the schedule. At that time there were very good odds that this game would decide the Big East champion and its representative in the BCS.
Now, both teams are 7-4 overall with USF sporting a 2-4 conference record and WVU with a 4-2 Big East record. No titles can be won in Morgantown Saturday. Cincinnati has clinched the Big East title. It is even unlikely that the outcome will determine what bowl game the teams will go to. USF appears destined for the St. Petersburg Bowl. WVU is wanted by the Meineke Car Care Bowl in Charlotte, but could wind up in the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
The Sun Bowl wants to take Notre Dame, but may be prevented from doing so if the Big East has all of its bowls filled with teams with winning records. If Rutgers beats Louisville this week, the Sun Bowl can't take the Domers.
So, the stakes aren't that high for this game and the team has been disappointing this year. Add to those factors the time for the game has been set for 8 p.m. and you have a lot of reasons for fans to stay home. Will Pat White's last home game provide fans enough incentive to drive to Morgantown in December for a game at 8 p.m.?
I do not know the language involved with the TV contracts between the Big East and ESPN, but I have a feeling the kickoff time will impact attendance. Of course TV dictates the start time of the games. An earlier kickoff would have been a better idea to accommodate fans, but if the weather isn't bad, the kickoff time will be less of an obstacle.
White deserved a better senior season, but some of the coaching changes and philosophies held him, and the team, back at times. Short yardage situations were a big downfall for the Mountaineers. There was the veteran offensive line, once thought to be one of the best in the country, really struggling to get even a little push.
More to hash on this later on, but here's hoping Pat White gets the send-off he deserves.