Fading WVU -- again
June 26, 2014
By Lance Blankenship
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Last season, I strongly believed that West Virginia would be lucky to win four games.
I received an incredible amount of angry responses from WVU fans and derision from local writers who said I was "reckless" and "irresponsible" for making such outlandish predictions.
West Virginia went 4-8.
This season in Morgantown, I’m not expecting an improvement and would advise bettors to invest in Under 4 ½ victories (+100), which can be purchased at 5Dimes.eu.
Here’s why I’m leaning to another ‘under’ ticket on WVU.
I had several chances to watch WVU's spring practices and make some general observations. The quarterback position spot will again be woeful and head coach Dana Holgorsen knows he doesn’t have a clear-cut starter.
Clint Trickett was recently named the starter but as he displayed last year, he stinks. A completion percentage in the fifties (52.8%) is very poor on the college level and his touchdown to interception (7/7) is just as worse.
At running back, the Mountaineers will need to replace a workhorse in Charles Sims, who is now in the NFL. This year's WVU backfield will be running back by committee and nobody has shown the talent of Sims.
Chemistry wise, Holgorsen and his system was praised and anticipated on his arrival. However, it’s evident that he doesn’t have the horses to improve on last year’s mark.
Let’s break down all 12 of the Mountaineers’ 12-game regular season schedule.
Game 1 vs. Alabama from Atlanta: The Tide opened as 25-point favorites and this line has jumped slightly. Alabama will beat WVU in colossal fashion. The Tide will score 8-9 touchdowns against WVU's hapless defense. I firmly believe this. WVU had the worst defense of any power conference team in the country last year. The two best players from that squad, Will Clarke and Shaq Rowell, are gone. They will be even more putrid this year. Safety Darwin Cook's departure makes WVU more vulnerable to deep balls also. Alabama will beat WVU by 45-50 points.
Game 2 vs. Towson State: Last year, WVU closed as 33- point favorites at home versus William and Mary. The Mountaineers escaped with a 24-17 win after trailing at halftime. An untimely and stupid personal foul on William and Mary's TE may have cost the Tribe a historic upset. Look for a similar result in this contest. WVU will be beaten physically and mentally from the Alabama slaughter. Towson is a solid FCS team. They score with a sharp passing attack. Look for WVU to lay heavy double digits here. Towson will most likely be overpowered down the stretch, but WVU won't come close to covering.
Game 3 at Maryland: Maryland crushed WVU 37-0 last year and this year's result will be similar. Randy Edsall has 17 starters back and he is worth a touchdown in coaching strategy over Holgorsen. Maryland quietly has a deadly WR corps with two NFL prospects. The Terrapins defense will allow very little to WVU. Maryland is not getting the attention I think they deserve. They are going to make noise in their inaugural season in the Big Ten.
Game 4 vs. Oklahoma: WVU was competitive in Norman last year as three touchdown underdogs, but weakened down the stretch. They won't be competitive this year at home. Bob Stoops has a loaded roster and a gunslinger behind center, Trevor Knight. He gained great confidence in his sterling performance against Alabama. Stoops will pulverize Holgorsen. WVU will be 1-3 after this contest with a bye week to follow. Holgorsen will surely be fired this season. Could it happen during this open week?
Game 5 vs. Kansas: Charlie Weis has a much improved club. Kansas demolished WVU last year. Look for this line to be WVU -4 at home. Kansas will win mainly due to the difference in coaching. Weis calls a great game while Holgorsen does not. Kansas has a scrambling QB who will impress against WVU's soft defense.
Game 6 at Texas Tech: Texas Tech will be a mediocre team this season. WVU could win this game as I believe Kliff Kingsbury is going to come back to life in his second season. Holgorsen spent 7 years with Texas Tech and could steal this game as this is not Rommel vs. Montgomery. This is bad coach vs. bad coach. WVU may get a "W" here to improve to 2-4 on the year but certainly not guaranteed.
Game 7 vs. Baylor: Baylor amassed 872 against WVU's defense last year. Bryce Petty is back at QB and the results will be similar. Baylor will be favored by 10 to 11 points and will cover easily. WVU will be 2-5 after this tilt.
Game 8 at Oklahoma State: WVU beat Oklahoma State last year as 19-point underdogs and it might surprise you but I expect WVU to beat the Cowboys again this year. Oklahoma State brings back only eight starters and Gundy is not a good X’s and O’s coach. WVU moves to 3-5.
Game 9 vs. TCU: TCU will have payback on its minds as this contest begins. WVU stole an overtime win in Fort Worth last year. TCU has 16 starters back and two good QBs. Look for the Horned Frogs to beat WVU by daylight. WVU goes to 3-6.
Game 10 at Texas: Texas will be much improved this year. The addition of Charlie Strong and the return of 15 starters will give the Longhorns a shot at the Big 12 Title. WVU will be outclassed here. Look for Texas to close as 20-point favorites or more. WVU goes to 3-7.
Game 11 vs. Kansas State: Kansas State and WVU will both be coming off bye weeks. The difference is KSU will be jockeying for bowl position while WVU's season will be meaningless at this point. Holgorsen will be either gone or he will be a lame duck. This is a Thursday night game which usually leads to a big crowd in Morgantown. It will be an empty stadium and WVU will be 3-8 as this game goes final.
Game 12 at Iowa State: Paul Rhoads is a great coach. Iowa State rarely has an abundance of talent but Rhoads gets the nod here. He beat WVU last year in Morgantown as a 7-point underdog. Iowa State will be favored by 7 at home and they will cover. WVU ends the season at 3-9.
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