West Virginia Mountaineers 2021 College Football Preview
Created July 21, 2021
Record – 6-4
ATS – 5-5
The Mountaineers started out in fine form winning three of their first four games and then alternated losses and wins the rest of the way to finish with a mark of 6-4. They didn’t exactly take down a MURDERERS ROW of Big 12 opponents but WINS are WINS, and note they took care of a nasty Army team in the Liberty Bowl (W 24-21).
West Virginia Mountaineers 2021 Outlook
The Mountaineers made good strides on offense going from 322 YPG to 413 YPG (#6 total offense Big 12) but still have to improve in order to become a legit Big 12 CONTENDAAA. QB Jarret Doege has the mobility of a GLACIER but had a decent statistical campaign LY (64%, 14-4 TD to INT). Almost everyone is back at WR and they’re a young group with some upside. WR Winston Wright led the team in receptions (47) and receiving yards (553) by a good margin in 2020. The offense is built around their excellent RB Leddie Brown who booked a 1,000-yard season on the ground whilst grabbing 31 passes for another 202 yards. They have untested depth at RB after the transfer of #2 RB Alec Sinkfield. The OL was pretty average LY (#8 Big 12 YPC, #4 sk/game) and lose a pair of starters. Guard Doug Nester was a good pickup from the Hokies. This looks like a good but not great offense on paper and they’ll need a WR or two to bust out if they wanna make significant progress.
The Mountaineers were MIGHTY STINGY on defense LY allowing a measly 291 YPG (#4 FBS) and they were good vs the run (#28 FBS) and the pass (#1 FBS passing YPG, #24 pass eff D). Eight starters are back on D but they lose #1 tackler LB Tony Fields (NFL) and LB/S Tykee Smith who transferred to Georgia. They’ll also miss Darius Stills up front. That’s a lot of production to replace. The good news is that Dante Stills is back up front (10.5 TFL LY, #1), LB Josh Chandler-Semedo is a solid LB (#3 tackles) and the talented secondary features one of the best safety tandems in the Big 12. This still looks like a top notch Big 12 defense but we’d like to see them achieve more PENETRATION (#8 Big 12 TFL LY, #6 sk/game).
There will be a battle for the FG kicker gig as the Mountaineers were 11-18 on FGA LY. Things were fairly MEH at P and in the return game in 2020. It’s hard to project much improvement.
Overall – There are a couple of tricky non-conference games to deal with (at Maryland, Virginia Tech) and they face the powerful Sooners on the road to open Big 12 action. The conference docket is front-end loaded and their last three games are a bit lighter (at Kansas St, Texas Tech, at Kansas).
Potential ATS Trouble Spot – at TCU (October 23rd)
They’ll have a bye week to get ready but this will be their 3rd road game in four Big 12 contests. TCU looks nasty on paper.
Season Win Total
per 5Dimes July 21
Over 6.5 -110
Under 6.5 -110
They’re gonna play in a lot of close games and 89 of our 101 sets of power ratings think it’ll be tough to bag seven or more wins.
HC Neal Brown has a 4-0 career record in bowl games and a 24-10 mark at home.
The West Virginia football program played its first game on November 28, 1891 when they lost to something called Washington & Jefferson by a score of 72-0. The game was played on a converted cow pasture. Only masked and vaccinated fans were allowed entry**.
** needs fact check
The Mountaineers are one of several teams inhabiting the COMPETITIVE MIDSECTION of the Big 12. The offense will need to take a big step forward while the defense has to overcome the loss of some key talent. Feels like a .500 record or so and a bowl appearance to us.
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