Morgantown, West Virginia – The odds of the West Virginia Mountaineers winning the national championship this season are slim. Like, very slim. Like, 500 to 1.
Although the Mountaineers will certainly be improved after a 5-7 record in Neal Brown’s debut season last year, becoming bowl eligible and finishing with a winning record is a very reasonable goal. Anything more than that is unlikely.
With that said, 500 to 1 is juicy, particularly when it comes to betting on the Mountaineers. To be frank, I don’t need the money. As the wealthiest (and most powerful) journalist in the state of West Virginia, money isn’t a concern for me.
But a $100 bet at 500/1 will pay out $50,000 if West Virginia wins the national championship. That’s a $49,900 profit. The risk/reward ratio, combined with the added excitement that it brings to the season, made this particular bet an outstanding investment for me.
West Virginia’s first four games – at home against Eastern Kentucky, on the road at Oklahoma State and home games against Baylor and Kansas are all very winnable. In fact, all games except for Oklahoma State should be be wins for the Mountaineers. Baylor almost won the Big 12 last season, but they have a new head coach (Dave Aranda) and will have to completely rebuild their defense, which lost all but two starters from last season.
Oklahoma State is loaded – returning 19 starters and featuring Heisman candidate Chuba Hubbard – but their team has gone through a lot of turmoil in the offseason and my guy “The Gold and Blue Dude” has circled this game as a potential upset for West Virginia.
It’s unlikely but possible that the Mountaineers start the season at 4-0. The next four games – at Texas Tech, home for Kansas State, at Texas and back home for TCU – again features three very winnable games and one potential difficult win. Texas Tech is one of the second worst team in the Big 12 (behind Kansas), Kansas State and TCU at home are both potential wins, and Texas would be a monumental upset on the road for the Mountaineers. Again, West Virginia could win all four if they get some breaks and it’s not completely out of the question that they start 8-0.
The final two games might be their most difficult. Powerhouse Oklahoma at home and a season finale on the road at a tough Iowa State team will not be easy, but again, these are games that West Virginia can compete in.
I don’t see the Mountaineers getting blown out in any of their games this season and Neal Brown has some major upsets like he pulled while at Troy up his sleeve.
There’s so much uncertainty going into this season with a particularly weird offseason and this very well could be the year that a team like the Mountaineers could come out of nowhere and compete for the national championship. While unlikely, this could be a magical season for West Virginia and your favorite journalist could be $49,900 richer if the Mountaineers can do the impossible.