How do you like things now, West Virginia?
You got your money ($4 million from Rich Rod) and you got your loyal coach. I'll repeat: How do you like things now?
Three games into the Bill Stewart administration; you're three losses away from the total ol' Rich lost (five) in his last 37 at Morgantown. The West Virginia message boards were a hoot on Friday. I purposefully waited until now to file this blog in order to properly absorb Thursday's loss at Colorado.
Conclusion: There's something missing. It's more than Owen Schmitt, the blocking back Stewart could have used against Colorado's stubborn defense. It's more than those timeouts that Stewart kept in his holster in the final minute. It's the mojo, the utter confidence the Mountaineers used to have under Rodriguez. At the end, they felt like they could walk into any stadium in the country and win.
Now they are the Grateful Dead after Jerry Garcia died. Soldiering on but just not the same. I don't blame Stewart so much. He is such a nice guy and so authentic. All he did was accept a "Who, me?" promotion after the Fiesta Bowl. His enthusiasm rubs off on everyone.
I blame the West Virginia administration. This is what they wanted, twice. The guy signed his contract a week ago. Now the typical poster to terrybowden.com wants him canned.
"I had a brief moment of hope back in December that you might become our coach," one post to Bowden read, "Now all of the WVU fans are living a nightmare. Wish we could go back in time ..."
The offense has been tweaked just enough so that Patrick White has been shackled. Forty-three yards passing doesn't get it. Yeah, I know White had two touchdown runs Thursday night. But the NCAA's all-time No. 2 quarterback rushing leader carried twice after his second touchdown run with 4:49 left in the third quarter. Twice.
Check out this column from the Charleston Daily Mail, which portrays the mood after the game.
This is going to make for a strange West Virginia season. A team playing for championships might be playing for a low-level bowl in late November.
"It feels like the worst thing in the world right now," said defensive back Quinton Andrews.