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The Smoking Musket Staff Predicts The 2018 Season

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What better way to close out our 2018 preview series than by having every Musket staff member predicting how this season will go? Leave your predictions in the comments below!

As we wrap up our 2018 season previews and prepare to enter our first game week of the season, it’s only fitting that we close things out with everyone here at The Smoking Musket giving our hot takes on how the 2018 season is going to play out for the West Virginia Mountaineers and college football in general.

Feel free to leave your predictions in the comments below. Get those on record now so, if they actually come true, you’ll look like a god danged genius.


Let’s start this off with one bold prediction for the 2018 college football season.

Michael Miller

Dana Holgorsen turns down offers from at least one major program to stay at West Virginia after leading the Mountaineers to a Big 12 Championship, shocking the college football world and finally endearing himself to the anti-Dana crowd.

WVUNite

Alabama fails to make the College Football Playoffs. Finally. In the Big 12, Kansas will win 2 conference games.

Nick Shoemaker

My one bold prediction is simple and optimistic. I think the Mountaineers are going to win the National Championship this year. I have two main reasons for this prediction. The first is a gut feeling that I can’t overlook. I have just had a feeling all summer that this football season is going to be historic for the Mountaineers, and I believe a National Championship will be the pinnacle of that historic season. The second reason is I trust in Will Grier’s ability. I believe he is a special talent and that he will find ways to win in games where WVU should probably lose.

BartimusPrime

David Sills V will not be WVU’s top-yardage receiver.

Robert Hurst

Kennedy McKoy breaks out.

Matt Kirchner

Alec Sinkfield emerges as a legitimate option in the run and pass game by the end of the year, giving West Virginia another important weapon going into Deathtober 2: Deathvember.

Jordan Pinto

We’re beating Oklahoma.

WVUIE97

David Sills V will actually play quarterback for USC one game with Lane Kiffin coaching AGAINST him. Nick Saban will actually shit a new player, although there will be no video evidence. Oh sorry, you said one.

StatsBoyAndi

I will make a comment about wanting to have Will Grier’s children.


How do you see the 2018 season faring for the West Virginia Mountaineers?

Michael Miller

The Mountaineers will go 9-3 in 2018. West Virginia will fall out of the rankings after losses at NC State and Texas Tech, but will shoot back up the polls after putting together a string of 6 wins before the Sooners invade Morgantown on Black Friday. Oklahoma takes the regular season finale in a close one, but has to face an angry group of Mountaineers the following week in Arlington in the Big 12 Championship game.

Will Grier goes off against the Sooner defense, and West Virginia hoists their first Big 12 Championship.

WVUNite

The Mountaineers storm into Charlotte and begin the season with a bang. The momentum builds as they ride a wave to 8-0 and a top 3 ranking. The season culminates with a showdown with Oklahoma and a CCG berth on the line.

Nick Shoemaker

Despite my belief that West Virginia will win the National Championship this year, I don’t think the Mountaineers will go undefeated. I think WVU will finish the regular season 11-1 with a 8-1 record in conference play. I think that one loss will be to Texas on the road. Along with my prediction that WVU will win the National Championship, I also think the Mountaineers will win the Big 12 Championship game. So my final record prediction would be 14-1 with a 9-1 record in conference games.

BartimusPrime

WVU is a very straightforward team on paper: a dynamic offense with a defense that needs to gel before it can be considered good. If the offense can give the defense some cushion, then the D will be able to improve in the first month of the season before the real opponents show up on the schedule. I think this team has 10 wins in it, but I also think this schedule has at least three losses in it (if this doesn’t make sense, I know). This team better win nine games, but it can’t have a “brain fart” loss to achieve that win total or more. I see us at 9-3.

Robert Hurst

11-2; losing in the Big 12 championship game.

Matt Kirchner

West Virginia ends up 9-3, but with one of the losses out of conference to NC State, the muddled Big 12 picture allows the Mountaineers to slide into the Big 12 Championship.

Jordan Pinto

The hype is real. We’re one of three teams with a chance to win the conference in November, and we secure a Big 12 title rematch with the Sooners by beating them in Morgantown on 11/23. NY6 Bowl at worst.

WVUIE97

The NC State game could likely define the season. That’s a weird sentence to type, but true. Struggle there and lose, you’re looking at 8-4, win 9-3. If we can throttle them and stay healthy, it could portend to something special this fall. Either way, this team should be fun to watch. Like Jake said, be sure to take it all in and enjoy it.

StatsBoyAndi

11-3; WVU finally gets over the hump and beats Oklahoma on Thanksgiving weekend to secure a spot in the Big XII championship, but loses the rematch a week later because that would be an extremely WVU thing to do. Will Grier gets to go to NY for the Heisman, but doesn’t win it. Our mentions are lit.


Where you think West Virginia will spend their winter break. Will we be playing in the Cheez-It Bowl? Or will the Mountaineers find themselves in a New Years Day game?

Michael Miller

Mountaineer fans will be partying on Bourbon Street to bring in 2019, as Big 12 champion West Virginia will find themselves on the outside of the College Football Playoff looking in. The Mountaineers will square off with the SEC runners up - a familiar Sugar Bowl foe, the Georgia Bulldogs.

WVUNite

West Virginia won’t finish undefeated, removing them from the playoff discussion but they will find themselves in the Sugar Bowl. We’re gonna have a sweet year, y’all. It could be even sweeter when they find out they have a chance to finish the year with an exclamation point by beating Alabama.

Nick Shoemaker

If the Mountaineers make the College Football Playoff as I project, I imagine it will be by a somewhat slim margin. I predict WVU will get the fourth seed and face Clemson in the Orange Bowl. Unlike the last time the Mountaineers faced Clemson in the Orange Bowl, I predict this game will be much closer.

BartimusPrime

Valero Alamo Bowl

Robert Hurst

One of the New Year’s Six

Matt Kirchner

Alamo Bowl

Jordan Pinto

NY6 at worst, but I’m holding out hope for Orange or Cotton.

WVUIE97

Belk Bowl to open the season, personally, but I digress. Likely a New Years Six, either Sugar or Fiesta.

StatsBoyAndi

The Sugar Bowl after OU slides into the playoff.


How will the Big 12 Conference shake out? Will Oklahoma win for the 9,001st season in a row? Will Texas finally make their way back to the top of the conference? Will the Mountaineers play the spoiler and claim their first Big 12 Conference trophy?

Michael Miller

I think by now you can tell I have us winning the Big 12 championship in a revenge game against the Oklahoma Sooners. Here’s how the final standings will read:

1. West Virginia Mountaineers (7-2)
2. Oklahoma Sooners (8-1)
3. TCU Horned Frogs (6-3)
4. Texas Longhorns (6-3)
5. Oklahoma State Cowboys (5-4)
6. Iowa State Cyclones (5-4)
7. Kansas State Wildcats (4-5)
8. Baylor Bears (2-7)
9. Texas Tech Red Raiders (2-7)
10. Kansas Jayhawks (0-9)

Kansas and Texas Tech take a ride on the coaching carousel, and Iowa State (successfully) begs and pleads Matt Campbell to stay in Ames.

WVUNite

West Virginia and Oklahoma will battle for the title. The Mountaineers will win in Morgantown but OU will win the conference championship game. The CCG victory propels the Sooners to the playoffs and the Mountaineers will take their consolation prize in the Sugar Bowl.

Texas and TCU will battle it out for third place while Texas Tech and Kansas State will struggle to reach .500. Kliff Kingsbury will be struggling to find a new job in 2019 while Matt Campbell begins to bump his head on the ceiling at Iowa State. 7 wins and a bowl game appearance are great but eventually that will not be enough.

Nick Shoemaker

I predict that the Mountaineers will win both the regular season conference title and the conference championship game. My final ranking of the conference would be as follows:

1. West Virginia
2. Oklahoma
3. TCU
4. Texas
5. Oklahoma State
6. Iowa State
7. Kansas State
8. Kansas
9. Baylor
10. Texas Tech

I predict WVU will face OU in back to back games (Senior Night and Big 12 Championship). I also predict the Mountaineers will win both games, but with a slimmer margin in the second matchup. I have WVU winning the Big 12 Championship game 48-45 in overtime.

BartimusPrime

1. Oklahoma
2. West Virginia
3. Texas
4. TCU
5. Oklahoma State
6. Iowa State
7. Texas Tech
8. Kansas State
9. Baylor
10. Kansas

Robert Hurst

I’ve said before, you have to pick Oklahoma until someone proves otherwise.

Matt Kirchner

1. Oklahoma
2. WVU
3. TCU
4. Oklahoma State
5. Iowa State
6. Texas
7. Kansas State
8. Baylor
9. Texas Tech
10. Kansas

Jordan Pinto

WVU TCU and Oklahoma clustered at the top with Texas, Oklahoma State, Iowa State, Texas Tech and Kansas State falling in behind. Kansas and Baylor are going to struggle.

WVUIE97

As one of the commenters said, in a way, Death, Taxes and Oklahoma. Until someone other than a mediocre Texas team can beat Oklahoma on a regular basis, it’s their conference. TCU has a really good team that has a shot. As long as WVU stays healthy, we have a shot. It will take a truly magical season for WVU to win the conference but I’m telling you, Lloyd Christmas...there’s a chance.

StatsBoyAndi

Oklahoma wins the title again (Death, taxes, Kansas basketball and OU football)


Is Will Grier leaving New York City as West Virginia’s first every Heisman Trophy winner? Will David Sills get robbed of the Biletnikoff Award like Stedman Bailey? Will any Mountaineer bring home an individual award at the end of the season?

Michael Miller

Will Grier faces up uphill battle to win the Heisman, even as a preseason frontrunner, but his performance against Oklahoma in the Big 12 title game gives him the boost over Penn State quarterback Trace McSorely. West Virginia begins erecting a Grier statue outside Milan Puskar Stadium the following day.

Sills comes up just short of a Biletnikoff trophy again, and The Smoking Musket begins an investigation into the dirty back room dealings that are keeping Mountaineers with 25+ touchdowns and 1,000+ yards from winning the award.

Yodny Cajuste finishes as a finalist for the Lombardi Award.

WVUNite

My heart says yes but my gut says no. I can’t tell you how much I want a Heisman for West Virginia. If Grier doesn’t win the Heisman, then I don’t see David Sills bringing home the Biletnikoff. I do think that Yodny Cajuste may surprise everyone when he brings home the Lombardi Award. Cajuste has all of the necessary tools to be a first round pick next year and if Grier has a good year it means that people are paying attention to Cajuste.

Nick Shoemaker

I think that three Mountaineers will come away with individual hardware at the end of this season. I predict that David Sills will be the nation’s top receiver and win the Fred Biletnikoff Award by a landslide. I also think that Dravon Askew-Henry will come away with the Jim Thorpe Award for being the most outstanding defensive back of the year. For Will Grier, I think he will win almost every award he possibly can, including the Heisman Memorial Trophy, Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award, Davey O’Brien Award, and the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award. I think individual awards will also contribute to what I predict will be a historic season for WVU.

BartimusPrime

David Sills wins the Biletnikoff

Robert Hurst

Grier wins the Davey O’Brien, but not the Heisman.

Matt Kirchner

Will Grier makes it to New York but loses out to Jonathan Taylor, who rushes for a million yards on a playoff team.

Jordan Pinto

If we make it to the Big 12 Title, both of those guys will definitely have played well enough to earn invitations as finalists. Watch out for David Long as a dark horse for the Butkus, as well.

WVUIE97

As long as he stays healthy, the good Reverend Willy G will at least come home with a Unitas or Davy O’Brien. WVU might have a shot at two Biletnikoff finalists. Don’t be surprised if one of them is TJ Simmons. I think we have a shot a few other finalists as well: Cajuste, Long, et al.

StatsBoyAndi

Will Grier gets the Davey O’Brien award for sure, Sills does not win the Biletnikoff. Josh Sills, through divine providence, wins the Piesman he so richly deserves.


Take a guess at what the College Football Playoffs will look like this season. Will the Big 12 make an appearance in the CFP? Will the SEC once again walk away with a National Championship? Will UCF or another G5 school find themselves in contention?

Michael Miller

Alabama, Clemson, Washington, and *sigh* Ohio State

The Big 12 immediately regrets adding the 13th data point with the returning Big 12 Championship game, as Oklahoma’s loss to West Virginia knocks them out of the fourth playoff spot.

WVUNite

Clemson, Georgia, Oklahoma, Washington. Clemson will take the #1 seed and beat the Sooners in the semis and Georgia on the finals.

Nick Shoemaker

As I previously mentioned, I think the Orange Bowl semifinal matchup will be between Clemson and West Virginia, with Clemson as the first overall seed. I could see Washington, Notre Dame, and Wisconsin being a few of the bubble teams that the Mountaineers slide past to make it into the playoff. I predict WVU will come out on top in the semifinal with a 24-13 win. As for the Cotton Bowl semifinal, I predict it will be between Georgia and Ohio State, with Georgia as the two-seed. I think the Buckeyes will win 40-30. For the National Championship, I predict it will be the most stressful game in the history of Mountaineer sports, which I think is a very safe prediction if WVU is in that position in January. I also predict West Virginia will come out on top in an overtime thriller, 58-55, to complete the most historic season in Mountaineer football history.

BartimusPrime

Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Washington

Robert Hurst

Alabama, Washington, Wisconsin and Georgia. The Tide over the Bulldogs in the National Championship game.

Matt Kirchner

Alabama, Wisconsin, Miami and Washington

Jordan Pinto

Bama, Clemson, Ohio State, and.... West By God. At that point anybody has a shot.

WVUIE97

Georgia, Clemson, Oklahoma and either Wisconsin or Washington are your Final Four. Any of the first three will win. I’m still not sold on the PAC12 or Big 10. IF we run the November gauntlet 4-0 and win the Big 12, it will be a crime worse than the whole Baylor/TCU exclusion from a few years back if we don’t get selected. Neither of those two teams faced what we will have to do this season.

StatsBoyAndi

Bama, SEC SChool #2, Oklahoma, Clemson *yawn*