The ZHK moves on to the next Big East opponent on the schedule and that is the West Virginia Mountaineers. To recap thus far, the ZHK has predicted a 3-2 record for through the the first month of the season. That’s more than the entire last season win total! Now fresh off a bye week, the Orange roll up against the team that has grabbed the position of beast in the new look Big East football era.
What we know
The defending Big East champs aren’t without controversy as they start the season. Rich Rodriguez left his alma mater to take the Michigan job. The messy divorce from the WV program is going to cost him and UM $4 million. His replacement, Bill Stewart, may have been the perfect person to guide them in their BCS dismantling of Oklahoma, but he could be a long term risk, as evidenced by SI’s Stewart Mandel shredding.
We like to think of WV as some inconquerable beast, but in reality this team lost two games in conference last season. The wins were to Western Michigan, Marshall, maryland, East Carolina, Cuse, Mississippi St, Rutgers, Louisville, Cincinnati. The losses: South Florida and Pitt – a game that cost them a shot at the BCS title.
The offense will be just as potent as last season. Seven starters return, including QB Pat White and a veteran offensive line. Noel Devine replaces Steve Slaton at RB. The big concern is durability at the skill slots as Slaton and White lost time in several games with various nagging injuries. The WR core is inexperienced but talented with Dorrell Jalloh and Wes Lyons stepping in.
On defense, only four starters return but they are key. Linebackers Reed Williams and Mortty Ivy were the teams top tacklers. The secondary will be competely overhauled and the line will be manned by sophomore Scooter Berry and Frosh Chris Neild. I’m not sure they can expect to maintain their standing as a top 10 D (7th overall last season – 8th in scoring/16th rushing/14th passing), but they should be enough given their potent offense.
Dan Mozes’ 2006 Dave Remington award is the only major hardware garnerd by a WV player.
Why we can win
We have a week to prepare for this game and this could be trap game for WV sandwiched between Rutgers and Auburn. Wait a minute, I think I hear something. Oh its my alarm clock waking me from the ’87 SU/WV classic.
Why we can lose
Well we have lost the last 6 games by an average of 34-13. We haven’t won in Morgantown since 2000. To think we can pull of a big upset would be surprising to say the least. I think we can easily expect another 20+ point pounding.
I’m not one for moral victories, but I think this season is going to need a number of these such “wins” to save GRob’s job. And how SU plays against the top dawgs like WV will go along way in determining his fate. SU will have to try and match WV’s speed on offense by controlling the ball and taking advantage of WV’s young line and secondary. Can we do it? Maybe for a quarter or half, but I would expect that SU will have a hard time winning in Morgantown.
Next ZHK: South Florida breakdown