Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
For the first time since 2002, West Virginia won't play in a New Year's Day or a BCS bowl. But the Mountaineers are in the familiar position of trying to salvage a little Big East pride against North Carolina. The Tar Heels hammered both Connecticut and Rutgers earlier this season.
Though the game is within easy driving distance for its fans, West Virginia will basically be playing on the road in Charlotte. More importantly, the Mountaineers will have to recapture their previous offensive magic after totaling just 28 points in its final two games. They'll have to do so against an athletic North Carolina defense that held down Georgia Tech's triple-option rushing attack in a 28-7 win earlier this season. But never count out quarterback Pat White, who will try to cap his outstanding college career by finishing 4-0 in bowls.
It's been a disappointing season in many ways for the Mountaineers under first-year head coach Bill Stewart. Even the ever-optimistic Stewart admitted Saturday night that he's "not a happy camper" with the 8-4 record from a team that was picked to win the Big East. A bowl victory would go a long way toward easing some of the disappointment.