After watching his Mountaineers lose their first conference contest to Syracuse, head coach Bill Stewart made a point of reminding the media in attendance that the last two times West Virginia had won the Big East title it had accomplished the feat with a pair of losses.
If the third-year boss of the old gold and blue is to repeat that feat WVU will have to go unbeaten the remainder of the season following last Friday's 16-13 overtime loss at Connecticut.
Making that scenario even more unlikely is a home encounter with Cincinnati-who owns a two-game winning streak in the series-and a "Backyard Brawl" showdown with Pittsburgh at Heinz Field.
In fact, WVU, which has had back-to-back meltdowns on the offensive side of the football, should find itself as an underdog when the Bearcats pay a visit to Mountaineer Field on Saturday, Nov. 13.
The only remaining game where West Virginia should be considered a slight favorite should be the game at Louisville on Nov. 13 with WVU's final game of the regular season against visiting Rutgers a coin flip at best.
With all that has happened over the past two weeks, it begs the question, "What the heck has happened?"
A team which ranked in the Top 20 prior to a loss at LSU, but then regained its Top 20 berth following convincing victories over UNLV and South Florida has now become a middle-of-the-pack program in a Big East Conference that is almost laughable.
If ever there was a year when the conference needed a West Virginia to fly through its seven league contests unscathed, it was this year. A pathetic non-conference showing and a lack of votes in either the Associated Press or the USA Today/Coaches Poll has many wondering-once again-if the Big East is deserving of one of the 10 berths in the Bowl Championship Series.
It makes it even harder to defend a January bowl when your biggest non-conference victory is over Maryland .
You can't turn on a radio or a television set these days without someone taking pot shots at the Big East and who can blame them. With so many teams from other-so-called mid-major programs-having stellar seasons, it would be a shame for one of them to be left out of the BCS party for a Big East team which could potentially be unranked.
Is there still time for Stewart and his Mountaineers to right the ship and finish what they started in September? Yes. But, if WVU's newest head coach hasn't hit the panic button, his fingers have to be very, very close to it.
Something has to change and it has to change right now.
Back-to-back-to-back Top 10 rankings from 2005-07 gave Mountaineer fans a taste of what life was like among the country's elite football programs. Going back to the days when WVU would struggle to win seven or eight games and then head off to a second-level bowl is, and should, not be acceptable.
It's time for Stewart and his staff to correct what needs corrected or step aside and let another coaching staff do it.
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org