2013-11-20 / Sports

Chip Shots

by Jim Buzzerd

Another low

It has been less than two years since the West Virginia University football team hung a 70-33 loss on Clemson in the Orange Bowl, but the wagon that was filling up with WVU fans that night has plenty of seats available right now. The Mountaineer program hit another low last Saturday when WVU lost at Kansas 31-19. The loss assures WVU its first losing season since 2001 when the Mountaineers were 3-8 in Rich Rodriguez’s first season. That also ends a run of 11 straight bowl appearances. The worst aspect of the loss may be that Kansas had lost 27 consecutive Big 12 games until they knocked off the Mountaineers on Saturday. That’s a stigma that hurts.

Two years ago we WVU fans, well, many of us at least, were whooping it up about gaining membership into a real athletic conference. It was a relief to be free of the Big East that was crumbling beneath us. The Orange Bowl may have been a mirage, but it only fueled the fire of the fan base. That fire has been dwindling since last October when the Mountaineers started out 5-0 and ranked fifth in the country. Since then they are 6-13.

Most of us knew the competition would be a step up from the Big East, but now that there is the possibility of becoming a cellar dweller in the new conference a new vibe has emerged. I’ll call it the ‘sky is falling’ vibe. Sorry about the cliché’s, but fan’s reaction to losing kind of makes them relevant. Like the cliché about fans jumping off the bandwagon; which sounds like they are doing in droves.

Also with losing come the calls for the coaches head on a platter and, make no mistake, the vocal fans are asking for it. At this point athletic director Oliver Luck’s decision to bring in hotshot offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen to replace Bill Stewart looks like a bust. For those thinking a change of coach is the answer, you should cool your jets, because the contract extension presented Holgorsen by Luck includes a buyout that will virtually assure that Holgorsen gets one more year to get the program going in a positive direction.

From this seat it sure looks like Holgorsen wasn’t ready to run a football program and it is hard to see improvement this year. Much of this year’s struggle lies with injuries that decimated the defense and general youth overall. All things considered, another year for Holgorsen is probably the way to go. Really, the only way another move should be considered is if there was a home run hire available.

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