West Virginia FB: How the Mountaineers Can Finish No. 2

Frank AhrensSenior Writer IOctober 2, 2007


This annual South Florida loss is like a splash of cold water in the face—bracing!

WVU fans should get used to it: South Florida is WVU’s new Penn State. Just schedule the loss at the beginning of the season and plan around it.

It’s like that bridge they’re always fixing on the way to work: You build in an extra 10 minutes to get to the office.

Which isn’t so bad, at least this year. I can’t see anyone finishing undefeated.

I took a look at the schedules of the teams in front of WVU in the USA Today Coaches Poll—there’s reason for optimism.

Check it out:

1. Southern Cal (4-0)

Tough road—all three big games are on the road. Travels to Oregon, Cal, and Arizona State, and must still play UCLA, which spoiled the Trojans’ season last year.



Final regular season record: 11-1 or 10-2

2. LSU (5-0)

Hosts Florida and Auburn, travels to Kentucky and Alabama, has SEC title game. Got to have at least one loss, maybe two.

Final regular season record: 11-1 or 10-2

3. Cal (5-0)

Tough road ahead—hosts USC, travels to Arizona State—but has already passed one of three tests in beating Oregon.

Final regular season record: 11-1 or 10-2

4. Ohio State (5-0)

Some tough nuts, these Buckeyes.

Must travel to Purdue and host Wisconsin, whom they will beat. I have a hard time, frankly, seeing them losing a game. But I’ll give them a loss just because it’s hard to go undefeated in the Big 10 any year.

Final regular season record: 11-1

5. Wisconsin (5-0)

Yes, I’ve poor-mouthed the Badgers all season, but as my friend Mike says, “They just keep winning.”

That ends over the next stretch—will take a loss at Ohio State, and still has Michigan, Penn State, and (YES! ) Illinois left.

Final regular season record: 10-2

6. Boston College (5-0)

Has tests at Virginia Tech, at Maryland, at Clemson, and hosts Florida State and Miami. I smell at least two losses.

Final regular season record: 10-2 or 9-3

7. Florida (4-1)

At LSU this Saturday, then at Kentucky, at Georgia, at South Carolina, and finally hosts Florida State before likely SEC title game.

If the Gators go undefeated the rest of they way, just hand ‘em that crystal football. But I don’t see it.

Final regular season record: 10-2 or 9-3

8. Kentucky (5-0)

God love them Wildcats, but this team isn't making it through the next seven games—which include South Carolina, LSU, Florida, Mississippi, and Georgia—without two losses.

Final regular season record: 9-3 at best

9. South Florida (4-0)

Easiest road of teams ahead of WVU, but must travel to Rutgers and has Cincinnati at home.

And don’t count out Louisville.

South Florida is a team that can be outscored, and if anyone can outscore a team, it’s the Cardinals. Game is at Louisville.

Final regular season record: 11-1 or 10-2

10. Oklahoma (4-1)

Has Red River Shootout vs. Texas in Dallas, feisty Missouri at home, and Big 12 title game.

Final regular season record: 10-2

11. Georgia (4-1)

Has Florida, Kentucky, and Auburn left at home, and, if they win their division, the SEC title game. I see at least one more loss here.

Final regular season record: 10-2 or 9-3

12. WVU

I don’t have the Mountaineers losing another game in the regular season. Maybe I’m full-tilt crazy—but I just don’t see it.

Toughest game left is Rutgers at Rutgers, and we saw that they’re beatable there. Cincinnati could be tough, but WVU has owned them just like South Florida has owned WVU.

Final regular season record: 11-1

This means WVU climbs over Georgia, Oklahoma, Florida, Boston College, possibly South Florida (but only if Bulls get two losses), Wisconsin, and Cal, ending the regular season somewhere between Nos. 5 and 7.

A bowl victory win—possibly in the BCS as winner of Big East or an at-large—puts WVU as high as Nos. 2 to 4.

I’ll take it.