After beating Oklahoma handily in the Fiesta Bowl, West Virginia coach Bill Stewart had the interim tag removed. There is, however a lingering feeling among many onlookers that the team may look the same but the results will be different.
The team loses superstar running back Steve Slaton, but returning Noel Devine could be just as good. The offense will continue to roll, with the leadership of Heisman candidate Pat White.
The Mountaineer defense needs to be more consistent, but if they play to their potential this could be a very dangerous team.
Here are my predictions for the 2008 West Virginia Mountaineers:
This might be interesting if they were playing basketball.
Prediction: Win (56-14)
9/06 at EAST CAROLINA
A road warm up before traveling to Big XII country.
Prediction: Win (48-20)
9/18 at COLORADO
Dan Hawkins team improved by leaps and bounds from year one to year two. One can only expect the Buffs will be even better in year three under Hawkins. The rowdy crowd at Folsom Field will give the Buffs a lift.
Prediction: Loss (34-31)
This rivalry game has been a lopsided affair for years.
Prediction: Win (45-21)
Rutgers has trouble stopping Noel Devine.
Prediction: Win (34-24)
Pat White has a Heisman highlight reel game against the Orange defense.
Prediction: Win (48-10)
The Tigers will have a new quarterback to break in and the wide receivers will need to play a bigger role this season. The defense will be the difference in this game.
Prediction: Loss (28-24)
11/01 at CONNECTICUT
UConn is a tough test but, the Mountaineers won't lose two in a row.
Prediction: Win (38-24)
The Bearcats will give it their all, but the Mountaineers are on a mission.
Prediction: Win (37-24)
11/22 at LOUISVILLE
Papa John's Stadium will be rockin'. So will Pat White.
Prediction: Win (45-24)
11/28 at PITT
If you think for one second Bill Stewart won't remind his team of what could have been last season before the Panthers came in to Morgantown, you're crazy. This game has revenge written all over it. The Panthers won't pull the upset again.
Prediction: Win (34-28)
12/06 SOUTH FLORIDA
Matt Grothe vs. Pat White. Noel Devine will be the difference though.
Prediction: Win (34-27)
Final Record: 10-2. A great first season for new Head Coach Bill Stewart. The Mountaineers will once again find themselves in the BCS and Coach Stewart will prove to the naysayers that he can coach.
The Mountaineers are the cream of the crop right now in the Big East, but they better not get too comfortable. The conference as a whole is getting more competitive each season.