West Virginia football coach Dana Holgorsen took a pretty big risk at his press conference last week when he was openly critical of Mountaineer fans.
Sometimes, however, the truth hurts.
This is a bold move considering Holgorsen is a first-year head coach. He has only been on the job for six games and hasn't built up a lot of equity in the state yet.
The bottom line is that he was disappointed with the attendance at the Bowling Green game in Morgantown on Oct. 1. I was a little surprised as well.
The listed attendance was 46,000. I'm not sure that was accurate. It was more like 38,000 for homecoming.
I have great sympathy for the fans. It is not cheap to go to a game in a tough economy. Also, this year's schedule is top heavy with games at the front end of the schedule. Many fans will take a Saturday off. It was also the first day of bow hunting season, an unofficial family holiday in our state.
Moreover, the weather was terrible. It was a miserable rain, and it rained all day.
I also know it might be somewhat unseemly for the fat guy with the media credential (me) sitting in the warm press box, eating the teriyaki chicken to be critical of fans for not coming to the game and sitting in the rain.
But there are a couple of things to consider:
n Where were the students? The student turnout was paltry against Bowling Green. At other major programs, the students come regardless of the weather. Do you remember how loud and impressive the Auburn students were during the storm that interrupted the Mountaineers' game there two years ago?
n WVU is playing big-time football. This team has a great chance to finish 11-1 on the season, win a Big East crown and go to a BCS bowl. If that happens, they will also probably be ranked between 7-10 in the national polls. If so, they will be the only top 10 team that talks about an attendance frustration.
The Mountaineers drew 56,000-plus this last week in a win over UConn so maybe Holgorsen made a point.
Either way, don't be too hard on Holgorsen for raising the issue. This is not a new frustration. Lack of attendance at the Rutgers game last December was one of the reasons given for replacing Bill Stewart.
WVU basketball coach Bob Huggins has also wondered aloud about true WVU fans and those who just show up for the big games.
Last season, Kentucky drew 62,000 for a game against Charleston Southern on a cold November day. Last weekend, more than 90,000 saw Tennessee beat Buffalo. And I am not talking about the Bills.
Do West Virginia fans have that same kind of passion? Dana Holgorsen wants to know.
Frank Giardina, a West Virginia native, comments on the national college football scene for the Mirror.