No matter what business you are in, you are most remembered for the last thing you did.
A salesman, for example, is only as good as his last sale.
It's the same way in athletics.
A team is only as good as its last game.
That being the case, it's no wonder West Virginia University's football team is generating a tremendous amount of preseason hype.
Back on Jan. 4, the Mountaineers had an exclusive prime-time national television audience for their Orange Bowl meeting with Clemson, a game in which the Tigers -the champions of the Atlantic Coast Conference -were favored over the Mountaineers, who were representing the Big East Conference after winning a three-way tiebreaker with Cincinnati and Louisville as all three teams had finished 5-2 in league play.
We all know what happened in that game. West Virginia destroyed Clemson, 70-33. Not even that final score depicts how dominant WVU's performance was. The Mountaineers could have scored more. It could have been even worse.
Ever since, West Virginia has become a media darling, especially since it is entering the Big 12 this fall. The Mountaineers will begin the 2012 season with a national ranking somewhere near No. 10. That's far above the No. 17 and 18 in which WVU finished in last year's national polls.
Not only did West Virginia finish strong -winning its last four games -but the Mountaineers return three of the nation's top offensive players in quarterback Geno Smith and wide receivers Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey.
Plus, college football observers know that any team that runs Dana Holgorsen's air raid offense will score lots of points.
Recently, I was asked by a national sports blog to compile a list of my most overrated and most underrated teams in college football this fall, which I'm in the process of doing.
I've given serious thought to putting West Virginia on both lists.
The Mountaineers -in spite of their tremendous hype - may indeed be underrated. If they can bottle up the type of performance they gave in the Orange Bowl, the sky's the limit for WVU. Plus, rather than learning Holgorsen's offense as West Virginia did last year, the Mountaineers already know it and will be spending their time perfecting it.
Then there's special teams, which in the past have been a West Virginia weakness, often a glaring one. This fall, they may be a strength. The return teams are strong. The kicking and punting games should be solid.
But before I go crowning WVU the Big 12 and/or national champions, I can't shake the memories of a 26-point loss to Syracuse, a home loss to Louisville and the fact WVU trailed in every game, including at halftime against Norfolk State. Plus, the Big 12 represents one giant leap in the quality of competition.
So is WVU overrated, underrated or pegged just about right? I wish I knew.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org