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Author Archives: Mitch Vingle

Streamline player/bowl process

Streamline player/bowl process

If you happen to be a friend of mine on Facebook, perhaps you can guess today’s hot topic.

Over the weekend, it sparked comment after comment after comment. It sparked looooonnng comments. It sparked heated comments.

I write, of course, of quarterback Will Grier’s decision to skip WVU’s upcoming Camping World Bowl against Syracuse. (Oddly, I didn’t see the same blowback when left tackle Yodny Cajuste – who protects Grier’s backside – also announced he was sitting out for the second straight year.)

“It’s not even worth watching now,” wrote one of my Facebook friends.

“Lost all respect for him,” wrote another.

It continued.

“Letting down his fans, his coaches and his teammates… He has turned his back on his brothers.”

Then there was the other side.

“Will Grier, thanks for all you have done for WVU! I wish you nothing but the best.”

“You people are out of control. He made the right decision for HIM and his FAMILY.”

“This is the reality of college sports today. Unless I get some of the bowl money or we are competing for a national championship, pass.”

For many, it’s another disappointment thrown on the bigger disappointment of the season. WVU had its quarterback. It had its offensive line (for the most part). It had its receivers. A run at a Big 12 title and College Football Playoff was a legitimate goal.

And look at the numbers. Grier did his part. He finished as the nation’s third-highest graded QB, according to Pro Football Focus. He put up 9.7 yards per attempt. His passing grade and PFF grade was 91.9. He finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting.

My view is it’s tough to get mad at the guy because he’s skipping a bowl game against Syracuse. He brought excitement to the Mountaineer program when it was most needed. He gave WVU a chance. There were simply other holes, which we went over in a prior blog.

Now, am I happy he’s skipping the bowl? Absolutely not. I enjoyed watching Grier. I loved watching his connection to David Sills, Gary Jennings and the rest of the receivers. I loved watching his swagger.

Yet I get it. It’s the Camping World Bowl. Against Syracuse. And the more Grier and Cajuste are on the field, the more they are exposing themselves to injury. They have already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, which is a pseudo-tryout for the NFL. (Please don’t compare the two.) How many times should they go out there in one year?

That written, however, I do believe something should be done to pad the blow to die-hard fans. This year, WVU fans were hit with the high-profile bowl loss of Grier. Joining him are players like projected top-five NFL pick and Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, dynamic South Carolina receiver Deebo Samuel, projected first-round pick and LSU cornerback Greedy Williams and standout Iowa tight end Noah Fant. In the past, Leonard Fournette and Christian McCaffrey made waves by sitting out.

What I suggest is the NCAA and players try to calm those waves. My proposal is they come together — and agree to give fans and bowls as much notice as possible.

I know without a players association, nothing will be ironclad. Yet if the NCAA would set up a system before bowl announcements are made, I don’t see why players like Grier, etc., would buck the idea.

Take this season, for instance. Give Grier as much draft status input as possible from the NFL. Give him the likely bowl scenarios. Then ask where or if he’d play. In the Alamo against Washington State? In the Camping World against Syracuse? Both? Neither?

Then share the information with the bowls before teams are selected and, certainly, with fans as soon as the matchups are announced. Strive for transparency. Don’t drag feet and risk upsetting longtime fans.

See, I understand if WVU fans are disappointed Grier isn’t playing in Orlando. Yet I would likewise understand steam from the ears if tickets are purchased, if plane and hotel reservations are made, if vacation days are requested and THEN Grier announced he’d sit.

Again, the NCAA should strive for a streamlined process. If such players can’t make up their minds right away, well, there’s nothing you can do about it. But at least roll out a process to try and help. Try to take the sting out of fans’ bowl experience.

Might that result in some lost bowl revenue? Maybe.

Yet considering the dwindling college football fanbase, the goodwill would be well worth it.

Breaking down WVU’s regular season

Breaking down WVU’s regular season

Much is swirling around the WVU football program on this Monday. As expected, Mountaineer coach Dana Holgorsen’s name has been floated in regard to openings. Some have questioned whether Will Grier and others will participate in the upcoming bowl game. There is uncertainty over the bowl destination. (Does the College Football Playoff committee take Oklahoma… Continue Reading

Breaking down OU-WVU game; hoops

Breaking down OU-WVU game; hoops

Maybe it was a pipe dream. Yet WVU fans were hoping. Had their Mountaineers finished the regular season with one loss and a Big 12 championship in hand, perhaps upsets elsewhere would have slipped WVU into the College Football Playoff. It seemed the year for the possibility. Will Grier, David Sills, Gary Jennings, etc., lead… Continue Reading

Great time for WVU; addressing UT game, refs

Great time for WVU; addressing UT game, refs

The New Views from here: This past weekend, it was horns down to Texas. Yet everything seems to be looking up in regard to WVU on this Monday. The Mountaineer football team won a dramatic game in Austin to move to No. 7 in the Associated Press poll and No. 8 in the USA Today… Continue Reading

WVU’s big game at Texas; nice hoops ‘win’

WVU’s big game at Texas; nice hoops ‘win’

It’s a little difficult to believe. Here we rest on this Oct. 29 – with college football’s regular season three quarters of the way completed. WVU, of course, is short a game at 6-1 because Hurricane Florence forced a cancellation of the North Carolina State contest. Yet the Mountaineers are No. 10 in the USA… Continue Reading

Getting a handle on WVU-Baylor; hello to Oscar

Getting a handle on WVU-Baylor; hello to Oscar

Try as I might, getting a handle on WVU’s Thursday home game against 4-3 Baylor is difficult. Part of the reason, of course, is the way the Mountaineers have played of late. Yet the biggest part is the way BU has played. After a pair of wins over Abilene Christian and UTSA (come on, BU,… Continue Reading

Awaiting WVU’s elusive championship

Awaiting WVU’s elusive championship

As WVU’s loss at Iowa State unfolded into certainty, I couldn’t help but flash back to January of 1989. And to dearly departed scribe Mickey Furfari. At the time, he was my boss as the sports editor at the Dominion Post in Morgantown. We, along with a few others from the newspaper, were sent to… Continue Reading

An optimistic yet wait-and-see approach to WVU

An optimistic yet wait-and-see approach to WVU

West Virginia University’s football team is in some rarified air right now. Not like that of 2007, mind you, when the Mountaineers climbed to No. 1 in the coaches’ poll and No. 2 in the A.P. poll, but rarified nonetheless at No. 6 in both rankings. Yet I’m getting the feeling those in the Mountain… Continue Reading

WVU’s ‘relaxation situation’ and Kansas

WVU’s ‘relaxation situation’ and Kansas

WVU fans might cringe when they see their Mountaineers are favored in Las Vegas by 29 points (and climbing) for Saturday’s home game with Kansas. Simply stirs up bad memories, this being-a-four-touchdown-fav business. There was that Backyard Brawl deal in 2007 that may never stop stinging. And last year, heavy underdog KU gave WVU fits… Continue Reading

Dana and Kliff; Tech and WVU defense talk?

Dana and Kliff; Tech and WVU defense talk?

Something just wasn’t quite right on Monday’s Big 12 conference call. There was Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury talking about the Red Raiders’ defense. There was WVU’s Dana Holgorsen talking about the Mountaineers’ defense. In a good way. Odd, perhaps, considering the recent failures of both schools’ defense. Yet take a look at this Saturday’s… Continue Reading

Holgorsen’s Saturday; WVU notes

If you wondered what WVU football coach Dana Holgorsen was doing this past Saturday, well, it was probably the same thing as you – if you’re a sports fan. “I’m a college football fan, now,” Holgorsen told ESPN radio’s GameDay during the Oklahoma-Iowa State game. “At the end of the day, I like watching football… Continue Reading

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