And while Holgorsen has said a lot about his team, about his coaches and, indeed, about himself this season, what he hasn't said is that it hurts him so much because he really likes this team, the leadership, the talent and the thought of what might have been and what might still be.
"I think we're close," he said. "I think we've been close all year. We're playing quality teams, we get that, but we're getting better. We're playing a lot of young guys. I think we're close and I'm still hoping that it happens this year."
It might, and the schedule would suggest it's at the very least possible, but it's not an egregious reach to think it could have happened already.
What might have been if Paul Millard weren't misfiring on open passes against Oklahoma? What might have been if Childress were healthy throughout the Maryland game? What might have been if WVU stops a third-and-14 or a fourth-and-7 against Texas?
What might have been if the coaches knew Quinton Spain was really a guard and not a tackle? What might have been if Trickett were able to start throughout the season? What might have been if Charles Sims were given 25 touches every game?
What if seemingly everyone in a blue jersey in practice didn't miss a game this season?
You can go on and on about this, and trust that Holgorsen has because, quietly, it seems he approves of so many other things about this group. Consider that WVU lost its quarterback a quarter into the Texas game and couldn't stop turning the ball over inside its own 30yard line. The Mountaineers still played out of their realm on special teams, still scored 40 points, still did about as well as possible for 12 possessions on defense, still had a bunch of chances to get a stop or get a score, even in overtime.
"The effort was the best that it's been all year, or even going back the last couple of years," Holgorsen said. "It was really, really good. The guys fought hard. It was the most disappointed locker room I've ever been a part of, but you can't let it beat you twice."
A loss to Kansas would certainly change Holgorsen's mood. The Jayhawks are modest, though multiple on offense - "spotty, to say the least," is how Holgorsen put it - but better on defense than the record indicates, better than what they were six weeks ago. Yet the Mountaineers ought to be good enough to hand Kansas another Big 12 loss and to set up the Nov. 30 bowl-or-bust showdown against Iowa State (1-8, 0-6), but also wise enough not to take anyone or anything for granted.
"I wouldn't think so," he said. "We've been in a bad place this year, as well. They're no different than any other Big 12 team. Look at the games they've been in. They've been playing with a bunch of effort. How close was Iowa State to beating Texas? Last year, how close was Kansas to beating Texas? It can happen. If we think - and, boy, this sounds silly to say about a team that's 4-6 - that we have any chance to just show up and beat anybody in college football, we've got another thing coming."