The Mountaineers were nearly a top 10 team at the start of the season. They came in with so many expectations and met none of them – besides maybe the high-scoring offense expectation.
Sure, West Virginia had great offensive players like Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey. Sure, the Mountaineers have one of the best offensive schemes in the country behind the mind of head coach Dana Holgorsen.
But WVU scored just 14 points in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in its 38-14 loss to former Big East Conference rival Syracuse.
Smith will likely be first or second in total passing yards in the NCAA, Austin will finish as a top two all-purpose runner and Bailey will have the most receiving touchdowns this year. But, none of that matters when WVU finishes with six losses.
The West Virginia defense will likely go down as the worst in school history. Find me one that was worse. Coordinator Joe DeForest – or should I say former coordinator – took WVU from a decent defensive unit to one of the worst in the nation.
The Mountaineers won't end up being the worst passing defense in the country likely – mainly because Syracuse rushed the ball so well on Saturday – but No. 119 in the nation isn't something to applaud either.
There's no doubt in my mind former defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel would never have allowed this defense to be as porous as it ended up being.
By the time the fourth quarter started, West Virginia was out of this game – against Syracuse. Yes, that Syracuse.
West Virginia never should've been as bad as it was. It was a disappointment much of the final three months of the season.
To think this was a top 5 team is amazing based on what we saw Saturday.
This is merely a poorly coached team that didn't meet any of its goals.
Saturday's game was a perfect example of that. The Mountaineers were penalized on basically every big play it had – and they were fairly obviously good calls, too, for the most part. Again, Holgorsen was happy to waste timeouts to argue with the referees than save them when needed most at the end of the game if it ended up being close.
It wasn't close, though, so it really didn't matter.
This went from a season that everyone hoped would be one to remember. It was the Mountaineers' first year in the newly renovated Big 12 Conference, and they had all the makings of an offensive juggernaut.
It never happened.
When you set yourself up with big expectations and fail, it's hard to be easy on a team. This is just the reality of sports, and big-time athletics at the collegiate level.
So, the 2012 season will likely go down as one every WVU fan would love to forget. But, will it be one that causes the Mountaineers' program to fall from the ranks of the nation's best?
I worry. I really do.
It's up to Holgorsen to prevent that from happening. And based on his coaching job this year, I just don't know if he's up to the task.