Dana Holgorsen got off to a soaring start at West Virginia, winning 15 of his first 18 games as coach. But the rigors of the team's first-ever trip through the Big 12 began to kick in midway through 2012. The Mountaineer defense collapsed and the team lost five in a row.
West Virginia staggered into the postseason but was roughed up by Syracuse, 38-14, in the Pinstripe Bowl and finished 7-6.
Will the defense rebound? It can't get much worse. The Mountaineers finished 108th in total defense, so there's really nowhere to go but up.
Yes, West Virginia seems like an odd fit for the Big 12. Its nearest league rival is Iowa State, and Ames is an 870-mile drive. The trek to Lubbock is 1,470 miles. Certainly not fan-friendly, but it's part of the new reality of college sports. The Mountaineers open Big 12 play Sept. 29 by playing host to Baylor. The first league trip is Oct. 6 to Austin to play Texas, followed the next week with the journey to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech.
John Woolard is a veteran journalist and sports radio talk show host based in Los Angeles. He spent much of his childhood in West Virginia and is a contributor to West Virginia Illustrated. He wrote this column on the late Bill Stewart.
They say Bill Stewart died of a heart attack on Monday, but I find that hard to believe.
From my observation, Bill Stewart had one of the biggest and strongest hearts around. It's hard to imagine it failing.
Bill Stewart put his heart into all he did — in his personal life and professionally as a football coach — which is why the Mountaineer Nation is in mourning.
On a personal level he was by all accounts I have heard a soft-hearted, genuinely good man who showed kindness and care without motive, one who would be among the first to offer support or solace.
A promotional flier for a "Naughty or Nice" Christmas party at a Fort Myers bar/restaurant has caught the attention of NCAA investigators after four current college players were listed as hosts of the Dec. 23 event.
Brothers Sammy Watkins (Clemson) and Jaylen Watkins (Florida), Brodrick Jenkins (West Virginia) and Spencer Boyd (South Florida) had their names on the flier, which was posted Monday on the Twitter account of Marcus Price, a former Fort Myers High basketball player who is known as DJ LowKey. Price, who will perform at the event, said the flier was being reworked to remove the names of the players.
"We don't want them to get in any trouble," he said.