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2013 West Virginia
Odds and Schedule
West Virginia has a lot of offense to replace as Geno Smith and his top two wide receivers are gone. Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin caught 37 of Smith's 42 TD passes last year on one of the best offenses in the country. Even with that fire power, the Mountaineers only managed a 7-6 record, mainly because of a poor defense. The funny thing is that their defense will probably be their strength this year after allowing more than 38 points per game in 2012.
Even though head coach Dana Holgorsen still plans on implementing his pass-heavy offense, it's going to be very difficult with a new staff. The problem is most notable at the quarterback position where no one has won the job yet. It's now a race of three different QBs as former Florida State QB Clint Trickett is now a Mountaineer. Paul Millard and Ford Childress are also competing for the job. They'll at least have depth in the backfield as Andrew Buie returns along with the bigger Cody Clay. Of course, the line only returns two starters so work is needed in that area of the game, as well. With a slew of new offensive assistants helping out, it's set to be an interesting season for this offense.
That's why many people believe the WVU defense will be a strong asset to this team. With seven returning starters, there is at least some hope with experience. The good news is that they'll be using a new defensive scheme implemented late last season by Keith Patterson. There's no possible way they give up more points than last year, right? Safeties Darwin Cook and Karl Joseph look to be the playmakers at the safety position as they'll be given more freedom in the new defense.
2013 West Virginia Football Schedule
Aug. 31 vs. William & Mary
Sept. 7 at Oklahoma
Sept. 14 vs. Georgia State
Sept. 21 at Maryland
Sept. 28 vs. Oklahoma State
Oct. 5 at Baylor
Oct. 19 vs. Texas Tech
Oct. 26 at Kansas State
Nov. 2 at TCU
Nov. 9 vs. Texas
Nov. 16 at Kansas
Nov. 29 vs. Iowa State
It's not going to help that West Virginia has to go to Oklahoma in their second game of the season, especially with a new offense and defense. After a couple freebies in non-conference play, they have to travel to Maryland which won't be easy, and then they'll be immersed in Big 12 play.
Over the next six games, their easiest matchup will be a home game against Texas Tech who actually beat the Mountaineers by 35 points last season. They'll also have a new QB, but are in a much better situation offensively. If West Virginia can grab more than one win out of those six games, it's going to be a big help. Their other home games are against OK State and Texas which will both be very difficult.
To close out the season, a road game at Kansas and home game against Iowa State are both winnable, but not all that easy. Kansas wasn't all that bad at home last year and should be improved in Charlie Weis' second season. The Iowa State game will be an interesting closer as the teams will be fighting not to be the worst team in the conference besides Kansas.
With an entirely new passing game and an unproven defensive squad, this is shaping up to be a very tough season for the Mountaineers. Getting to five wins may be too difficult of a task to achieve for this bunch if their new QB doesn't shine.
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