Yes, I know the 2017 schedule for the West Virginia football team. We know our opponents, dates and locations—and even a couple times. However, schedules are not only viewed in chronological order. I polled the Musket staffers and ranked each game in order of importance, match up, excited and whatever other categories each writer chose. Here’s how we ranked the schedule.
1. Virginia Tech, Sunday, September 3, 7:30 p.m., FedEx Field, Landover, Md.
Neutral site season-opener against a rival and geographic enemy? Yeah, this one had to be the first on the list. The Hokies and Mountaineers meet for the first time since 2005 to open the 2017 and renew a hatred that never really died (for at least one side). Folks in the southeastern part of the state never forgot how putrid Virginia Tech is and we want that trophy back! Also, it’s a matchup of top-25 teams in primetime on opening weekend, so that’s also significant and will be a good barometer for each team’s success in 2017.
2. Oklahoma State, Saturday, October 28, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
The Cowboys have had our number the past two seasons, and 2016 was an especially heartbreaking game to watch. But this looks to be the only potential top-25 game on Mountaineer Field this season, as OK State is projected to compete for a conference title and WVU could still be ranked at the end of October.
3. Oklahoma, Saturday, November 25, Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla.
Oklahoma is the only football WVU hasn’t beaten since joining the Big 12. That’s annoying. There’s a slight hesitation when predicting success for the Sooners this year, but first-year head coach Lincoln Riley still has one of the best QBs in the conference and a whole lot of talent offensively. It would be really nice to have this game determine who goes to the conference championship game.
4. Texas, Saturday, November 18, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
Texas is back, remember? Actually, people are really drinking this Kool-Aid and the Longhorns are expected to win football games this season. Even though wins haven’t been easy for the Austin school, anytime they come to your house, it’s a big game. The Mountaineers survived the trip to the Lone Star capital last year and a win for either team this late in the season could do wonders for bowl selection.
5. Kansas State, Saturday, November 11, Bill Snyder Family Stadium, Manhattan, Kan.
WVU FINALLY defeated Kansas State last season in come-from-behind fashion to legitimize the team’s undefeated record. This go-around, the Mountaineers will face a more experienced and offensively capable team in the Little Apple. Bill Snyder is still a wizard, but how much magic does he have left?
6. TCU, Saturday, October 7, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas
After an embarrassing loss in Morgantown last season, it’s safe to assume the Horned Frogs will want revenge on their home turf in 2017. This budding rivalry has proven to impact the conference standings each season and this year’s matchup should be no different. Both teams will be coming off a bye, hopefully, we see two well-prepared teams do battle.
7. Baylor, Saturday, October 14, McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
The fact Baylor is even able to field a competitive football team this season annoys the daylights out of me. The fact that this team is picked to finish ahead of the Mountaineers annoys me more. I think Baylor may be one of the three most-hated teams in the conference and a win in their house would be sweet. Knocking the Bears off would also give a lift to our national stock, right?
8. Texas Tech, Saturday, October 15, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
This is the 2017 Homecoming game and the home conference opener. It’s also against a team we have a three-game winning streak. This game is the “Stripe The Stadium” event, which annoys me to no end for reasons I will most likely talk about on the podcast. Somehow, Bill C has us as a tossup in this game, but if we don’t beat Texas Tech, I think we will all be mad.
9. Iowa State, Saturday, November 4, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
Riot Bowl! And a slightly improved Iowa State football team that should be more dangerous and competent. The Cyclones visit Morgantown in between two possibly more important games, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.
10. ECU, Saturday, September 9, noon, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
Fans my age remember playing East Carolina seasonally. It was a fun rivalry with good food and good friends. Now, we get to welcome back some old pals and hopefully pick up a nice win. Unfortunately, ECU is not where they used to be, but they’re still a decent Group-of-Five school so at least this game means something. Oh, it’s also a Gold Rush.
11. Kansas, Saturday, September 23, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
I don’t know who gets excited to play Kansas. Maybe Texas will be this year to enact revenge for losing to the Jayhawks last year. But it is our conference opener, so there’s all the excitement you need.
12. Delaware State, Saturday, September 16, noon, Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, W.Va.
The Hornets have a football team. They compete in NCAA Division I FCS in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The team did not win a game in 2016. Excited? Yeah, neither am I.
Which games are you most anticipating? Which will give us the best matchup?