Tuesday, October 23, 2012

It's the The Great Implosion, Charlie Brown

This week is one of my favorites. It's the stretch before Halloween, which means I'm busy finishing up my costume, carving pumpkins, jumping in leaf piles, and watching any and all scary-related programming on TV.

And on this past Saturday night, I got a front-row, first hand seat to one of the scariest things I've seen in a while: the implosion of the WVU football team.
That's not a happy face

Just two short weeks ago, after a brilliant victory in Austin over the Texas Longhorns, Mountaineer fans were riding an extreme high. Our team was ranked #5 in the country, and our quarterback was seemingly a shoo-in for the Heisman trophy. Although our defense was...shall we say, shaky?!?....our offense was lighting up the sky with an air raid that was as exciting to watch as it was automatic to count on.

Then Texas Tech happened. In horror, we watched as the Red Raiders manhandled our squad like a bunch of Pop Warner league school children. To make matters worse, rumors of the Mountaineers' arrogance and attitude swirled faster than Coach Dana Holgorsen's hair in the blistering Texas wind.

"An anomaly," I thought. "They have those games every year. I bet they'll come back next week at home with a vengeance." So I didn't worry too much. Sure, that loss was unfortunate, but it wasn't devastating by any means. A win over #4 Kansas State would put us right back in the driver's seat.


When all was said and done this past Saturday evening, the carnage was like something out of a George Romero movie. I'll spare everyone the awful details, only to say that the final box score read:  K-State- 52, WVU- 14.

And after that travesty, it was time to face facts: WVU is in full implosion mode.

Why? What the hell has happened in the past two weeks to make things go downhill so, so terribly fast?

Well, for starters, the defense is clearly well past shaky. They suck, pure and simple. According to the coaches, it's not the schemes being run...it's the players. Alright, I'll buy the fact that we don't seem to have personnel that can cover any pass deeper than two yards. However, if the coaches know that to be the case, isn't there something they can do to "dumb" down the coverage? Or maybe tell their guys to at least be in front a receiver, not behind him, when a ball is being thrown down the sidelines?

But we all knew the defense wasn't going to win any awards, and having the best two defensive players out in Will Clarke and Broderick Jenkins isn't helping. The TRULY frightening thing is what's happened to the offense, and more specifically, Geno Smith. The Heisman leader has looked anything but the last two games, leading this sportsonista to believe something is going on with him mentally or emotionally.

When asked what the issues were with the offense following Saturday's slaughter, Holgorsen snidely commented, "We've put up hundreds of yards of offense. I didn't suddenly forget how to coach."

So, then Holgs...what, exactly, is the problem? Is not having Shawne Alston as an extra back finally taking its toll? Is it Stedman Bailey's sparse play the last two games? Did Geno buy too much into his Heisman hype?

All I can say is, I'm glad the team has a week off to work out their issues. Because if something isn't turned around, and fast, it's going to be a longggggggggggg rest of the season.

Image provided by espn. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Take Me to the Promised (Grant)land

Bill Simmons is my idol.

The way young girls worship Justin Beiber? The way ultra-Republicans pant over Rush Limbaugh? That's how I feel about Bill Simmons.

Mr. "Sports Guy" himself is the reason I wanted to start a sports blog. He's like if a sports encyclopedia mated with Conan O'Brien (or someone equally as funny). His pithy, witty sports columns are all that I strive (and, probably mostly, fail) to be.

Our relationship started out fairly breezy, as my friend Leah would say. I would occasionally take a gander over to ESPN.com to catch a Sports Guy column...mostly mail bags, but also a feature piece or two.

Then came his "Bill Simmons Goes to Vegas" piece (read part 1 and part 2 here). I read it until I cried. I made my parents read it. I told the world about it. I was that annoying person who would refer to Simmons as if we brunched every weekend and then, when people would give me dumb looks, would incredulously say, "You don't know who Bill Simmons IS?"

It was probably at that moment that I went past "breezy" to full-fledged obsessed.


Last year, Simmons branched out from his ESPN gig to create a safe environment for other hilarious sports-minded writers like himself.

I'm still waiting for my invite to join the staff, BTW.

Thus, Grantland was born. And it was glorious.

But, I didn't visit as often as I should. Not even when Mark Titus of "Club Trillion" (a Bill Simmons prodigy and former walk-on for the Ohio State Buckeye basketball team) joined the ranks.

If you've never heard of Mark Titus, please read his "Love in an Elevator" blog post. You're welcome.

Anyhoo, I think it was the narcissist in me. Or the lazy in me. Either way, I didn't want to be influenced by the awesomeness that I would find on the site. I needed to keep a sense of self in my own blog, even if that sense was totally inferior.

About now, you may be asking yourself...why the hell is she telling me this? Is the sports-o-nista that hard up for topics that she's rambling about other sports blogs?

Well, yes, partly. But mostly because as of late, Grantland has been focusing on one particular topic near and dear to my heart: WVU.

It started last Friday with a blurb about current Heisman front-runner Geno Smith. I promptly shared on my facebook page, then spent the entire weekend asking people if they had seen it. When they responded "No", I would make them listen as I read it aloud.

And then Tuesday, this post appeared. Anything that likened Head Coach Dana Holgorsen's hair to being ravaged by a family of vengeful squirrels was alright in my book. I mean seriously, can you imagine?

I guess what I'm trying to say is this....Bill Simmons already had my heart. But now that Grantland has made my Mountaineers their go-to topic of choice? My obsession has been reinforced, reinvigorated, and revitalized.

So, thank you Bill Simmons. Thank you Grantland. I was never good at "breezy" anyway.

Images provided by sportsjournalistsprofile, and kwc.

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