Thursday, October 5, 2023

WVU Featured High in Site’s Big 12 Power Rankings

The Mountaineers are now considered one of the best teams in the Big 12 by Heartland College Sports. Morgantown, WV - Heartland College Sports, an outlet well-known for their coverage of the Big 12, has revealed their conference power rankings going into week six. The Mountaineers, who currently sit at 4-1 and 2-0 in league play, were featured at #3 this week behind only Texas and Oklahoma. Any team that was picked to finish last in their conference would take that at the midway point of the season. Here are Heartland College Sports’ Big 12 Power Rankings: Texas Oklahoma West Virginia Kansas State Kansas BYU TCU Texas Tech Baylor Cincinnati Iowa State UCF Oklahoma State Houston (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

Pat McAfee Says Big Schools Will Soon Try to Land Rich Rodriguez

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Rich Rodriguez was Pat McAfee's head coach at West Virginia University and McAfee has remained a fan of Rodriguez since leaving the Mountaineers. Today on his show, McAfee discussed Jacksonville State's huge come-from-behind victory last night and said that Rodriguez's team is "must-see TV this year." McAfee continued, "His teams are fun. Rich Rodriguez's teams are known to be explosive on the offensive end of the ball and his teams are always going to fight. His whole team is built on hard edge and about being tough. If you aren't tough, he's going to bench you and play someone who is tougher than you." The topic of where Rodriguez will coach next year came up and McAfee seemed to believe that he was headed to a bigger, more prominent position: "Big boys are going to come calling. His style of coaching is back. I don't think Michigan was ever the right place for the hillbilly that is Rich Rodriguez. He's from the hills of West Virginia. He's one of the greatest football minds ever. He would do really well at a place that has NIL money and if it wasn't a high-brow institution. It's only a matter of time before he goes somewhere else. Like, Michigan State needs a new head coach. He hates Michigan, you would believe, and he would be perfect at Michigan State. I would love to see him get another opportunity. Most people would automatically think I mean at West Virginia, but Neal Brown has the boys buzzing. Just win some games, Neal!" Check out the full clip below:

Rich Rodriguez’s Team Moves to 5-1 With Amazing Comeback

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Down 23-7 at halftime, Rich Rodriguez's Jacksonville State Gamecocks made a miraculous comeback, reeling off 38 unanswered points in the second half to defeat Middle Tennessee State 45-30 last night. With the win, Jax State moved to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in Conference USA in their very first FBS season ever. Jacksonville State has now won four consecutive games; the Gamecocks are ineligible from the CUSA Championship Game and bowl season due to penalties assessed to teams transitioning to the FBS, but they sit atop the CUSA standings. Jacksonville State, who was only projected to win a few games this season, has already exceeded expectations and Rich Rodriguez is being credited with the program's complete turnaround. Rodriguez had the following to say after the incredible comeback win last night: "I don't really follow projections, but I know we were only picked to win a few games. We didn't really look at that. We just wanted to get better. The culture of a program has to be set. I thought it got set last year, but you don't know for sure. Sometimes it carries over, sometimes it doesn't, but it's carried over this year. We have a lot of tough teams left to play this year. We know who we are. We got whippped in certain spots today. But I love the way our guys battle and we'll take the win." Jacksonville State will now prepare to play their toughest opponent of the year, an undefeated Liberty team, next Tuesday, October 10th at 7:30PM at home. In his second season at Jacksonville State, Rodriguez is now an impressive 14-3 overall.

Predicting WVU’s Remaining Schedule

WVU has a chance to make some noise throughout the final stretch of the 2023 season.  Morgantown, WV - With the Mountaineers sitting at 4-1 overall and 2-0 in Big 12 play, the chance to make some noise is there in a down 2023 season for the conference. Many have looked ahead and determined that most of the games remaining on WVU's schedule are winnable. While we certainly agree, winning out is a lot easier said than done for a team that was picked to finish last in the Big 12. However, this does not mean that West Virginia will not at least finish strong, giving Neal Brown a chance to save his job. Here are our predictions for WVU's remaining 2023 schedule... 10/12 - at Houston: This is the one that many have been waiting for. The Mountaineers travel to Houston to go up against Dana Holgorsen - the man who left them for dead in 2019. While I am a firm believer in "any given Saturday" (or Thursday in this case), I expect the Mountaineers to take care of business here.So much for not being able to recruit talent at WVU, Holgs. WVU 31, Houston 13   10/21 - Oklahoma State: Though the Cowboys may be down right now, I expect this to be a highly competitive game. The Mountaineers were able to take down Oklahoma State in Stillwater last season, 24-19. We will have a similar score again this season.We take the good guys in another close, low-scoring game. WVU 21, Oklahoma State 16   10/28: at UCF: This is where West Virginia could run into some trouble. UCF may have suffered an embarrassing loss to Baylor, but they will have no issue with getting excited to play the Mountaineers. For the first time in 2023, the Mountaineers simply cannot keep up with an opposing offense.Expect the Knights to pull away late. UCF 31, WVU 20 11/4 - BYU: Neal Brown still has West Virginia very much alive at this point in the season. The Cougars are better than advertised and will give the Mountaineers headaches in Morgantown. Garrett Greene outplays Kedon Slovis en route to another victory. WVU 27, BYU 23 11/11 - at Oklahoma: WVU has the defense to play with Oklahoma, but the Sooners will have revenge on their mind. The Mountaineers drop this one by double digits. Oklahoma 38, WVU 20 11/18 - Cincinnati: For the first time since 2011, WVU and Cincinnati are set to meet on the gridiron. That game finished at a 24-21 final, but I expect this one to have just a little wider of margin. Give me the ‘EERs. WVU 33, Cincinnati 17 11/25 - at Baylor: The Bears may be down, but don’t count them out. Baylor is better than their record shows, and I believe they will give West Virginia fits. I’ll take the Mountaineers, but we will have to sweat it out. WVU 17, Baylor 10 Final record prediction: 9-3 (7-2)  (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

Neal Brown Named a Top Performing Coach for Week 5

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit has named WVU Head Coach Neal Brown a top performer for week 5. Morgantown, WV - After his team defeated the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday, WVU Head Coach Neal Brown has received praise from many College Football analysts. Going into the game as nearly a two touchdown underdog, Brown’s Mountaineers played tough defense and used special teams to come out with a 24-21 victory. Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN, an analyst well-known for his negativity towards the Mountaineers, shared his top performing coaches of week five. Brown, who is now 26-26 at WVU, as included at the fifth-spot on the list. Prior to the game, Herbstreit picked TCU to win, and even went as far to say that he would pick “anybody but WVU.” Brown and the Mountaineers will have their next opportunity to impress the nation when they take on the Houston Cougars on October 12th. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. on FS1. (Photo by WVU Athletics)

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

Neal Brown, Early Favorite for Big 12 Coach of the Year

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- No one has been more critical of Neal Brown during his first four seasons at West Virginia than me, but it's important to give credit where credit is due, and Brown has certainly earned it this season. After a 4-1 start to the season, Neal Brown has postioned the Mountaineers to actually compete for a Big 12 Championship this season and he's done it by building a team that the people of West Virginia can be proud of. This team is built int he spirit of the state; tough, gritty and resilient. The way the Mountaineers win isn't always pretty, but they get the job done and that's all that matters. Neal Brown has earned early season recognition With the team's early season success, Neal Brown is without a doubt the current favorite to win the Big 12 Coach of the Year this season. Sure, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are all having outstanding starts to the season as well, but they were expected to be successful. West Virginia's success is completely unaccepted. Remember, it's easy to forget that the Mountaineers were picked to finish 14th out of 14 teams in the Big 12 Conference and many experts believed that they would only win a few games this season. However, with a very favorable remaining schedule, it's clear that West Virginia has the potential to now win 8, 9, 10 or even 11 games this year. There's a lot of games left in the season Having said that, Brown will need to prove that he can consistently win in Morgantown. At 26-26 during his time as the head coach of the Mountaineers, he has struggled to win big games consistently and there are several huge games remaining on the schedule. If Brown can beat teams he's not supposed to beat - say, UCF on the road or at Oklahoma - that would go a long way in fans really starting to trust the climb again.

Neal Brown Now on the Cold Seat

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- The West Virginia Mountaineers are off to a 4-1 start to the 2023 season and head coach Neal Brown's job appears to be safe for now. Brown, who has spent so much time on the hot seat, is now 26-26 overall and has the Mountaineers seemingly headed in the right direction. According to ESPN's Adam Rittenberg, Brown's seat has substantially cooled off in the last couple of weeks. "So much for preseason polls and coaching hot seat lists. Neal Brown and West Virginia have deposited both in the rubbish bin with a 4-1 start, capped by an impressive road win on Saturday at TCU. West Virginia was picked last in the Big 12 preseason media poll, a forecast that Brown duly noted, saying in July, 'Looking forward to proving everybody wrong on that front. We won't finish there.' Brown certainly faced pressure to win, and a seemingly daunting September schedule included Penn State, Pitt, Texas Tech and TCU. But many forget that even though last season didn't go well overall, West Virginia swept the Oklahoma schools and beat defending Big 12 champion Baylor. The Mountaineers returned some experienced players, especially on defense. Brown told me last week that he especially likes his defensive front, which includes junior Sean Martin and promising redshirt freshman Tomiwa Durojaiye. WVU's defense has shined during its start, allowing only 19 points per game and 3.3 yards per rush. Although Brown has a background on offense, a unit that has struggled for much of his tenure, he has found ways to generate wins and positive vibes. The Mountaineers get a well-timed open week -- they emerged from the TCU outing fairly banged up -- before facing struggling Houston and Oklahoma State. They miss Texas on the schedule, so a solid bounce-back season and some stability for Brown seem well within reach." Brown has so far proven the so-called experts wrong and despite all of the negative preseason media hype, he has the Mountaineers in position to compete for a Big 12 Championship in Year 5 of his time in Morgantown. What do you think? What is Neal Brown's seat heat on a scale of 1-10 through 5 games?

Geno Smith Leaves Monday Night Football With Knee Injury

Seahawks Quarterback Geno Smith has left the team’s Monday Night Football contest against the New York Giants with a knee injury. East Rutherford, NJ - One of the most feel-good stories in recent NFL history has been the emergence of Geno Smith. After a decade as a backup, Smith had a breakout season for Seattle in 2022, and even won NFL Comeback Player of the Year. Tonight, Smith and the Seahawks made the trip to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Giants. After getting off to a solid start, Smith has been knocked out of the game with an apparent knee injury. There have been no updates on his injury. Stay tuned to The Voice of Motown as we will bring you information as it becomes available. (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

Stedman Bailey: “I Hope We Go Punish Coach Holgs”

Former WVU Receiver Stedman Bailey will not be rooting for his former head coach on October 12th.   Morgantown, WV - When WVU travels to Houston on October 12th, they will be taking on a familiar face in Dana Holgorsen. Holgorsen, who coached at WVU from 2011 to 2018, left the Mountaineers in January 2019 to take on the same position at the University of Houston. Originally a member of the AAC, the Cougars are now a Big 12 member, competing as a Power Five program for the first time. While Houston has been struggling in their inaugural season in the Big 12, one matchup that many have had circled is Houston’s date with WVU on October 12th. The history between Holgorsen and WVU is there, and this will be a true measuring stick of progress for both programs since his departure. Former WVU Receiver Stedman Bailey, who played under Dana Holgorsen, shared his thoughts on next Thursday’s contest earlier today on Twitter. Here is what Bailey had to say regarding Holgorsen taking on his former team: “Blessed Monday morning! Thinking about my mountaineers and the road win against TCU. Next up is university of Houston & me personally. I hope we go punish coach Holgs.” There you have it, folks. Even Holgorsen’s former WVU players will be rooting against him on October 12th. Everyone in the state of West Virginia should do the same. West Virginia and Houston kickoff at 7 p.m. on October 12th. The game is set to broadcast on FS1. (Photo by University of Houston Athletics) 

WVU Named One of the Top Performing Teams of the Week By Kirk Herbstreit

The nation is beginning to notice the West Virginia Mountaineers. Morgantown, WV - After a 24-21 win over TCU, the West Virginia Mountaineers have been named one of the “top performing teams of week 5” by ESPN Analyst Kirk Herbstreit. Herbstreit, who picked TCU to win during College Gameday, has been adamant on picking against the Mountaineers. The main reason behind his opposition of WVU is his co-analyst on College Gameday, Pat McAfee. McAfee, who played at WVU, wasn’t shy to let Herbstreit know about his previous stance this evening on Twitter. WVU is currently 4-1 and 2-0 in Big 12 play. They have a bye week this Saturday before a Thursday night tangle with Houston on October 12th. (Photo by WVU Athletics) 

Pat McAfee Show: “Dream Still Alive for WVU to be in the College Football...

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- The 4-1 West Virginia Mountaineers are starting to get major national attention following their incredible start to the season. On today's episode of The Pat McAfee Show, the topic of the Mountaineers' season came up. "Don't look now, but West Virginia is 4-1," Pat McAfee said. "College football playoffs? Maybe. We don't know, but the hope is still alive. We boat-raced Duqesne, we killed them. That's what we do, obviously, at West Virginia. But TCU thought they had it all figured out and were going to beat us. I saw a bunch of happy faces under cowboy hats down there at TCU before the game started, but then all of a sudden we just pounded and pounded the ball. Neal Brown made a few decisions in there that certainly were questionable, but he's got those boys flying around. We're playing at Houston next, Dana Holgorsen, count that as a W. We're 5-1. Then Oklahoma State, 6-1. UCF is going to be a tough game, but outside of that, just Oklahoma." Many experts and analysts are now hopping on the West Virginia bandwagon and with good reason. The Mountaineers have looked fantastic through the first 5 games and the remaining schedule is very favorable. See the full clip below:

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

Filling in the Injury Gaps on the Defense

Injuries can be a detriment to an entire season, but seemingly for the first time in a long time, we do not have to panic when we dip into the depth chart a little bit. Obviously, you want the best players on the field in any given week to give you the best chances for success, but the Mountaineers will go without the services of #19 Trey Lathan for the rest of the season. Suffering a severe leg injury requiring surgery, Lathan could not travel with the team back to Morgantown and continues to recover in Ft. Worth following his cart exit from the field Saturday night. Will Linebacker Trey Lathan (Out for the Season) Trey Lathan, the freshman, is a phenom for our defense and will be sorely missed through the games to come for his disruptive presence and attack to the ball. The depth chart for the TCU game had the second string for the Will Linebacker position being Jairo Faverus, a sophomore with a total of 4 tackles on the season. Third-string, and truthfully the likely actual starter in the missing Lathan’s place, will be #15 Ben Cutter, a freshman involved in 12 tackles this year. It would only make sense to leave the vacated position in the hands of the more productive of the two backups. Free Safety Aubrey Burks (Unknown) On the other hand, Aubrey Burks is less defined in what to expect. We have all seen the story that he was able to leave the hospital on his own, which is certainly a great sign, but it also does not scream back in action in 11 days, either. This is a situation that Mountaineer Nation might be intentionally in the dark about until the trainers and staff know all the facts of WVU Athletics. Assuming he cannot play in even the upcoming game against Houston, his replacement becomes a little trickier. Both possible backups are productive and effective, which is certainly a refreshing bit of knowledge with Burks being uncertain moving forward. Keyshawn Cobb is listed as the backup for Aubrey’s safety position, though senior Marcis Floyd could slide over from his backup role behind Anthony Wilson with his productive run in the TCU and TTU games, with three tackles in each and a sack in the Tech game. Photo Credit: AP News

Krik Herbstreit Makes Huge Bet With Pat McAfee on WVU Winning 6 Games

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- On an episode of The Pat McAfee Show over the summer, ESPN analyst/commentator Kirk Herbstreit went through West Virginia's football schedule and predicted that the Mountaineers would finish 2-10 on the season. Herbstreit went on to say that, "if West Virginia wins more than six games, I'll give you anything you want." McAfee, who said that the Mountaineers would "go on a national championship run", laughed and took him up on on his offer, saying, "I'll take the house, everything!" With West Virginia currently 4-1 with 7 games remaining, it looks like a near certainty that the Mountaineers will win more than 6 games this season. Is Mr. Herbstreit ready to pay up? Check out the full clip below: