Prediction: West Virginia Will Win 8+ Games This Season

Although West Virginia is predicted to finish 14th (last place) in the Big 12 Conference, we believe the Mountaineers will put together a very successful season.  

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia – The Big 12 Conference preseason rankings were released yesterday and not surprisingly, the West Virginia Mountaineers were projected to finish dead last. 14th out of 14 teams, the Mountaineers were picked behind all the Big 12 newcomers, who were Group of Five programs just last season.

Last season, West Virginia finished 5-7 overall and 3-6 in conference play, and lost several key contributors from last year’s team. With that said, there are several reasons that I believe the Mountaineers will finally have a successful season under Neal Brown:

Experienced Offensive Line

West Virginia returns the most experienced and arguably the most talented offensive line in the Big 12 Conference. Games are won up front and the Mountaineers’ have built this team around its dominant offensive line. Zach Frazier, Wyatt Milum, Doug Nester, Tomas Rimac, Brandon Yates and Nick Malone make up a truly deep, impressive line who are capable of bullying any defense they face this season

Talented Running Backs 

Again, West Virginia’s running back corps is perhaps one of the best in the conference, led by returning sophomore CJ Donaldson, who burst onto the scene last season, compiling 526 yards on only 87 carries and in seven games. If he can stay healthy, Donaldson will be an absolute force behind the Mountaineers’ offensive line.

In addition, West Virginia has Justin Johnson, who rushed 98 times for 430 yards and 3 touchdowns last season, sophomore Jaylen Anderson, who played well late in the season against Oklahoma State, rushing 15 times for 155 yards, and newcomer freshman Jaheim White, who looked spectacular in the the Gold-Blue game, rushing for 91 yards. This team is built to run and they have the horses to do it.

Mobile Quarterbacks 

Although Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol are largely unproven, they have something that previous West Virginia quarterbacks under Neal Brown haven’t had: mobility and the ability to create plays with their feet.

This gives the Mountaineers a real advantage that they haven’t had in the past. Garrett Greene might be one of the most electric players in the conference in the open field and is capable of scoring a touchdown at any given time on the ground.

Improved Defensive Secondary 

The Mountaineers’ secondary was one of the major issues last season, but the coaching staff added talented transfers Montre Miller and Keyshawn Cobb to a secondary that includes Aubrey Burks, Marcis Floyd, Hershey McLaurin, Jacolby Spells and Malachi Ruffin. On paper, this is a much-improved defensive secondary. If they live up to their potential, the West Virginia defense is going to be a very solid overall unit.