When we look at WV records below, we see a dramatic improvement from 2001 to 2002. After the 2002 season it remained pretty constant until 2005 when Slaton and White saw playing time.
My thoughts on the shift in records from 2001-2002 and from 2004-2005 are as follows: The first shift appears mostly do to RR's spread implementation and having the right players in the system (perhaps similar to what we are seeing in Michigan from 2008-2009). The 2004-2005 change is the one i find most interesting. It appears that until Slaton and White came to WV the team was stuck in 8-9 wins and could not muster enough to compete for a BCS title. After White and Slaton took over the offense, the team won 10+ games every year.
I make these points simply in observation because i see some posts that assume we should be competing for a BT title and the like by year 3. I am not saying we won't, but based on RRs trajectory at WV, it seems that he needs the right talent to work his voodoo magic with his offense. If that talent is not there, a linear projection of continuous improvement might be wishful thinking. And i say "right" talent because Slaton and White were both 3 star recruits even though Slaton ran a blazing 4.3 40.
Anyway, I'm I smoking crack or is there a valid relationship between the 2004-2005 jump in wins and the playing time of Slaton and White?
(Thanks to I Blue Myself for the content)
2001: 3-8 overall, 0-5 vs the top 30 and 0-2 vs the top 10.
2002: 9-4 overall, 3-3 vs the top 30 and 0-1 vs the top 10. WVU beat BC, Va. Tech, and Pitt.
2003: 8-5 overall, 0-3 vs the top 30, 0-3 vs the top 10.
2004: 8-4 overall, 0-3 vs the top 30, 0-1 vs. the top 10
2005: 11-1 overall, 2-1 vs. top 30, 0-1 vs. top 10
WVU beat SEC Champ Georgia, Louisville. Lost to Va. Tech
2006: 11-2 overall, 1-1 vs. top 30, 0-1 vs. top 10
WVU beat #12 Rutgers, lost to #5 Louisville (wow, how times have changed)
2007: 11-2 overall, 1-1 vs. top 30, 1-0 vs. top 10
WVU beat #5 Oklahoma, lost to #20 S. Florida.