West Virginia Football: The 10 Most Valuable Mountaineers for 2012

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West Virginia Football: The 10 Most Valuable Mountaineers for 2012
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
West Virginia's success this season will depend largely on the play of QB Geno Smith

West Virginia hasn't started a season ranked in the Top 15 in the polls since 2008. That will change this year, as the Mountaineers are expected to be instant contenders in their new home, the Big 12 conference. 

That's what happens when you win 10 games in the previous season and finish it off with a dominating, record-setting 70-33 victory in a BCS bowl game. 

That offensive assault is still fresh in the minds of many college football fans, who have seemingly forgotten all about West Virginia's horrific performance at Syracuse or their blowout home loss to LSU last year.

The main focus going into the 2012 season surrounds second-year head coach Dana Holgorsen, quarterback Geno Smith and the type of potential passing magic that they could brew up this fall. 

Holgorsen and Smith both appear to be the perfect figures to guide the Mountaineers into the dangerous waters of the Big 12. However, now that old conference foes such as Rutgers, Pittsburgh and Connecticut have been replaced on the schedule by powerhouse programs like Oklahoma, Texas and Oklahoma State, it's difficult to tell just what to expect from the boys from Morgantown this year. 

This is a team that obviously has the talent and the offensive firepower to compete with any other school in the country, but it remains to be seen if Holgorsen can get his players to rise up to the tough challenge that they're about to face in their new league. 

If West Virginia truly wants to compete for a Big 12 title in 2012, here's a look at the 10 key players that will have to carry the team to the promised land. 

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