Big 12 Season Preview: #9

West Virginia: 4-8 (2-7)

Expectations in Morgantown are as low as they’ve been since entering the Big 12 in 2012. It’s a clean slate for the Mountaineers, as they have to replace all-conference players in Will Grier, David Sills, Gary Jennings, Yodny Cajuste, and most importantly, head coach Dana Holgorsen, who left to take over at Houston.

First year head coach Neal Brown hopes to carry over his successes from Troy, as he went 31-8 over his final 3 seasons running the program including a 24-17 win against LSU in Death Valley. The offense returns two dynamic running backs in Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway, who combined for 1,425 yards and 14 TDs last year. Not much else returns, though, as Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall will take over the starting QB position. The defensive side of the ball lost nearly all of its best talent to either graduation or the draft. They will have trouble making stops, especially outside of Morgantown.

The schedule is not easy this year. The season opener may be their easiest game against James Madison, who is a highly competitive FCS team (WVU is only favored by 6.5). Other non-conference games include a trip to Missouri and a home game against NC State. It’ll be tough to scratch out wins for this team, but I do see them managing to win four partly because this team will always put up a fight in Morgantown. Home games against Texas, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma St will be defining games for them this year.

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