Despite all the grumblings about this WVU team and it’s head coach, Bill Stewart, the Mountaineers (7-3, 3-2 Big East) for the last two weeks have done what’s most important, win. With this afternoon’s 17-10 victory over the Louisville Cardinals (5-6, 2-4 Big East) have now positioned themselves to earn at least a share of the Big East title. Individual stars for today’s game were Noel Devine for West Virginia (23 carries, 58yds, 1TD) and J. Burke for Louisville (12 of 24, 145yds, 0TD, 0INT). Honestly, this one was much closer than I expected it to be primarily because of the WVU offensive line.
For those who’ve been wondering why such a talented and speedy team is struggling through the Big East (which is the weakest BCS conference) look no further than the “hogs” up front. Time and time again WVU quarterback Geno Smith finds himself under duress or scrambling around for his life. I mean, sometimes he can’t even finish the second step of a three step drop without having someone right in his face. The troubles upfront are not only during pass coverage but in the running game as well. Devine was WVU’s offensive star of the day with 58yds on 23 carries. Broken down, that’s a meager 2.5yds per carry (just enough for a 1st down on 4 carries).
OK, now that we’ve identified WVU’s main problem let’s jump back into this Big East Title chase that’s turned out to be quite interesting. Boiled down, Pitt is in the driver’s seat with an overall conference record of 4-1 plus, the Panthers control their own destiny. Unlike the other two teams with a realistic shot, WVU and UConn, all Pitt has to do is win out and the Big East Title will reside in Pittsburgh. That said, I’m predicting next week’s “Backyard Brawl” at Heinz Field will fill more like a Bowl game than a regular season conference game. Also, I’ll go one step further and say that the winner will end up being outright Big East Champ. The “Big Ketchup Bottle” will be shaking because of the crowd noise next week for sure.
About the Author
Written by Jason Lee
Born and raised in Charleston, West Virginia, I've been a sports fan probably since I was about 9 years old! A 2002 graduate of Mount Union College (Alliance, OH), I've had the opportunity to cover some great high school football on the radio in both Ohio (working with WHBC in Canton) and in West Virginia (I currently work with Bristol Broadcasting in Charleston). I also keep an on-line journal/blogs on my own website.