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What I Think About The Big 12 and WVU’s Chances in 2016

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The conference is not strong like it has been in the past. This, more than any other year, is WVU’s year.

Kansas State v West Virginia Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

I think that the conference is a dumpster fire

Iowa State should have beaten Oklahoma State. Kansas was better than TCU. Oklahoma allowed 40 points to Texas. Texas allowed 45 points to Oklahoma, the fourth opponent to score at least 45 points. Texas Tech failed to break 40 points against Kansas State despite nearly 600 yards of offense and keeping K-State to 330 yards. Tech allowed K-State to pick off a pass for a touchdown and return a kickoff for a touchdown.

West Virginia is 18th in the country in scoring defense, allowing 19.2 points per game. That isn’t the fairest representation since they have not played anyone I would deem a top 20 offense. The Mountaineers are 14th in points per play (0.233), a much better representation of defense.

Baylor is 21st (0.264), Kansas State is 30th (0.300), TCU is 44th (0.341). After that the teams drop off fast, OSU is 78th (0.415), Iowa State is 91st (0.461), Oklahoma is 99th (0.473), Kansas is 104th (0.495), Texas is 105th (0.509), and Texas Tech brings up the rear of the conference at 122nd (0.591).

I think there will be 3 new coaching openings and it won’t include Dana

Bill Snyder has 196 career wins. Either with a bowl win or just by winning 7 games, I think he gets to the magical 200. I believe that will be enough for Bill to call it quits in Manhattan. No one can question the magic and coaching ability of Snyder. Kansas State is relevant because of him and him alone. I think he can still relate to players but at 77 years old, his coaching years are numbered. The reports are that he seriously considered retiring last year. The indications seem to point to this being his last year.

We all know Charlie Strong is done at Texas. The reports of Charlie not being fired in-season have left the writing on the wall. Texas will break that oath around the 10th game of the year, when Texas is finally out of bowl eligibility and the defense continues to allow 40+ points a game. The Longhorns still have to face the #3, 18, 25 and 26 ranked offenses in the nation.

Kliff Kingsbury, I think, is on thin ice. The Red Raiders are allowing 44 points per game. They allowed 43.5 last year, when they were one of the worst defenses in the nation. Kliff has done well with the offense but since starting 7-0 in 2013, the Red Raiders have allowed 1,333 points to 30 Power 5 teams, an average of 44.4 points per game. They’ve given up 49+ points 11 times in the 4 years Kliff has been a head coach. I just can’t see the Tech administration being ok with another mediocre year where the defense can’t generate anything and wastes that offense.

I think the Mountaineers trip to Ames could be a downfall

In back to back weeks, the Cyclones have nearly pulled off an upset. First they took Baylor to the wire, leading for 59:59 of the game, losing on a field goal as time expired. This week they controlled Oklahoma State until a fumble derailed the entire offense. Back in 2011, the Cowboys were #2 in the nation, 10-0 and looking to set up a showdown with rival Oklahoma. They waltzed into Ames the same way the Mountaineers waltzed into Mylan-Puskar back in 2007, thinking “I’ve got this. This will be easy”. The Cyclones didn’t roll over and the Cowboys were left with a 37-31 double overtime loss.

If the ball bounces the Mountaineers way and they end up 10-0 with a showdown with an undefeated Baylor looming in December, this Ames trip scares me. There exists a reality, whether this year or in an alternate one, where the Mountaineers are 11-0 and Baylor is 11-0, with December 5 setting up ESPN Gameday in Morgantown for the Big 12 Championship.

I think WVU should be higher in the polls but I’m glad we’re not

The polls come out today. Most likely we’ll be around 18 or so, which could be argued is too low and too high for the Mountaineers. West Virginia hasn’t played anyone of relevance yet, but they’ve won every game. They have a good defense and a good offense. They are undefeated. They’ve won close games when they’ve given the opponent chance after chance to take control. They’ve done everything good teams do.

Tim Brando has us at a top ten team. The Mountaineers are one of 9 undefeated Power 5 teams left. No one on the schedule is a world beater but all are capable of beating West Virginia.