There’s no question that West Virginia football has had its fair share of ups and downs, but today we take a glance back at one of the best eras of Mountaineer football. From 2005-07 the Mountaineers had a 33-5 record including three consecutive 11-win seasons. The country was taken by storm from the likes of Pat White, Steve Slaton and Owen Schmitt. Those guys were some bad dudes and were the nucleus of what made the Mountaineers a perennial powerhouse.
Unfortunately we all know how the story ended, the Backyard Brawl that would have sent the Mountaineers to the national championship ended in a 13-9 defeat to the folks up north. On the bright side, during those four seasons with Pat White at the helm WVU went 4-0 in bowl games.
Since ’07 it has been the expectation of West Virginia fans to get 10-11 wins per year, the only thing is a lot has changed, and I mean a lot. The staff has had a complete turnover after Rich Rod threw the Pitt game and bolted for Michigan and then again when Coach Stew passed away and Dana Holgorsen became the man in charge. We have also switched conferences from the Big East where we dominated year after year, to the Big 12 which is full of college football powerhouses. It has been an adjustment period which was expected anytime you make a jump in competition. The games are more of a headline week after week, playing teams like Oklahoma and Texas compared to UConn and South Florida. So here’s the question, can West Virginia find itself where it was ten years ago in the top 5 competing for a playoff spot?
Probably not, at least not yet.
The college football landscape has become more dominated in the last decade by Alabama, Ohio State and Clemson and you can almost guarantee those three to be playoff contenders every year. But let me be bold here and say the ‘Eers are close. Top 5 close? Well…maybe, but close in the sense that I think we can pull off three consecutive 10-win seasons. Dana has built this program up over his tenure and the wins are about to start coming by the boatload. He has himself a defensive coordinator in Tony Gibson that has the defense at the top of the league every year and does not seem to be going anywhere. Not to mention he has premier talent at QB over the next 4-5 years with Florida transfer Will Grier and Miami transfer Jack Allison.
Holgorsen has also reunited with now offensive coordinator, Jake Spavital to help this offense turn back into something special. The staff has been able to compete in recruiting for big time recruits which is something new to us. You are starting to see us sometimes out-recruit those 3 schools I mentioned earlier (Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson). Holgorsen and company are putting more and more guys in the NFL on a consistent basis. West Virginia fans, I promise you, we are closer than you think. Can history repeat 10 years later?