The WVU football team has potential to be one of the top teams in the Big 12 Conference, year in and year out.
Potential on paper, though, does not always equate to prosperity on the field. That’s been the case for the past four seasons in the Big 12. The Mountaineers have been able to keep their heads above water, under head coach Dana Holgorsen. West Virginia just hasn’t figured out how to get over the hump and thrive in the national spotlight.
That could change this season.
The Mountaineers will likely be flying under the radar, in the national eye, as well as within the Big 12. So far, the WVU football team has been predicted to finish in the middle of the conference standings and that will be the same this year.
The Big 12 will have the consistent bottom feeders, like Iowa State and Kansas; it’ll have the top-end teams like Oklahoma, Baylor, TCU and, to an extent, Texas.
Then, there’s Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, Kansas State and West Virginia.
These four teams basically make up all the difference in the conference. That’s why there has been so much parity in the Big 12. Really, any team can win any match up on any given today.
This season, the WVU football team has a legitimate chance to win seven Big 12 games. It won’t be so much playing the spoiler role because if the Mountaineers can come together, limit mistakes, and have key players step up in big situations, this could be their best year under Holgorsen.
According to ESPN.com, West Virginia can win 10 games.
“The more I think about it,” writes Brandon Chatmon, “it could be possible (that the WVU football team wins 10 games). Particularly if Skylar Howard can step his game up. Dana Holgorsen has recruited well and the Mountaineers could get to 10 with three losses. A tough non-conference schedule will make this an even more difficult task, but West Virginia does get TCU, Baylor and Oklahoma at home. The Mountaineers do have the talent to be a 10-win team, they just have to prove it.”
Looking at the schedule, the Mountaineers can definitely end the first month of the season unscathed at 3-0. Missouri isn’t quite as established on offense, like the Mountaineers are, heading into this season. So, we’ll chalk that up as a win.
More from Hail WV
- Every West Virginia potential March Madness venue in 2023 NCAA Tournament
- West Virginia March Madness Schedule: When do the Mountaineers play next? (Updated March 12)
- West Virginia vs. Kansas prediction and odds for Saturday, February 25 (Take Mountaineers as underdogs)
- WVU Football Recruiting: Mountaineers make Malik Hartford’s short list
- Previewing WVU basketball against Oklahoma State
When Youngstown State comes to town, the WVU football program will be tested as head coach Bo Pelini has something to prove this season with his Penguins. YSU knocked off Pitt in 2012, so they are battle-tested in front of a Division I FBS crowd. Still, the Mountaineers should be able to stay spotless against teams from the FCS.
The tricky part of the non-conference slate comes away from Morgantown in Washington, D.C. The Mountaineers have a neutral site game against BYU, but the WVU football faithful should travel much better than the Cougars will. In an evenly set match up, the Mountaineers get the edge.
The WVU football team’s first Big 12 game is Kansas State at home. Win.
The Mountaineers may run out of gas by the time they head to Lubbock, Texas, like they did in the 2012 season, so that may be the case this time around, too. We’ll say the Mountaineers are 4-1 with their first loss of the season coming on the road to Texas Tech.
The Mountaineers remaining home games will be TCU, Kansas, Oklahoma and Baylor. Since the team hasn’t been performing as well at home as in years past, we’ll say the Mountaineers could afford to split these four games.
That leaves two road games: at Oklahoma State and at Iowa State. Both programs are on the uptick, but so are the Mountaineers.
Here’s where West Virginia can play spoiler and secure a solid regular season heading into the bowl game.
If that proverbial 10th win needs to come in the postseason, the Mountaineers could afford to drop that road game to OSU.
Still, if Skylar Howard can have his best passing year; working on his accuracy and overall command of the game, the Mountaineers’ offense could be the most well-oiled in the conference.
His arm, alone, can win 10 games for the WVU football team.