If the Mountaineers were to do the unthinkable and beat the Crimson Tide this week it would have immediate repercussions in Morgantown for the coaches, the rest of the season, recruiting and legacy. Let's take a look at what those repercussions would be.
1. Dana Holgorsen's Future in Morgantown
I'm firmly in the camp that believes that unless WVU repeats its four win performance from 2014 Holgorsen likely has at least one more year following this one to right the ship. A win over the Crimson Tide isn't necessarily a silver bullet for job security purposes, but the win would inevitably put any immediate talk of a hot seat on ice. However, given the what have you done for me lately nature of college football a win over Alabama would need to be coupled with a respectable season to completely quell the anti-Holgorsen crowd. After all beating the Tide and then winning only two or three games the rest of the year would make the win look fluky, and draw further scrutiny towards Holgorsen's coaching. On the flips side an upset win over Alabama would also mean that Holgorsen would own marquee victories over Clemson in the Orange Bowl, Texas in the highest attended game ever at Darrell K. Royal, and Alabama in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. Taken by itself that is nice collection of signature wins over a four year stretch.
2. The rest of the season
A win over Alabama and the hype machine in West Virginia would quickly throttle into overdrive with people going from drinking the Kool-Aid to bathing in it. On the other hand the rest of the nation would likely be slow to credit WVU (per usual). WVU would have to be careful to guard against a let down in the following games against Towson and Maryland, but if WVU were to follow an upset over the Tide with wins over Towson and Maryland they would likely be a top 20 team going into their matchup with Oklahoma. If that scenario were to play out and the Mountaineers went on to beat Oklahoma they would own two top ten wins to start the season and catapult into the college football playoff conversation.
WVU is currently enjoying some relative success on the recruiting trail. Beat the Crimson Tide to open the season and a lot of high school heads are going to turn. Given the Mountaineers heavy presence in Florida it could hopefully help push some recruits over the edge in committing or solidifying commitments to WVU.
4. Where would a win rank among the all-time best Mountaineer victories?
This is a tough one. It is a regular season match up, but it would be one of the highest ranked opponents the Mountaineers have ever defeated. In regards to regular season wins it would probably be akin to the 1982 victory over Oklahoma. Here is an interesting question, would you rank a victory over Alabama to start the season over the Orange Bowl win over Clemson? The Orange Bowl victory has the BCS cache and certainly earned WVU plenty of style points, but beating Clemson isn't the same thing as beating a perennial heavy weight like Alabama. Determining where on the list of great WVU wins a victory of the Tide would rank is subjective, but there is no doubt it would be one of the best regular season victories for the Mountaineers and provide WVU fans with a marquee win, something they haven't had for almost two years.