Thursday, December 8, 2016

Big 12 Title Hopes, Oklahoma, National Audience, Holgorsen; Morgantown Has It All This Weekend

Ok so the current win streak sits at only one game but the Mountaineers have never lost at home as an Associated Press Top 10 team facing a fellow AP Top 10.

The last time the Mountaineers hosted an AP Top 10 matchup was in 1993 when, a then, No. 10 WVU beat the No. 4 ranked Miami Hurricanes 17-14. The only other time the Mountaineers have hosted an AP Top 10 matchup was in 1989 when they tied No. 10 Pitt 31-31 in the Backyard Brawl.

This game is much bigger than extending a win streak though. For starters,Oklahoma is the only remaining team West Virginia has yet to defeat as a member of the Big 12 conference. It would also give the Mountaineers their ninth win of the season, a feat they have not achieved as a member of the Big 12.

This Saturday the Mountaineers will play host to the No. 8 ranked Sooners in what many are calling a de facto Big 12 Championship game. Oklahoma enters this weekend 8-2 and ranked first in the Big 12 standings. If the Mountaineers , currently underdogs by 4.5 points, can pull off the upset they would still need help to win the Big 12 outright. Ironically that help would need to come from Oklahoma.

If the Mountaineers can win this weekend they will be favored in their final two regular season games against Iowa State and Baylor, who will be without starting quarterback Seth Russell. Oklahoma will play host to Oklahoma State in the Bedlam Bowl. Mountaineers win out, Oklahoma beats Oklahoma State, WVU is Big 12 champion, easy as that, well easier said than done but you get what I’m saying.

Yes the probability of nine regular season wins this year are very high, only an epic breakdown would hinder that from becoming a reality. But surpassing that eight win mark plays huge for Dana Holgorsen.

The cries are getting louder by the week for WVU AD Shane Lyons to extend Holgorsen’s contract. And while there is no evidence to suggest that Holgorsen would leave after leading the Mountaineers to their best record since 2012 there is a growing fear that his success will catch the eye of other schools looking to replace their departing, or already departed, head coach.

Lastly, the Mountaineers are projected to also break into the college football playoff top 10 on Tuesday. And while WVU’s chances of gaining a playoff birth are slim, a win over a CFP top 10 would go a long way with the committee.

There is so much on the line this weekend in Morgantown, Big 12 title, first victory over Oklahoma as a Big 12 member, nine win regular season, and Holgorsen’s contract. What more could you ask for out of a nationally televised night game in Morgantown? And finally; maybe, just maybe, the Mountaineers can regain that title of “best college football team in the state of West Virginia.”

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