Just picked up a copy of "The Signal Caller" and a first perusal of the one-sided magazine (most are) left me impressed with the time former-Kennedy Award winning quarterback Jed Drenning put into his annual.
The cover story alone is a must read.
"History On Their Side" opens by taking a look at the 1981 West Virginia University squad that traveled to Atlanta to take on a Florida team that was an 11-point favorite to knock off the Mountaineers in the Peach Bowl, but WVU won, 26-6.
Nine months later, WVU pulled off another colossal upset by traveling to Norman, Oklahoma, and upsetting a heavily-favored Sooners squad by a 41-27 score.
The four-page article submitted by John Antonik goes on to explain to readers why Mountaineer teams that are huge underdogs going into a contest should be more feared than forgotten ending with last year's upset of a then-No. 11 ranked Oklahoma State program-which eventually cost the Cowboys any chance of playing in a BCS bowl game.
The more than 100-page magazine continues to give an 'old gold and blue' look at college football including sections dealing with the "10 Biggest Questions of the 2014 College Football Season", a Q and A with fourth-year head coach Dana Holgorsen, another Preseason Top 25 that does not include WVU, but ranks Big 12 rivals Oklahoma (No. 2), Baylor (No. 9), Kansas State (No. 17) and Texas (No. 22), and a 2014 Preseason Big 12 team that has senior Quinton Spain (OT) and junior Karl Joseph (S) as first team selections with Mark Glowinski and punter Nick O'Toole on the second team.
Drenning, who became a 3-time All-America quarterback and 2-time WVIAC Player of the Year at Glenville State after transferring from WVU following the 1991 season, even gives his prediction for WVU's third season in the Big 12.
A 6-6 mark, and No. 8 rank in the final Big 12 standings, may not be exactly what fans want to read. But, his reasoning appears to be right on.
"For the first time since 2001, the Mountaineers spent the postseason at home," Drenning explains. "Six of their eight losses were to bowl teams and in half of those eight losses (Texas Tech, K-State, Texas and ISU) WVU watched a second-half lead evaporate.
"Facing the nation's 12th toughest schedule this fall, the Mountaineers will need to protect the football (32 giveaways last season) and hope freshly minted D-Coordinator Tony Gibson can ratchet up the pressure (West Virginia was 107th nationally with just 16 quarterback sacks in 2013)."
The team-by-team breakdowns for the Big 12 Conference are both informative and interesting while the section dealing with the Mountaineers' special teams has more than one mention of Parkersburg South graduate Michael Molinari.
The magazine is an interesting read and well worth the money spent to acquire it.
Hopefully, the upcoming season will be just as interesting.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org