The WVU Mountaineers are beginning to gain some respect with a jump in the AP poll from 20 to 12, but there isn’t much love.
Many sports analysts are still waiting for the Mountaineers to fall apart. WVU must go into November undefeated to keep the respect they have earned thus far.
If WVU can accomplish that and beat Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Iowa State, then and only then will they begin to be shown some love as a playoff candidate. A win over Oklahoma at home on November 19 could go a long way in getting positive attention from the sports analysts, but a single loss in the next 6 games could be a major set back.
However, if WVU lost to Oklahoma close but then beat Baylor, a major bowl bid could still be possible.
What WVU needs to do is win the Big 12 out-right by going undefeated. If they can do this they would likely make the national championship playoffs.
As we know respect is earned on the field. Each year teams and players see the love and respect they had been receiving dwindle away. The sports media loves whoever is on top, and WVU jumped eight places in the polls by throttling Texas Tech.
What created positive comments after the game from ESPN, Sports Illustrated and Fox writers and announcers was Coach Gibby’s ‘Dawgs’ making prolific Red Raiders quarterback Patrick Mahomes look like just another talent. WVU’s ‘journeyman’ QB Skyler Howard finished the game with a higher rating.
Many do not believe WVU can go undefeated in the Big 12. Perhaps the better question is “Will WVU win the conference out-right?”. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do believe that beating Oklahoma for the first time as a conference member will be a harder task than getting past Baylor. It wasn’t that long ago when Baylor came to Morgantown leading the conference and lost to the Mountaineers. I can see this happening again.
I originally predicted WVU to win no more than 7 games this season. Two things have changed my mind about this team. The impressive play of both the defense and QB Skyler Howard. Each week this team seems to get better on all 3-sides of the ball. With the way they are improving week-to-week a season with double digit wins is within its grasp.
I am not saying this team is perfect, far from it. What I am saying is as long as this team continues to improve and play as a team with an attitude, they have as good a chance as Oklahoma or Baylor of winning the Big 12.