Over the course of the past season, the Mountaineers had some issues with their kicking game. Junior Tyle Bitancurt finished the season with just a 72.7 percent success rate, ranking him 45th at his position for the year.
Five of Bitancurt's six misses came at crucial times: one produced a conference loss and two other times nearly cost West Virginia a win. Perhaps it was their lack of confidence in the kicking game that allowed WVU to put up a stunning 70 points on Clemson in the Orange Bowl, effectively leaving the game out of the kicker's hands.
While West Virginia had, no doubt, a top-notch year with a BCS Bowl victory, one could question that if coach Dana Holgorsen had elected to go for it on every fourth down he was in kicking range, would the Mountaineers have won the Big East outright or fallen short and not even attended Miami in January?
Considering West Virginia's solid 50 percent fourth down conversion rate, going 9/18 on the year, I decided to test my theory. Using EA Sport's NCAA Football 2012 on my Xbox 360 for a simulator, I played out, on All-American difficulty, each of West Virginia's games on Dynasty Mode, electing to never kick a field goal for the duration of the season.
What lies in the next 13 slides are the results of my experiment. The Mountaineers certainly had another successful season, but did they end up where they did last year with a BCS Bowl win or fall short into some secondary offseason road? Did WVU have a shot at the national title this time around? Check out the results to find out.