After a long summer of hype and anticipation, football season is finally here. But the football team is not the only team at West Virginia that will have big games in the month of September. The Mountaineer soccer teams and the WVU volleyball team all have some interesting matchups on their schedules in the weeks to come.
Honorable Mentions: Volleyball vs #1 Stanford (September 1) and Women’s Soccer at #21 Texas Tech (September 21)
The West Virginia women’s volleyball team is not currently ranked, but that doesn’t mean the Mountaineers won’t face ranked opponents this season. Just in September, WVU is set to face the top two teams in the nation and a conference opponent that is receiving votes. For this honorable mention matchup, the Mountaineers will face #1 Stanford in Provo, Utah in the BYU Nike Invitational. WVU dropped their first game at the invitational last night to BYU, but the Mountaineers still have a chance to come away with a winning record for the weekend and a notable win against the nation’s top team.
The next honorable mention is the women’s soccer matchup against #21 Texas Tech. After a slow start to the season, the Mountaineers got their first win against Xavier last night in a 3-0 home victory. Now that WVU is on a winning streak, it can start to move its way back into the top 25. This game against Texas Tech will not only make a difference in WVU’s national ranking, but also in the conference standings. Knocking off one of the Big 12’s top teams early in the season could help build momentum as the season continues.
5. Football vs Tennessee (September 1)
The fifth biggest game of the month might be the most anticipated. Mountaineer fans have been waiting for football to begin for months, and a summer full of hype has created more intensity. While Tennessee does not appear to be one of the stronger teams in the SEC, it is still a Power Five opponent and a solid win could contribute to WVU’s resume this season. There will also be a national audience for the game, with CBS broadcasting, and the neutral site location at an NFL stadium will provide a fun atmosphere for the season’s opening game. The game kicks off at 3:30 tomorrow and The Smoking Musket will continue to provide updates as the weekend unfolds.
4. Men’s Soccer at UCF (September 7)
The WVU men’s soccer team could be in store for a special season. The Mountaineers are led by senior midfielder Joey Piatczyz, who could go down as one of the best men’s soccer players in WVU history. Piatczyc is currently tied for second in program history with 25 career assists. This matchup for the Mountaineers is against a UCF squad that is currently receiving votes in the national rankings. WVU is also receiving votes, so a win in this game could push the Mountaineers into the top 25.
3. Women’s Soccer vs #11 Georgetown (September 2)
This match for the WVU women’s soccer team is this weekend against one of the nation’s top teams, #11 Georgetown. The Mountaineers have faced two ranked opponents so far this season, resulting in one loss and one tie. Senior Grace Cutler has led the way so far this season with one goal and one assist. Like the Mountaineers, Georgetown has seen ties in their early season matches, but it has also seen more wins. With both teams coming in with winning streaks, and both aiming to make NCAA Tournament runs later this season, this match could be a great game and is a much watch for Mountaineer fans in the Morgantown area.
2. Football at NC State (September 15)
If the Wolf Pack wins their first two games, and they likely will, this could be WVU’s first matchup against a ranked opponent this season. NC State is currently receiving votes in the national poll, and their first two games are at home against an FCS opponent and a Non-Power Five opponent. While it would be beneficial for NC State to win these games and hop into the top 25, it would also mean they would be on a winning streak at home. Since that seems likely, this matchup for WVU will be one of the top games of September. This will be a tough road test for the Mountaineers in an underrated ACC venue, but the regional proximity means that this is the first true road game with reasonable travel for Mountaineer fans since the 2014 Maryland game. This game is also another chance for WVU quarterback Will Grier to shine in his home state with a national audience watching, which could lead to a fun game for the Mountaineers.
1. Football vs Kansas State (September 22)
Considering the Mountaineers have a legitimate chance to make it to the Big 12 Championship Game this season, the first conference matchup will be crucial to starting conference play off on the right foot. The Wildcats are currently receiving votes in the national polls and they face one Power Five opponent in their first three games, prior to this one with the Mountaineers. If Kansas State comes into Morgantown with a 3-0 record, then it will also likely be ranked. The game is also very likely to be nationally televised, so the country can see Mountaineers fans stripe the stadium with gold and blue. Because of the conference standings implications and the chance of this game being a matchup between two top 25 teams, this game tops the list of the Top Five Games for Mountaineer Athletics in September.
All of these games will hold considerable weight for each of these Mountaineer teams as they continue through their seasons. Getting big wins early in the season could help these WVU squads push towards conference title runs, as well as runs in their respective postseasons.