Dante Stills Invited To NFL Combine

Cover Photo:WVU Athletics Dante Stills is one step closer to achieving his lifelong dreams of joining the NFL. The Mountaineers' defensive lineman was invited to participate in the NFL combine, announced today on the team's Twitter account.The 2023 combine will take place starting Sunday, February 26 and run through Monday, March 6 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of the Indianapolis Colts. This will be the 36th consecutive year the event will be held in Indianapolis Stills will be a part of the first group of position players to be evaluated, as defensive linemen and linebackers are set to report on the first night. Stills’ invitation to the NFL combine is the second major event he has been asked to participate in, joining the annual East-West Shrine bowl, in which Stills and teammate Bryce Ford-Wheaton will be suiting up on Thursday, Feb. 2 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas Stills was the second-highest-graded defensive tackle in the Big 12 Conference this season, according to data collected by PFF. Not only that, but he had the eighth-highest-graded season among any defensive tackle in the country. His 85.7 season grade trailed only Texas’ Moro Ojomo (90.6) in the Big 12, and was better than Texas Tech’s Jaylon Hutchings (84.5) and all other conference players at the position. Stills recorded 26 total tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, forced two fumbles and recovered another this past season. He graduates from the Mountaineer football team with the program record for tackles for loss (53) and ranking fourth in sacks (24.5) Stills earned a first team All-Big 12 selection for the second-straight season. He earned All-Big 12 honors in four of his five years at WVU, with the lone exception being in 2018 when he was a Freshman All-American. Stills now seeks to follow the footsteps of his father, Gary, and older brother, Darius, into the NFL.  

WVU Basketball Will Surprise People This Year

MMorgantown, West Virginia - With the Big 12 Pre-Season poll coming out a little under a week ago and the AP Top 25 coming out yesterday, West Virginia is receiving NO love from the press. The way Huggins has been talking about the players this year makes me believe that this could be a SNEAKY good team. Huggins has stated that this team knows how to compete and sees the players' mentality this season as similar to his own. He also said this about this year's team to the psyche of last year's season: "I think our guys have fantastic attitudes, their work ethic has been really good. It wasn't so much that a year ago." This is interesting due to the fact that maybe a poor mentality was the downfall of last season's team. The team started out 11-1 with their sole loss at that point of the season coming to Marquette. The team then fell to 16-17 (4-14) dropping 16 of their next 20 games, leaving them out of not only the NCAA Tournament but the NIT as well. Huggins also had this to say about last year's team: "Obviously we are going to be a lot better. We had a bad year last year. I think our attitudes our better. I think we've gained by subtraction in some regards." This makes me believe that many of the players did not want to be there, and were being a hindrance to the team. With this, all the momentum they had gained before conference play vanished and the team started playing like they NEVER played basketball in their lives. Now, this is an entirely new season, and I have faith Huggins will get the team back on track. With how positive Huggs has been speaking about each of the players, it makes me believe that West Virginia WILL make a run in the Big 12, and make the NCAA tournament, finishing above .500.

Venables vs. Brown: More Similar Than We Thought

Morgantown, West Virginia -- In a recent YouTube video by MattBeGreat, he described everything that was wrong with Brent Venables, and it sounded EERILY similar to what we are dealing with in Morgantown RIGHT NOW! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N02l6iEDzqI   In the video, he said that Venables is a great guy, but he is not head coach material. Venables has a team motto called "Trust the Process", which is almost identical to Brown's catchphrase of "Trust the Climb". Another thing that he mentioned is that Venables is NOT tough enough with his players to motivate them when they are not playing well, which makes them give up after the first quarter of almost every game that they are losing. Now, we haven't seen that level of collapse from WVU yet, but we have seen another flaw that comes with being too nice, NO discipline. In the second half of games (minus the Texas game), West Virginia looks like an entirely different team. They make more mistakes, have more drops, more mental errors, and more penalties than they do in the prior half. This has been the inevitable downfall for them in their losses this year (mainly Pitt and Kansas). Matt also said that he had faith in Venables at the beginning of the season and seemed like the right hire for Oklahoma. He later went on to say that he was dead wrong. Venables is turning a proud program in the wrong direction, and it is unacceptable with how good Oklahoma is year in and year out. The only reason that West Virginia hasn't seen a drop in success like Oklahoma has this year is that we have far inferior talent than Oklahoma has. Both coaches do NOT know what they are doing, and again, both are identical in the fact that they were great coaches at the level they were coaching before, but not where they are at now. Neal Brown is meant to be a G5 Head Coach and nothing higher, and Venables is meant to be a Defensive Coordinator, and not a Head Coach (especially at Oklahoma). Will Oklahoma fire Venables? In year one, when do they still owe money to the Big 12 if they want to leave the conference early? No, but they will suffer from the same incompetent play calls and coaching that WVU has dealt with for the entirety of Brown's tenure. At least Venables is ONLY in year one, Neal Brown doesn't have that excuse...

West Virginia Isn’t the WORST Team in the Big 12

  Cover Photo: Tyler Prusina, The DA Morgantown, West Virginia - During the preseason, we all had expectations on what the Big 12 would look like this season. Oklahoma and Baylor would round out the top, Oklahoma State and Texas would be competing for that third-place spot. Kansas State, WVU, and Texas Tech would be in the middle of the pack, and TCU and Kansas would be the bottom dwellers. Surprisingly in a weird Big 12, Oklahoma is the worst team in the league, and Kansas and TCU are the two best teams in the league. Now, you might be thinking, isn't West Virginia the worst team in the league? No, they aren't. Oklahoma is much worse, and has a real shot of being blown out by WEST VIRGINIA in Morgantown on November 12th. Even though WVU played against Texas's backup quarterback last week, they didn't have the neutral site advantage that Oklahoma had today. WVU played in a HOSTILE environment against a Texas team that is proving itself to NOT be out of the Big 12 title race by any stretch. Oklahoma played against the EXACT same defense that WVU did, but West Virginia was able to put up 20 points against them and not completely embarrass themselves. Oklahoma could not say the same this week with a 49-0 loss to the same Texas team that gave up 20 points to WVU last week. The Red River Showdown takes place in a neutral site field that is 50/50 for each fan base and by the time the second half started, the Sooners side started to leave like rats on a sinking ship. Then who can Oklahoma even beat this season? Honestly, there may not be another win on their schedule. The worst team that Oklahoma plays this season is West Virginia. I would say that would be a win if that was in Norman, but it is in Morgantown. The other plausible win they MIGHT have is against Iowa State, and that AGAIN is an away game for them. Oklahoma has Kansas next week, and the Jayhawks will be out for blood after today's heartbreaking loss against TCU. How big would a win against the Sooners be for the Mountaineers? For WVU and our fanbase? HUGE. WVU has never beaten OU since joining the Big 12. It doesn't matter how bad Oklahoma is, a win against the Sooners before they leave for the SEC will be a MASSIVE momentum boost for the Mountaineers.

West Virginia Has A Legitimate Chance Of Beating OU This Year

Morgantown, West Virginia - With Oklahoma being curb stomped by TCU today (55-24), it further brings home the point that anyone can beat anybody in the Big 12 this season. Oklahoma, a team that had playoff aspirations under first-year Head Coach Brent Venables now falls to 3-2 (0-2) with back-to-back losses to Kansas State (at home), and TCU (at TCU). This really begs the question: How vulnerable is Oklahoma this season? The answer is pretty simple, VERY. If they can't beat Kansas State at home or the supposed bottom dweller TCU, then how are they going to beat West Virginia in Morgantown? Now, I don't think they will. I thought before the season started that WVU had a chance to beat them, but it has been back and forth all season long for me about who was gonna win. Now, I have my answer. Morgantown is a HARD place to visit and I don't think this year's Oklahoma team has it in them to beat the Mountaineers this season. For us, this is great! It will be the first time that West Virginia has EVER beaten the Sooners since joining the Big 12 in 2012. It would be a nice way to send them out of the conference. If West Virginia beats Texas today, both Oklahoma and Texas will be tied for dead last in the conference. They were picked to finish second and third in the conference respectively, but it is becoming less and less likely as we find out more about how these teams play. For the rest of the Big 12, this is GREAT news! Seeing those two leave the Big 12 on a sour note to the SEC is wonderful for West Virginia and the rest of the remaining conference, but what will this mean for them heading into the SEC?  It could show that they can't compete. If they cannot beat mediocre Big 12 schools, then how will they be able to compete with SEC talent? This year shows just a glimpse into what they will play like with new coaches, and at this current moment in time, it is NOT looking good for them.

This Is The Most Realistic Realignment For the Big 12

Morgantown, West Virginia - With rumors and TV contract debates being rapidly talked about, the pieces for the new era of the new college football world are starting to fall into place. As previously mentioned in our last article about realignment (http://voiceofmotown.com/report-big-12-to-expand-to-16-teams/), Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, and Utah are looking to join the Big 12. That isn't where the story ends, though. With Pac-12 Commissioner George Kliavkoff stubbornly believing the PAC-12 is worth a lot more than it is, which is holding the conference back from any chance at a real TV deal for the conference. This gives the Big 12 and the Big Ten the chance to purge and put down the PAC-12 for good. The Big Ten on the other hand is looking to seek an offer from Amazon for a new TV deal, and with Oregon, Washington, Standford, and California looking for a new conference, the foundation for a conference leap is looking more and more likely every day. What will this mean for the Big 12?  Well, this gives the Big 12 an opportunity to expand to 20 teams. If the Big 10 decides to expand to 20, it will most likely open up the door for the SEC to expand as well to combat the Big 10's expansion. With this, the SEC will have no other choice but to take the best of the best from the heart of the ACC. My guess is North Carolina, Clemson, Florida State, and Miami. Those are the four best brands from the conference and will allow the Big 12 to take the best of what is left over. This is the BEST case scenario for West Virginia and would allow them and Cincinnati to have a big say on who the new teams from the East would be. The likely members the Big 12 would target are Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, North Carolina State, and Louisville. This would be a perfect compromise between East and West in the conference and give the Big 12 the best geographical fit all around with four pods of 5 schools each. Examples of Big 12 Pods: Northeast: West Virginia, Cincinnati, Pitt, NCST, Virginia Tech Midwest: Louisville, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa State, Oklahoma State Southwest: UCF, TCU, Baylor, Houston, Texas Tech, Four Corners: Utah, BYU, Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado It will be interesting to see in the next few weeks what conference realignment has in store for the Big 12, but if things end up like this, it will not only be big for the conference but HUGE for West Virginia. It would bring back rivalry games, and allow West Virginia to end up staying in a stable conference that only a little over a year ago, was on the brink of collapse. Unlike the PAC-12 which has made stupid decision after stupid decision, the Big 12 was smart and thought ahead.  

OPINION: After a Rocky Start, What Does the Rest of This Season Have In...

  (Photo by WVU Athletics) The West Virginia Mountaineers have started the season out 2-2 (0-1) with wins against FCS opponent Towson and rival Virginia Tech (VPI to many). They also have losses to at the time #17th ranked Pitt and conference foe Kansas in overtime.  I personally believe that when we lost to Kansas, this season really was over, but now, I think that West Virginia is finally starting to prove itself. The Mountaineers had a dominant win against Towson at home, and yes, before anyone tells me that it is Towson, it is still very impressive to not give up any points on defense. After that, they defeated Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. That win could potentially be the turning point of the season as WVU blew out the Hokies by the largest margin of victory at Lane Stadium in Blackdiamond history. If the Mountaineers really want to turn this season around, they have to defeat Texas in Austin and then a potentially Top 15-ranked Baylor Bears team in Morgantown. Texas lost tonight to Texas Tech in Lubbock in OT and I believe that WVU with momentum coming out of the rivalry game against Virginia Tech, has a real chance to pull the upset in Austin.  They then come home to play Baylor. The thing about Baylor is that they have NEVER defeated the Mountaineers in Morgantown since WVU joined the Big 12. If they defeat Texas, then I think that WVU has a real chance to pull the upset on a Thursday night in October. If they lose to Texas, WVU still has a chance to win (especially since it is a night game on Thursday and crazy stuff ALWAYS happens on Thursday nights in Motown.) All in all, this schedule is super difficult for the rest of the season: Saturday, Oct. 1 at #22 Texas Longhorns, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Oct. 8 Oct. 13, #17 Baylor Bears, 7:30 ET   Saturday, Oct. 22 at Texas Tech Red Raiders, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Oct. 29  TCU Horned Frogs, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 5 at Iowa State Cyclones, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 12 #6 Oklahoma Sooners, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 19 Kansas State Wildcats, Time TBA ET   Saturday, Nov. 26 at #9 Oklahoma State Cowboys If West Virginia wins their next two, the schedule thins out quite a bit and they have some real chances to FINALLY put themselves on the map with Coach Neal Brown. If they split the next two or lose both, then I am not sure how this season will unfold and will potentially be the end of his career. A winning season is still VERY possible, and if they play like they did against VT and tweak that offense, even more, the sky is the limit for this team.

Today’s Battles with WVU Season Implications

With Kansas putting together a pretty strong showing last night at home against Big Ten’s Illinois 34-23, let’s look at a few Big 12 games that you should pay close attention to this weekend to get a feel for how specific teams are developing heading out of Week 2. It is worth mentioning that (11)Texas is playing at (3)Alabama, and likely the highest marquee matchup of the weekend, but it does not directly impact WVU's path during the conference schedule. Here are some matchups you should watch today featuring later-season opponents: 12:00 pm, ESPN, (12) Utah @ Baylor (FPI favors Utah 73.5%) Following a disappointing start to the season at McLane Stadium against Texas State, Baylor looks to bounce back. The crazy thing about Dave Aranda teams? They can lose to a Sun Belt team one weekend and take a ranked team the distance the following week. This weekend will show whether Baylor is a team destined for the Big 12 basement. 6:30 pm, CW Network, Cincinnati @ Pitt (FPI favors Pitt 59.8%) This one features two of our upcoming opponents and will serve as a testament to the kind of team Narduzzi is bringing into Morgantown on the 16th. 7:00 pm, FOX, (13) Oregon @ Texas Tech (FPI favors Oregon 67.4%) This game will likely be a lot closer than many might think. While Wyoming took Tech the distance, I think they have spent more of the summer months preparing for this matchup. As their home opener, this will be closer than predictors think. 7:00 pm, FS1, UCF @ Boise State (FPI favors UCF 77.6%) UCF is a clear favorite here, but much of this lopsidedness is based on how successful Washington University was last weekend when the Broncos started the season on the road. In their home opener with a very loyal and loud fanbase, this is a tougher road game for UCF than it might seem – also a good look at what to expect down the stretch from the Golden Knights. 7:00 pm, NFL NET, Houston @ Rice (FPI favors Houston 68.8%) Remember JT Daniels? Yeah, he’s starting for Rice now. He’s not off to a fantastic start, but Houston’s game with UTSA was a little lackluster last weekend, too. Also, Rice's numbers might be slightly skewed since game one was on the road for the Texas Longhorns home opener. Let’s see how their own home season schedule begins and learn if Houston is a team that can nab a decisive win. Image by The Roost

The Mountaineers in the Standings After Week 5

Here we are staring down the barrel at Week 6, and WVU is getting a much-needed recuperation after the dramatic, gritty win in Ft. Worth on the road. Fortunately for football fans, lots of action is still happening this week with a direct impact on the latest standings of the conference. West Virginia is in third place in the conference behind undefeated Oklahoma and Texas, but Week 6 does not disappoint. This week features the Red River Rivalry neutral site game played annually between Oklahoma and Texas, determining who is the alpha of the conference in this small snapshot. Before we get into the breakdown of the Big 12 matchups this week, here is a look at the current standings if you just wanted a little jolt of excitement seeing us so close to the top. TEAM BIG 12 RECORD PCT.  OVERALL RECORD Oklahoma 2-0 1.000 5-0 Texas 2-0 1.000 5-0 West Virginia 2-0 1.000 4-1 Kansas State 1-0 1.000 3-1 BYU 1-1 .500 4-1 Kansas 1-1 .500 4-1 TCU 1-1 .500 3-2 Baylor 1-1 .500 2-3 Iowa State 1-1 .500 2-3 Texas Tech 1-1 .500 2-3 Oklahoma State 0-1 .000 2-2 UCF 0-2 .000 3-2 Cincinnati 0-2 .000 2-3 Houston 0-2 .000 2-3   Kansas State (3-1) @ Oklahoma State (2-2) Kansas State is back in action along with Oklahoma State after their respective bye weeks, playing this one on a Friday night headed into the weekend. All eyes are focused on what the Wildcats will do to pave their path back to defend their crown as the reigning Big 12 Champion. They should not have much of an issue getting the job done in Stillwater with a shell-shocked Cowboys program this season. Predicted to Win: Kansas State decisively wins. (12) Oklahoma vs. (3) Texas If you wanted to see the Red River Rivalry while it still has relevance for the Big 12, this is a noon kickoff, making it likely one of the marquee matchups of this time slot in the coming weekend. Both teams enter undefeated on the season, meaning one of them will take a pretty steep drop in the conference standings by not finishing on the right side of this score. I think the Longhorns are riding high right now and were not stalled by the Jayhawks, but this will likely be their final remaining test of the season. It's almost a touchdown in favor of UT, but it's time for the world to see if Oklahoma has what it takes. Predicted to Win: Texas in an aptly named shootout. UCF (3-2) @ Kansas (4-1) Both of these programs did not have a Week 5 that they expected. The Jayhawks, without their starting quarterback, were picked apart in Austin. The Golden Knights, also without their starting quarterback, choked in the 4th quarter to give up a 26-point lead to lose in the final minutes against the underwhelming Baylor Bears. I think that UCF takes advantage of KU being without Jalon Daniels this week and pulls away late. Predicted to Win: UCF if no QBs unexpectedly return. TCU (3-2) @ Iowa State (2-3) TCU needs to remind everyone that they went to the CFP and National Championship last year, and the best way to do that is to get back to their winning ways. They get served up a pretty soft punching bag this week in Iowa State, who is coming off a pretty brutal loss to Oklahoma last weekend. Predicted to Win: TCU bounces back big. Texas Tech (2-3) @ Baylor (2-3) Is Baylor back? No, I don’t think so. They pulled together something entertaining to watch last weekend and took advantage of a serious momentum shift against UCF. It might take more than that to shift gears for the whole season and take down a Tech team that might be clicking after coming off a win on the road against Holgorsen’s Cougars. They want to stay relevant in the conference by winning the ones they are supposed to, and this is example #1. I think they get the job done in Waco. Predicted to Win: Texas Tech in a nailbiter. If these predictions come to fruition, Kansas State would be tied with West Virginia for second with a 2-0 conference record and 4-1 overall, and Oklahoma would be in third, tied with TCU and Texas Tech. The New standings could look like: Texas (6-0, 3-0) Kansas State (4-1, 2-0) West Virginia (4-1, 2-0) Oklahoma (5-1, 2-1) TCU (4-2, 2-1) Texas Tech (3-3, 2-1) BYU (4-1, 1-1) Kansas (4-2, 1-2) UCF (3-3, 1-2) Baylor (2-4, 1-2) Iowa State (2-4, 1-2) Oklahoma State (2-3, 0-2) Cincinnati (2-3, 0-2) Houston (2-3, 0-2) Photo Credit: NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth

Dana Is Now Coaching for His Job

Dana Holgorsen has been a successful coach nearly everywhere he has been. Much like everyone on their path to becoming the head coach of a program, he would jump around from place to place, beginning as a QB and Wide Receiver coach at Valdosta State in the mid-1990s. His successes continued, ultimately allowing him to become the Offensive Coordinator in three schools now affiliated with the Big 12: Texas Tech, Houston, and Oklahoma State. Finally, he got his chance to be the true head coach of a football team as the man to usher us into the changes ahead as the Big East dissolved and we had to make the unwanted (but now wise move) to the Big 12 – shoutout Oliver Luck. Successes at West Virginia From 2011-2018, Dana would become the second-most winningest coach in program history with 61 victories to 41 losses, putting together some impressive 10-win seasons and a conference championship in the final year under the Big East banner. So when he decided to jump seemingly backward to coach Houston in a Group of Five conference, the nation was scratching its head. Headed to Houston Ultimately, we all learned that they offered him more money than Shane Lyons was willing to pay (ironic considering Brown’s contract extension without merit a couple of years later), and he had connections in the state of Texas. And in the early going, everything seemed to be going great. Well, if you don’t count the seasons starting out where he went 4-8 and then 3-5. The feather in his cap came when the Cougars put together a 12-2 season, losing only to Texas Tech in their opener and Cincinnati, who would go on and make a shameful appearance in the CFP. They took a step back the next season despite starting the season in the Top 25. The hype about the program was real, and they fell flat to Texas Tech, Kansas, and Tulane in their first five games of the season. Then, the hot seat talk began. Holgorsen was unphased and still is for the most part about all this chatter. He seems to forget that Houston might just now be joining a big boy conference, but they were committed to finding a head coach that would make them sustainably relevant after Tom Herman– getting rid of Major Applewhite after two five-loss seasons without postseason success. West Virginia’s Role in the Mayhem So here we are in 2023, and WVU ironically is positioned to be the potential nail in the coffin for the coach who felt that he could not successfully recruit the state of West Virginia with a roster talented enough to make waves in the Big 12. Losing to the Mountaineers at TDECU Stadium on October 12th would be another blow towards Holgorsen’s tenure with the Houston Cougars, dropping their 2023 season and Big 12 debut year to 2-4, including a loss to Rice University. The Cougars face a three-game gauntlet beginning with WVU on the 12th, followed by Texas and Kansas State. A loss to the Mountaineers could begin a conference loss landslide, taking them firmly out of bowl game contention and making it impossible for the Houston Cougar program to justify this as expected moving into a new conference – they want to be competitive now. If West Virginia arrives with the chip on their shoulder they have carried into every game this year, the Cougars will have a hard time matching the intensity. Tune in for the visor throwing and hair blowing in the breeze kind of good time. The game airs October 12th at 7 PM on FS1. Photo Credit: KHOU

TC-Boo Horned Frogs

Cramps are an unfortunate part of the world of football, or any sport, actually. They are real and can occur randomly and temporarily stop the play on the field until the player can get off the sideline and work it out. When playing for hours in 80-degree weather, it becomes even more of a possibility. Instead, when these cramps occurred, they were taken as a sign by the TCU faithful that this was the only way that we could slow down your high-scoring and blazing second-half offensive prowess. Except, it wasn’t there. Whether the Horned Frogs were moving the ball or not, injuries and aches can happen on any snap. Jordan Lesley did not coach our players to travel to Ft. Worth, be decisively aggressive for the entire game, hold the TCU offense to almost no positive yardage in the third quarter, to simply start faking cramps in the 4th. Believe me when I say I’ve seen fake cramps in action. Just ask the Mountaineer faithful what was happening when we played LSU. Hell, ask a lot of people what happened when LSU started getting outplayed. So, the idea is that we were feigning cramps to slow down Chandler Morris, which brought out the boos. Except for an actual injury. When Trey Lathan went down in the 4th quarter, those watching at home could immediately see the severity of the situation from the actions of the training staff surrounding Trey on the field. They were calling for a cart, trying to stabilize his leg, and setting up an air cast. The TCU fanbase was booing, assuming this was one of the fake cramps designed to keep their team from gaining momentum. It wasn’t until the cart came out on the field that the sea of black and purple realized that maybe this wasn’t a fake after all. Part of the world of college football is getting loud and being passionate about your team. We get it because that’s what we do every time the Mountaineers take the field at Milan Puskar Stadium. What happened Saturday night was classless and distasteful in a game I can only describe as plain dirty. I don’t know what’s in the water in Ft. Worth, TX, but that is not the ‘happiest student body in the country.’ See you next year in Morgantown. Photo Credit: Vivid Seats

Big 12 Coaches on the Hot Seat

Even as recently as two weeks ago, the hot seat Neal Brown found himself on was still quite warm after dropping the season opener in Happy Valley, but it has cooled dramatically after the results of the Backyard Brawl and then overcoming the spread and showing up in a big way against Texas Tech. While the seat is cooling, and could almost level out completely with a victory in Fort Worth this weekend, that is not the case at all for the rest of the conference. There are some coaches that are currently playmaking for their jobs, whether they believe it or not. Its only a rumor until some administrator makes it a fact. Here are four coaches making waves with hot seat rumors: Dana Holgorsen         As we know, Dana has never been one to mince his words or hold back from something he feels should be said. He’s more aware than anyone that his coaching chair is becoming a scorching fire lately, but he does not seem phased. He said his contract is ironclad, with a serious buyout worth more than 15 million dollars guaranteed. Unfortunately for Holgorsen, there are already boosters that are willing to pay that buyout to make the team relevant right now in their transition into the Big 12, so a steep price for his departure might seem like security for Dana, but a flopping season and a few more bad showings could see him hitting the classified section of college coaching. Mike Gundy               Gundy has been with the Oklahoma State Cowboys for what seems like forever. In his 19th season, Gundy has been slipping lately, with a 7-5 record last year capped with a bowl game loss and what has been a rough start to this season as well with the squad now 2-2 coming off a big loss to Iowa State and staring down what can only be expected to be a loss this weekend to Kansas State. If the Cowboys do not get back to their winning ways, longevity cannot preserve you – just ask Gary Patterson how that worked out at TCU. Dave Aranda         Coming off a 6-7 season last year, people wanted to see that Dave Aranda put some pieces in place to turn the program around and be the same competitive squad everyone saw in 2021, but that has not happened in spectacular fashion. Off to a 1-3 start, the Bears look unenthused and easy pickings for the conference. If the Bears keep being the bottom feeders, don’t be surprised to see a new head coach in Waco. Matt Campbell Poor Matt Campbell is having a rough go of it. Iowa State has been a team least likely to succeed along with Kansas for a long time, but he seemed (a few years ago at least) to really be turning the program around and making them competitive. Now, it's kind of off the rails, and you have a head coach losing his composure on fans, and that is never a good look for anyone. They did win their first conference game, which is more than their opponent, Oklahoma State can say. But the gimme is gone, and you’ve got a long list of grueling matchups on the way, beginning with Oklahoma. Matt Campbell might not still be in Ames come the start of next season. Feature Photo Credit: The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Week 5 Games That Impact WVU Moving Forward

There are a few games happening this weekend that you should keep an eye on while you wait for the late start we have Saturday night at 8 PM against the Horned Frogs. These games should paint a pretty clear picture of the kind of competition we have coming up. More than that, you can gauge how you feel the Mountaineers are stacking up against the competition of the Big 12 while making a day of competitive college football. Here are my three games you should follow up on: Cincinnati @ BYU This Friday night kickoff should draw a lot of attention to the conference, which is good. Given the need for both teams to establish themselves as a prominent force entering the Big 12 this year, this should be a battle for all four quarters. BYU might not be as talented as Cincinnati is this year, and they are licking their wounds after being assaulted by the Kansas Jayhawks, but it is difficult for a team to head into Provo and win. Period. Since the 2020 season, they have only lost three games at home. You can catch this one by staying up late for the 10:15 EST kickoff tonight on ESPN. (24) Kansas @ (3) Texas Kansas can play spoiler to the Texas Longhorns steamroller right now. Austin is a hostile place to play and an even harder venue to win when UT is rolling. But, Kansas had already upset the Longhorns the last time they took the trip down to the Lone Star State. You can expect to either see one of the greatest games of the Big 12 this year, which I expect could be better than the Red River Rivalry/Shootout, or see Kansas buckle under the pressure of being ranked and playing in such a high-profile game against a Top 5 opponent. Either way, this game WILL have Big 12 Conference Title Game implications, regardless of the victor. Kickoff for this one is 3:30 Saturday afternoon on ESPN. Houston @ Texas Tech This is a contest that all Mountaineers should pay attention to, as it is sure to give you an idea of what to expect not only from Houston in our next game, but even from TCU in the game yet to begin. When Houston travels to Texas Tech, most expect this to be a get-right game for the Red Raiders, and dominance from TTU will only solidify the idea that TCU hasn’t yet been tested, that we beat a Tech team that was better than advertised, and we can glean some strategies of success by how Texas Tech performs against the Cougars. Don’t sleep on Houston, though. Dana took this one the distance last year 33-30 in a close loss when TTU made the trip to TDECU Stadium. This one is also set for 3:30 on FS2. Yeah there are plenty more games that you can watch and get a measure of the competition WVU still has to face, but these games should be handily one-sided, such as Kansas State playing Oklahoma State or Baylor traveling to Orlando to take on Central Florida. These listed matchups above should be good football and help to establish the hierarchy of the Big 12 by answering some questions about where teams belong in the breakdown after Week 2 of conference play. Photo Credit: NBC-Dallas

Can West Virginia Win Out?

West Virginia has finally generated some buzz this season. In an interview, Neal Brown just recently stated that he is ‘not surprised’ that WVU is 3-1 – I wish I could say the same. I was one of those who expected this to be a season where the team crashed and burned, hopefully rising from the ashes spectacularly, like TCU dropping Gary Patterson, Kansas releasing Les Miles, and so on. However, that is not what it looks like will happen. Now, you have to have the conversation along with the other major outlets of if WVU is capable of not only winning more of their games but potentially winning all their remaining games. Crazy, right? Some would say a little too crazy. But it is interesting to consider that if the defense continues to hold teams to a limited number, as they did with Texas Tech, is it possible? You must consider that Tech is not a team used to being held to 13 points, even in games they lose. They have not scored less than 30 points in a game this year and only did so a few times last season in their run to the Texas Bowl. Pitt is another example in our season of teams used to putting up points that are stymied before they can. Pitt hosted the (15) UNC Tarheels last weekend, and while they suffered yet another loss, they hung 24 points on the rapidly rising team. And yes, still with their amazing quarterback, Phil Jurkovec. We held Pitt to 6 points when they came to Morgantown. So, when do you feel good about getting on the hype train rolling through? When does it derail, I guess, is the better question? Can you win out in the conference – let’s take a look at the remaining games of the schedule: @ TCU – This weekend will be a true test of this Neal Brown squad. You aren’t getting thrown into the jaws of the University of Texas machine chomping through conference right now, but you are facing the former contenders for the National Championship. Chandler Morris lacks the spirit of Max Duggan, but has the full support of the Frogs fanbase. Lines vary considerably from a touchdown to 10 points, favoring the Horned Frogs. This is an absolutely pivotal game to get people sitting on the fence believing in the team. TCU is one of three seriously challenging opponents on the schedule for the Mountaineers and one of several games WVU is still projected to handily lose. But – do they? Win/Loss: If a win, it comes down to the wire. @ Houston – This will be more of a fight (at least for the first ½ to ¾ of the game) than it seems. Dana does not want to keep losing, as his seat is warming in Houston as it is. It might be entirely on fire if they drop another conference game to Texas Tech this weekend before our matchup on the road. While Holgorsen might not be worried about his spot as Head Coach, you can bet he puts together a well-thought-out scheme focused on any weaknesses we have shown. He has a bye week, too, remember? Win/Loss: Big win for the program Oklahoma State – Oklahoma State and Baylor are both sprinting to be the worst in the conference, and we face the Cowboys first in our games against Gundy and Aranda. OSU did get some life this past weekend but still lost to Iowa State, another one of this year’s disappointing programs, and should not be much of a test for the Mountaineers at home as long as they play all four quarters to completion. Win/Loss: Win @ UCF – This is where I think the schedule starts to get weird. Traveling to play in Central Florida is going to be a challenge. The fanbase there is large and loud, and while I do not believe that UCF is as good of a team as TCU is or Oklahoma, I do think that they are a lot to deal with if all of their offensive pieces are active at this point. Win/Loss: Close Loss BYU – You can look at this like the Backyard Brawl revisited. Slovis was the QB for the Panthers against his former teammate, JT Daniels, last year when the rivalry reignited in Pittsburgh. A high-profile team that could be getting right by this point of the year should make for a rock fight in Morgantown that is too close for comfort. Win/Loss: Close win. @ Oklahoma – There is no mistake that the two teams voted most likely to leave the conference next year for the SEC are leading the conference – at least right now. I am firmly in the camp that Oklahoma has yet to see a real test, and they have a few tough games on their slate coming up that might show us some ways to exploit their offensive strategies or defensive capabilities to slip one by the Sooners in Norman. Win/Loss: At least at this point, loss. Cincinnati – Who is Cincinnati going to be in the conference? Our former Big East opponent kicks off our series of future games in Morgantown, a distinct disadvantage for them. We are going to get one of two types of games here depending on how the game went a week before against the Sooners – either you have a Mountaineer squad riding high at 8-2 on the season, or you have a banged up and tired field product that keeps this one competitive until the final whistle. Win/Loss: regardless of the style of the game, WVU wins. @ Baylor – The Bears will have to work hard to get out of the bad reputation they are building for themselves across the conference. They all but laid down and took whatever the Texas Longhorns had to give last week, so it is not shocking to think that they might only be in it to play spoiler for a...

Analyst: “West Virginia is a 9 Win Team”

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Well ask and you shall receive: the story isn’t how WVU is going to go 1-11 anymore this year. That honor has been passed to teams like the Baylor Bears. Instead, steam is starting to roll in the biggest sports coverage brands like ESPN, changing up many of the projected matchups to favor the Mountaineers, including Houston, Oklahoma State, BYU, and Baylor. We are still underdogs to TCU, UCF, Oklahoma, and Cincinnati. So even if we only win the games we are now projected to, that’s a 7-5 record. Much better than 1-11, right? While outlets like ESPN are never going to say that they pegged this one wrong or acknowledge anything more than the stumbling of the Big 12 opponents, other increasingly popular news programs like Locked On the Big 12 has had a lot of exciting chatter about the WVU program the past couple of days. Their YouTube channel, albeit not the most popular form of their news brand, has a clip dedicated exclusively to the WVU fanbase: https://youtu.be/yk7fUtYq5nA?si=Qm7w3gt1F57YlQH- In it, the host talks about the recent success of the defense and how it is no longer crazy to think the Mountaineers could end up as a 9-win team or wreak havoc and be knocking on the door of the championship in Arlington if you catch Oklahoma lacking. Either way, very different conversation than the country was having when the season began. photo credit: WVU Athletics