Each Monday I’ll highlight three goods and three bads from the weekend in sports. This week, we’ll venture back as far as Thursday night, when TCU routed WVU, 40-10, in Fort Worth.
Our Mike Casazza was there, and he had a unique same-day look at the Mountaineers’ loss, the head coaching situation and the fans who’ve emailed the higher-ups at WVU to clamor for change or offer support. Good, good read.
College football — This felt like one of the best weeks of the season to date. Outside of WVU, Thursday proved to be a harbinger with the UNC-Pitt game (and Ryan Switzer’s continued destruction of the Panthers) and the three-overtime game between Oregon and Arizona State.
Saturday didn’t let up, from Notre Dame’s narrow defeat of Temple in front of ESPN Gameday and a nationally televised audience to the 123 points scored between Oklahoma State and Texas Tech.
(By the way, this Saturday will be my first game in the stands at any college football venue since 2008. I’ll be in Morgantown for Texas Tech-WVU, so be kind.)
Now on the eve of the first College Football Playoff rankings, it’s shaping up to be a November to remember. There are 10 undefeated teams in the top 25, and that includes multiple Group of 5 teams, plus the Big 12’s Oklahoma State and the Big Ten’s Iowa. The Big 12 situation will begin to be sorted out this week with the Pokes play TCU in a battle of unbeatens.
Ryan Switzer — He’s good. Really. When he was piling up Kennedy awards at George Washington High School, the thought was he’d end up at childhood favorite WVU. He didn’t, of course, for one reason or another, and he became an All-American for the Tar Heels.
He lit up Pitt (again) for a career-high 126 yards last Thursday, which included a 71-yard touchdown reception. It was his 10th career receiving TD, which have covered 502 yards. That means Switzer is averaging 50.2 yards per touchdown reception (!).
By the way, Pitt is the only opponent Switzer has receiving TDs against in multiple games.
College hoops — It’s here. WVU Tech played an official game against West Virginia State on Saturday, and then hosted Ohio Eastern on Saturday. I’m devoted to football and basketball, but man I’m elated to have the hoopyball back in my life.
Of course, that means from now through bowl season I’m scheduling my staff through football and basketball. Yikes.
“The Five” — Quincy Wilson has “The Run,” John Pennington has “The Catch,” and Dana Holgorsen has “The Five.”
Holgorsen’s hand-slap with TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin drew a fair amount of attention (and criticism) last Thursday, but that’s not why this is under the 3 down category. I just simply don’t get the ire.
Yes, I saw former players like Pat White scolding the coach on social media. Yes, I witnessed the outcry on Twitter and Facebook from fans. I get it. Dana Holgorsen isn’t a football fan’s favorite person right now, with the four-game losing streak and all.
But my opinion is this: Holgorsen was in a no-win situation. Boykin, if you’d watch, initiated the interaction. He raises his right hand and starts to bring it toward Holgorsen. At this point, Holgorsen has two options: go through with the high-five, or ignore one of the most pleasant and high-profile college football players in the country. Can you imagine the ire directed at Holgorsen — and the WVU program — had the coach ignored an enthusiastic opposing player in the heat of the moment? It might’ve fired up the fan base, but it would’ve been a terrible look.
If you become a regular follower of this blog, you’ll come to realize how much my 3-year-old son plays into my thoughts. Above all else, I’ll teach him about the joy of sports. Let’s have a little fun, OK?
Referees — Story time. Once upon a time I coached in a youth basketball league with my cousin. A friend of mine and I were asked to officiated one of the games, and with no experience, we agreed. It was a terrible experience. Awful. We were booed off the floor, the league decided to not count the games, and as my friend and I exited the gym at DuPont High School, we dropped our payment for the day in the concession stand bucket. We didn’t feel we earned it.
The lesson for me, as a teenager, was that the job is darn tough. I’ve always embraced the human element in sports, which includes officiating, and never criticized it in my work.
But boy, what happened at Miami-Duke, was simply atrocious. That end game play by Miami was an attempt to create chaos, and for that they were successful.
Kudos for the ACC for reacting swiftly and strongly. Thumbs down to the crew that significantly altered Duke’s season.
College football vacancies — It’s peculiar to see so many college football openings on Nov. 2. Halloween is barely in the rearview and Thanksgiving is three weeks away, but here we are with major jobs available at Southern Cal, South Carolina, Maryland, Virginia Tech, Miami, Minnesota and Illinos, plus North Texas, UCF and Hawaii. Sheesh.
You have to wonder how this will play into the minds of athletic directors who are also considering a move this offseason? If more premium landing spots join the aforementioned, it might not be the best offseason to join the fray in search of a new coach.
Know what I mean?