- Brandon Chatmon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Last week, we started our series on the best-case and worst-case scenarios for each Big 12 team.
The premise of these fun posts is to take a look at what the season might look like if everything fell into place for each school, the best-case scenario for 2014. Conversely, we'll also show what might happen if everything goes wrong, the worst-case scenario.
Let's continue with West Virginia.
Tired of being belittled, overlooked and disrespected, the Mountaineers overwhelm Alabama in a double-digit upset win in the season opener for both teams. WVU coach Dana Holgorsen had a few tricks up his sleeve, including a behind-the-back pass, that lead to a pair of touchdowns early and the Crimson Tide never recover.
After a win against Towson State and Maryland, WVU hosts Oklahoma with the eye on sending another statement to the college football world. Quarterback Clint Trickett, who starred against the Crimson Tide, is excellent against the Sooners, throwing for three touchdowns and the Mountaineer defense holds up its end of the bargain with three interceptions of OU quarterback Trevor Knight.
After the game, Holgorsen is photographed crowd surfing after doing a Lambeau leap into the Milan Puskar crowd.
Social media explodes.
WVU cruises past Kansas the following week but the Mountaineers are upset by Texas Tech to end their strong start to the season as Lubbock, Texas proves unkind, yet again, to Holgorsen's squad. The back-and-forth battle ends with both teams scoring at least 60 points, making it easily the most entertaining game of the season. Holgorsen and Kliff Kingsbury call each other an “offensive genius” during their postgame comments and defenders on both teams are told to go to bed without supper.
Holgorsen’s squad rebounds with three straight wins against Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU. The state of Texas is unkind for the second straight trip as the Mountaineers drop a game against Texas. WVU goes on to win its last two regular-season games over Kansas State and Iowa State. Holgorsen is named Big 12 coach of the year and Trickett earns All-Big 12 first team honors ahead of Bryce Petty.
WVU’s Cotton Bowl win against Georgia ends a stellar 11-2 campaign. During the postgame news conference, it is announced Holgorsen has signed a contract extension and the WVU coach credits the Mountaineers’ master plan for updating their facilities as the driving force. “Our guys know how important we are now,” he claims.
Alabama takes its Sugar Bowl frustration out on the Mountaineers with a 20-point win against WVU to open the season. Trickett doesn’t reward Holgorsen’s confidence in him, throwing two interceptions and losing two fumbles in the loss. But Holgorsen feels like he has nowhere else to turn, thus sticks with the senior.
After a win against Towson, the Mountaineers drop back-to-back games against Maryland and Oklahoma before a home win against Kansas and an upset road win at Texas Tech. With Baylor looming the following week, the Mountaineers have some momentum and confidence heading into their battle with the Bears.
But Holgorsen receives an email early in the week from his Red Bull distributor notifying him that his weekly shipment has been postponed and shipments have been indefinitely suspended due to “transportation issues." Holgorsen’s weekly routine is completely thrown out of whack thanks to this development, and the result is a 30-point Baylor win in Morgantown, West Virginia.
Holgorsen’s shipments resume the following week after the distributor says "transportation issues have been cleared up." It’s discovered later that the distributor, which Holgorsen had been using for several years and is based in Texas, was a Baylor fan and simply decided not to contribute to a potential BU loss, thus withholding the energy drink shipment.
The entire ordeal sparks a four-game losing streak as losses to Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas and Kansas State force Holgorsen to resign, effective at the end of the season. The Mountaineers, wanting to send him out with a win, earn their final win of the year with a victory at Iowa State. WVU finishes 4-8.
Two weeks after the season ends, Holgorsen announces he has accepted a position with Kingsbury’s Red Raiders. At his introductory news conference, the song “Reunited” by Peaches & Herb is playing as Holgorsen enters the room and takes a seat with a big smile. He promptly announces he has purchased his own Red Bull distributor and that "Life is good.”