It's the one word that best describes athletics.
Competition can be two teams going at each other with all they've got.
Or it can be the members of those teams battling for starting positions and playing time.
Except, that is, if those players are members of the West Virginia University football team.
Heading into fall drills, the most publicized and watched battle on the Mountaineer roster obviously was going to be for the starting quarterback position.
Would Clint Trickett be able to return from his injuries and once again rise to the top of the depth chart? Or would Paul Millard win the competition in fall drills? Then there's Fairmont native Logan Moore, a promising walkon who took the spring camp by storm. Even junior college transfer Skyler Howard, who competed during the spring, and heralded newcomer William Crest would be taking some snaps in fall drills.
But the battle is over before the first salvo, er pass, was fired. In one of the most befuddling moves of his tumultuous tenure in Morgantown, head coach Dana Holgorsen ended the competition by naming Trickett as the starter.
Obviously, Trickett didn't earn the position in spring drills. He didn't participate. So were the others so bad that Trickett won by default? That's not what was being reported during spring camp. Millard was looking improved, and Moore, a walkon, was making a big impression.
By having a major carrot to dangle in front of the quarterback competitors, Holgorsen would be assured of a spirited competition - there's that word again - come fall drills, when a pecking order would be decided.
Now, it has been decided. At least the one position that all the competitors coveted - the starting spot -no longer is up for grabs. No matter what kind of effort and/or performance the others give in the fall, they know the best they can do is second place. And we all know what second place is -the first loser.
One Mountain State sports columnist praised the move, saying it would take the pressure off of Trickett. But isn't pressure what being a starting quarterback is all about? That column made as much sense as Holgorsen's decision.
And what about this lot of quarterbacks? The reason the competition was so fierce is that none has broken out of the pack or proven themselves to be a clear No. 1. When Holgorsen was hired, his biggest strength was developing top-notch quarterbacks. We figured that meant highly-regarded signal-callers would be flocking to Morgantown, but we're still waiting.
Obviously, we wish Trickett well. We hope he recovers from his injuries and leads WVU to a winning season and a bowl game.
But the odds on that - if we listen to those that make the odds for a living - are quite slim.
If this highly questionable move doesn't work out, it may well be Holgorsen's last major decision in Morgantown.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org