That's the key word I took from Tony Caridi's appearance on Monday at the Parkersburg Rotary Club.
West Virginia University's play-by-play announcer, who is in his 25th year with the Mountaineer Sports Network, talked with confidence about the major sports programs at WVU, the future of the athletic program and the Big East Conference.
Caridi liked what he saw during spring football drills. He liked the way the new offensive coaching staff worked with the veterans on the defensive side of the ball. The chemistry was there and any time there's good chemistry on a staff, you can expect good things to happen.
Caridi said there is a consensus building that WVU is the favorite to win the Big East Conference this fall. One prominent ESPN personality ranks the Mountaineers at No. 14.
The schedule, he says, is favorable with a short trip to Maryland the only road game in the first half of the season.The national exposure will be good as even the opener with Marshall is on a Sunday when the two state teams will have an exclusive nationwide audience looking to be impressed. Caridi figures that WVU's home game with LSU will be moved to prime time and will be the highest interest game in the nation that week.
Yes, he knows WVU lost some key players from last year. But he believes that recruiting has allowed the Mountaineers to fill those holes with talented replacements. If they can make a quick adjustment to the college game and gain that all-valuable commodity known as experience, big things could happen in Morgantown.
Virtually the same scenario may play itself out for the Mountaineer basketball team, which has a strong incoming class joining some veterans who know how to win.
Caridi marveled at the coaching job performed by Bob Huggins this winter. The Mountaineers were coming off a Final Four appearance that saw WVU lose two players to the National Basketball Association. Due to injuries and off-court problems, the incoming recruiting class dissolved into non-existence.
But Huggins squeezed every ounce out of the remaining players and managed to get WVU back into the NCAA Tournament, where it won its opening round game.
Caridi also is optimistic when it comes to the Big East Conference. He said the league's television contract could triple.
Already, the Big East has secured TCU as a football member. Caridi said he would like to see Houston and Central Florida join. That way, each league member would play one game in Texas (either TCU or Houston) and one game in Florida (either South Florida or Central Florida) each season. That would be great both for exposure as well as recruiting fertile territories.