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West Virginia Mountaineers Vs. BYU Cougars Preview: Season 125, Episode 3 - The One In Our Nation’s Capital

We’ve got a possible future conference match up in Washington, DC on Saturday!

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NFL: Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

OPENING THOUGHTS

Happy Friday, sports fans!! I hope you guys enjoyed the bye week as much as I did. Watching Oklahoma State beat Pitt, Louisville beat Florida State, and North Dakota State beat that poser of a Power 5 team Iowa (SCHEDULE SOME REAL TEAMS, IOWA!!) were some of my favorite games to watch as a college football fan.

Two games I especially enjoyed were the Texas and Oklahoma games. Watching the two Big 12 bullies lose just made my weekend and I hope a few other teams struggle.

That’s right. I want some of the teams in the Big 12 to struggle. Once I explain why, it will become very clear.

Right now, with Oklahoma basically out of playoff contention and Texas taking a bad loss, all sports media is reporting that the Big 12 is not going to make the College Football Playoff. The few media outlets that are still in the Big 12’s corner are claiming that Baylor is the conference’s last chance at the playoff.

This is, historically, when WVU plays its best football. When the pundits either are against them or not mentioning them at all, the Mountaineers almost always seem to grab their attention.

If WVU goes 9-0 and Baylor goes 8-0 through Thanksgiving weekend, It would set up a de facto Big 12 championship game between two 11-0 teams in Morgantown on December 3. It would be the dream situation for the Mountaineers, it would be the dream situation for Baylor, it would be the dream situation for the Big 12, and it would be the dream situation for us as fans.

The first step in a possible nine-win stretch is a neutral meeting against the BYU Cougars. No one on their staff has said it leading up to this game, but the Cougars are hungry for Power 5 membership and the Big 12 is probably their best chance right now (If it had been up to me, they’d be in the Pac-12 right now with Utah instead of Colorado).

BYU is the only national brand not holding Power 5 conference membership (I don’t count Notre Dame because of their "just the tip" arrangement with the ACC). Along with Houston, they are the only school that is "Power 5 ready" in my mind and hopefully the Big 12 actually does something after dragging us all through the mud for four years on this issue.

The Cougars are basically a Power 5 team this year with the tough three games they’ve had so far (vs. Arizona, at Utah, UCLA) and some of the games that follow (at Michigan State, Mississippi State, at Boise State, at Cincinnati).

It should be a very interesting game as BYU is battle tested and WVU is rested.

WHEN/WHERE

Date: Saturday, September 24th

Kickoff Time: 3:30 PM ET

Twitter/@WVUfootball

Where: FedEx Field, Landover, MD

Tickets: General Public

Parking/Transportation: FedEx FieldWashington Metro (that’s what I’m doing, Morgan Boulevard Station is closest to FedEx Field)

WATCH/LISTEN

TV: ESPN2

Streaming Video: WatchESPN (or the ESPN app for smartphones)

Radio: WZST Variety 101 (100.9 FM in Morgantown) and the Mountaineers Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates)

Steaming Audio: Locate the Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG on TuneIn Radio (or the TuneIn app for smartphones)

Satellite Radio: Sirius 143; XM 143; Internet 143

ODDS

Spread: WVU by 6.5 to 7.5 (according to OddsShark)

O/U: 50.5-51

Bill C:

Spread (Home) S&P Projection Margin Win Prob. S&P+ Pick (ATS) F/+ Projection F/+ Pick (ATS)
7 BYU (32.6-31.9) 0.7 51.8% BYU BYU by 2.5 BYU

WEATHER FORECAST

If you’re making the drive to the DC Metro area, you should have a beautiful three and a half hour drive. Should be sunny and in the upper 60s while you’re on I-68 and get up into the lower to mid 70s during tailgate time. During the game it should get up to around 77 and will get down into the upper 50s while enduring that beltway traffic.

THE ENEMY

Where are they from? Provo, Utah

All Time Series: First Time Meeting

Last Game: First Time Meeting

SB Nation Blog: Vanquish The Foe

Record: 1-2

Head Coach: Kalani Sitake (first season as head coach, played fullback for the Cougars from 1997-2000)

KEYS TO THE GAME

  • WVU needs to finish drives. The Mountaineers have scored 2 TDs in 8 trips to the red zone. This is clearly bad. If you’ve watched BYU play yet this season, you know they can prevent big plays so WVU needs to get better inside the 20.
  • Exploit the BYU receivers. The Cougars haven’t been able to do much through the air so far this season and WVU’s secondary should be salivating at this opportunity.

HOW AFRAID SHOULD WE BE?

BYU is going to be a tough team to play. They’re hungry, they’re tested and they’re talented. A BYU win would be devastating to WVU and the Big 12 so on a scale of 1-10, I’m at about a 7. Afraid, but not terrified. Kind of like Brian’s bad trip on Family Guy. It’s a little scary, but it’s not keeping me up a night.

PREDICTION THAT WILL BE WRONG

If you’ve watched any of the BYU games this season, you know that the Cougars could easily be 3-0. They were a missed 2-point conversion from winning the Holy War in Salt Lake City and was probably an onside kick away from beating UCLA, so WVU’s got their work cut out for them.

The Cougars play in close games, and I don’t think this one is any different. They need to get another win against a Power 5 to seem like a legitimate expansion candidate and WVU is the perfect team for them to beat. Despite the game being closer to Morgantown than Provo doesn’t mean it will be any less neutral. BYU travels very well. It should be a very entertaining game (too bad it’s airing against Tennessee-Florida or it might get more of a national audience) and everyone attending should definitely get their money’s worth. WVU comes out on top, but does not cover the spread.

West Virginia 35, BYU 31

FINAL THOUGHTS

BYU’s SB Nation blog Vanquish The Foe has written some phenomenal articles in the lead up to this game and is probably one of the first blogs I’ve seen not make fun of West Virginia in some capacity.

If you’re going to the game try to be respectful to their fans. From what I’ve seen they’re mostly very nice people who really enjoy football. We should get comfortable with them, because we’ll probably be sharing a conference with them in less than a year.

Okay, I’ll stop. Enjoy the game everyone!!