Instead of just blindly predicting wins and losses for 2009 (cough, 5th Year Senior, cough), I thought I would try to take an objective look -- or as close to one as is possible when you run a pro-WVU blog -- at the point spreads of this season. Obviously, a lot will change in just a few weeks and months, but hopefully, this gives us all a pretty good expectation of each game throughout the season.
WVU vs. Liberty (no line)
As you probably know, there are rarely spreads offered against I-AA opponents. But know this: Liberty is not Villanova or James Madison. This isn't a bad football team, but it certainly does not quite stack up to those teams of years past. If there was a line, it would 40+.
WVU vs. East Carolina (WVU -6)
Memories of last year's disaster in Greenville are still too fresh, but this is still a team that WVU should defeat in 2009. It won't be easy, as is evidenced by the less than a touchdown margin. Still, WVU possesses greater depth and a home field advantage, something ECU hasn't bested in Morgantown since, oh right, never.
West Virginia @ Auburn (Auburn -2)
I believe this is a game that WVU will win. But, since it will be a night game on The Plains, Auburn will most likely get the slight edge due to the massive home field advantage. This should be a line that can be taken advantage of, knowing WVU's recent history with SEC opponents. Hint: it's good. Also, Auburn opens with La. Tech and Miss. State, meaning they will also likely be 2-0, and the Chizik era will still have some luster. It won't last.
WVU vs. Colorado (WVU -7.5)
This is still a weak Colorado team, the same weak Colorado team that beat the Mountaineers in Boulder last year. I expect WVU, this time, to perform a tad better, because if they were to play worse, the stadium might collapse on itself. Colorado also must visit Mountaineer Field on a Thursday night, where the home team is almost unstoppable.
WVU @ Syracuse (WVU -22.5)
Syracuse's talent level and a first year head-coach don't mix well, and this will be a tough year for Doug Marrone, though I don't think anyone in central NY is mourning Greg Robinson's departure. Still, WVU hasn't lost in the dome since 2001, and rarely are the games close between these two former rivals. Last time they played in Syracuse, only 35,000 showed up. Even with the hype around Marrone, that might be about right for this year, too.
WVU vs. Marshall (WVU -27)
Marshall sucks. Look, I could only stay objective for so long. But that's still how the spread will look, bias or not.
WVU vs. UConn (WVU -14.5)
This is the last real counted upon win before the meat of the schedule. Edsall has done a very good job in Storrs (or, East Hartford? Whatever.), but he just lost way too much talent to the NFL this past year. It will take a season or two to get UConn back up to the level of the past two years.
WVU @ USF (USF -6)
West Virginia doesn't have much of track-record of beating USF, let alone beating them in Tampa. Even in the dead of winter in Pat White's last game, WVU struggled to squeak past the west-central Floridians. It will be even tougher, facing a team most likely favored to win the conference, on their home turf. Every game may be winnable this year, but this may be the toughest.
WVU vs. Louisville (WVU -27)
Louisville is terrible, and this is almost certain to be Steve Kragthorpe's last trip to Morgantown. The only bright spot is former WVU-verbal and now UL running back Victor Anderson.
WVU @ Cincinnati (Cincinnati -1)
I believe this is another very winnable game, but I don't make the spreads; Vegas does. Cincinnati graduated their entire defense, but return playmakers Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard. You'll remember Gilyard for killing us on the opening kickoff last year. The Bearcats will certainly get some looks to win the wide-open Big East, but Nippert just isn't that much of a home-field advantage. Still, it's a night game and not Mountaineer Field. The Friday scheduling may make it tougher for Mountaineer fans to attend, too.
WVU vs. Pitt (WVU -2)
This series has become a series again, after WVU threatened to run away with games a few years ago. The last two have been tough on WVU, but getting Pitt at home with a very, very fired up late-season crowd should be enough to carry the home team. If not, I will covertly shave Wannstedt's mustache the night before, throwing their entire gameplan into a tailspin. And yes, they're gameplan is centered around his mustache.
WVU @ Rutgers (Rutgers -3)
No way we lose to Rutgers. No. Way. Yet, they'll still be favored. But we do not lose to that school. Not then. Not now. Not ever.
So, there you have it. Favored in eight games, underdogs in the other three. Still, we won't be underdogs by much, staying within a touchdown against every favorite.
Again, I think every game this season is winnable. It's also possible we lose all the games we're supposed to, plus one or two others (ECU, Colorado, Pitt). I'm optimistic, but I think Vegas, at least right now, sees us as an 8-4 squad.
Thoughts? Questions? Complaints? Marriage Proposals? Death Threats? Post all below.