Tuesday, May 30, 2023

West Virginia Center Enters the Transfer Portal

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia -- Moments ago, West Virginia starter  Jimmy Bell, Jr. announced that he is entering his name in the transfer portal. Bell, a 6'10 center from Saginaw, Michigan, averaged 4.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game for the Mountaineers last season. Bell has been practicing with the West Virginia football team over the past couple of weeks and it's unclear what this means for his future with that sport. https://twitter.com/VerbalCommits/status/1651990381930721290?s=20

Bob Huggins Gets Brutally Honest With New Big 12 Teams

Morgantown, West Virginia - Next season, the new Big 12 teams - Houston, UCF, Cincinnati and BYU - will join the conference and Bob Huggins believes that they are going to have a really hard time adjusting to the competition. Huggins joined The Field of 68 Media Network in Houston last night and when asked about how he thinks the new teams will do in their first season in the Big 12, Huggins went on a bit a rant, saying the following: "You want my honest answer? I feel sorry for them. They have absolutely no idea what they’re getting into. I've been in a lot of leagues with the best coaches in America, with the best players in America...the fan support, the coaching in this league, I’m telling you, the hardest league that I’ve ever coached in was this past Big 12. And I'm telling you, they aren't ready for that." Huggins, who has a 345-203 record in 16 seasons with the Mountaineers, will have to rebuild a large part of his roster again this season after Erik Stevenson, Kedrian Johnson and Emmitt Matthews, Jr. have graduated. See Huggins' full statement on future Big 12 teams joining the conference below: https://twitter.com/voicemorgantown/status/1641759751515111424?s=20

The Voice of Morgantown Gives WVU Starting Quarterback Endorsement

Morgantown, West Virginia - West Virginia Mountaineers 4th-year head coach Neal Brown has said repeatedly that when he was recruiting transfer JT Daniels to West Virginia, that he made it clear that Daniels would have to earn the starting quarterback position and that it just wouldn't be given to him. But the reality is that the job was Daniels' to lose and that he would have to really play poorly during practice to not be named the starter. And so far, Daniels has shined.   Brown said the following of Daniels: "He never lost a job; he's been injured, but if you look at his career path, it's really remarkable. He's had to deal with pressure since he was a freshman at Mater Dei, which is one of the top high school programs in the entire country. He started as a freshman, which has only been done a handful of times. He graduated high school an entire year early and then starts at USC as a high school senior, essentially." Brown continued, "He has success there, wins the job during Graham Harrell's first year there, tears his ACL. So transfers to Georgia and was still recovering, gets the job, wins the Peach Bowl, and was playing really, really well when he got injured again. So this is a great opportunity to remind people that when he's played, he's played at a really high level. And so this is an opportunity for him to remind people that not only is he a high-level quarterback but he's really an NFL prospect." That doesn't sound like a quarterback that is going to sit behind Garrett Greene, a redshirt sophomore with limited experience, or Will "Goose" Crowder and Nicco Marchiol, who have no experience at this level. New offensive coordinator Graham Harrell agrees that Daniels has what it takes to be the Mountaineers' starter. "He’s very intelligent and he’s very even-keel and I think because of that, coaching him, he doesn’t change much,” Harrell said recently following practice. “It’s very similar to the way he was before, he’s always been intelligent and understands football very well, and I think now maybe he understands it a little better.” While this is a supposed four-man competition for the starting quarterback role, JT Daniels will be the starter when the Mountaineers play the Pitt Panthers on September 1st, and he gives the team the very best chance of beating the hated rivals in a few weeks. 1 - JT Daniels 2 - Garrett Greene 3 - Nicco Marchiol 4 - Will "Goose" Crowder

West Virginia’s Ultimate Insider Opens Up: The MHver3 Interview

Morgantown, West Virginia - Months ago, back in April 2022, a person by the name of MHver3 sent out the following message on social media: "Fox Sports advising B1G to expand and USC and UCLA are the prime candidates being eyed (as I told you 6+ months ago). How B1G will they go though!?" https://twitter.com/MHver3/status/1516166017319411713?s=20&t=FsoXaXwdr_Rbx8UyqgSpVg While many people claim to be insiders, this confirmed that the man called "MHver3" was the real deal and elevated his insider information to cult-like status on Twitter, gaining followers from many of the major names in college athletics. While he has kept a very low profile and has avoided interviews in the past, he agreed to answer questions from The Voice of Morgantown in written form. To be transparent, we initially reached out and asked for him to do the interview on The Voice of Morgantown Podcast with the use of a voice-changer to protect his anonymity, but his sources were uncomfortable with that. Having said that, here is the full interview with MHver3:  Q: Why do you leak this information? What's in it for you?   A: I leak these rumors and information I get because information deserves to be shared. I get nothing from it. It started as one solid well-placed connection for WVU sports and has grown to dozens across the country. It’s fascinating to me to see what goes on behind the curtain and it gives me fulfillment to pull that curtain back for others. Information can be fluid and sometimes it can be wrong. Sometimes it can be fed to me as being wrong info purposefully to misdirect. I’m not thrilled when that happens, but I’ve got thick skin so I can handle the attacks. My track record is actually really good if someone wants to take the time to dive into my tweet history. Q: Do you think there will be 5 major conferences still around in 5 years? Who survives?   A: There will be 3 major conferences by 2035. Who survives? A combination of Big12/Pac12/ACC leftovers after B1G and SEC have their pick. Most likely 3 conferences of 20 schools. You have to remember that the more members you have the more ways you have to split the pie. I also think you will see unequal revenue sharing becoming a thing with B1G and SEC in the future. Q: ACC vs. The Big 12 vs. The PAC-12. Which conference is in better shape right now?   A: B12 is in the best shape currently. We have 4 networks wanting to bid on our content in the next 24 months. We have weathered the initial shock of losing OU and UT and maybe have come out stronger top to bottom then we were before. We have a chance now to make some very good additions. PAC-12 is reeling and not getting good numbers for their tv negotiations, member schools are fighting, it’s bad. ACC…half the conference wants out and are very fearful of falling very far behind the Big 2 in revenue. Q: Is there a chance that the Big 10 and SEC break off from the NCAA?   A: Not as long as the rest of the Power 5 (4,3 whatever) can remain relevant with good tv money, good ratings, etc. the Big 2 will not risk alienating over half the viewing audience by using the nuclear option. Q: What is the biggest threat to college football? NIL, conference realignment, major sports networks, or the transfer portal? A: The biggest threat for the past 20 years has been networks. It’s ruined rivalries and broken programs. The biggest threat of the future is NIL. It’s going to widen the gap of the haves and have nots. It’s going to turn off many of the fans that are still hanging around that enjoy the amateurism of the sport. If a players union is formed then it gets even murkier. It really is Pandora’s box. Q: How long could these mega conferences exist? Would teams like Oklahoma, USC, etc., be okay with being the 4th or 5th best team in a mega conference with more money long-term?   A: Eventually the hope of many ADs is that the major programs (top 60-70) break away from the NCAA and form their own governing body complete with a commissioner, and negotiate all their media as one entity. This would allow for regional divisions and a return to classic rivalries and affiliations. We are still 10-20 years away from that. Q: Do you expect Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado and Utah to ultimately join the Big 12? If so, will the Big 12 be strong enough at that point to remain relevant in today's college football landscape?   A: That’s a loaded question. The way things are currently leaning I would say AZ and Colorado are as close to a lock as it can be without a formal offer being made to them yet. The other two…well that’s up to what the committee decides is best for the conference. We can add AZ and CU and get a bump in the revenue. If we add all 4 we may actually take a small hit in the per school payout. If we add all 4 plus Oregon and Washington we get a net increase per school but not much more than just adding AZ and CU alone. It gets tricky when you have so many mouths to feed. Any combination of additions will only make the B12 stronger and that’s good for WVU and good for college football. Q: Where is West Virginia in 5 years?   A: WVU is hopefully winning 9-10 games a year and will be a part of the Big 12 Conference. It won’t be a very different B12 from what we know it’s going to be with the exit of OU/UT and the additions we invited last year. There may be 2-6 new programs joining the conference from the west, though. Regardless, WVU will be stable, making more money than any ACC school from the new B12 media deal, and hopefully building that new stadium that keeps getting whispered about in the AD. Now if the SEC is somehow able to poach some of...

West Virginia Belongs in the ACC

Morgantown, West Virginia - With USC and UCLA announcing that they are moving to the Big Ten Conference, the entire landscape of college athletics has completely changed and will likely lead to several other dominoes falling in the coming days. There seems to be a sense that West Virginia would be lucky to get an invite from the ACC if/when the Big 12 inevitably crumbles. West Virginia, critics say, is a small market and doesn't offer the conference major television viewership.  In addition, West Virginia doesn't meet the academic standards of the ACC. While these criticisms are fair to a certain extent, the pros of adding West Virginia to the ACC far outweighs the cons. Passionate, loyal fanbase  Pitt is in the ACC.  While they have a far better academic ranking, they have a difficult time giving tickets away for their conference football games, regardless of the opponent.  Attendance and ticket sales in a sports conference should be much more important than academics. West Virginia's fanbase is one of the most loyal and passionate in the entire nation, and selling out conference home games would not be a problem, particularly against geographic rivals. Natural, geographic Rivals No team in the the ACC gets excited to play Pitt right now.  The same could be said for Boston College, Louisville and Syracuse. Adding West Virginia immediately brings spirited, impassioned rivalries with Pitt, Virginia Tech, Virginia, as well as old Big East rivals Miami, Boston College and Syracuse. West Virginia belongs in the ACC, both in terms of geography and rivalries with many of the teams currently in the conference. State of the Art Facilities West Virginia has one of the nicest, most up-to-date basketball practice facilities in the country, and recent football renovations put West Virginia near the top of the Big 12 conference in terms of upgraded facilities. Director of Athletics Shane Lyons has made growth and renovations a real priority, and it's going to pay off not only in recruiting but also when the school is seeking out membership in a new conference like the ACC. Improved Academics  There's no way to sugarcoat it, West Virginia University's academic ranking (#241) is extraordinarily low, but it has recently upgraded to a Tier 1 research university and has one of the most respected presidents in the country in E. Gordon Gee. Respected Leaders  Shane Lyons and E. Gordon Gee are the absolute two best people to make a compelling case to the ACC that they belong.  Both are highly respected and experienced.  Lyons is the former associate commissioner of compliance and governance for the ACC, and is the chairman of the Division 1 Oversight Committee.  If anyone can convince the ACC that West Virginia should be added, it's Lyons and Gee. Conclusion While there will always be detractors who insist that West Virginia won't add much to the ACC, it's clear that the positives eclipse the negatives.  If the ACC is wise, the Mountaineers will soon be where they belong, playing against their natural, geographic rivals.

Awesome WV Kid Asks for YouTube Likes. Do your thing West Virginia.

Jakobi Dye from Grafton, WV is as tough as they come. He has been battling infintile scoliosis among other issues. I can't do him justice with my words, so here is a post from his mom: "Around 5 1/2 months we took Jakobi to the Pediatrician for a monthly check up, but was concerned with his back protruding to one side we he was sitting. After multiple X-rays and 4 MRI scans we were told that Jakobi had a 58 degree curve and had Infantile Idiopathic Scoliosis. At 16 months we began casting to try and correct Jakobi's spine instead of considering surgery at a young age. Jakobi was treated for cast 1-4 at a local hospital, but after no change we have started our journey at Shriners in Greenville! Jakobi has underwent 23 casts and 2 braces and now with his spine measuring around 90 degrees he will going through Halo traction before getting his growing rods. Here is a look at our infantile scoliosis warrior! Jakobi also has hypotonia, feeding issues, and a development delay in speech." Well, Superhero Jakobi has just posted his first YouTube video. He told his dad he wanted 10,000 likes. Put a smile on your face by watching this video. And, put a smile on his by giving it a thumbs up! https://youtu.be/bMFlrmr6o40 Watch on YouTube: https://youtu.be/bMFlrmr6o40 To read more of Jakobi's Journey, here is his facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Jakobis-Journey-with-Infantile-Scoliosis-1680148428923703  

WVU Game-by-Game Prediction

West Virginia @ Maryland 9/4/2021 West Virginia faces their first real test of the season in week 1 when they travel to College Park to take on the Maryland Terrapins. WVU is no stranger to the Terrapins. The WVU-Maryland strife runs all the way back to 1919 when WVU pitched a 27-0 shut-out in the first ever meeting. In more recent years, WVU has owned Maryland winning 9 out of the last 10 meetings. The most recent victory for the Mountaineers was in 2015. The Mountaineer offense put up 601 total yards of offense behind QB Skyler Howard’s four touchdowns and sent Maryland fans on a long drive home. This year, the game will be over as soon as the Mountaineers step off the bus. I expect Jarett Doege, Leddie Brown, and the rest of the WVU offense to be nothing short of dominant. The strides Head Coach Neal Brown has described makes me feel confident in the offense that hardly anyone was confident in last season. We know the defense will be there, despite the key loss of Tykee Smith and Darius Stills. WVU still returns guys like Alonzo Adae, Vandarius Cowan, and Akheem Mesidor. One thing to keep in mind, Maryland will likely start Taulia Tagovailoa, brother of the infamous Alabama QB Tua Tagovailo who was merely impressive last season. Throwing for just 1,011 yards with a 7/7 TD-INT ratio in 4 games. Score: WVU 37 Maryland 16   Long Island (LIU) @ West Virginia 9/11/2021 In Week 2 the Mountaineers welcome into Morgantown the LIU Sharks on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. LIU only played 4 games last season, so there isn’t much sample size to truly see what they bring to the table. Nonetheless, I fully expect West Virginia to take care of business in convincing fashion. Score: WVU 45 LIU 9   Virginia Tech @ West Virginia 9/18/2021 Every WVU football game brings in an ungodly amount of excitement from fans, but this game is the one everyone is really looking forward to. It is a sin that this game was granted the Noon slot on FS1. Regardless, its Virginia Tech-West Virginia. The Virginia Tech and WVU rivalry runs deep between both fanbases. Heartbreak has come at the hands of both schools. WVU fans look back to 2017 in Landover, Maryland in Will Griers debut as a Mountaineer. Virginia Tech crushed the hearts of 1.8 million, escaping with a 31-24 victory after a last second play into the endzone failed for WVU. Now, it’s time to return the favor. This time, in front of a home crowd. Virginia Tech had a below average season at 5-6 in 2020. However, their offense led by QB Hendon Hooker who put up pretty decent numbers, boasted 31 points per game. WVU averaged just 26. The biggest difference maker was the defense. Virginia Tech allowed 32 points to their opponent on average. West Virginia? Just 20. That will be the difference maker in this highly anticipated matchup. Score: WVU 26 Virginia Tech 13   West Virginia @ #2 Oklahoma 9/25/2021 The Big 12 season starts off with a bang for West Virginia, and not in a good way. It’s not that I do not have any faith in our beloved Mountaineers, but starting Big 12 play on the road is hard enough, especially when it’s the high powered Sooners. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 circumstances, WVU didn’t get to host Oklahoma in the 2020 season. A game that many were looking forward to and thought WVU was going to pull off the upset. WVU is winless against Oklahoma since joining the Big 12, and with the way the college football landscape is changing, this could be the last chance. We know how powerful the Oklahoma offense is, and their defense under Alex Grinch has been maybe the most improved defense in the conference. I just don’t see WVU escaping Norman with a win. I do see however, a hard fought game that will determine a winner in the final quarter. Score: WVU 23 Oklahoma 31   Texas Tech @ West Virginia 10/02/2021 (Homecoming / Stripe The Stadium) The second week of Big 12 play gets significantly easier, but we know how tough any conference game can be. We saw it first hand when the Mountaineers visited Lubbock in 2020. The game was coming down to the wire at a 27-27 tie. It was then when Sam James fumbled, and Texas Tech’s Zech McPhearson returned the fumble 56 yards for a touchdown with 8 minutes to go. That was all she wrote. Texas Tech will debut Oregon transfer QB Tyler Shough who has tremendous talent. This year, things will be different. In a sold out Milan Puskar stadium, WVU will route the Red Raiders. Jarett Doege will have his coming out party, and the WVU defense will stifle the transfer quarterback. Score: WVU 49 Texas Tech 14   West Virginia @ Baylor 10/09/2021 Baylor-West Virginia has put on some barnburners throughout West Virginia’s big 12 tenure. The most famous being the 70-63 game in 2012. Last season, was also a back and forth battle which thankfully went West Virginia’s way in overtime. A Jarett Doege touchdown pass to Bryce Wheaton was the difference maker in a 27-21 victory. With a much improved team overall, I don’t expect WVU to have any trouble with Baylor. But that doesn’t mean they won’t. After a pummeling win over Texas Tech, WVU will find themselves fighting for their lives in Waco. WVU 19 Baylor 14   West Virginia @ TCU 10/23/2021 West Virginia gets a bye week to get the bad taste out of their mouths from the ugly Baylor win and shift their focus to TCU. It doesn’t get any easier for WVU. West Virginia handled TCU pretty soundly in a 24-6 victory in Morgantown in 2020. There’s no doubt West Virginia has the better squad, but QB Max Duggan, who is coming into the season with high expectations, will stun the talented Mountaineer defense. WVU loses a heartbreaker in Fort Worth. Score: WVU 27 TCU 36   #7 Iowa State @...

WVU Lands Commit from Huntington

(Photo by Sholten Singer - The Herald-Dispatch)  https://twitter.com/eliarcher81_44/status/1340840514703290369?s=21 Eli Archer, a 2021 prospect from Huntington High School, committed to Neal Brown and the Mountaineers on Sunday evening via Twitter. At Huntington, Archer played both the tight end and defensive end positions. Though there was no clear indication of which position he will play at WVU in his post, tagging Travis Trickett and Ryan Nehlen is virtually a dead giveaway that he will be playing on the offensive side of the ball. He was also a solid basketball player, scoring over 1,000 points for his career. Though he does not have a recruiting profile with a major outlet, his 6’4” frame is exactly what the Mountaineers are looking for at the tight end position, giving him the opportunity to work into playing time.  

Former Mountaineer Had Solid Outing in Season Finale

(Photo via 12Up) It is always nice to see a Mountaineer succeeding, even if he has decided to take his talents elsewhere through way of transfer. Trey Lowe, who transferred to Southern Miss from WVU earlier this year, had a solid performance tonight against the Florida Atlantic Owls. In a 45-31 win, Lowe led the Golden Eagles’ offense with great confidence. The former Mountaineer completed of 13 of his 19 passes with 209 yards and two touchdowns to one interception. He would also get going in the running game, finishing with 70 yards on 16 carries, all while scoring his first rushing touchdown of his career. Southern Miss finished 3-7 in Lowe’s first season on the scene. He will have the opportunity to earn playing time next season as his solid finish to 2020 should gain momentum going into 2021. Though it did not work out at WVU, seeing Trey Lowe do so well at another school should still excite WVU fans all the same.

WVU Caught in a Cyclone – Post Game Notes

(Photo Courtesy of Iowa State Athletics) Rest versus rust has been a debate for a long time.  Rust showed early for WVU against Iowa State.  The Mountaineers struggles on the road continued, and an old headache reemerging with just 13 yards rushing in the first half.  Leddie Brown was gobbled up time after time at the line of scrimmage.  This isn’t a new trend for the junior running back.  A significant amount of Brown’s yards this season have come after contact.  Simply put, Iowa State owned the line of scrimmage in the first half.  Both defensively and offensively.   West Virginia made a little buzz on the first drive as usual moving the ball 43 yards.  Brown was churning out as many yards as he could with 3 or 4 yards a pop.  Jarret Doege hit Sean Ryan for a nice 26 yard chunk play pickup.  Ultimately the drive was done in by a Brown false start penalty on 4th and 2, forcing a Tyler Sumpter punt.  It was all Iowa State from that point on.  The Cyclones put together three straight touchdown drives, two of which went over 75 yards.  Brock Purdy was an efficient 10 for 12 with 127 yards.  Purdy took what the WVU defense gave him on a few scrambles for first downs and made no mistakes.  Breece Hall got his as well with 51 yards on 12 carries and an opening drive 23 yard touchdown run.   The Mountaineer defense didn’t play a terrible first half, but the big plays weren’t made that they’re accustomed to.  The first half showed a yards discrepancy of 236-101 in favor of the Cyclones.  WVU made Iowa State earn every one of those 236 yards playing solid coverage and tackling Hall in the backfield a few times.  Iowa State just refused to get off the field going 6 for 7 on third down conversions in the first 30 minutes.  Protecting Purdy was the key factor in the offensive success early for Iowa State.  The Mountaineers seemed to be socially distancing themselves from the opposing quarterback the entire half.  Trench play powered the Cylcones to a 21-0 halftime lead.   WVU went away from the run game trailing by three scores to start the second half.  Slowly but surely the offense was moving the ball, four yards at a time.  WVU didn’t have the firepower for splash plays but, methodically they marched their way into Iowa State territory on their first two possessions.  Both were stopped on 4th down mistakes by TJ Simmons.  On the first, Simmons ran a 5 yard route on a 4th and 6.  Simmons then dropped a wide open pass on 4th and 3 on the second opportunity.  Iowa State was able to take advantage of solid field position.  Five plays later, Purdy found Charlie Kolar for a 16 yard TD pass that crippled any thought of a comeback.   Entering the 4th quarter trailing 35-0, the goal became to just score points for West Virginia.  It took a field goal from the punter Tyler Sumpter before points were on the board with 12 minutes left in the game.  Sumpter added another field goal with 3 minutes left and might be the kicker going forward.  Good for that guy.  West Virginia’s ugliest performance in 2020 ended in a 42-6 loss to the favorite for the Big 12 title.     Position Grades: Offense Quarterback: B Doege just does what he is asked to do.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Everyone can call for his job all you want but this marks the 5th consecutive game without an interception.  He has absolutely zero help from his receiving corps.  His completion percentage could probably be 73% with half the drops he’s had this season.  Jarret Doege is not this offense’s issue and won’t be.  This is as solid of a quarterback as you can have in college football. Running back: C Leddie Brown laid a big ol’ goose egg today.  No, the offensive line doesn’t help him.  Not even a little bit.  But you’re starting to see the bad habits trickle in that were there last year.  The missed holes and lateral movement doesn’t bode well for an offense that has trouble getting its engine started anyway.  I know the offensive line isn’t great but there are holes somewhere.  Brown did a lot of lateral movement at the line of scrimmage today, especially when he wasn’t behind a blocker and outside the tackles.  Brown doesn’t have the jets to beat anyone to the outside.  Plant your foot, get up field, and get what you can.  Less than 3 yards per carry isn’t going to get it done. Receivers: D When it was announced Sam James and Bryce Ford-Wheaton (prayers for your recovery) were going to miss this game, I was excited to see who would step up.  Turns out, no one did.  It did seem that Sean Ryan and Isaiah Esdale do a better job of catching the ball than the two starters.  However, I have yet to see a receiver on this team that can track a ball past 20 yards.  A lot of throws get blamed on Doege overthrows and that’s just not the case.  A majority of the time, the receiver is either running off line or stops their route on deep throws.  None of them know how to attack the football.  Winston Wright made a business decision on a pretty 30 yard ball from Doege and just decided not to catch it.  WVU better find some receivers and find them before next season. Offensive Line: D Brandon Yates was on skates all night.  Sacks happened in bunches on Doege.  Only a glimpse of a hole every now and then was available in the run game.  This group has steadily improved all season.  Tonight it looked like they reverted back to the Oklahoma State game.  They just didn’t have it.  At times it looked like half the line was moving and half wasn’t.  There was no synchronization within this group tonight.  They were not even getting off the ball at the same time.  I do think...

WVU-Kansas State Pregame Analysis

(Photo Courtesy of wvusports.com) The Mountaineers return home after a disappointing trip to West Texas last week.  They’ll look to turn the page on the loss to the Red Raiders, welcoming nationally ranked Kansas State to Morgantown.  The Mountaineers currently hold a 4 game win streak against the Wildcats including a 24-20 win in Manhattan last season.  That game marked the first start for Jarret Doege as a West Virginia Mountaineer and saw him engineer a 10 point 4th quarter run after trailing 17-14.   Kansas State will be entering this game off a 55-14 win against Kansas.  The Wildcats returned two punts for touchdowns and almost had a third in the blowout.  Kansas obviously won’t be the best barometer on which to judge the Wildcats team.  It was an early loss against Arkansas State in a week that saw three Big 12 teams downed by Sun Belt opponents and has kept Kansas State from a perfect record.  Aside from that defeat, the Wildcats pulled out victories at Oklahoma and TCU and at home against Texas Tech and Kansas.   While still ranked #16, Kansas State enters Milan Puskar Stadium a bit of a different team than we are used to seeing. The offense is the same short yardage pound game, but the defense doesn’t seem to be as tough as years past.  The Wildcats are giving up 428 yards a game, ranked 68th nationally, putting them in the bottom half in total defense.  Uncharacteristically, this unit is giving up 159 yards a game on the ground.  Still this team knows how to win close games with 3 of their last 4 games being decided by 10 points or less; something this year’s WVU team is still struggling with.   Kansas State sits atop the Big 12 standings tied with Oklahoma State as the only two unbeaten teams in league play.  This hasn’t been easy with senior quarterback Skylar Thompson going down in the Texas Tech game.  The passing game has taken a slight step back with freshman Will Howard taking over the reins but the offense still looks much the same.  Winning on Saturday will go a long way in the Wildcats’ quest for a Big 12 championship.  Looking at the history of the matchup between these teams will suggest a close game.  5 of the last 6 matchups have been decided by 7 points or less and of the teams’ 10 meetings, they have split wins 5 and 5.   This year has a similar feeling of last year’s game with a ranked Kansas State already knocking off Oklahoma and a WVU team struggling to find their footing.  The two teams traded early blows with the Mountaineers ending the first quarter up 14-10 on Doege’s second touchdown pass to George Campbell.  Both defenses would settle in for the next 30 minutes with Kansas State able to add a touchdown and field goal each to take a 17-14 lead into the 4th quarter.  TWVU's offense then found a spark early in the 4th quarter with a 51 yard field goal by Casey Legg and Doege hitting Bryce Ford-Wheaton on a 50 yard touchdown pass to seal a 24-20 win in Manhattan.     Kansas State Offense Will Howard now has two starts under his belt, both wins, against Texas Tech and Kansas.  Howard brings more dynamic to the running attack than Thompson did with 116 yards on 25 carries.  WVU has often had trouble with mobile quarterbacks in the past.  There isn’t much drop off in the pass game with Howard versus Thompson but there is an obvious difference in accuracy with Howard completing only 58% of his passes.  This offense has never been a deep threat type of offense, using a ton of 11 personnel, establishing the run early and often.  They will never light up the scoreboard but will find enough creative ways to keep up with opponents. Tossing it over to the run game, Deuce Vaughn is the Wildcats’ largest offensive threat.  The freshman leads the team in rushing (319) and receiving (360) yards.  Vaughn and Howard both average 4 yards a carry and the tandem will be a test for this WVU defense on early downs.  The entire Kansas State offense hinges on the success of these two kids in the backfield.  The only other Wildcat with double digit carries is Harry Trotter gaining only 2.9 yards a carry.  Kansas State will use a lot of read option and jet motion to window dress simple run plays.  Howard's elusiveness will be key in keeping the ball rolling. Since Vaughn leads the team in receiving yardage you can probably guess how big of a threat this pass game is.  Kansas State has one wide receiver with double digit catches.  Of the top 6 players in receiving yardage on the team, only 2 are wide receivers.  Howard and company like to use the run to setup the pass, if they pass at all.  When they do throw the ball, it is normally seam pop shots to tight ends.  Briley Moore leads the team in receptions with 17 from the tight end spot. The inaccuracy of Howard coupled with the lack of receiving threats will allow this WVU defense to collapse down and help in the run game.  A small disguise in coverage could force the freshman into a few mistakes and easy turnovers for the Mountaineers to capitalize on.  No matter what, Kansas State will always come to fight, and you should expect this offense to do enough to keep this game close.  They are a grind it out, ugly offense.   Kansas State Defense Defensively Kansas State plays a traditional style.  Keyed on stopping the run and playing smash mouth football has be the MO of this program for decades.  Evolving with the Big 12 offenses, the 4 man front has tuned into more of a 4-2-5 look for the spread types of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, and WVU.  The front 4 play a one gap style with the backers responsible for their own gaps, making this a game of one on one matchups. This...

Brad Paisley is HOW OLD Today?

Brad Paisley is a beloved West Virginia native. Known for being an avid fan of the Mountaineers (and yes, sadly, the Tennessee Volunteers), Paisley is someone that everyone in the Mountain State associates with the Old Gold and Blue. He even had the opportunity to sing Take Me Home, Country Roads at Milan Puskar Stadium in 2015 prior to the Mountaineers' 45-6 win over Maryland. Making him only the second person to do so at Mountaineer Field.   https://youtu.be/hgOhr0W_a0g   Today, the legendary Paisley celebrates his 48th birthday.   https://twitter.com/BradPaisley/status/1321428766527283205?s=20 If you have the opportunity, be sure to wish Paisley a very happy birthday on Twitter, as well as his other social media outlets. Celebrate his day by listening to his adored songs Mud on the Tires and I'm Gonna Miss Her.   And then of course, there is my personal favorite... https://youtu.be/B9mpDAJOPac

WVU is Already Bowl Eligible

https://twitter.com/Brett_McMurphy/status/1316465766934425601?s=20 2020 is crazy, so why not make life a living hell on the selection committees of each bowl game?   According to Brett McMurphy of Stadium, the NCAA has voted that all 127 FBS team participating this fall are bowl eligible. Unlike the usual required .500 record requirement, any team with any record can participate in a bowl game. This means that for the first time under Head Coach Neal Brown, the Mountaineers are officially bowl eligible.   Despite this, the Mountaineers still have a lot ahead of them. Beginning with Kansas this weekend, West Virginia has three straight winnable games before traveling to Austin to take on the Longhorns on November 7th. Sitting with only one conference loss, coupled with how chaotic the Big 12 has been in 2020, a conference championship appearance is certainly not out of the cards yet.   Nonetheless, our Mountaineers will be competing in the postseason in 2020.

New Year, New(er) Coach, Same old WVU football

We dominated the game and lost. Same exact thing we did under Holgorsen year after year and game after game. Our players would out-play and out-hustle the other team, yet undisciplined penalties, a lack of fundamentals and questionable play calling and clock management would cause us to lose. The game Saturday against the Pokes resulted in the same exact script. Before I go any further, let me establish that I supported going after Coach Neal Brown before his name was even mentioned for the job, and I do still support him and haven’t given up on him. But he hasn’t yet shown me anything to back up a reason for believing in him. Last year was a complete joke. We blew four games, FOUR, in the 4th quarter. Blowing games in the 4th quarter is a result of play calling and clock management. We were either ahead, tied or within one score going into the 4th against Iowa State, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State. We could have gone 9-3 and should have at the VERY worst gone 6-6 and to a Bowl. On top of blowing four games late and giving WVU our first losing season in six years and only the second in seventeen years, ol’ Coach refused to bench a QB that was obviously not good enough to start in a Power 5 conference. Kendall just doesn’t/didn’t have the arm strength to make the necessary throws. People that do not know football saw our rushing stats last year and think that our Offensive Line was terrible, but that just isn’t the case. We couldn’t run the ball because no defense was afraid of our QB throwing the ball and therefore loaded the box. Kendall just couldn’t throw the ball downfield. Throw after throw looked like a wounded duck that hung in the air all day. He finished with 12 TDs and 10 INTs, that is absolutely horrid at any level but especially college where the year before – WIll Grier threw 37 TDs to 8 INTs. I understood starting Kendall out of the gate, he was highly rated from the time he was graduating high school through the time Lincoln Riley said that the QB battle between he and Kyler Murray was neck and neck. But after a handful of games it was obvious that he just didn’t have the arm for Power 5. Yet Coach refused to bench him and not even give a CHANCE to ANYONE and especially not Holgorsen recruit Trey Lowe that was supposed to be our future and could’ve been our Starter for the next four years as a Redshirt Freshman. No offensive line can run block when eight or nine defenders are in the box. And as far as pass blocking, we were very good. We gave up less than 2 sacks in half of all our games and our Left Tackle (Colton McKivitz) got drafted in the 5th round. If you’re wondering why I’m rehashing a lot of last year – I'm pointing out that this past Saturday was déjà vu. We absolutely dominated the Pokes and STILL got beat by 2 touchdowns. We had double digit penalties and multiple fumbles (one for a scoop and score reminiscent of 2018 against the Sooners). At one point we had nearly double the yards but were still down 17-0. Which brings us to the muffed FG that continues the mediocre Special Teams from the Holgorsen era. I picked us going 6-4 before the season started, hoping that Brown’s game management had improved over year 1 to the point that we would win a few of those games that come down to the wire in the 4th Quarter. Unfortunately, if what happened against Oklahoma State continues throughout the season, it will be another below .500 year when we should be a bowl team. I gave Coach Brown a pass last year, he had a new team, new program and new Conference, so I said, “fine, yes we had the talent to go 9-3 but I’ll give him a pass in the first year while figuring out what he has and what to do with it.” But he doesn’t get a pass this year. No one expects(ed) him to go 9-1, I don’t even care if we went 2-8 (because the only games that should be a given are Eastern KY and Kansas. You won’t hear it from the “academic Gods of the Big 10” but The Big 12 is the toughest Conference from top to bottom, the only bad team is KU) as long as we left everything on the field and it wasn’t more of the Head Coach blowing the games like it’s been for the past 8 years. Mountaineer fans deserve better than having that sick feeling of being the better team yet still losing that we've had for large portions of our history and especially since 2012. I still believe in Coach Neal Brown but he needs to right the ship starting this week against Baylor. If he gives us our 3rd losing season in 8 years, he's going to lose a lot of the base, including me. We just saw against Ok State how good we can be, they are supposed to be a favorite to win the Conference, along with OU and Texas - and we should have beaten them. So there is no reason for us finishing below 500 again. I don't buy into the mediocrity accepting motto of "Trust The Climb." We should've/could've won 9 games last year so there is not much "climbing" to do, we're already there.