Thursday, May 25, 2017

West Virginia finishes season AP #18; looking ahead to 2017

Football season is unfortunately at its end, with Clemson winning it all at the last second Monday night. With the playoff championship over, the final AP rankings came out Tuesday. Your West Virginia Mountaineers finished out the season with a #18 spot in the AP poll.

After going 10-3 for the year, the Mountaineers only losses wound up being to teams that also ended the season inside the AP top 25. Oklahoma took home the number five spot after beating Auburn in the Sugar Bowl. Oklahoma State ends their season at number 11 in the rankings, having beat Colorado State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Finally, the third loss for the Mountaineers came at the handed of the number 20 Miami Hurricanes in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

While the Mountaineers were not successful in securing win number 11 for the season, it can be said without a doubt that this team is trending upward for the 2017 season. While some people feel that it is “too soon” to look forward to next season, some people (read: the person writing this) feels that it is never really “too soon” to look at what the team will be facing come next fall.

As of right now, the Mountaineers will only face three teams next fall that are currently ranked in the AP top 25. As players come and go, players inevitably and unfortunately get injured and coaching changes happen, the current ranking means relatively nothing especially by the time September comes around. Still, it’s always fun to look ahead and see what the Mountaineers will be facing.

West Virginia will play ranked Oklahoma and Oklahoma State in conference play as per usual. The third currently ranked opponent will be number 16 Virginia Tech, whom the Mountaineers will open their season against at neutral site FedEx Field in Landover, MD.

Oklahoma will also play three currently ranked opponents next season. Rounding out the three currently ranked opponents for the Sooners is the Ohio State Buckeyes for the second year in a row. The Sooners lost to the Buckeyes during the 2016 season, and will look to avenge that loss, thus strengthening their out of conference schedule.

Oklahoma State does not play another currently ranked opponent in the fall, but will face Pitt as their toughest out of conference match-up.

Virginia Tech will play both Clemson and Miami in addition to number 18 West Virginia.

When it comes to West Virginia’s schedule for next fall, the Mountaineers will have to travel to several locations that have proven difficult to come out victorious. The Mountaineers will travel to Fort Worth to take on TCU, Waco to take on Baylor, Manhattan, Kansas to face Bill Snyder and Kansas State and finally ending the season’s travel by heading to Stillwater to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. The Mountaineers’s home schedule includes Delaware State, East Carolina, Kansas, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and Texas as their home field opponents.

While the 2017 season is literally months away, looking ahead to the upcoming season is more a fun, light-hearted way to get excited after an outstanding 2016 season. None of this will matter by the time September rolls around, but it never hurts just to see what the team will face.

If the 2017 season is as good as the 2016 was, Mountaineer nation will be able to rest easy at the thought of hearing “Country Roads” a good number of times.

 

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