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Sports Illustrated Ranks West Virginia #21

Back in the Top 25 for the Mountaineers

Meineke Car Care Bowl - North Carolina v West Virginia Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Everyone has an opinion and everyone has a Top 25. Sports Illustrated is no different and they just released their’s. West Virginia comes in at a healthy #21. Here is what they had to say.

Last year: 10–3 (7–2 Big 12); Lost to Miami in Russell Athletic Bowl

SI Top 100 players: Zero

Player you need to know: Quarterback Will Grier went 5–0 at Florida as a freshman in 2015, before he was suspended for a year after a positive NCAA drug test. Instead of waiting in Gainesville, Grier transferred to Morgantown, where he takes over an offense that brings back dynamic senior runner Justin Crawford (1,184 yards, 7.3 per carry) but not much else. Grier will have to help a new crop of receivers develop and hope a revamped offensive line that once again features 6' 5", 308-pound junior tackle Yodny Cajuste—he missed last season with a right ACL tear—can protect and open holes. Grier’s not a runner, though. “He’s a better pocket passer,” says coach Dana Holgorsen. “He’s tall. He can go through his reads, and he can make every throw.”

Path to the playoff: The Mountaineers open with Virginia Tech (Sept. 3) in Landover, Md., a critical test for the Big 12. But if WVU hopes to compete for the league title, it’ll need to win at least two of three against Oklahoma State (Oct. 28), at Kansas State (Nov. 11) or at Oklahoma (Nov. 25).

Pinch me if you’ve heard this one before, Texas is ranked despite going 5-7 last year. Other Big 12 teams who are ranked: Kansas State at #19, Oklahoma at #6 and Oklahoma State at #4.

I’m all for Oklahoma State being ranked high. They have a tough slate in front of them and by the time they come to Morgantown, they will have played only two home games. If they are 7-0 when they enter West Virginia, they will have earned it and it will make that game that much sweeter.