Opponent: West Virginia
Kickoff: November 25th
Location: McLane Stadium (Waco, TX)
Conference: Big 12
Head Coach: Neal Brown (entering 5th season)
Last Year’s Record: 4-7 (3-6 Big 12)
Notable Outcomes: Lost to Pitt, 38-31; Lost to Kansas in overtime, 55-42; beat Baylor 43-40
Key Losses: Sam James, WR; Dante Stills, DL; Casey Legg, K
Key Returners: Zach Frazier, C; Wyatt Milum, LT; Aubrey Burks, S
Strength: Offensive line. West Virginia returns all five of its starters from a year ago, anchored by center Zach Frazier, the top returning lineman in the Big 12. That level of experience will certainly be helpful as the Mountaineers make wholesale changes at quarterback and wide receiver.
Weakness: Wide receiver. I was considering putting quarterback up here too since the Mountaineers are going to be starting an unproven player in either Garrett Greene or Nicco Marchiol. But wide receiver might be even more desperate, as their top target for this season was only the second best receiver at NC State a year ago. Their other projected starters are freshman Rodney Gallagher III and Cortez Braham, the latter of whom only had 14 receptions last season. Needless to say, the passing game is likely going to be rough for WVU.
Way Too Early Prediction: West Virginia was picked to finish dead last in the 2023 Big 12 preseason poll. And I think for good reason. The offense looks like its going to be messy outside of maybe a competent rushing attack. The defense could be even worse, as they were one of the weakest units in the conference last year and don’t look like they’ve done much to improve this year. While it is nearly impossible to pick the last game of Baylor’s season before a snap of football has even been played, I feel pretty confident that the Bears can win this one at home.