Since Dana Holgorson took over the West Virginia football program in 2011, the Mountaineers have experienced some very good seasons. Good, but not great. Yes they won the now defunct Big East (in football) in 2011, but since joining the Big 12 WVU has been near the top a few times and around the middle most years, but never on top.
Mountaineers 2018 regular season win total
Odds courtesy of BetDSI Sportsbook.
What Happened Last Year
After losing by a touchdown to begin the year against Virginia Tech, West Virginia tore through a weak three week stretch before losing 31-24 again to TCU. WVU went 4-4 after a 3-2 start, including a loss to Utah in the Heart of Dallas Bowl, but the Mountaineers could’ve easily went 1-7 with a two-point win against Baylor, four-point win against Iowa State and five against Kansas State. Wins are wins though and winning the tight ones, no matter who it is against, are good signs for a football team.
What Will Change This Year
Not a lot will change on the offensive side of the ball as West Virginia will continue to have one of the more explosive offenses in the nation. Quarterback Will Grier is back after throwing for 3,490 yards, 34 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and while 1,000 yard rusher Justin Crawford is gone, Kennedy McKoy is back after rushing for 596 yards and seven touchdowns. WVU had two 1,000 yard receivers and only one is gone with Gary Jennings coming off 1,096 yard season. Joining Jennings in the receiving corps are David Sills V (980, 18 touchdowns) and Marcus Simms (663/5).
The defense also has some pieces back. Sack leader Ezekiel Rose (five sacks) is back along with interception co-leader Kenny Robinson (three interceptions). Linebacker and tackle for loss leader David Long Jr. (15.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks) is back as well.
The offense is back, the defense is back, so is West Virginia back to being a contender for the Big 12 title?
Outlook & Prediction
West Virginia will have the home field advantage working in its favor as the Mountaineers get to host Oklahoma, TCU and Kansas State as well as Baylor, Kansas and Youngstown State. WVU should be good for at least four home wins. On the road the Mountaineers travel to Texas Tech, Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State and a neutral site game against Tennessee in Charlotte, North Carolina.
If home field advantage can help WVU get a win from Oklahoma or TCU and if it can get a road win out of Texas or Oklahoma State, the Mountaineers will be looking at another good season of 8-plus wins.
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