Sat 11/06, 1:00
AP Rank: 15
Last Game: RU
Returning Starters: 16
AP Rank: NR
Last Game: UConn
Returning Starters: 16
Last Meeting: 2003
COULD IT HAPPEN?
After West Virginia's win over Rutgers, Greg Hunter opined that Rasheed Marshall should be the Big East offensive player the year. While Rasheed's passing yardage doesn't equal the numbers put up by QBs such as Dan Orlovsky of Connecticut, Ryan Hart of Rutgers, or Paul Peterson of Boston College, Greg's point was that WVU's senior QB does so many other things that voters will have no choice but to name him the offensive player of the year.
So, does Rasheed have a shot? Fortunately for WVU, the Big East voting is done by the coaches, not the media. Were the latter the case, the speedy senior would have no chance. However, with the guys that have been trying to come up with a way to slow down Rasheed doing the balloting, I think there's a chance for WVU's underrated leader to come home with some hardware from the conference after the season.
As a side note, in my opinion Boston College should not win any conference awards this year. Even if they deserve them, which they don't.
READY, SET, SCHEDULE
One advantage (perhaps the only advantage) to being an independent is that you can announce your football schedule well in advance of most other schools. While WVU, like most other conference members, has to wait until about February for their schedule to be finalized, Temple has already publicized its 2005 football slate.
Judging from the schools on the list, the ACC is still trying to maintain ties with at least one of the schools that it screwed during its midnight run. Maryland, Miami, Clemson,Virginia and North Carolina State all appear on the Owls 2005 slate. And, amazingly enough, the Hurricanes, Terrapins and Wolfpack will all make trips to Lincoln Financial Field for their contests. Should the Owls pull off a miracle next year and win, say, four of those games, would that qualify them for a slot in the ACC championship game?
MISLEADING STAT OF THE WEEK
Those who mantain that West Virginia runs the ball too much often point to the Mountaineer stat book, which does indeed show a big disparity between runs and passes. Following the Rutgers game, WVU had rushed the ball 396 times, as opposed to just 146 passes – a 73-27 ratio. However, one thing that stat doesn't take into account is plays that were called as passes, but ended up as runs because a receiver wasn't open or the protection broke down, which resulted in a Rasheed Marshall carry.
While I'll be the first to admit that I haven't charted every play this year to get an exact total, I'd be willing to be that the number of such plays averages around eight per game. Apply those figures, and you come up with a play call ratio of 332 runs to 210 passes – a 61-39 mark. Given WVU's prowess in running the ball, I don't think there are many people who would complain about those numbers.
TELLING STAT OF THE WEEK
Unlike the last item, this next figure is 100% meaningful. After a pair of seasons finishing in the top five in the country in turnover margin, the Mountaineers again are protecting the football well. West Virginia is ninth in the nation this week in that important stat, with a plus rating of 1.13.
Say what you will about West Virginia's conservative attack, but there's no disputing that approach has helped the Mountaineers get a number of wins that they might not otherwise have enjoyed.
The game matches the most-penalized (WVU) and least penalized (Temple) teams in the league. One might observe that, with several Owl games decided by halftime, officials may have chosen to keep their flags in their pockets at times. Of course, that would assume some rational thought on the part of Big East officials.
BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR
I wonder how the proprietors of FireRonZook.com are feeling after Visor Boy announced that he was not willing to come back to Florida? I hope Florida has a long, ugly and protracted search for a new head coach – it's just what they deserve.
|WVU 7-1, 3-0
TU 1-7, 0-3
|Sat 11/06 1:00 pm|
|Series: WVU leads 23-12|
|BCS: WVU-16 TU-112|
|Line: WVU -28|
|Stats & Trends|
The Owls have an incredible 30 junior college players on their roster. I understand Temple's rationale for recruiting juco players, but they went way overboard with that strategy. Temple has next to no hope to be competitive as an independent next year, and even if the Owls get scooped up by the MAC or even drop to 1AA or lower, it's going to be a long while before they are competitive again.
YOU CAN'T MAKE THIS STUFF UP
The call letters of the radio station that broadcasts Temple football is WPHT. As in "pffffffttt" the sound made when air is leaking out of a football. Could anything be more appropriate for the Temple program?