I recently wrote a little piece about the Big East improving and how one of the ways that they are and should continue improving is aggressive scheduling of quality non-conference opponents.
What makes the Big East strength of schedule tougher or easier in my opinion is its non-conference opponents.
Each team in the past has had to schedule five non-conference games; however, in 2012 it will drop to four or three depending on if we get a 10th member.
West Virginia University has done a good job in recent years scheduling at least one quality non-conference opponent each season. Auburn in 08-09, LSU in 10-11, Florida State 12-13, Michigan State, 14-15 and BYU in 2016. (Keep in mind the link referenced is from September 2010, before TCU joined the Big East)
Those have been and are going to be some great games to watch and enjoy, but do you ever sit and wonder about WVU playing other teams? Or reigniting some of the older rivalries that aren't played anymore?
With Florida State on the schedule in 2012 and 2013 maybe we will finally be able to beat the team that Bowden built, especially since he won't be leading them anymore.
LSU this coming season will be the most anticipated game for Mountaineer fans; if we can beat the Bayou Bengals, then the sky is the limit.
There is no rich history between WVU and Michigan State or BYU, but those are quality teams that are and will be tough when we face them.
But for now, let's try to list some opponents that West Virginia would love to get their hands on.
We last played them in 2005. The Hokies won 34-17 in Morgantown to claim and keep the Black Diamond Trophy.
The Hokies, who reside just across the state line in Blacksburg, Va., are no where to be seen on future WVU football schedules.
This game when it was played was an exciting and highly anticipated event, especially for southern West Virginians who have to deal with Hokie fans on a daily basis.
The next time these two teams play will show both schools just how important this game was to its fans, then maybe they will continue scheduling each other. Wishful thinking.
Last played in 1992, when Penn State won 40-26. The Nittany Lions also have a 48-9-2 overall advantage in the series against the Mountaineers.
Some of the biggest victories in Mountaineer history are over Penn State, and a future game against the Lions would be a stroll down memory lane for some of the more seasoned West Virginia fans.
It is amazing to say that Joe Paterno, who coached his first WVU-Penn State game back in 1950 as an assistant, is still coaching at Penn State.
With the relatively close proximity that these two schools have to each other (roughly 200 miles), the fact that they are neighboring states to one another and that they are the flagship programs from said states make it pretty entertaining to think that playing each other would generate quite a crowd and a lot of buzz.
The last time these two teams played was in 1998 in Morgantown, Ohio State won 34-17. Out of the six games played, OSU has won five...all but the first in 1897.
Notre Dame and West Virginia have played four times from 1989 to 2001, the Irish have won all four games, including the first, which was for the national championship.
Mountaineer fans would love to have another crack at the Fighting Irish; however, they are not football members of the Big East and are nowhere on the future non-conference slate.
WVU did have three opportunities to play and maybe beat the Irish after the national title game, but it just wasn't meant to be.
This is more of a personal desire for me, Iowa and WVU don't have any history or any potential for any future rivalry or anything.
What makes this intriguing for me is that most of my family is from Iowa and Iowa would be a good tough non-conference opponent to play sometime.
Offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, grew up going to Iowa games in Iowa City. So if he were coaching WVU against Iowa, I think that would be a special game for him.
Kentucky is like Ohio and Virginia, it is just across the state line.
The Wildcats and Mountaineers have a little history; they played each other 20 times from 1905 to 1983, with Kentucky leading the series 11-8-1.
WVU, however, won the last meeting 20-16 in the 1983 Hall of Fame Classic in Birmingham, Ala.
Leave a comment and let us know who you think would be a good future non-conference opponent.