WVU Football: 10 Off-the-Wall Predicitions for the Mountaineers in 2011
As the 2011 college football season approaches quicker by the second, the fans that reside in Morgantown, WV are starting to make their predictions for the upcoming year of Mountaineer football.
With West Virginia failing to meet expectations on the football field over the years, a person making predictions for an upcoming season would likely be a tad conservative in what the Mountaineer team will do each year so hopes will not get crushed in November or December.
But according to the West Virgina state seal, it reads "Mountaineers are always free" correct?
So with that being true, let's make some true old Gold and Blue predictions for the upcoming 119th season of West Virginia University Mountaineer football.
Follow me on Twitter at Twitter.com/_CBH_.
West Virginia Wins the Big East Championship
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
This prediction isn't so much off the wall as that it will most likely happen this season as WVU is the cream of the crop in the weakened Big East conference in 2011.
With Connecticut and Pittsburgh most likely in rebuilding mode with new coaches, the biggest threat to WVU would be the ever quickly rebuilding Syracuse program under the guidance Doug Marrone.
The Orange came to Morgantown last season, defeating the Mountaineers heavily on the fact of the three costly interceptions by Geno Smith in the game.
Geno Smith Wins the Heisman
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Smith has shown that he is a big time quarterback in the making for WVU after a successful season only being his sophomore year for the Mountaineers.
The comboination of another year under his belt along with Dana Holgorsen taking over the offensive playcalling from former OC Jeff Mullen will help Geno grow into an elite college football quarterback making him one of the best chances for WVU to get their first Heisman trophy winner in school history.
WVU Upsets LSU
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
If the Mountaineers want to catapault into the National Championship picture in 2011, WVU will have to score the biggest victory in the history of Mountaineer Field with an upset of LSU as they make the trip to Morgantown this September.
This game will likely be the traditional powerful offense versus the immovable defense as the two program will only be meeting for the second time in either program's history, the first meeting last season going to LSU in a 20-14 loss in Baton Rouge.
WVU Ranks First in Total Defense
The bright spot of the West Virginia Mountaineers all last season had to be the play of the defense as a whole.
It finished no worse than 26th in the nation among the biggest defensive categories in the NCAA in 2010.
Even with a few components missing from this year's Mountaineer defense, defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel will have the unit ready to perform as they did last season where they terrorized the backfields of opposing teams all season
WVU Has Undefeated Regular Season
For most educated college football fans, the Big East and Atlantic Coast Conferences are in a neck and neck tie for the worst of the six BCS conferences.
Therefore, it doesn't take much reasoning to believe WVU can run the table in the league in 2011.
Dana Holgorsen Leads Number One Offense in Nation
Before making it to the Mountaineers, Dana Holgorsen made stops at Houston, Texas Tech and Oklahoma State all as offensive coordinator at some point at the school where he never had an offensive unit finished lower than eighth in the country in Total Offense.
So with the weapons like Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and others avaliable in Morgantown, Holgorsen should expect to have yet another top ten offense on his hands this year with West Virginia.
Bruce Irvin Leads Nation in Sacks
In his first year in Morgantown, Irvin blew up on the scene leading the Big East conference in sacks in addition to finishing second in the nation in sacks behind former Clemson DE Da'Quan Bowers in 2010.
With Bowers now a Tampa Bay Buccaneer, Irvin has a clear shot of being the most distruptive defensive end in the country that he might play a more central role other than playing more of a pass rush specialist on third downs last season.
Shawne Alston and Ryan Clarke Run for 1500 Total Yards
With the speedy Noel Devine gone from the Mountaineers, the more punishing running game of running backs Alston and Clarke will resemble that of a more Big Ten style of attack inside of the high-octane offense of offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen that will likely light up the score board in 2011.
Tavon Austin Accounts for 1000 Receiving and 500 Yards Rushing
With WVU's all-time leading receptions leader Jock Sanders moving on from the Mountaineers, new playmaker Tavon Austin will likely fill the role left by Sanders with ease.
He was a major force for the offense as a sophomore receiver that will likely be surpassed in the new Holgorsen offense in 2011.
Honorable Mention: Bill Stewart Wins Coach of the Year
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Do you hear that distance roar in the background? That's the sound of Mountaineer fans reading the title of this slide and hitting the floor after passing out from shock.
Even with lukewarm fan support, Bill Stewart has been one of the most successful coaches ever for West Virginia and nothing would be a better send off than for Stewart to be named Coach of the Year for the 2011 season.
Geno Smith Throws for 35+ Touchdowns and Less Than 10 Interceptions
Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Last year as full-time starting quarterback for the Mountaineers, Geno was able to amass almost 3000 yards through the air and on the ground accounting for 24 touchdowns for West Virginia in only his sophomore season impressing many throughout the 2010 season.
Now with the inclusion of OC Dana Holgorsen on the coaching staff, Smith should eclipse those numbers from last season.
Every offense that was under the direction of Holgorsen at previous stops all finished in the top 10 of Total Offense each of the past five years.