One week from today, West Virginia University will be playing North Carolina State in the Champs Sports Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
But the bowl game isn't the talk of the Mountain State. Rather, it has been totally overshadowed by the recent announcement that Bill Stewart has in essence been fired as WVU's football coach and will be replaced following next season by Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen. (Stay tuned. I have a feeling Holgorsen will be the head coach in 2011, for this seems like such a clumsy arrangement, I can't imagine Stewart going along with it. Would you?)
Obviously, with Stewart's impending departure and the firing of offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen and offensive line coach Dave Johnson following the bowl game, WVU's football team enters the bowl game in a state of turmoil.
It will be interesting to see how the members of the football program respond to the situation. There's no better example of what to do than the way WVU?dismantled Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl following Rich Rodriguez's sudden departure, the game that led to the elevation of Stewart as the head coach.
The timing of the recent announcement couldn't have been much worse for those preparing for the bowl game.
Last year, West Virginia officials agreed to play Florida State in Jacksonville in what would be the final game of Bobby Bowden's coaching career. I and many others said at the time WVU?had set itself up to lose.
Now, West Virginia goes into another bowl game under less than ideal circumstances.
Suffice it to say that in numerous conversations with Mountaineer fans over the past week, not a single person has mentioned the bowl game.
Rather, the talk of the state is the impending coaching changes and the reactions to the move by Athletics Director Oliver Luck vary widely.
Some have pointed out the irony of WVU?being angry over the way Rodriguez treated his alma mater, then the school turns around and gives Stewart what they consider to be the shaft.
Others believe that like Luck, the program has declined under Stewart's leadership and that a coaching change is welcome.
I've heard from more people who question Luck's action than I have from those who endorse it, but that's about as reliable in gauging the actual mood of West Virginia supporters as those Internet polls when you can vote as many times as you can click your mouse.
Since this appears to be a done deal -minus a detail or two -WVU?fans don't have to like or endorse the move but at some point they must embrace it and get behind the new coaching staff.
The alternative would be to root against West Virginia and that's something my heart never would allow me to do.
Stay tuned. There are many more twists and turns on the way.
Contact Dave Poe at email@example.com