Nine days ago, West Virginia University's football team traveled to Baltimore for what was supposed to be a showcase game against long-time rival Maryland.
But WVU showed nothing in that contest, suffering an embarrassing 37-0 loss in which there were virtually no redeeming qualities.
Needless to say, Mountaineer fans were down in the dumps following that pathetic performance, questioning -and rightfully so -virtually every aspect of the football program from game preparation to the selection of the starting quarterback.
The natives weren't just restless, they were downright frustrated with their favorite team.
But, rather than give up on the Mountaineers, they gave West Virginia a chance to redeem itself on Saturday, creating a great atmosphere in Morgantown, where the Mountaineers were three touchdown underdogs to No. 11 Oklahoma State.
You know, as Paul Harvey would say, the rest of the story.
WVU not only righted its ship, it put on a strong performance in a 30-21 upset. Making his first start as a Mountaineer, quarterback Clint Trickett looked like the answer at QB, at least more so than the two previous starters at football's most important position. The defense was aggressive and fired-up. Special teams play was solid.
One wanted to make sure these were the same guys that played at Maryland the week before. Of course, they were.
Sometimes in sports it is hard to explain how a team can look as bad as WVU did in Baltimore or as good as the Mountaineers did in Morgantown. Since WVU closes its practices, no one but members of the football family really knows what is taking place behind those closed stadium walls that leads to performances that go from atrocious one week to astounding the following Saturday.
Suffice it to say no one in the program went to Maryland planning to stink up the joint. Once that happened, no one gave up and the result was a complete turnaround.
So what's going to happen next? The Mountaineers will travel to Baylor, an undefeated team that is averaging 69.6 points per game and is a bigger favorite over WVU than was Oklahoma State. If West Virginia plays like it did against Maryland, it will get hammered even worse than the 37-0 thumping inflicted by the Terrapins. If the Mountaineers play like they did against the Cowboys, Baylor will be seriously challenged and a second straight upset is possible.
The thing is nobody really knows. Not even the coaches who are around the players all week can sense whether or not their team is ready to soar or lay an egg.
Football seasons are like roller coaster rides. There are ups and downs and we must accept the good with the bad.
It seems like we either focus on polls when things are good or coaching contracts when they are bad rather than maintaining a happy medium.
Contact Dave Poe at firstname.lastname@example.org