The Bottom Line
By Bill Nestor
Expectations make the world go around. They determine a great deal in the sports world as well. By definition an upset is an unexpected result or situation, especially in sports competition occurrences.
In the state of West Virginia, especially at this time of year, high school football garners a great deal of attention. The playoffs are just a few weeks away and teams are trying desperately to land a spot in the top 16. Every week fans wait patiently for the rankings to come out to see just where their team is in the race for the postseason.
In Shinnston, the home team took care of business with a decisive 32-13 win over Roane County. It was a big win for Lincoln for several reasons. They improved to 5-2 on the season, continue to build momentum by winning their second straight game after suffering their second setback of the season to Bridgeport, and the most important is that they will pick up bonus points from a team that was ranked ahead of them in Class AA.
Heading into last Friday’s lockup, the Raiders were #12 and the Cougars were #14. Lincoln was the only team to beat a higher ranked opponent in the same classification this past week. Even though this was an impressive win for the Shinnston based school, it was hardly an upset. There are various polls that provide different insight and information. In many cases, such as with the WVSSAC rankings, it is just a snapshot in time. In other words, a team’s wins and bonus points from whom those teams have defeated are used to determine rankings. Lincoln has three big games remaining and there are plenty of bonus points to be had which will dramatically affect where they will end up at the end of the regular season.
Understanding the process helps sport fans understand that just because you are ranked at a certain spot (all be it high or low) doesn’t mean much of anything until the end. Ironically, teams are held at the mercy of their schedule. The better the competition the more compensation. That is why teams with one or two losses are in higher spots than some undefeated teams.
Was the Cougar win an upset? In my opinion it definitely was not! I try to keep a controlled pulse on the teams in our area and from my perspective Coach Hawkins and his squad are in a perfect spot. Nothing takes the place of experience and last year’s campaign is very similar to this years. They defeated Roane County a year ago to earn their sixth victory and they faced the exact remaining schedule of Grafton, Robert C. Byrd and North Marion. This year they play their last two against the Flying Eagles and the Huskies at home where they are extremely difficult to defeat. I have the opportunity to cast a vote in several polls in the state and I have had the Cougars ranked all year because I know what most of my readers know and that is, that this year’s edition is indeed for real. When asked about this Lincoln team at the end of the season the answer won’t be upset it will be I told you so!
West Virginia remained unblemished with a decisive 48-17 win over Texas Tech this past Saturday. The win bumps the Mountaineers to 2-0 in the conference and they are one of just three undefeated teams in the Big 12.
The win over the Red Raiders showed dominance on both sides of the ball. Texas Tech went into the matchup averaging 45 points per outing. They were held to four touchdowns (and four extra points) below their average.
The offense continues to roll behind senior signal caller, Skylar Howard. Howard rushed for a pair of scores and threw for another. His confidence is “sky-high” as the Mounties host TCU next week.
Head Coach, Dana Holgorson, after several consecutive lack luster seasons, has his team back in position to contend for something. For now, it’s a Big 12 title but aspirations could grow if the wins keep mounting up! Optimism is high in “Touchdown City” once again.
That will do it for now. Until next week…take care and God Bless!