Friday Notebook

  • By John Antonik
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  • May 10, 2013 03:43 PM
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Spanning the globe so you don’t have to … Here is this week’s smorgasbord of notes taking you into this weekend's big TCU reunion going on down at Appalachian Power Park in Charleston …

- It’s been a while since we’ve read something about Geno Smith – oh, about a couple of hours or so, to be precise – so here is the latest update on Gotham City’s newest high-profile QB …


According to this, it looks like Geno is going to be wearing No. 7 for the Jets, Boomer Esiason’s old number, and the co-host of WFAN’s morning sports show says he could care less. All Boomer says he wants from Geno is “productivity” in a Jets uniform.

Speaking of productivity, I seem to recall Boomer having a not-so-productive career against Geno’s former college team – the West Virginia Mountaineers. In 1981, Boomer and his Maryland Terrapins lost, 17-13, to West Virginia in College Park. In 1982, the Mountaineers beat the turtles, 19-18, when Esiason couldn’t convert a two-point conversion pass at the end of the game, and in 1983, WVU defeated Maryland, 31-21, in College Park in a game televised nationally on WTBS.

For those keeping track, that’s 0 for 3 for old Boomer against the Mountaineers, but he can take solace in the fact that BC’s Doug Flutie was 0 for 4 against West Virginia … just in case you didn’t know that little factoid.

- Is Tavon Austin something special, this writer asks rhetorically?


Yes, we think he is.

Nevertheless, this guy gives Tavon excellent grades for speed, vision, staying healthy and versatility.

- I’m not sure what this means, but I bet the folks at the Big Ten Network, the Pac 12 Network and the about-to-be-launched SEC Network will be paying close attention to how this one turns out (or doesn't turn out) …


For someone who spent half my morning on the phone trying to get an actual human being to talk to before switching over my cable – and then forking over about half of my daughter’s college fund to do so – I wouldn’t necessarily be against having the ability to choose which programs I want on my cable system, rather than being forced to buy 10 food channels, 15 religious channels (I’ve got nothing against religion, now, so save the emails) and 25 different sports channels.

If that were the case, the B1G and SEC Networks would certainly not be on my cable bill if I had a say in the matter. Would they be on yours?

- Here was the preseason Big 12 baseball coaches’ poll that was announced on Feb. 12, 2013:

1. Oklahoma
2. TCU
3. Texas
4. Baylor
5. Oklahoma State
6. Texas Tech
7. Kansas State
8. Kansas
9. West Virginia

And here is where the teams sit in the Big 12 baseball standings with two weekends remaining in the regular season:

1. Oklahoma
1. Kansas State
1. West Virginia
4. Kansas
5. Baylor
6. Oklahoma State
7. TCU
8. Texas Tech
9. Texas

So the next time a coach says you don’t know what you are talking about, just reference this - with a smile on your face of course :)

- TCU is not nationally ranked this week (the Horned Frogs are below .500 for the first time this late in the season since Coach Jim Schlossnagle took over the program in 2004) but the Mountaineers do boast a pair of victories over a nationally ranked team so far this year. In fact, West Virginia shows only eight wins versus teams in Baseball America’s college poll since the publication first began its rankings in 1981. Here are those eight wins, thanks to some excellent research work by baseball SID Grant Dovey:

April 29, 1982 vs. #12 Virginia Tech, 7-4
May 23, 1996 vs. #7 Tennessee, 8-4 (NCAA tournament)
May 12, 1999 vs. #9 Ohio State, 8-6
May 3, 2003 vs. #15 Notre Dame, 7-5
May 4, 2003 vs. #15 Notre Dame, 5-1
May 5, 2012 vs. #22 Louisville, 4-3
May 4, 2013 vs. #12 Oklahoma, 9-3
May 5, 2013 vs. #12 Oklahoma, 9-6

- I am not sure what to make of West Virginia’s two latest men’s basketball signees, http://www.wvusports.com/blogs.cfm?blog=mbbBlog&story=23539 and http://www.wvusports.com/blogs.cfm?blog=mbbBlog&story=23530 other than it may be a sign that Coach Bob Huggins is going back to the future. If you recall, Huggs’ most successful Bearcat teams in the 1990s boasted a ton of bigs, and he frequently used them at the same time in games. By my count, West Virginia now has nine players on next year’s hoop roster standing 6-feet-7 or taller. Is it Huggs’ objective to get longer, more athletic and more versatile, especially at the 3 and 4 spots, to better match up against the teams West Virginia is facing in the Big 12?

I may have to ask him that question after he finishes his spring fundraising tour for the Mountaineer Athletic Club.

- I just love reading the Internet message boards at this time of year. That is all.

- The last I heard, more than 2,000 advance tickets have already been sold for West Virginia’s three-game series this weekend against TCU in Charleston. The Mountaineers have nearly tripled last year’s attendance total of roughly 8,400 with three dates still remaining this season. In fact, West Virginia drew 7,372 for last weekend’s Oklahoma series and has played before more than 2,000 spectators in five of its last six “home” dates in Beckley, Morgantown and Charleston. If you are interested in going to one of this weekend’s games, it’s cheaper to purchase your tickets in advance instead of buying them at the gate. Call 304-344-BATS for more information.

- Although Clint Trickett only played briefly as a freshman for Morgantown High (according to Morgantown sports historian Greg Hunter who admits he is “98 percent certain” that Trickett did, in fact, play for the Mohigan varsity) Clint will become the fourth quarterback with Morgantown High ties to suit up for West Virginia, that I am aware of. The other three are Charlie Russell, Curt Cignetti and Dick Loring.

By the way, Curt is now the head football coach at Indiana, Pa., where his father, Frank, enjoyed great success and later became AD there. Curt’s coaching history also includes stops at Pitt, Davidson, Rice, Temple, NC State and Alabama.

- Speaking of Cignetti, his former boss at Alabama, Nick Saban, says he is in favor of the five power conferences playing all of their games against each other …


If that were to happen, what would become of the American Athletic Conference where former Big East members Cincinnati, Connecticut and USF are now playing? What interesting times these are for schools not affiliated with the SEC, Big 12, Pac 10, Big Ten or ACC, indeed.

- By the way, did you know that some things posted on the Internet are true; others are not. I think somebody told me that yesterday … or I might have watched it on a commercial at some point ...

- This Dallas Morning News writer pegs Oklahoma State’s roster “the most complete” in the Big 12 heading into next fall, Texas possessing “the most upside (haven’t we read this before?)” and TCU “the most likely to disappoint.”


I know it’s easier to sell tickets when your team is blasted all over the Internet, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, etc., but I kind of like West Virginia’s waiting-in-the-bushes status this year. Not much is expected of the Mountaineers from the national pundits, just as last year not much was expected of Kansas State. If you recall, K-State was picked to finish sixth last summer while West Virginia got seven first-place votes and was tabbed for a second place finish behind Oklahoma in the Big 12 race.

Now, I’m not saying West Virginia is going to do what K-State did last year, but history has proven time and again that the Mountaineers usually fare much better when they take on the underdog role, which is certainly the role they will be playing in 2013.

By the way, my kindred spirit – the hairless Dennis Dodd – has unveiled his preseason top 25 and five Big 12 teams are on it …


Andy Staples, a nice guy whom I met last year when he toured the campus to write a preseason piece on the Mountaineers for Sports Illustrated, has four in his post-spring top 25 …


As my old high school coach used to day, We shall see what we shall see.

Enjoy your evening and be sure to check out the live stream of this weekend’s TCU games at http://www.wvusports.com - that is if you can’t make it to any of the games in person.

Check out Antonik's new book The Backyard Brawl: Stories from One of the Weirdest, Wildest, Longest Running, and Most Intense Rivalries in College Football History now available in bookstores. A portion of the sales benefit the WVU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Also, be sure to "Like" the new Backyard Brawl Facebook page and tell us your personal WVU-Pitt story.