Posted by Tony Caridi on Tuesday, October 14, 2008 (9:15 am)
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I learned long ago that an ability to predict the future is not one of my gifts.
Instead, I’ve found that history is a much better means to predict the future than simply furrowing my brow and guessing.
Using history as a base of reference, there’s reason to be optimistic as the Mountaineer football team continues its quest for a sixth Big East Conference championship. You see in three of the last four seasons, the team with the top or second-rated scoring defense in the league has either won or shared the conference championship.
The latest Big East statistics show West Virginia in first place in scoring defense, allowing just 14.7 points per contest. The Mountaineers are also first in the Big East in turnover margin - a key stat. WVU is 46-2 since 2002 when winning the turnover battle.
Obviously the Mountaineer offense needs to become more productive. WVU is currently sixth in the conference with an average of 22 points per outing. But, with a healthy Pat White and six games of experience under their collective belts, is it unrealistic to think the Mountaineers can average one more touchdown per game through their final six games? If the Mountaineers were able to score just one extra touchdown per game they would be in second place in conference scoring - four points away from league scoring leader South Florida.
The numbers tell us that Pat White is averaging a little more than 13 points per game. Add his 13 points to West Virginia’s total last Saturday against Syracuse and the outcome would have been what we all expected.
History is telling us that a healthy Pat White and the continued stingy play from the West Virginia defense will position the Mountaineers to defend their conference championship. Hopefully history repeats itself.
And now for some odds and ends after analyzing the latest Big East stats:
Pat White has done more than break the Big East rushing record by a quarterback - he’s created a new standard. White is on his way to more than 4,000 yards which will be 2,000 yards more than former Mountaineer Rasheed Marshall, who is in second place.
Pat McAfee’s next PAT will make him number one all time in Big East play. He currently shares the record of 190 extra points with Carter Warley of Virginia Tech.
Cincinnati’s Connor Barwin is quite an athlete. I’ve watched him play basketball for the Bearcats, catch a touchdown pass as a tight end for the Bearcats, and now see he’s leading the Big East in sacks.
There are some excellent punters in the league this season. Six of the seven are averaging more than 40 yards per punt and the top three (Rob Long, Syracuse, Kevin Huber, Cincinnati, and Pat McAfee) are all averaging over 45 yards per boot.