With the beginning of summer camp still weeks away and West Virginia's season opener against instate opponent Marshall slated for Saturday, Sept. 1, Mountaineer fans have started looking for other ways to talk about their favorite football team until the 2012 season kicks off.
One of the more lively debates centers around the top three quarterbacks in team history. Intrigued by some of the responses, I decided to play along.
Having watched the old gold and blue since I was 6 years old, I have my personal favorites. But, the debate revolves around the three best to ever handle the signal-calling duties.
While his performance in WVU's 70-33 Orange Bowl victory over Clemson places Geno Smith immediately on the tongues of fans everywhere, I'm going to place the Florida native on the sideline for this discussion since he will be adding to his legend this fall when the Mountaineers compete in the Big 12 for the very first time.
So, who remains?
For the sake of argument let's begin with Pat White. All the Alabama native did during his tenure in Morgantown was lead WVU to four straight bowl victories, including wins over Georgia (38-35) in the Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma (48-28) in the Fiesta Bowl.
During his four seasons as the team's quarterback, WVU posted a 42-9 mark. His rushing totals during those seasons rank as the school's top four on the career quarterback rushing list and his 3,059 yards of total offense in 2007 places him only behind Smith, who piled up 4,352 yards last fall, and Marc Bulger's 1998 total of 3,515 yards.
If success is the primary ingredient you are using to make your selection, then there have been few, if any, quarterbacks that have brought as much success to West Virginia University.
Then, again, it could be argued that Major Harris had the more successful career in Morgantown-albeit shortened by his decision to enter the NFL draft following his junior campaign.
Harris, a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, led the Mountaineers to one of only two undefeated-untied regular seasons in their history and an appearance in the national championship game against Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 2, 1989.
Dreams of playing professionally failed to materialize for Harris, who played one season for the British Columbia Lions in the CFL and two seasons in the Arena Football League, but there are several quarterbacks who wore the old gold and blue who did continue their careers in the NFL and maybe, just maybe, that should be the determining factor when selecting a top three.
Oliver Luck, the present director of athletics, Rasheed Marshall, Jeff Hostetler, Jake Kelcher, Fred Wyant and White all became professionals. Hostetler even won a Super Bowl as the starting quarterback for the New York Giants while Wyant became just as famous as one of the league's top officials.
Each was successful in his own right, but that doesn't alleviate the question at hand-the top three quarterbacks in Mountaineer history. And, maybe, that's the way it should be.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org