WVU Sports with Tom Bragg

A late Sunday night depth chart

So this happened at 8:32 last night with about 28 minutes to go before deadline, which isn’t entirely unbefitting for the conversation we had last week.

The whole thing begins after the jump and is followed by thoughts I let loose on Twitter last night since I didn’t have the time or space to jam them into a story.

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Friday Feedback

Welcome to the Friday Feedback, which for a while felt like it had been lied to all these years. Mean Gene Okerlund is a West Virginia University graduate?

Mean Gene Okerlund is not a West Virginia University graduate.

The alumni association has no record, and though the friendly folks there say their record-keeping is not perfect, the university’s registrar has no record either.

And on top of that, an industry insider says Gene attended Nebraska and finished at Panepistimion Makedonias.

It’s too bad because we need Eugene in some capacity.

It’s West Virginia versus Texas Tech on the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG. Who will survive?

Oh, man. What if he was the sideline reporter?

Q: Dana, what in the world happened on the final drive of this half? You have two timeouts remaining and you end up attempting a 57-yard field goal to end the half.

A: Well you know something, Mean Gene …

I might sue now, just to buy IMG and Mean more time. WVU’s new baseball and women’s basketball play-by-play man, Jeff Culhane, comes to Morgantown from the University of Nebraska. Maybe they can be a package deal.

True story: M.G.’s burger place opened on campus when I was in school and he was out celebrating the opening whilst I was out celebrating a friend’s birthday. We ended up talking for a while. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but I know John Oliver was involved. He was like Gene’s muscle that night. Anyhow, a bunch of things randomly happen and I’m in a corner at a bar with Gene and my man’s wearing a tuxedo.

This is my Wrestlemania moment.

We get to talking and he’s very cool. Not a big-timer. Not scanning the room trying to get away. He’s with WCW at the time and WCW was hot back then. He nevertheless compliments the WWF and says I should remain a fan of its product. I concur, because, come on, Mean Gene, but “… there’s something missing, if you know what I … mean … Gene.”

Mic. Drop.

The music did not stop and the crowd did not gasp. He laughed and we carried on our conversation. It wasn’t much longer. It was definitely long enough that I’m sure I didn’t roll his eyes and scare him off, nor was it so long that I felt he was compelled to stick around a deranged fan lest he find his limo tires slashed outside the bar. Pretty sure I was signing T-shirts and taking pictures as I left the place that night, but that might be some other occasion, I’m not sure. It’s nevertheless one of my very best moments.

Love that guy.

Onto the Feedback. As always, comments appear as posted. In other words, don’t get carried away.

(Late breaking: Just looked at my phone — Holton AND Macon are both eligible. That’s mildly surprising and extraordinarily encouraging news for Bob Huggins. Good job, good effort.)
(Update: There was some misinformation out there. Macon is enrolled, but he’s not yet ruled eligible. There’s a difference. Haven’t heard anything to derail the Holton news, though.)

Jeff in Akron said:

Gotta say, I’m not sure what a WVU football season, or basketball for that matter, would be like without this blog. I hope I never have to find out!

Good Luck Mike! I’ve thought for some time that the radio coverage of WVU sports was lacking, that just changed and I’m not referring to IMG.

You won’t find out this season, I promise. The radio show, which debuts Thursday in its 8-10 p.m. slot on SMCRadio.com, is something separate, but not necessarily additional. It’s not taking away from the blog, which I was planning on thinning out for 2013 anyhow. Fear not. 

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And then there were two

We know Tony Caridi will handle play-by-play duties for WVU football games and now we know who will provide some commentary for IMG.

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These two videos are related, I promise.

Come see how Darwin Cook came back to being his old self while learning how Jarrod Harper came to be at WVU.


So the nearly 300-pound Darrien Howard was approved by the NCAA’s Eligibility Center yesterday and is to be on campus today. Though a redshirt probably awaits him, as well as Isaac McDonald, WVU saw every one of its 2013 recruits qualify academically.

I went back through 12 years of media guides and couldn’t find another time that that happened. It’s very rare these days, so good on WVU and the way it’s refined its process by more or less targeting kids who are likely to qualify and avoiding the most crooked question marks.

And since qualification is the soup of the day …

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For the record …

… I didn’t say Elijah Macon and/or Jonathan Holton wouldn’t make it for the 2013-14 season. For all I know, one or both will. I tweeted said this:

Translation: If you thought neither player was in the student directory Monday because maybe one or both enrolled Monday and so did many others and it would take time to process one or both with all the others, well, neither Elijah Macon nor Jonathan Holton were in the directory Tuesday. To reinforce that observation, WVU said there were no changes (Read: additions) to its roster. One or both can enroll as late as Friday afternoon.

For some reason, that’s getting twisted into “Not gonna happen!”

Not what I said!

I have no top secret insight here. I’m going on, like I said, observation and reinforcement — or contradiction. Either is acceptable.

Now, what’s the directory worth? It’s a very reliable, though by no means absolute, indication that a player is good to go. I say this because Darrien L. Howard, from Dayton, Ohio, is new to the system today. I’m waiting on a confirmation from WVU on that one, as well as what might be d’Vante Henry’s return. If Howard is in, then every one of WVU’s 2013 recruits made it to campus, which is phenomenal.

Confession that won’t surprise you: Sometimes I fixate on players who others would not give much time or ink to.

There are explanations, oftentimes a singular story, play, effort or moment, that are otherwise anonymous, but nevertheless intrigue me. You can trace this back across time, but I know, because others have told me, that the list includes A.J. Nastasi, Vaughn Rivers, Ricky Kovatch, Jim Lewis, Cecil Level, K.J. Dillon, Austin Copeland and many others. Really not a star among those names.

And sometimes I’m rewarded.

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Now we can talk about this

We have a radio show. It’s called “Scoop and Score.” It debuts at 8 p.m. Aug. 29 on SMCRadio.com. It will be about college football nationally with a focus on the Big 12. It’s going to be good because I know lots of people who will help make it good, including you.

I’m still with the Daily Mail and I’ll still be here, but I might here less frequently. I’d already planned to scale things back with the blog, and your constructive suggestions shaped the way this is going to look once the season starts, but this radio show is also something I’m doing on Thursday nights. I’m always done with the week by Thursday night, so I’m not going to be mailing anything in, either.

Lastly, you can listen live, but they always turn around a podcast pretty quickly. You know I need you, yes? The time and the environment are right for SMC to take off and go far.

Any questions?

Sooner or later, we’ll find out the identity of WVU’s starting quarterback — I refuse to believe in a game-time decision. We have opinions on who, but I need to know how we’ll know who it is.

Will Dana Holgorsen use his Twitter feed? Will it be a writer and a “source?” Will a player let it slip? Will there be a press release?

Will Shannon Dawson debut an Instagram account holding the day’s newspaper in one hand and the jersey of the starter in the other? Will it be a 90-minute IMG production at the Bartlett House whereby a telethon will benefit the homeless shelter and the most generous donor gets to open the envelope and read the name like it’s the Oscars?

Or will it be on the Big 12 teleconference Monday?

It’s too big for that, right?

Once more, with a ceiling

I intended to post this yesterday, but I wanted to give the All-Camp team some time and, honestly, what’s one more day of bickering with West Virginia Radio?

The WVRC folks were not happy with the Daily Mail Friday. They fired off emails demanding both an apology and a better presentation of the facts as they related to the initial bid for WVU’s Tier 3 rights — never mind that they didn’t return calls Thursday when the story was being written. They were compelled to send out a fact sheet Friday once the story was picked up and disseminated by the Associated Press.

So Jared Hunt took a closer look and gave a better representation of the facts as they related to the initial bid. It turns out WVRC’s projections were off.

WVRC again defended its position yesterday, but really and truly it comes down to a series of facts that can’t be bent: IMG College not only guaranteed more money, but its projected money was well above WVRC’s projected money. While WVRC had some noble aims, like keeping money inside the state, WVU ultimately wanted to do something different, which was the inspiration for this idea so long ago. That’s it, but if you want to add the fact that IMG is the best at this and thus gives WVU very little to worry about, you go right ahead and do that.

All that aside, the lawsuit seeking to stop WVU and IMG from partnering goes forward with an initial hearing Monday. See you then.