After an impressive 5-0 start to the regular season, and a ranking of number four in the AP poll, the West Virginia Mountaineers have finished what was once a promising season at 7-6.
WVU concluded its season with an embarrassing loss to the Syracuse Orange in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl 38-14.
The Mountaineers started off the season on a high note, then dropped five straight games in the middle of the season, before beating the worst two teams in the conference during the last two weeks of the regular season.
So, is it safe to say the Mountaineers were overrated to begin with? To answer that question, I’d say it is a legitimate argument.
ESPN Big 12 Blogger David Ubben tweeted after the Pinstripe Bowl the reasons supporting this argument.
Legit that WVU was overrated from the start. Best QB/WRs in the Big 12, but no defense, no great/healthy backs and good but not great OL.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) December 29, 2012
He has a point. WVU has three NFL prospects on its offense, two of which are projected in the first round. Geno Smith, WVU quarterback is arguably the best quarterback in this year’s draft class and receiver Tavon Austin is a mid to late first round pick himself.
Receiver Stedman Bailey has also declared for the NFL draft and is projected in the third round. Another issue here, is the lack of consistency from these three as a whole this season. All three have played well for a majority of the season, but it was very rare for all three to play well in the same game.
It seemed like when Smith was feeling it, Bailey wasnt, and vice versa. WVU needed all three of its stars to perform together, and that simply didn’t happen enough.
Aside from those three players, more generally, the WVU offense, WVU doesn’t have much else to really work with.
Shawne Alston, WVU running back provided a spark to WVU’s running game, but missed half of the season with a bad thigh injury.
As Ubben said, WVU lacks any representation of a defense whatsoever, has poor special teams that cost it a number of games, an average-at-best offensive line and frankly no heart.
Aside from a few players, who should not be hard to figure out, this team showed no “drive” in crucial situations. WVU’s defense specifically looked lazy throughout the entire season, and I simply did not see the will to win, much less comeback in most games and get the job done.
WVU finished the season 2-6 in its last eight games, with two wins over the two worst teams in the Big 12.
Its first five wins came against teams with a combined record of only 25-24, plus seven wins from FCS James Madison Dukes. WVU looked very strong in the early season, but as the season progressed, the Mountaineers were exploited due to the fact that they had a really strong offense and not much of anything else.
This just goes to show that a strong offense is a great thing to have, but is not enough on its own to sustain a team for an entire season.
Many folks questioned what caused WVU’s “collapse” mid-season, but now, I think it’s becoming more clear that WVU may have been rated higher than it should have been from the very beginning.