Don't hit the panic button just yet.
Even though West Virginia lost to Colorado, they showed signs of improvement. Most notably, the defense stepped their game up and shut down the Colorado offense from the second quarter all the way into the fourth quarter.
Don't tell me the Colorado offense is young and all that gibberish. Cody Hawkins is a man, and they have a nice one-two punch at running back with Darrell Scott and Rodney Stewart, who reminds me a lot of Darren Sproles—which is not good news for the Big 12. Watch out for Stewart, he’s got some shake in 'im.
Other positives from that game that give WVU fans some type of hope are the special teams play, both in the return game and coverage. Ellis Lankster, who slimmed down to obtain the job as punt returner, showed flashes of game-changing ability, and the coverage teams did a very, very nice job of containing Colorado's return men.
Oh, and last but not least (how could one forget), WVU still has Pat "The Chief" White and Noel Devine: two of the most electrifying, jaw-dropping, causing sudden jolts of excitement in your body, holding your breath every time they touch the ball, players in the country.
Pat White will shake you, and Noel Devine will shake you, bake you, and leave you in the ground. Nobody in the country has a quicker first step than Noel Devine, hands down, and he can carry the load.
However, in order for West Virginia to prevail, they have to make a few changes. I don't want to sit down here and bash any of the coaches because I believe that they are doing their jobs, and I'm not qualified to make any decisions.
But as an observer, West Virginia has to have some type of balance or flow on offense. Yeah, they looked like the WVU of old running the ball all over the place, but they must pass the ball also. They have deep threats, but they haven't had the chance to shine other than the Villanova game.
The defense also has to keep playing like they did in the Colorado game. Clearly there was improvement from the first two games, and from the looks of it, the defense will continue to gel and get better.
With linebackers Reed Williams, J.T. Thomas, and Mortty Ivy healthy, the defense should be able to give the offense some possessions to put points on the board.
That offense should run through Pat White and Noel Devine at all times. Build the play calls around them and get them into clear space. The O-line needs to step up and give Pat White and his receivers some time in order to make things happen, because they are getting destroyed.
With all that being said, WVU should be able to finish the rest of the season unblemished. The next three games should be wins as they play Marshall, Rutgers, and Syracuse, which are all home games. Auburn, Pitt, and USF are the only losses that I can see happening to them.
Not that I'm making some kind of excuse, but it is better to lose early than late because you saw what happened last year. Who knows what could happen? We will see when the time comes.
My Projection: 10-2
Realistic Record: 8-4