Morgantown, W. Va – It’s Monday after one of those dreaded weeks during the college football season; bye week. Bye weeks can come into the football fan’s life in a varying array of ways; good after a loss to recover, time to assess injuries, ride the high of a late game win or instantly look ahead to the next opponent.
The Mountaineers start this year’s Homecoming week Saturday’s Homecoming opponent is none other than the Texas Longhorns. Reread that sentence then quickly open up a new tab and search for some YouTube highlights from last year’s Longhorns match.
Now that your hands are turned into downward facing horns, get ready for what will certainly be Coach Brown’s biggest challenge of his inaugural season. The Longhorns are coming into Morgantown as the 11th ranked team in the country, with the same 3-1 record as the Mountaineers. For many, the similarities stop there. While both teams have one loss, both to SEC teams, there are few other assimilations between the two.
One key similarity of note? The Longhorns are also coming off of their first bye week of the season.
Going into the start of the week, Vegas had the Longhorns as a ten point favorite for Saturday afternoon’s matchup. That line is likely to lower slightly leading up to kick off, with the Longhorns having several players not playing in Morgantown due to injuries. The Longhorns probably have this matchup already labeled as a “W” given the changes West Virginia has gone through during the off-season.
The Longhorns are also likely looking at this game as an easy win based purely on revenge-seeking from the aforementioned game last November. There’s one other factor in all of this that could very well give the Mountaineers; the Longhorns just might be overlooking their trip with their eyes already set on October 12.
The Longhorns face off against Oklahoma on October 12.
While both teams just had a bye week it is highly likely that Tom Herman and his Longhorns are overlooking the Mountaineers during this rebuilding season. The Longhorns bye week gave the highly ranked team an extra week of preparations for the Mountaineers, but also an extra week of preparations for Oklahoma; whom they are arguably more worried about preparing for. The Red River Rivalry is always a highly contested game, and is likely a preview of the Big 12 Conference title game, meaning the October 12 game has more weight than the October 5 game in Morgantown.
The Longhorns are playing the long game and wanting to maximize the time they have to prepare for Jalen Hurts and his near constant record setting this season. It would be easy for them to overlook the Mountaineers, who right now have nothing to lose and are focused on another Texas upset, and come into Morgantown already looking to the next game. Should that happen, the Longhorns may be in for a treat.