CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- While waiting for the final word on WVU athletic director Oliver Luck and his possible move to Texas: As West Virginia University's football team falls deeper and deeper into a hole, we've outlined reasons. We've made commentaries. Now it's time to put forth some facts.
WVU's team has a losing record because it's simply not very good at anything.Seriously.OK, so maybe a couple things. The Mountaineers are No. 8 nationally in net punting. They are No. 26 in punt return defense.Otherwise, the numbers across the board are beyond ugly.To wit:Passing offense - A team with a coach known for its "Air Raid" moniker is ranked No. 56 in passing offense and No. 100 in pass efficiency. If quarterback Clint Trickett had the stats to qualify for an NCAA ranking, he'd be No. 73 in passing yards and No. 107 in passing efficiency. The best efficiency ranking for a WVU QB belongs to injured Ford Childress, who would rank No. 93.Run offense - WVU is averaging 146.4 rushing yards a game. That ranks 89th nationally. Charles Sims, rated before the season at the No. 2 NFL running back prospect, is averaging 75 yards, which is 64th best. Thinkin' that's not what Chaz had in mind when he transferred from Houston.Total and scoring offense - The Mountaineers are No. 78 in total offense, averaging 395.1 yards. They are tied for 94th in scoring offense, averaging 22.9 points. Among the teams they are tied with there is Air Force.Pass defense - WVU is allowing an average of 261.4 passing yards, which ranks No. 100 among 123 teams. It is No. 99 in pass efficiency defense.
Run defense - WVU is allowing an average of 191.1 rushing yards, which is 91st nationally.Total and scoring defense - The Mountaineers are No. 102 in total defense, allowing an average of 452.5 yards. They rest a spot lower than Kansas there. In scoring defense, they are No. 85 and are sandwiched in the NCAA stat by Vanderbilt and Tulsa. They are allowing an average of 30.4 points.Special teams - Aside from the aforementioned categories, WVU is No. 104 in punt returns, No. 102 in kickoff returns and No. 89 in kickoff return defense.Debate what you will, but those are the cold, hard facts.Each Monday evening I host a show at Bobby's Bar and Grill in Cross Lanes. It's an unplugged deal with no radio, but features neat sports guests. This past Monday, Huntington Prep hoops coach Rob Fulford made an appearance and spoke of the upcoming season.
Fulford said although his team lost Andrew Wiggins, last season's No. 1 recruit, to Kansas, he expects a better team across the board in 2013-14. Now known as a national power, the prep school has six players ranked among the nation's top 50 in their class. Fulford is expecting his team to be among the top five in the USA Today national preseason poll.
Two other nuggets:First, the program has become more closely associated with St. Joseph Catholic School, which the players attend during the day. The program is now officially named Huntington St. Joseph Prep. The team name has also been changed from the Express to the Irish.Second, Fulford's team will be making an appearance in Charleston this coming February, playing Riverside Christian Academy of North Carolina at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 19 as part of the Civic Center's Shootout At The Big House tournament.While on the topic of the Shootout, organizer and George Washington High coach Rick Greene said there will more to love this season.
"It's turned into a two-day event," Greene said.Among the other teams expected in the tournament are Woodrow Wilson, Morgantown and South Charleston. It will run Feb. 18-19.While on the subject of Civic Center events, John Robertson of the arena said the men's and women's hoops teams of Marshall and WVU will meet on the same date, Dec. 14, this year.
Also, while the Mountaineer men's team will play a second game - Dec. 29 against William & Mary - at the Civic Center, MU will not.I recently delivered the Gazette Excellence in Sports Award trophies and plaques to George Washington, Bridgeport and Charleston Catholic high schools for last school year's performances. (The awards are for the most successful all-around athletic programs.) Delivering them is always a kick.
In case you haven't seen our GEISA traveling trophies, understand they are large. Each year the new classification winner's school name is inscribed. The school receives a plaque to keep, but the trophy moves on the following year to the next winner."It's like the Stanley Cup," said BHS athletic director Matt DeMotto.Indeed it is.Of course, schools do win the award consecutively. GW has won in Class AAA for four straight years. Charleston Catholic has won in Class A for five."We felt naked here without the trophy," said Catholic AD Bill Gillispie. "I told our golf team we needed to win [the Class A] states to get our GEISA points."Win the Irish did. And finally . . .
A shout out to the 7-8-year-old St. Albans No. 3 coach-pitch softball team. According to a reader, the No. 3 team finished the season 23-0 and has now won 35 straight.Way to go, girls.Reach Mitch Vingle at 304-348-4827, firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at twitter.com/MitchVingle.