Column - Is West Virginia top-10 worthy in 2012?
Published: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Updated: Thursday, January 19, 2012 00:01
You won't have to look far to find a preseason 2012 college football ranking with West Virginia comfortably sitting in the top 10.
Some rankings even have the Mountaineers in the top five.
Yes, I'm well aware that Dana Holgorsen's bunch scored the most points in the history of college football bowl games when they demolished Clemson, 70-33.
I also know West Virginia will return practically its entire offense next season.
However, I'm just not yet sold that this is a top-10 football team in 2012.
How quickly we forget that this is a team that had to block a field goal as time expired to beat Cincinnati; to come back from a double-digit second-half deficit against Pittsburgh before holding on late and to force a South Florida fumble then convert a fourth-and-10 with 10 seconds remaining to get into field-goal range.
Only one of those matchups finished with a winning record.
The latter of the bunch occurred only about six weeks ago.
What's my point?
We are judging this West Virginia football team on one game – the Orange Bowl.
To be quite honest, Clemson would have beaten very few teams with its preparation for the Orange Bowl.
Although, the fashion in which West Virginia did it was impressive.
But, Clemson head coach Dabo Sweeney did not have his team ready to play that football game.
I completely agree that the 2012 edition of the Mountaineers has the potential to be a top-10 football team.
But, it has some questions to answer first.
Slow starts, inconsistent offensive line play, abysmal special teams and a defense that gave up nearly 50 points to Syracuse, are just a few hiccups along the road in 2011.
All will need to be fixed before West Virginia can
consistently play at a high level.
I didn't even mention that the Mountaineers currently are yet to name a defensive coordinator for next season.
There hasn't been this much buzz and excitement surrounding an offseason since before the 2008 season.
Whether they'll be competing in the Big East
or Big 12 Conference in 2012, one thing is clear – the Mountaineers have the talent and potential to compete with anyone in the country.
But, let's not get carried away.
Many issues on all three sides of the ball need to be addressed before West Virginia can officially tag itself as a top-10 team in 2012.