(Get it? No O, as discussed in today's story.)
West Virginia crafted its 4-2 record against the third-easiest schedule in the BCS.
Don't take my word for it, check out the NCAA's computations.
Waaaaay down there . . . keep going. . . you'll find the Muntaineers' first-half schedule ranks 117th of 119 teams with a 5-16 overall record, ahead of only 6-0 Tulsa (coached against 6-20 foes by former WVU co-defensive coordinator Todd Graham) and 3-3 Louisiana-Lafayette (which benefited little from a 4-23 cupcake schedule).True, the NCAA's abacus ciphers differently, because my Big Eight-trained calculations arrive at an 11-19 combined record excluding the best-of-lot 4-1 belonging to Division I-AA Villanova. The governing body, however, discounts all games involving D-I-AA competition, which means in its eyes West Virginia has played at least two winless teams already -- Rutgers and Syracuse beat only Morgan State and Northeastern. Furthermore, it removes from the equation anything outside the major-conference realm of the BCS, which means Marshall's three victories, Colorado's non-WVU victories and the last game East Carolina won (against C-USA rival Tulane waaaaay back on Sept. 13 before it lost three in a row) never show on the NCAA's books.
Heck, remove the Colorado and East Carolina triumphs over West Virginia, and the only victories that matter on this NCAA ledger are an East Carolina upset of Virginia Tech and, uh. . . nothing else. That's right, the Muntaineers' six foes to date have combined to beat only one BCS opponent in 15 other games.
One more time, with feeling: West Virginia's six foes to date have a combined BCS record, excluding games against the Muntaineers, of 1-14.
Then again, Penn State had the 25th-easiest road so far, by this accounting, at 11-17.
And guess what? It only gets more vexing for West Virginia from here: The Muntaineers have the eighth-toughest schedule remaining, at a collective 26-9.
Four of the six opponents left are formerly or currently ranked: 4-3 Auburn (20th last week and once as high as 9th), 5-1 Connecticut (once 24th), 5-1 Cincinnati (which received a vote this week and, remember, lost only to fourth-ranked Oklahoma), 3-2 Louisville, No. 23 and 4-1 Pitt, No. 19 and 5-1 South Florida (as high as 10th before losing to Pitt). Although, by the NCAA's mad math, those upcoming foes are only a combined 24-7. Still, it's the toughest road belonging to any major-college team outside the Big XII, Southeastern Conference and (at least this will make for Wild Wonderful smiles) Rich Rodriguez's employer.
* Auburn announced its 2009 schedule, and the rematch with West Virginia is set for Sept. 19 at Jordan(pronounced Jurr-din)-Hare Stadium. If the Muntaineers are lucky, maybe the Tigers will overlook them for the big tilt that next week against currently undefeated and nationally ranked Ball State.
Wow, who'da thunk come mid-October those phrases would appear in front of David Letterman's alma mater and not Rodriguez's?
Speaking of Auburn, the Tigers are so desperately searching for offense in this down week before next Thursday at Muntaineer Field that they've basically reopened their quarterback derby and included in that race a hotshot freshman heretofore headed for a redshirt, as Charles Goldberg reports.
* More schedule stuff: Jack Bogaczyk reports that LSU may well pop onto West Virginia's slate in 2010 and 2011, what with Michigan State pushing back five years and creating an opening. East Carolina also appears set for a six-year renewal, and Virginia -- as mentioned in Red Di back in August -- remains in play.
Finally, one last stat about the oh-ffensive woes befalling West Virginia. This 2008 unit is the first since the last of the Frank Cignetti teams, 1979, to play this far into a season without once scoring 30-plus points against a major-college opponent. By contrast at this juncture in the intervening 28 West Virginia seasons, seven teams had done it once, eight teams twice, six teams thrice, four teams four times and three teams five times -- including last fall's Mountaineers, who rang up 30 or more points in five of their season-opening six games (and 13 in the other, the loss at South Florida).