When West Virginia University lost by 35 points on Saturday, some rabid Mountaineer football fans suffered a meltdown worse than their favorite team.
Perusing various Internet message boards where WVU?fans talk to one another, I saw the following topic headings: The Undoing of Dana Holgorsen, D Staff Needs To Go, Who Recruited The Defensive Team?, We Just Aren't That Good, and the classic If We Can Beat Kansas At The End of the Season, We Get A Bowl.
I certainly understand being disappointed in what obviously was a Mountaineer meltdown. Any weekend in which West Virginia's high-powered offense gets outscored by 20 points by the Cleveland Browns is indeed disastrous.
We can spend until kickoff time Saturday night trashing our favorite team.
But WVU is halfway through its first season in the Big 12 and it is 5-1.
As one who picked West Virginia to finish with a 9-3 regular season record, this is about where I expected the Mountaineers to be.
WVU is one of the most entertaining teams in the nation. When its offense is clicking on all cylinders -which it did for the first five games -it is a thing of beauty.
Obviously, its defense is young and getting on-the-job training. You might get by with such a unit in the Big East, but not in the Big 12, where you are going to be tested every week.
All we really learned on Saturday is that WVU isn't going to go undefeated and it isn't going to be playing for the national championship. Lofty goals, but ones seldom achieved.
Reviewing the first half of the season, the Mountaineers beat the only old rival remaining on the schedule -Maryland.
WVU won its Big 12 opener in a thrilling back-and-forth contest with Baylor.
And it went to Texas and beat the Longhorns in Darrell K. Royal Stadium. Think about the impact of such a victory.
The flagship university of West Virginia -a state that produces a handful of Division I football recruits in a good year -beat the flagship university of Texas - a state that annually produces hundreds of big-time players.
West Virginia, in its first year in the Big 12, has proven it belongs.
That on any given Saturday (and it's great to always being playing on Saturday), WVU can beat, or for that matter lose, to any other member in one of the nation's top two college football conferences.
Plus, while Saturday certainly opened the door for other contenders, senior quarterback Geno Smith still stands the best chance ever of bringing the Heisman Trophy to Morgantown.
WVU recently has taken steps to ensure that AD Oliver Luck -who got a school without a major TV?market a much better deal than any of its eastern brethren -and Holgorsen will be in Morgantown for years to come.
Holgorsen deserves the chance to put his stamp on the program and recruit his own players before being subjected to the criticism he incurred over a rough weekend.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org