I won't lie and say I wasn't concerned, but I wasn't quite ready to jump off the nearest bridge when the Angels drafted him. His father's comments to us on Monday showed that WVU was still very much in the picture, and while a big pot of money might have turned Patrick's head away from the football field, the contract being offered apparently wasn't close to that.
The saga might not be closed, of course. The Angels could come back with a bigger offer later, but from interviews with the Whites I get the feeling they are a family with integrity. They were upfront and honest throughout this process, and I don't see any reason why that would change. Therefore, I'm confident that Patrick will be in Morgantown this fall. Just like I am with Jason Gwaltney and Scooter Berry in 2005.
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Up next is a spot of praise where it's due. WVU fans have been clamoring for early season games, especially those around Labor Day, to begin in late afternoon or early evening. The WVU athletic department, including Ed Pastilong and Mike Parsons, along with president David Hardesty, took at least a bit of heed to those pleas, and have scheduled both East Carolina (6:00 p.m.) and James Madison (4:00 p.m.) in those slots.
Those administrators take a good bit of criticism for just about everything they do, so isn't it fair that they also get some praise now and then?
Those looking for something to snipe at are already complaining about the Maryland start time (noon), but that was dictated by television. West Virginia simply cannot pass up any television money, no matter how desirable it would have been to host the Terps in a night game.
There are simply too many other games on that date that are more attractive in prime time, at least to television moguls. A few of those include UCLA-Washington, Nebraska-Pitt, Notre-Dame-Michigan State, LSU-Auburn, Ohio State-North Carolina State, Florida-Tennessee, Oregon-Oklahoma, and Clemson-Texas A&M.
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Finally, I'm sure that it wasn't an intentional slam, but I want to clarify a point made in a recent newspaper column comparing the non-conference basketball schedules of West Virginia and Marshall.
The column noted that the Herd had "a reputation to keep" in non-conference scheduling, and added that their non-conference strength of schedule in the RPI was 81, while WVU's, while improved, was only 188. It should be pointed out that each school played two NCAA tournament teams in their non-conference schedules, with each school going 1-1 in those contests.
Again, I believe that this wasn't an knock at WVU, but the column should have pointed out that West Virginia can't afford to schedule a killer non-conference slate, because the Big East is way ahead of the MAC in terms of overall competition. Marshall played one NCAA tournament team in the MAC, while WVU faced six. West Virginia's overall SOS was 75, while the Herd's was 93.
And before I get flooded with e-mails, yes, I understand the point of the column was non-conference schedules. However, the introduction of the out of conference SOS rankings may have led some people to believe that West Virginia plays an inferior schedule, when that's not the case at all. Besides, if we don't bring it up, no one else will!