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October 6, 2013

It has been interesting week for Oliver Luck

MORGANTOWN —  It has been an interesting week if your name is Oliver Luck and you are athletic director at West Virginia University.

To begin with Luck’s name came up as a prospective candidate for the University of Texas athletic director’s job, perhaps the premier AD job in the country, and the Stanford job.

Much points to the connection, including Luck’s time spent in Houston, Texas, managing a professional soccer franchise and building a stadium, his time running NFL Europe, his wife’s Texas roots and his knowledge now of the Big 12.

Luck did not deny that any interest could be shown. On his portion of the pregame show before the WVU-Baylor game on Saturday night Luck refused comment.

“My name gets kicked around for all sorts of jobs,” Luck said, “and I have decided not to comment at all on job opportunities.”

A story appeared late this week in the Charleston Gazette quoting school President Jim Clements that he had talked with Luck about his plans and Luck had assured him he was staying.

“I sat down with Oliver,” Clements told the Gazette. “I told him I need to know because I’ve been getting inquiries, calls and texts, and he said, ‘Jim, I love it here; I’m a Mountaineer; I’m staying.’”

That would seem to put such rumors to rest, but Luck’s refusal to talk about the situation and the fact that Texas can offer Luck a far more lucrative package than WVU can put together says this is not over yet.

It probably wasn’t accidental, either, that it leaked out this week that Luck is being named to the committee that will pick the four teams in the college football playoffs to create a national championship and also name the teams to play in the other major bowl games.

Among others leaked out as members of the committee are Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Football Hall of Famer Archie Manning, the one-time Ole Miss quarterback and father of Peyton and Eli Manning.

The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the committee has not been announced, also confirmed the following members: Wisconsin athletics director Barry Alvarez, USC athletics director Pat Haden, Arkansas athletics director Jeff Long,  Luck and Clemson athletics director Dan Radakovich in addition to Rice, former Ole Miss and NFL quarterback Manning, former NCAA Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt and former Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese as at-large selections.

Luck would also not confirm this, but was willing to talk on his radio show about the function of the committee.

“It’s much like basketball or other sports,” he said. “The selection committee will determine the final four teams. It will be an improvement over the BCS. Many think four teams isn’t enough, that it should be eight or even 16 teams.”

Either way it’s a tough job in most seasons and is sure to spur a great deal of controversy.

• WVU was far from healthy for the Baylor game.

Top linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury, as did running back Dustin Garrison.

Wide receiver Ivan McCartney missed the game with what was said to be a head injury, Kevin White filling in as the starter for him.

Adam Pankey is healthy enough to now be listed as the backup left tackle behind Nick Kindler, who has to feel his hot breath on his back.

• The WVU coaches have been piling praise upon true freshman Daryl Worley all year, and he has done nothing to prove them wrong.

This includes coming up with an interception at the WVU 8. It was the first pick Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty had thrown all season on his 84th pass of the year.

• Don’t want to say Baylor’s offense hits you like a sledgehammer, but WVU was thinking its defense had really improved a lot. They had held opponents to 309, 435, 220, 330 and 433 yards before Baylor gained 369 yards on them.

And then they started the second quarter!

• WVU safety Darwin Cook was the first Mountaineer hit with a targeting penalty after a hit on the sideline, which brings automatic ejection. However, after a replay review it was ruled that he was not guilty of targeting.

The penalty stands in that case but the ejection was overruled.

• Baylor’s Demetri Goodson, whose season ended last year when he broke his arm against WVU, broke WVU’s heart in the second half with an interception. Goodson was born in Charleston.

Follow Bob Hertzel on Twitter @bhertzel.

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