As the calendar gets into the later part of October, doom and gloom seem to absorb everything around us. It is just part of the season as Halloween is the spooky season. Currently, there is a new slasher film, “Halloween Kills” out in theaters, there is a promise of a new Scream movie and multiple channels are playing every scary favorite on repeat. Fun fact - I like Halloween, I do not love it. I especially do not love it for the West Virginia Mountaineers and currently the mood of the fans matches the mood of the season - doom and gloom.
More than not liking the mood of the team, I want to take a look and see, can we rectify this season? Can we end the season better than we began it, because quite frankly, six more weeks of this awful, no good, very bad team is going to drive me, and a lot of you, insane. So, can I convince you it might be ok?
Gary Patterson’s squad used to be known for its defense. USED TO. Currently the Horned Frogs are giving up 32 points per game. They are also allowing over 200 yards per game on the ground. TCU has played both Texas and Oklahoma and currently, the frogs are beat up. They aren’t completely healthy and the defense has allowed the opposing team to score in 17 straight quarters. The last time the TCU defense did held an opponent scoreless for 15 minutes was the third quarter of the Cal game. SMU, Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma all scored every quarter they played against TCU. Coincidentally, the only game TCU won in that stretch is the Texas Tech game.
This one is a bit different and realistically we’re hoping for some magic here. Iowa State is good, but they are still a college football team and what do college football teams often fall prey to? Trap games. This week Iowa State plays #8 Oklahoma State in Ames. After West Virginia, Iowa State plays Texas, at home. In between, they travel to Morgantown for a weird kickoff - 2 PM?! - in between much bigger games for them. Perhaps being at home, especially if WVU finds a spark against TCU turns into a trap game for Iowa State and they get caught looking ahead. It wouldn’t be the first time a team overlooked an overmatched opponent.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Team A - 26.5 PPG offense, 19.5 PPG Defense.
Team B - 28.3 PPG offense, 22.5 PPG Defense.
Team A is 6-0 and top 10. Team B is 2-4 and talking about new coaches. On paper they aren’t much different. Both teams average about 380 yards per game on offense. Defensively they allow about 100 yards on the ground. ESPN’s FPI currently has OSU at a 56% chance of a win and that seems really strange that a team that is 6-0 and ranked in the top ten would be nearly that even with a team doesn’t have knees, let alone feet from shooting themselves so much. This will also be OSU’s fourth straight game after their bye week, and the third time they’ll have been on the road in those four weeks. Bodies get weary after a while.
If WVU and Oklahoma State are nearly identical, so are the Wildcats and the Mountaineers. And there are two teams in the Big 12 that Neal Brown has a perfect record against - the Sunflower State teams. Neal Brown is 2-0 against both Kansas and Kansas State. Both teams average about 28 points a game and give up about 20ish points a game. Neither team runs well. Skylar Thompson is not a great passer, having only thrown for 766 yards to this point. And he isn’t a threat to run with a grand total of 13 yards rushing. ESPN has this game well in favor of the Wildcats but two evenly matched teams, there isn’t any reason the Mountaineers can’t stay undefeated against the Wildcats.
Its near the end of the season. The Longhorns could be out of the conference picture and despite a good run, looking at a mediocre bowl game if they finish 4th or 5th in conference. Might the Longhorns be unmotivated in this game? Might West Virginia, if they pick up a win against TCU and Kansas State, be looking at their schedule thinking, a win here gets us to bowl eligibility the next week? Its possible. I’m certainly reaching for points because on paper, this doesn’t look like a great chance but imagine a West Virginia team, sitting at 4-6, having beaten TCU and Kansas State, having tough but close losses to ISU and OSU, thinking to themselves, 2-0 and we go bowling. That should be a motivated team.
I don’t want to count my chickens before the eggs hatch but its Kansas. If this isn’t a win, we are having a much different conversation November 28. We are picking pennies out of the couch. Kansas scores 16 points per game and allows 43. This better be a win.
Shameless plug time, I recently went on the Got Your Eers On podcast and the discussion on that podcast helped develop this article. I got to thinking, what might it take and could it be possible. Take a listen to the podcast.