Can West Virginia win at least two games in the Big 12 this season? Or will see the Mountaineers at the bottom of the conference standings?
One of the last teams we have to cover in the Big 12 is the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia had their days when Will Grier was leading the Mountaineers but those are gone. West Virginia finished 6-7 overall and 4-5 in conference play last season. This program has never really been “bad” considering their worst season was a 3-8 season back in 2001 when they still played in the Big East. That being said, this program is on the cusp of a small rebuild.
Fourth-year coach Neal Brown enters 2022 with plenty of new faces on the team as well as some key returning veterans. The biggest test will be deciding which of the four quarterbacks on the roster will be the starter in week one. With so many things to figure out, West Virginia is looking at a “make it or break it” type season. That being said, let’s break down the West Virginia Mountaineers’ 2022 schedule.
Week One, Away Game vs Pittsburgh
The 2022 version of the Backyard Brawl will be the first non-conference matchup between the teams since they left for the Big 12 and ACC. While West Virginia was nothing special in 2021, Pitt finished with their best season in nearly 50 years. This will be quite the renewed rivalry game but Pitt is a far better team right now despite losing Kenny Pickett to the draft. West Virginia will make this a game but I think Pitt pulls away late and wins the 2022 Backyard Brawl.
Score Prediction: Pittsburgh 35, West Virginia 21
Week Two, Home Game vs Kansas
West Virginia will then begin conference play early in the season with a home game against KU. The Jayhawks will likely not be a very good team in 2022. It is also tough to go into Morgantown and win a game. West Virginia lost quite a few players via the transfer portal but managed to add JT Daniels to boost up their offense. If the KU defensive line can make Daniels’s life difficult, KU could compete in this game. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but I’m taking the Jayhawks to upset West Virginia at home.
Week Three, Home Game vs Towson
West Virginia then hops back into non-conference play with a home game against Towson in week three. This will be a much-needed game for West Virginia after losing their first two games of the year. Towson will be the unlucky team in their way as the Mountaineers will cruise in this one. Nothing special to this game other than seeing how many points West Virginia can score.
Score Prediction: West Virginia 42, Towson 14
Week Four, Away Game vs Virginia Tech
Then to close out their non-conference schedule, West Virginia takes on Virginia Tech. Virginia Tech is going through its own rebuild and not in a good way. They lost far too many pieces and their new head coach has too much to fix right now. West Virginia will win this game simply because they make more big plays down the stretch. This will be a close game but I like West Virginia to come out on top and feel good heading into week five.
Score Prediction: West Virginia 28, Virginia Tech 24
Week Five, Away Game vs Texas
West Virginia will then continue their road trip with a date in Austin Texas versus the Longhorns. The Longhorns are looking to be serious competitors in the Big 12 this year. With their move to the SEC pretty much set in stone, Texas will want to leave one final mark on the conference. I mentioned in the Texas win/loss piece that this will be a sloppy game for Texas. West Virginia will hang around for most of the game but in the end, Texas is still the better team.
Week Six, Home Game vs Baylor
The Mountaineers will continue a tough stretch in conference play with a home game against the defending champs in week six. Baylor is the favorite in the Big 12 and rightfully so and this is bad news for West Virginia. However, West Virginia has a stingy defense that can make this Baylor team struggle a bit. But once again, West Virginia will lose this game late and Baylor will make everyone forget the game got close to begin with.
Week Seven, Away Game vs Texas Tech
West Virginia then heads back on the road to Lubbock to take on the Red Raiders. Both Texas Tech and West Virginia are either on the verge of being bad in 2022 or around the .500 mark. Tech defends their home field rather well, especially in the middle of the season. Both teams will figure out their depth chart in this game and use all the pieces necessary to try and win. However, I like Tech at home and once again West Virginia will struggle late in the game.
Week Eight, Home Game vs TCU
The Mountaineers then get to defend their home turf against a hit-or-miss TCU squad. Unfortunately for West Virginia, this will be a hit game for TCU. The Horned Frogs have a dynamic offense that can combat the stingy defensive line of West Virginia. That being said, I like the Horned Frogs to win in Morgantown and yet again disappoint West Virginia.
Week Nine, Away Game vs Iowa State
Week nine has the Mountaineers back on the road, this time in Ames to take on Iowa State. Iowa State is nowhere near the dominant force of recent memory. With so many pieces missing, this will be a closer game than even last year. While it will be tough to go on the road and win in Ames, I think West Virginia has the pieces to get a confidence-boosting win against the Cyclones. Give me West Virginia in a close game but the Mountaineers get the job done.
Score Prediction: West Virginia 31, Iowa State 24
Week Ten, Home Game vs Oklahoma
Just when the Mountaineers are feeling better, they get to host Oklahoma. The Sooners are also on their way out of the Big 12 and on their way to the SEC. That being said, the Sooners would very much like to run the table in the Big 12 before they leave. While West Virginia will likely have their roster locked down and figured out, OU’s roster will be far better. The Sooners might not have to deal with Dante Stills but the OU offensive line will have to deal with interior threat Akheem Mesidor. I can see this being an uncomfortable game for the Oklahoma run game but the fast paced passing game will find a way to win.
Week Eleven, Home Game vs Kansas State
The Mountaineers then get to host the K-State Wildcats in week 11. K-State brings one of the most dynamic run-centric offenses in the country. Last year the K-State offensive line dominated West Virginia making it impossible to stop the run. However, the Mountaineers have new defensive line pieces to make some noise in this game, especially against the run. But this game will not go well for West Virginia and K-State is going to roll over the Mountaineers.
Week Twelve, Away Game vs Oklahoma State
To close out the 2022 season, the Mountaineers get hit with one last uppercut by going on the road to take on Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are also going to be a serious contender in the Big 12 this year. The Cowboys do not lose at home especially against teams that are not on their level. This will be one final conference win for the Cowboys and nothing more.
Final Record For West Virginia Football In 2022-23: 3-9 (1-8)
I feel like I am being pretty harsh on West Virginia here but I do not see them playing well in 2022. Far too many things to take care and hash out with the roster. The Mountaineers need one more down year before they finally figure it out again. This roster is so close but I do not see them putting it together and performing well in 2022.
Which Big 12 team will improve the most in 2022? Comment below and join the discussion!
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