Well, so much for that. West Virginia's Saturday-afternoon game against Texas Tech was a nightmare for the Mountaineers -- the Red Raiders exploited the Mountaineers' weakness (defense) while limiting its offense, losing 49-14. For WVU, a blowout loss against an unranked team effectively ends what might have been a special season, not only for the team, but possibly for quarterback Geno Smith this year.
Smith went into the game as an easy favorite for the Heisman Trophy, but he was badly outdueled by the Red Raiders' Seth Doege -- although, admittedly, Smith didn't get the chance to face off against his own team's terrible defense. Doege threw for 499 yards, with six touchdowns and one interception. Texas Tech scored in its first two possessions and barely slowed down after that, piling up 35 points just by halftime. Meanwhile, Smith didn't turn the ball over, but he went 29-of-55 for 275 yards and just one score. 26 incompletions! For Geno Smith!
Smith deserves only a small portion of the blame, of course. WVU has given up 63, 45 and now 49 points in its three Big 12 games so far. That, even more that Smith and its usually-prodigious offense, might be this team's defining characteristic -- it just can't play defense. Expect poll voters to notice, and to drop WVU all the way out of the top 10. It's a shame, really -- a win over Texas Tech, even a modest one, would have set up a huge showdown against No. 6 Kansas State in Morgantown next week. Now the atmosphere will be a lot more subdued. Oh well. At least Morgantown couch owners can rest easy.