PREDICTION: WVU Will Win the Big 12 in 2024-2025

MORGANTOWN, West Virginia — Yesterday, the Big 12 Conference Media preseason rankings were released and, predictably, the West Virginia Mountaineers were once again underrated.

West Virginia was ranked #7 out of 14 teams in the new Big 12 featuring first year conference teams Utah, Arizona, Colorado and Arizona State.

Although the Big 12 is a very solid conference from top to bottom, there is no clear-cut dominant team this season. Whereas Texas and Oklahoma, who will now both play in the SEC, have dominated the conference in the past, the new Big 12 is wide open. 

Media members are notoriously bad at predicting the rankings, but this year in particular will be difficult to prognosticate. The team predicted to win the conference, the Utah Utes, finished 8-5 overall and 5-4 in the so-so PAC12 Conference last season. Yes, Utah returns a lot on both sides of the ball, but to think that they’ll come into a better, more physical conference and win the whole thing in Year 1 seems naive at best. The same could be said for the Arizona Wildcats, who are ranked 5th in the preseason poll.

Returning teams to the Big 12, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, Kansas and Iowa State, are ranked above the Mountaineers in the preseason rankings. However, a strong case could be made that West Virginia returns more and is more equipped to win the Big 12 Championship than any of these teams ranked above them.

Although West Virginia has struggled under Neal Brown in his first five seasons (and yes, the Mountaineers have struggled under Brown..he’s 31-29 in 5 years and doesn’t have a legit program win), everything seems to be falling into place for this WVU team to make a real run at winning the conference and participate in the newly-expanded College Football Playoffs.

Here’s why: Garrett Greene. He’s the most dynamic player in the Big 12. He’s a touchdown waiting to happen everytime he touches the ball. He’s elusive on the ground and is one of the top passers in the conference. If Greene stays healthy (and that’s a big if), there’s absolutely no reason why West Virginia won’t play at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on December 7th. As a senior, Greene is the type of leader who can will his team to a victory.

In addition, the Mountaineers have one of the top backfields in the conference led by Jahiem White and CJ Donaldson, an outstanding, experienced offensive line and a greatly improved defense, particularly in the secondary.

West Virginia’s current odds to win the Big 12 Championship sits at +1900, which roughly means they have a 19-1 shot at it. If you were to bet $100 on the Mountaineers to win the Big 12, you’d make $1,900. Or if you bet $1,000, you’d win $19,000. Or, if you’re feeling especially good about West Virginia’s chances, if you were to bet $10,000 and the Mountaineers won the Big 12, as I expect them to do, you’d win $190,000.

Obviously it is a long season and anything can happen, but if Garrett Greene remains healthy and the West Virginia defense plays as well as expected, the Mountaineers not only playing in the Big 12 Championship but also winning it seems like a bet worth taking.