WVU still in position for exciting bowl game
Published: Friday, November 30, 2012
Updated: Friday, November 30, 2012 00:11
When initially considering the lofty preseason expectations West Virginia entered the 2012 college football season with, it’s pretty obvious this year’s five-loss season has been a bit of a disappointment for Mountaineers’ enthusiasts.
Despite somewhat of an underwhelming inauguration into one of the nation’s top football conferences this year, West Virginia still has some very alluring prospects for a great bowl game.
Yes, it’s true that West Virginia won’t be able to follow last year’s magical run at the Discover Orange Bowl with another BCS berth, and it’s basically assured that, like the Mountaineers, their opponent won’t even be ranked, but these things won’t entirely diminish the postseason experience for West Virginia.
In fact, West Virginia will likely have the opportunity to either square off against former No. 1 USC in a match-up that would feature two of the nation’s most electric athletes, – and two of the nation’s best quarterbacks – reclaim the Ben Schwartzwalder against Syracuse, or perhaps even get a chance to renew the notorious Backyard Brawl at Yankee Stadium in New York.
The Daily Athenaeum’s resident bowl specialist and Multimedia Editor Greg Madia said as of right now, the Mountaineers are most likely to face either the UCLA Bruins or the Trojans of Southern California in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, assuming they take care of business against lowly Kansas Saturday at Mountaineer Field.
Either one would be an outstanding matchup for the Mountaineers.
No. 16 UCLA is actually playing for a chance to go to the Rose Bowl this weekend against No. 8 Stanford, but if they fall, the Bruins would most likely end up taking third place in the Pac-12 and advance to the Holiday Bowl. Meanwhile, Oregon, who is not playing in the Pac-12 Championship game, is expected to pick up the at-large bid for the Fiesta Bowl with their 9-1 record.
USC could also slip into the Holiday Bowl against West Virginia, and although UCLA is the higher-ranked opponent, a matchup between the offenses of USC and WVU would be absolutely electrifying.
The game would be a blur, considering the fact that either SC’s Marqise Lee and WVU’s Tavon Austin, the No. 2 and No. 3 players in all-purpose yardage this season, would be on the field at all times, cultivating countless problems against the opposition’s defense, but providing immense entertainment for college football enthusiasts.
Add in the fact that this matchup would also feature two of the nation’s most elite quarterbacks – Geno Smith and Matt Barkley – and you could easily have one of the most exciting and high-octane-scoring bowls of the entire year on your hands.
West Virginia still has one game to play, however, and if they do somehow manage to fall to Kansas, who has lost 20 consecutive conference games, it would be more likely that the Mountaineers would slip to either the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas or the New Era Pinstripe Bowl held at Yankee Stadium in New York.
Playing against either Michigan State or Purdue in the Meineke Car Care Bowl doesn’t exactly hold a lot of significance in the big picture, but if the Mountaineers fall to Kansas and are selected for the Pinstripe Bowl, it’s almost certain West Virginia would be able to renew a rivalry with a former Big East opponent in either Syracuse or Pittsburgh.
While no legitimate West Virginia fan would be able to root against the Mountaineers Saturday against Kansas, the idea of being able to reclaim the aforementioned Ben Schwartzwalder trophy from Syracuse or write a new chapter in the historic Backyard Brawl rivalry with Pitt is extremely appealing.
Last weekend, when the great rivalry games like Bedlam, the Civil War, the Battle of the Palmetto and a host of others were going on, it was hard not to feel left out. Normally it would have been about the time of year for the annual Backyard Brawl with Pittsburgh, but conference realignment eradicated that regular season matchup this year, and to be honest, I missed it and I’m sure others did too.
But the big point I’m trying to make is that regardless of what bowl for which West Virginia is eventually selected, you can fullyexpect an exciting postseason to ensue for the Mountaineers in December 2012.