Hertzel’s Notebook – Holgorsen Against The Odds, Howard Keeps Winning
MORGANTOWN — It won’t be long before West Virginians will begin pouring into casinos to make legalized wagers on football games.
This being a state that has no major league professional teams has led to West Virginians giving their hearts to WVU sports, perhaps football above all else.
And, with that agreed upon, it is time to see that it stops with West Virginians giving their hearts but not necessarily their paychecks.
Making a small wager to increase the excitement will hurt no one, but a word of caution must be forwarded before we take this step forward.
Betting on WVU football can be an unfulfilling endeavor.
We offer as proof of that some research done by an on-line reporter named Tom Fornelli, who at the first of this month took a look at the worst five coaches in college football at winning against the point spread.
Tied for second worst record against the spread was — yep, you guessed it — Dana Holgorsen.
Holgorsen’s 25-38-1 record against the spread is matched by Kevin Sumlin, who takes his 25-38-1 mark at Texas A&M to Arizona this year where he replaces Rich Rodriguez.
And if Arizonans believe this is going to hurt their gambling luck, consider that Rich Rod has the worst record in college football against the spread over the last five seasons at Arizona, 25-40.
When one considers his stay at Michigan, which was hardly spectacular, and his final game at WVU, when he was a 28.5-point favorite over Backyard Brawl rival Pitt and lost straight up, one can certainly find something of a pattern there.
The Mountaineers are respectable straight up over the last five seasons at 36-28. They have only once covered the spread in more than five games in a season. That would have been in 2014 when they were 7-6 both on the scoreboard and in the bookie joint.
Even in that 2016 season that produced a 10-2 record they were 5-7-1 against the spread.
So consider yourself warned. Root for the Mountaineers, but pick your spots to bet on them.
If you had bet $100 game against the spread of those five years, you would have won $2,500 but lost $4,180 [paying the 11-10 odds on losses], which is a negative return of $1,680.
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Speaking of Holgorsen, his son, Logan, who enters his senior year at University High this year, has switched his college commitment from North Texas to Bowling Green.
The younger Holgorsen, a promising quarterback, began his high school career at Morgantown High, opted to attend Baltimore prep school St. Frances Academy last year but never played there and returned home to play at Morgantown.
He transferred this year to University and is expected to give the Hawks a chance to make a run toward the state title.
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What had become something of a landmark on the Morgantown bar scene, Schmitt’s Saloon, owned and operated by the popular former fullback from Rich Rodriguez’s glory days, has closed down.
“I spent my life’s work in that place trying to do the best I could. I’m a little attached to it obviously, but it was so much fun while it lasted,” Schmitt told MetroNews. “I met some great people and I got to bring some great live music to Morgantown. I tried something I thought would work there. Unfortunately it didn’t pan out.”
The bar featured live country music and at one time was a tremendously popular venue.
Schmitt, of course, did a lot of blocking for Steve Slaton and Pat White on 11-win Mountaineers teams after transferring in from a Division III school in Wisconsin and adopted Morgantown as his home.
He was most famous for his style of play, which led to breaking a facemask in one game, and for his rumbling 57-yard touchdown against Oklahoma in the Mountaineers Fiesta Bowl victory.
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Former WVU basketball star Josh Yeager has been selected for induction into the Philip Barbour Hall of Fame this year.
Yeager came out of Belington to play 108 games for the Mountaineers from 2000 to 2003, averaging 5.8 points a game.
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Doesn’t matter where he is, Skyler Howard plays the same game and does his share of winning.
The former WVU quarterback was named MVP of the X-League’s Pear Bowl in Japan as he led the Obic Seagulls to a 28-1 victory over IBM Big Blue in the championship game in the Tokyo Dome.
Howard had two touchdown passes, threw for 152 yards ad ran for a game-leading 63 yards. He was the first American to win the MVP trophy in the 17 years the trophy has been presented.