Reaching a ranking as high as No. 4 in the nation, the West Virginia Mountaineers felt pretty good about their chances of winning the Big 12 conference in their inaugural year.
After an exciting 48-45 win over the then No. 9 ranked Texas Longhorns, the Mountaineers traveled to Lubbock, Texas to take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders. After a miserable performance, the Mountaineers left Lubbock with a 49-14 loss and the rest of the season just wasn’t the same. West Virginia went on to lose five of their next seven games and finished their year at 7-6.
This year, the expectations won’t be quite as high, but you’ve got to think head coach Dana Holgorsen needs to show that he can keep up with other Big 12 football programs and produce a good season in 2013.
It’s unlikely that the Mountaineers will have a realistic shot at a Big 12 title, but they will have a good shot at winning more than seven games this year.
There are really only two games on the Mountaineers schedule that I could chalk up as a loss: at the Oklahoma Sooners and at the Texas Christian Horned Frogs. With that said, I can only see two basically guaranteed wins too. Those are home games against William & Mary and Georgia State.
The rest of the contests could go either way, and this will be where the Mountaineers could either surprise people with an eight-plus win season, or fall flat with less than five wins.
My key game for West Virginia in 2013 is their final game at home against the Iowa State Cyclones. This could be a crucial game for both teams in terms of bowl eligibility. My guess is that the Mountaineers will be 6-5 heading into this game and could earn its seventh win of the season against the Cyclones. This game could give the Mountaineers a shot at eight wins including their bowl game and a positive vibe heading into the offseason.