2016-17 Football Previews – (Big 12) – Mountaineers
Looking for 2016 West Virginia Mountaineers predictions? The strength of the Mountaineers last season was their shutdown defense, but they lose a bunch of senior skill and leadership, so this should skew toward the offensive units in 2016. Though Morgantown, WV, doesn’t really belong geographically in the conference, the Mountaineers certainly aren’t out of place as they put up an eight-win campaign a year ago.
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2016-17 College Football Preview – West Virginia Mountaineers
Head Coach: Dana Holgorsen
2015 Record: 8-5
West Virginia Mountaineers Odds to win 2017 FBS Championship: +20000
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West Virginia Mountaineers Predictions: Team Strengths
West Virginia has an excellent offensive line this year, which should facilitate all kinds of good things for Coach Holgorsen’s attack.
There’s plenty of career starts along the front wall, with seniors Tyler Orlosky, Kyle Bosch and Adam Pankey as well as sophomore Yodny Cajuste, who started as a first year.
The Mountaineers lose last year’s leading rusher Wendell Smallwood, but bowling-ball senior Rushel Shell (5″10, 220 lbs) is plenty capable, chipping in 708 yards and eight TDs in 2015 after transferring from Pittsburgh.
Shell ought to have no shortage of holes to run through. Elsewhere, QB Skyler Howard came into his own by the end of last year, having a prolific bowl game against Arizona State.
He should be successful chucking the pigskin to the dangerous trio of Daikiel Shorts, Shelton Gibson and Jovon Durante. Gibson doubles as a fantastic kick returner.
The Morgantown faithful will see a copious amounts of touchdowns this year.
West Virginia Mountaineers Predictions: Team Weaknesses
Speaking to the earlier statement, there will be plenty of TDs, but the fans might (fairly) wonder whether or not the home side will be scoring the bulk of them.
After having a very good defense a year ago, the Mountaineers lose some key pieces, notably Nick Kwiatkoski, Shaq Pettway and Jared Barber.
There’s lots of senior depth to step in, but players like LB Sean Walters and DT Darrien Howard do not have prior starting experience.
West Virginia also breaks in a couple of new cornerbacks in Nana Kyeremeh and Rasul Douglas. The latter provides intriguing size for the position, going 6″2 and 208 lbs.
If he can be a ball hawk and be reliable in coverage, he will raise eyebrows among scouts for the next level.
WVU also hopes that new sophomore punter Billy Kinney can handle the job; Kinney also has experience kicking if trusty veteran Josh Lambert goes down.
West Virginia Mountaineers Prediction: 6-7
The offense will be good, but it’s a strong defense that separates the contenders from the pretenders in the Big 12. There are simply too many new faces to feel confident about WVU’s defense this season.
Unfortunately for those in coal country, that’s not all.
The Mountaineers face a truly challenging schedule. Most of their winnable games are on the road, the slate contains an early bye week (only Week 3), the usual group of conference heavies plus SEC competitor Missouri and elite mid-major team Brigham Young in the non-conference portion.
Really, the only cupcake is Youngstown State in Week 2.
What does this mean? It is hard to predict exactly how West Virginia will fare in 2016, but it’s pretty safe to say the Mountaineers will not match their incumbent eight-win total.
2016 West Virginia Mountaineers Football Schedule
- 09/03/2016 vs. Missouri Noon
- 09/10/2016 vs. Youngstown St. 2:00 pm
- 09/17/2016 BYE
- 09/24/2016 vs. BYU (in Landover, MD) TBA
- 10/01/2016 vs. Kansas St. TBA
- 10/15/2016 at Texas Tech TBA
- 10/22/2016 vs. TCU TBA
- 10/29/2016 at Oklahoma St. TBA
- 11/05/2016 vs. Kansas TBA
- 11/12/2016 at Texas TBA
- 11/19/2016 vs. Oklahoma TBA
- 11/26/2016 at Iowa St. TBA
- 12/03/2016 vs. Baylor TBA
What do you think about our 2016 West Virginia Mountaineers predictions? Please leave us a comment below telling us how you think they’ll do in 2016!
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