Unreachable Expectations

West Virginia is about to have its worst season in a long, long time.

Since pulling out a win at Texas, the Mountaineers have lost every game they've played. And most of them haven't even been close.

After WVU fell to Oklahoma State 55-34 on Saturday, the Mountaineers dropped to 2-4 in Big 12 Conference play – the same conference is was expected to finish second in at the beginning of the season.

West Virginia won't finish second. Nope, not even close. The Mountaineers can finish no better than fifth place in the conference following Saturday's defeat, and it still has to play the team that will likely finish second in the conference – Oklahoma – a week from now.

This was a team that jumped to No. 5 in the polls after the win at Texas. The Mountaineers were a legitimate national title contender heading into their road game at Texas Tech.

West Virginia, including then-Heisman Trophy frontrunner Geno Smith, hasn't looked the same since. It honestly looks like a completely different team, particularly on offense.

It doesn't matter that West Virginia played to two overtimes with TCU and kept it close with Oklahoma State over the last two weeks. Those are mere moral victories.

This season will go down in a similar way to the 2008 season – Bill Stewart's first as head coach. The Mountaineers came into the season with high expectations. By Week Four, those were long gone. It took a bit longer this season, but those expectations are long gone, and there's no chance to reach them.

Considering it's mid-November, and West Virginia is nowhere near the top 25 or the top of the Big 12 standings, this season has been a disappointment.

And, looking ahead, it likely isn't going to get easier from here.

A year from now, WVU won't have Smith, inside receiver Tavon Austin or an experienced offensive line. It won't have a top 25 ranking to start the season, either.

It could be ugly, especially in a Big 12 that could be just as good next year as it is this year.

The Mountaineers had a chance this season to get back into the national scene. They had the momentum heading into the year after the Orange Bowl victory and haven't been able to match it in their first year in the Big 12.

West Virginia has to win one of its last three games to make it to a bowl game, and at this point it sure feels like the Mountaineers are destined to play in New York City for the Pinstripe Bowl. That is, however, if it can either get past Kansas, Iowa State or Oklahoma.

I Just don't know if I trust the Mountaineers to do that just yet, especially with Kansas coming to life as of late.

Back in August, we all wondered how exactly this team would fare in a new conference – especially when they were expected to do such great things.

The Mountaineers haven't been as good as was advertised back then when "big things were coming." Big things came, and it happened to be the Big 12 teams, which seemed to just be a bit better overall than the Mountaineers.

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