MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – I know the only poll West Virginia coach Rich Rodriguez cares about is the final one, but did you realize that his football team has been nationally ranked in 22 of the last 30 polls dating back to Nov. 16, 2003?
The only polls his football teams have been shut out from during the past three years were the final polls in 2003 and 2004, and the first six of this year.
Rodriguez is closing in on two of the school’s longest sustained periods of success enjoyed by former Mountaineer coach Don Nehlen from 1982-83 and 1988-90.
Nehlen’s Mountaineer teams were in 29 of 30 Top 20 polls from Sept. 13, 1982 to Jan. 3, 1983, and in 34 straight polls from preseason 1988 to Sept. 3, 1990. Nehlen’s teams were also nationally ranked in 30 of 46 weeks from Sept. 23, 1996 to Dec. 6, 1998.
The late Art “Pappy” Lewis directed the Mountaineers to 31 of 38 poll appearances from preseason 1953 to Oct. 8, 1956. Lewis broke a drought of 150 straight weeks without being nationally ranked when his 1953 team was ranked 17th to begin the season.
Jim Carlen broke the second longest drought in the polls when his last WVU team in '69 appeared at No. 18 on Sept. 29, snapping a streak of 137 straight weeks without being ranked. Keep in mind, though, rankings through most of the 1960s only took into consideration the nation’s top 10 teams.
Here is the list of WVU coaches and the weeks their teams were nationally ranked since 1936 when rankings began:
And now once around the block:
Fans that have CSTV can watch the Big East media day proceedings as part of CSTV’s Full Court Press basketball coverage, which begins at 11 am.
I must qualify this by writing that Mike Bianchi is a columnist for the Orlando Sentinel who recently took a few swings at the Big East’s spot at the Bowl Championship Series table. He’s neither a fan of the Big East nor its schools.
And of course May is the guy that was last seen in Morgantown picking up all those pennies thrown at him by deranged West Virginia fans at Old Mountaineer Field.
Last week’s results:
Go get ‘em boys!
By the way, that 3-3 North Carolina team that lost by 55 at Louisville a few weeks ago is currently tied with Miami for second place in the ACC Coastal Division with a 2-1 league record.
But in BIG BLOCK TYPE in the Tampa Tribune on Oct. 21 were the words ‘BIG EAST SIDES WITH WEST VIRGINIA’ following the conference's decision to postpone the Mountaineers’ game at South Florida last Saturday. A Tampa scribe wrote that ‘conspiracy theorists’ (i.e. himself) were claiming several factors led to the game’s postponement, including WVU’s draining triple-overtime win over Louisville, the fact that quarterback Adam Bednarik was doubtful for the USF game, and the possibly that the conference’s only ranked team could get knocked off on the road.
It looks like some folks in Tampa have still got an awful lot to learn about this league.
I’ve got an easy solution: Why not just borrow Pennsylvania’s cement mixer for a couple of months -- I’m sure they wouldn’t mind.
The Mountaineers were ranked fifth in last week’s NSCAA Mid-Atlantic regional rankings.
Kinder lettered on Coach Gene Corum’s Mountaineer football teams in 1963, 1965 and Jim Carlen’s 1966 team. Kinder is the only player in WVU history to wear the uniform number 100, which commemorated the 100th anniversary of the state of West Virginia in 1963.
“Don had a big influence on me,” Robinson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “I really respect him. It was his demeanor, his attention to detail, his intensity. He was someone who coached you on and off the field.”
Nehlen will be officially inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in December.
As the late columnist Jim Murray used to say, I guess I fooled them again.
Have a great week!