CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Maybe Bill Stewart should be running a pastry shop instead of coaching West Virginia's football team.
No, this column isn't going where you think ...
Morgantown, known to many as Touchdown City, has become Turnover Town in 2010.
The WVU offense may be much more air-oriented than it was under Stewart's predecessor, Rich Rodriguez, but one thing that hasn't changed is that turnovers usually tell the tale of the Mountaineers.
Among 120 teams in the Bowl Subdivision, West Virginia ranks 101st in turnover margin (minus-5 total in eight games). WVU's foe Saturday at Mountaineer field, Cincinnati, is even worse - at No. 116 (minus-8 in eight games).
Get this coincidence: The only team with a winning record ranked lower than WVU is turnover margin is ... Rodriguez's 6-3 Michigan bunch (minus-7 in nine games).
OK, back to West Virginia. The Mountaineers have won the turnover battle in only two games this season, against UNLV and USF. It was a 2-2 tie in a loss at LSU.
With five games on the negative side in turnover margin, the 2010 Mountaineers have their high in that category since having six "minus games" in the 3-8 debut season for Rodriguez (2001).
Starting with the next season - 2002, when WVU started its school-record streak of eight consecutive bowl seasons - through Rodriguez's finale and a costly loss to Pitt in 2007, West Virginia went 42-1 when it had the turnover margin edge.
The only loss was in 2003 at Maryland.
In Stewart's three seasons as WVU's head coach (and we'll count a Fiesta Bowl win when he was an interim boss following RichRod), the Mountaineers have 24 turnovers in 11 losses and are minus-13 in turnover margin.
Stewart is 24-11 at WVU. In those 35 games, his team has won the turnover margin 16 times, lost it 15 and broken even four times.
It's obvious that the head coach can't carry the ball for his players or strip an opposing running back while wearing a headset on the sideline, but the turnover numbers are telling.
How about this one:
When WVU lost at Colorado while being plus-1 in turnover margin in the third game of the 2008 season, it ended a run of 34 consecutive games that the Mountaineers had been victorious when they won the turnover battle.
Stewart's teams are 13-3 when they win turnover margin. They're 8-7 when they lose in giveaways-takeaways and 3-1 when it's even.
I guess the Mountaineers need some Allstate agents on the roster - you know, more good-hands people.
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THE DROPOFF in the quality of Big East football doesn't appear to have hurt at all at the gate ... until one digs past the surface of the numbers.