MORGANTOWN - Bill Stewart cares not for style points and the West Virginia football coach dismisses the concept the same way he has other topics that interest others, but not him.
"It goes back to sensationalism," he said.
Nothing, he said, could be taken from Saturday's 49-10 victory against UNLV apart from a win that pushed the team's record to 4-1 and gave a little more credibility to the notion his team is the best in the Big East Conference.
That it was the most points one of his WVU teams has scored or that none of his margins of victory had been as large wasn't important. That he was made to consider such things seemed mystifying.
"To win is not good enough and if we don't win by what people think we should, it's like a bad loss," he said. "I never understood that."
It's more confusing when one considers a very big deal was made of losing by just six points at LSU, which is now No. 9 in the country and was at home that night with 92,575 people in the stands and how the only time WVU played before a larger audience it lost by 45 points.
See? Style matters, be it on the field or on the scoreboard, and for various reasons the Mountaineers have sought that style for two-plus seasons now. Among the many things that became different when the regimes changed here, none is bigger than the value on style.
Rich Rodriguez's teams ran laps around opponents.
The players were scoreboard watchers. They were trying to beat the opponent, but also impress voters and computers ... and they admitted it.
True, the stakes were higher at that time and a cutthroat approach was what the situation sometimes required, but it also fueled those teams.
Today, though, WVU wants to lead the league in wins and outscore its opponent every game, be it by one point or one dozen. Stewart will not apologize for how he wins games when he wins games.
This is not another tired debate about whose idea was better, but it is timely to look at things and ask a question:
Was the premise to changing the offense misguided?
You'll recall Stewart was a witness to the shortcomings of the old offense. He was an assistant when East Carolina and South Florida and Pitt did what other opponents could not and defended the zone-read and belly option, tackled extraordinarily well and somehow kept the offensive juggernaut from piling up yards and touchdowns.
From Stewart's frustrations grew intuition. When he took the Mountaineers over, he altered the offense.
Other teams were doing the same and made either minor or wholesale changes. Skip Holtz was the coach at East Carolina and although he never beat one of Rodriguez's teams, his Pirates did hold WVU to 20 and 25 points in 2005 and 2006 and helped popularize a plan against WVU and like-minded teams.