" and it is a great night to be a Mountaineer, wherever you may be!" I love hearing Tony Caridi's signature call after big WVU football wins. The problem is he doesn't say it much anymore.
He might have said it after the Maryland and Baylor games last year ... I don't remember. I know I heard it after that wonderful night in Austin when the Mountaineers went into storied Darrell K Royal Stadium and beat Texas 48-45. I was absolutely euphoric after that game.
Everyone that follows West Virginia knows what happened next. Five! Straight! Losses! The defense being toasted time and time again; two blowouts to Texas Tech and Kansas State; a 94-yard touchdown pass given up with 90 seconds left in the game to TCU.
WVU did finish the regular season with wins against Iowa State and Kansas but that's not that special.
No Tony to be heard there. I'm not even going to discuss the Pinstripe Bowl except to say the Big 12 dumped it. Hallelujah!
So does this coming season of Mountaineer football have a chance to be better?
The short answer is probably no. A new quarterback will be taking snaps.
The offensive line lost three starters and the wide receiver corps was gutted due to graduation. The defense almost has to start from the very basics. There are too many challenges to realistically expect all of the tumblers to fall into place.
But I don't think everything is doom and gloom. I think Coach Dana Holgorsen made a lot of nice changes to his coaching staff in the offseason. I'm really looking forward to how the offensive line works under coach Ron Crook.
I'm also excited about Jujuan Seider and Tony Gibson's recruiting abilities.
There are many new players I'm waiting to see in action.
Quarterback Clint Trickett transferred from Florida State. Dreamius Smith, Kevin White and Mario Alford are new JUCO transfers that should make significant contributions on offense.
And the defense almost has to improve. Hopefully, the secondary will be coached to cover receivers this year.
Many of the preseason magazines and the talking heads on TV are discounting the Mountaineers this season, mentioning they'll be lucky to go a bowl game.
You really can't blame them either.
I believe, though, that WVU will be better ... marginally. Somewhere around 8-4 with five wins in the Big 12.
That's one game better than last year. Hopefully, I'll even hear Tony's call a few times.