3. West Virginia won’t be this year’s Baylor, but …
It might be close.
How did Baylor come within a late rally in the Big 12 Championship from going to the College Football Playoff?
It’s still a wee bit of a mystery.
The pass rush was amazing, and the team seemed to take advantage of every opportunity, but it wasn’t dominant offensively and the defense as a whole – outside of getting into the backfield – was just okay.
The Bears had the right chemistry, the veteran parts were in place, and it had the coaching. West Virginia has the coaching.
Neal Brown went 4-8 at Troy as a 34-year-old first time head coach, and then the program went on a 31-8 run over the following three seasons.
West Virginia struggled last year, but considering it needed a rebuild, there wasn’t any running game, and the D finished last in the conference, going 5-7 wasn’t quite that bad.
This year isn’t going to be easy with road games at Oklahoma State, Texas and Iowa State, but there’s a week off before playing the Cowboys, and there’s another week off before hosting Oklahoma in Morgantown the weekend of Thanksgiving.
And the Mountaineers host Baylor.
The defensive front should be among the Big 12’s best, the skill parts are better, and the O line – to be nice here – can’t be any worse.
It’s not time to plan on a trip to the Big 12 Championship quite yet, but after a year off, West Virginia should be an out-of-leftfield player in the title chase.