Viola: Cover Your Eyes When You Look at Kansas’ Record in League Play
MORGANTOWN – Let’s be honest. There’s no excuse why West Virginia shouldn’t beat Kansas.
You know the last time Kansas won a Big 12 game? Nov. 6, 2010 against Colorado, the only conference victory the Jayhawks had that year.
It was so long ago, in fact, that the Big 12 actually had 12 teams. (It now has 10).
Since 2008, Kansas has won a total of four conference games.
As the Jayhawks game notes put it, ”it has been a quarter of a century in games since the Jayhawks won a Big 12 conference contest.”
With last week’s 42-6 loss to Oklahoma State, Kansas has dropped 27 conference games in a row.
All that being said, West Virginia finds itself as just a seven-point favorite against this 2-7 team.
Surprised? Don’t be.
Anything seems possible with this Mountaineers squad.
One week they’re shut out by Maryland, the next they upset then-No. 11 Oklahoma State.
Still, this is Kansas we’re talking about.
Charlie Weis has led this team to a grand total of three victories in his time in Lawrence.
If the Mountaineers are as close to being a winning team as coach Dana Holgorsen proclaims, then this one should be marked a ‘W’ with a permanent marker.
One thing that could derail the Mountaineers this week is history.
Last week they gave up 34 points in the second half against Texas.
The last time the defense had that big of a letdown was against Baylor when they gave up 73 points, 56 by halftime.
Following that loss, the defensive players admitted they’re confidence took a hit and it showed against Texas Tech and Kansas State.
Their confidence seemed to be on its way back after an overtime victory at TCU and during the first half against the Longhorns.
The question now is, can the Mountaineers put the collapse behind them?
A lot of the focus in Morgantown this week is on making sure the Mountaineers keep their 11 straight bowl appearance streak going.
All West Virginia has to do is beat Kansas and Iowa State for that elusive sixth victory to make them eligible.
”We are going to do everything in our power to get there,” Holgorsen said. ”We are going to put forth effort, try hard, coach hard and hopefully put it all together and play hard to win the next two games. It’s certainly the expectation here, and it should be.
”It’s a reward for the seniors. That’s the No. 1 thing. You can say it’s for development, you can say it’s for recruiting, to go win one and get a trophy in the case. That’s all good, and it’s a good experience for everyone. But a reward for the seniors is the most important. We have 12 seniors who have been fantastic. You’re talking about guys who have been through a lot of transition from coaching staff and conferences. Guys like Will (Clarke), Pat (Eger), Darwin (Cook) and Curtis Feigt. Charles (Sims) has been phenomenal in his one year. Nick Kindler is playing well. Ivan McCartney has been through a lot. You have guys who want to keep playing. Being able to get them to a bowl game is big and the developmental process is important. How you do in a bowl game is the basis for if you get eight or 10 practices is important.”
Tony Viola can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org