Jenn Menendez: Alright, let's get started. Thanks for joining me.
WVUfan: What are your thoughts on the Pinstripe Bowl match-up? Did you expect a Pitt-WVU rematch?
Jenn Menendez: I think it's going to be a good game. I can see why the organizers picked Syracuse. They will draw well in the New York City market with the alumni base in the area. Bringing in West Virginia enhances that draw with the star power on the Mountaineer offense. A Pitt-WVU match in the Bronx would have been a great story, but alas, it was not to be.
WVUfan: Hope Stedman Bailey wins the Biletnikoff. What are his chances?
Jenn Menendez: Well I'm no crystal ball reader but the season he had has to have opened plenty of eyes to the kind of talent he has. He is going up against two other very strong candidates in Marqise Lee (USC) and Terrance Williams (Baylor). Your guess is good as mine, but I'd say he has a strong shot.
G.T. Lynn: Do you think the SU staff will be able to get inside Geno's head like it has the past two times they've played? Those two games were probably 2 of the 3 worst Geno has had at WVU.
Jenn Menendez: I only saw last year's game at Syracuse, but had heard about the year prior. We'll see. They blitzed like crazy that game and I think that could get in any quarterback's head. For some reason I don't feel like he'll feel the same kind of pressure because it's a bowl game. But could be wrong. One of the more interesting storylines of this game though. It's one of the few teams Geno hasn't beaten as a starter.
TeddyBallGame14: With the historical track record of Heisman Trophy winners generally not transitioning successfully to the NFL, shouldn't the voting criteria be re-evaluated such that the most talented player receives the award? Can't help but think that a guy like Tavon Austin would get more consideration if he were playing for a USC, or an Alabama??????? He's clearly one of the most talented players in the Country, except he's stuck on a five-loss team that was a huge disappointment in its inaugural Big 12 campaign.
Jenn Menendez: I've heard a lot of people talk about this over the last few weeks. And honestly I'm not sure I can agree they should change anything. It's human nature when choosing a player for the greatest honor in college football to look at how the team did as a whole. You are right though, I think Austin is - unfortunately for him and West Virginia fans - a victim to the five game losing ski. But that's the way it goes in my book. Wins do matter. Doesn't take away the fact that he is one of the most talented players in the country. I think many, many people know that.
G.T. Lynn: It was good to see Joey Madsen made 2nd team all-league. He seems like a pretty tough kid. Does he interview well?
Jenn Menendez: *skid
Jenn Menendez: He certainly has a great sense of humor. He seems to enjoy hamming it up a little bit and he isn't afraid to answer anything, which is nice. He's tough to crack for information beyond the basics, but my gut tells me he'd be comfortable in a one-on-one setting and make a great interview.
exhausted: Wow, looking back on it now. That ACC (and maybe to a lesser point the Big 10) openings this year that Louisville/Maryland both received seemed to have had WVU's name all over it had they hung in there at the Big Least one more season. Ouch......now on to the neverending travel nightmare in a league with little or no defense.......
Jenn Menendez: Hindsight my friend. I think if you judge West Virginia's actions in real time when all of college football was going haywire a year ago, they did what they had to do. At the time it was the best possible option in my opinion. Had they gambled and waited around certainly a fit that was more geographically appropriate may have come up. But who knows...Certainly your point is a good one.
TeddyBallGame14: With the annual coaching carousel already in motion, any speculation as to what changes we might see in WVU's coaching staff this offseason?
Jenn Menendez: Honestly, not sure. I would be surprised if we see much flux at all. May a guy or two on the offensive staff draw interest? Sure. Does that mean he'll leave? Who knows. As for the defense, that gets a bit trickier, but I still don't think we'll see any major/wholesale changes.
G.T. Lynn: On s scale of 1-to-10, what kind of rating would you give Holgorsen this season as a head coach? Besides his offense, what are his strengths? Weaknesses?
Jenn Menendez: Very good question. And would really want to think this one through before giving you a ranking. I think we all know his strengths are teaching this offense, calling plays, and finding ways to get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. There are weaknesses there too, some game management issues, and I think the jury is still out on his ability to recruit a team that can compete night-in, night-out in the Big 12. Next year's class will go a big way into revealing that.
exhausted: Really need to ditch the CO-defensive coordinator idea. Sure didn't do anything positive this year. And, back to my earlier point, WVU fans had always been known to be good travelers (unlike Pitt) to games. Do you agree, as i do, that this long distance nightmare will wear on them and you will see a steady decline? I just think that whole Pitt/Syracuse move last year scared them into a bad move. That and Luck being a Big 12 guy of course
Jenn Menendez: As for the first part of your question, my instincts say yes, didn't seem to go in a good direction or help much. As for the second part, yes, I see what you're saying. And yes, it could absolutely start to wear on fans. It certainly was more exhausting than covering the Big East as a reporter, and we get paid to go. Some of those trips are 12 hour days with connections that get cancelled, and are pretty expensive to boot. I wonder how much an average fan can afford that in regards to time and money. There was a really solid group of fans in Austin, Texas, and a decent showing at the other road games. Time will tell.
TeddyBallGame14: Just a rebuttal to "Exhausted"'... The Big 10 would not have taken us at any point... And, if Maryland (a founding member of the ACC) is leaving, then that speaks to the internal concerns that the ACC is dealing with. I can't believe I'm saying this... but, if more teams (FSU, Duke, UNC and/or Clemson) leave the ACC, it may face the same fate as the Big East.
TeddyBallGame14: With the departures of Geno, Tavon, Stedman, J.D. Woods, Jeff Braun, Joe Madsen, Josh Jenkins, Shawne Alston, Ryan Clarke, Ryan Nehlen and Tyler Bitancurt at the end of the season, are WVU fans doomed to watch the Offense struggle next year to the same degree that the Defense did this year???
Jenn Menendez: I don't think it will be quite that bad, but I can see why fans are cringing just thinking about all those holes they'll need to fill. Remember even Geno and Co. struggled to get this offense going during their first year, and that was in the Big East.
G.T. Lynn: Are you surprised WVU is just a 4-point favorite against the Orange?
Jenn Menendez: You know, not really. Based on the last game we saw these two teams play I'm surprised it's not even tighter.
TeddyBallGame14: As a follow-up to my previous question about a number of key contributors departing, what success has WVU had on the recruiting trail? And, how has it been impacted by the five straight losses in the heart of the Big 12 schedule?
Jenn Menendez: I know they were out the door Sunday just hours after closing the season against Kansas to hit the recruiting trail. From what I understand there has been a concerted effort to get some junior college players who can plug in a little quicker than a freshman could. Not sure if the losing streak will be an obstacle or not.
Jenn Menendez: Well thanks for joining me everyone. We'll be on hiatus until the week of the Pinstripe Bowl. Tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. Dec. 27, but may have to tweak the time if it interferes with player interviews or something. Will keep you all updated in the blog. Thanks again and Happy Holidays!