West Virginia Football: 2011 Game-by-Game Preview

DJ Bumgarner@DJBumgarnerContributor IIIJuly 26, 2011

West Virginia Football: 2011 Game-by-Game Preview

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    With football season right around the corner, it's time to take a look at a game-by-game preview of the West Virginia Mountaineer's 2011 CFB Season.

    With all the coaching changes in the past and Geno Smith at quarterback, the Mountaineers could be in line for another Big East title and a BCS bid.

    However, getting to that point is easier said than done, so let's get started by taking a look at each game of the 2011 season.

Week 1: Marshall Thundering Herd @ West Virginia: 9/4/11

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    Marshall head coach Doc Holiday returns to Morgantown for the first time since leaving WVU for Marshall. 

    Like every year Marshall will be looking to upset big brother West Virginia, while they came close to doing so last year in Huntington, don't expect the same story in 2011.

    West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen does not strike me as the type of guy to sit on a lead, so expect West Virginia to score often.

    If Marshall wants to have a chance, they'll need to build an early lead and force turnovers.


    Winner: West Virginia

Week 2: Norfolk State @ West Virginia: 9/10/11

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    Norfolk State will visit Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers, but they won't have much of a shot.

    West Virginia's offense will be too much to handle; expect a blowout.


    Winner: West Virginia

Week 3: West Virginia @ Maryland: 9/17/11

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    Maryland is coming off of a 9-4 season in 2010, and has former Connecticut head coach Randy Edsall on the sidelines. Randy has beaten the Mountaineers before, most recently in 2010 with Connecticut that eventually secured UConn its BCS bid.

    These two teams have played hard in the past, and I can see this game going either way.

    If Geno Smith and the Mountaineers' offense can keep the ball moving, things will be good.


    Winner: Toss-up

Week 4: LSU @ West Virginia: 9/24/11

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    The LSU Tigers travel to Morgantown to take on the Mountaineers in what should be a thrilling game to watch.

    Last year's matchup in Baton Rouge saw West Virginia hold LSU to its lowest yardage all year. The Tigers just managed 230 yards all game, and were held to 20 points by West Virginia's stout defense.

    That game could have gone either way, but ultimately was decided when LSU returned a punt for a TD.

    That however was last year. Both LSU and WVU are expected to do great things in 2011, LSU is in every BCS title conversation and West Virginia would love to spoil that by upsetting the Tigers in Morgantown.

    With three games behind the Mountaineers to work out the kinks in Dana Holgerson's offense and a very hostile Mountaineer crowd, anything is possible.


    Winner: West Virginia

Week 5: Bowling Green @ West Virginia: 10/1/11

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    West Virginia just beat LSU, they need a break and Bowling Green will be the cupcake the Mountaineers need before opening Big East play.


    Winner: West Virginia

Week 6: Connecticut @ West Virginia: 10/8/11

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    UConn will be coming into Morgantown looking to make a repeat of last year's overtime vicotry.

    With both teams having coaching changes in the offseason, they will both be looking for something to prove.

    UConn is coming off a BCS bid last year and will want to continue the success the program has found recently.

    The crowd in Morgantown still stinging over last year's loss will be hostile to say the least.


    Winner: West Virginia

Week 8: West Virginia @ Syracuse

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    Yes, I skipped to Week 8 because West Virginia had Week 7 to rest up.

    The Mountaineers travel to Syracuse to attempt revenge after a 19-14 loss to the Orange last year where West Virginia turned the ball over three times.

    No doubt Dana Holgorsen will point that out to Geno Smith and everybody else before, during and after the game.

    West Virginia should have taken last year's game, but turnovers never help. However Geno Smith and company will come into this game ready to play.


    Winner: West Virginia

Week 9: West Virginia @ Rutgers: 10/29/11

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    West Virginia put the hurting on Rutgers last year with a 34-14 victory, in a Bill Stewart offense...

    Let's see how many points WVU puts up in a Dana Holgorsen offense.


    Winner: West Virginia

Week 10: Louisville @ West Virginia: 11/05/11

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    These two teams have had some classic matchups in the past, like in 2005 when we witnessed the birth of Patrick White.

    Louisville put up a good fight last year in a 17-10 loss to the Mountaineers and will be looking to rebound once again.

    West Virginia out performed Louisville by almost 100 yards total in 2010 and should once again be able to have a good game through the air with Geno Smith at quarterback.


    Winner:  West Virginia

Week 11: West Virginia @ Cincinnati: 11/12/11

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    Zach Collaros and Cincinnati will play host to the Mountaineers in another Big East matchup.

    Zach along with Geno Smith are believed to be the best quarterbacks in the Big East, and we should see a good matchup.

    It will be about pressure by the defense by both teams, and WVU's Bruce Irvin will be looking to increase his sack total once again and could have a great day.

    Don't underestimate Collaros, though. He's a very good passer and could cause some confusion.


    Winner: Toss-up

Week 13: Pittsburgh @ West Virginia: 11/25/11

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    One of the best times of the year, Rivalry Week!

    West Virginia plays host to the Pitt Panthers in another edition of The Backyard Brawl!

    West Virginia dominated Pitt last year at Heinz Field by winning the game 35-10.

    At this point, WVU is looking for a Big East title, and Geno Smith could have his eyes on some pretty nice awards at the end of the year.

    However, looking past Pitt could be a mistake, granted Pitt is coming off its own coaching mishaps, but this is The Backyard Brawl, anything can happen!

    Look for one of two things, either it's a tightly fought game coming down the wire or a blowout by either side.


    Winner: Toss-up

Week 14: West Virginia @ USF: 12/01/11

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    Since joining the Big East conference USF has made a habit of giving WVU a hard time, playing them very hard each meeting.

    This year will be no different. Many believe this game could very well decide who wins the Big East and a BCS bid.

    Expect B.J. Daniels and Geno Smith both to bring their A games to this one. 

    USF will be looking for their first Big East crown while the Mountaineers look to try and repair the reputation of The Big East, and not to mention Dana Holgerson would love a Big East championship and a BCS bid in his first year as head coach.


    Winner: Toss-up