I've been following WVU football since I was five. I was there when John Denver commemorated the then new Mountaineer Field. I went to every home game with my family from then until I moved away in 1999. I watched the team triumph over Doug Flutie when the Eagles were flying high. I saw Dan Marino and the Panthers demolish my beloved Mountaineers at home when they rolled into town. I grew up during the era of the greatest tandem in sports radio... Jack Flemming and Woody O'Hara. Over the years there are several things that have held true through to this very day.
1. WVU Football will never win a National Championship. My dad has been following the team since the mid-60s, and my grandpa since the late 1930s. They both only saw the very same two undefeated seasons that I did -- 1988 and 1993. Both times we had a great offense and defense, and both times we failed to achieve immortality. For the past 19 years since, we have done the same thing year in and year out. WVU football builds up the hopes a dreams of millions of insane (I'll explain this later) fans only to dash them to bits by embarrassing themselves before a nationally televised audience. This year is no different. Especially with no defense... How could we really fool ourselves that this year was 'the year'? You can change coaches, change staff, change conferences and hell even change uniforms... but it won't change the fact that the same thing will happen over and over and over again.
2. WVU Football fans are clinically insane. The same can be said about several teams and their fans. We go in every season doing the same things and expecting a different result. As humans, we are doomed to repeat history. WVU's football history lessons tell us that we have never won a national title... ever. The likelihood that this will happen is somewhere between a skinny cowboy and a woman of the convent.
3. Great offense alone won't win championships. This one should be crystal clear after the recent loss to Texas Tech. Great football teams are powerhouses on all three sides of the ball. Our offense can't prop up the 2012 squad any longer. There's no 'offense' in the word 'team'.
4. Pat Miller is the worst defensive back in the history of the program. This holds to be true. I've seen some bad ones in my day, but this kid takes the prize. I'm only going to go back through the 2011 season to somewhat spare his feelings, but I'm sure the trend is there if you want to look. The reason WVU lost its games in 2011 and thus far in 2012 are all because the opposing defenses discovered the same thing... get anyone on your team with opposable thumbs one-on-one with Miller, and there's an 88 percent chance you'll get a touchdown. The same will hold true through the rest of this season. WVU will likely seek vengeance out on K-State, and win. They will then climb back from 14th to 11th in the polls only to fall to 18th when OU trounces them in November, and down to 23rd when Iowa State hands them their bonnets in Ames.
5. The road ahead isn't any brighter. Having said all of this, one can expect a cyclic pattern to ensue for the next 15 years. This was our shot at glory year. Next year we will go 4-8 because we'll be weak on all three sides of the game. In 2014 we'll improve with experience to 7-5, and get back into a 'who cares' bowl. By 2015 and 2016 WVU will again compete for Big XII prominence with 10-2 or 11-1 records. The only way WVU will ever stand a chance at competing for a national title will be if they either go undefeated which is highly unlikely, or if the playoff system expands to an 8-team quarterfinal series. Even by then (circa 2016) we would get into the playoffs only to get pummeled by the number one team in the country.
So, there's the cold hard truth. If you're young and growing up a Mountaineer like most of us, then toughen your skin and harden your heart. This is the way it'll be. If you're thinking about jumping on any kind of bandwagon -- I'd stay off. The wagon's only running on one good wheel these days, and that one's about to snap clean off.