Last week, ESPN’s College Football Live crew had its Top 20 roundtable discussion on West Virginia, predicted to finish 11th by the network. Here is some of what the College Football Live guys had to say about the Mountaineers …Kirk Herbstreit:
“West Virginia in their first year in the Big 12 brings a ton of offensive firepower. I mean Geno Smith
has an arsenal at his disposal, led by Tavon Austin
, who could be one of the more electrifying players in the country. So they’re coming in at a pretty good time with Dana Holgorsen in his second year. You’ve got to expect this team to score a lot of points against almost anybody they play in that conference.”
“They averaged 38 points per game last year … they are going to be scoring more than that this year.”Todd Blackledge:
the last two years (has thrown) 55 touchdowns and 14 interception; you know they can throw the football and they are creative. Holgorsen has coached in the Big 12. He is familiar with how they play. The new defensive coordinator that they brought in, Joe DeForest, was at Oklahoma State and he is familiar with the Big 12. They are going to slip right into that conference. I’m not going to say they are going to win it, but they are going to know how to play in that league right away.
“When I was at Penn State we played West Virginia every year and it’s not an easy place to play. That fan base will be fired up playing in a new conference. That’s a tough crowd. That’s a tough place to get to and a tough place to play. They will have a good home crowd that will welcome some of those Big 12 teams that go there this year.”Robert Smith:
“Let’s not forget, though, that West Virginia is coming from the Big East and it’s not like the Big East is filled with absolute talent. They’ve been terrible and I think when you start looking at this West Virginia team that’s the concern for me – the week in and week out competition, particularly defensively. Yeah, they are going to score some points - and they are going to have to score some points. You lose Bruce Irvin off of that defense. You lose Julian Miller off of that defense you lose some serious power on that defensive line. If you can’t get after passers in the Big 12 you better be strong in the back end and I think they’re going to have some struggles there.”David Pollack:
“The think I like most about Geno Smith
is he didn’t have a great offensive line. You watch him play a team like LSU and you see him put up all those numbers and throw the ball all over the field, he’s got a great feel and a rhythm in the pocket. Heading into this season does he have to develop new continuity with the receivers? No. Stedman Bailey
, (Ivan) McCartney, you’ve got Tavon Austin
, who put up almost 200 against LSU. This system is in its second year now (Holgorsen is already familiar with the Big 12). I expect a high-powered offense from WVU this year.”Mark Schlabach:
“I would be surprised if West Virginia goes into the Big 12 and is right there at the end. This offense can only be better in year two … When (Dana Holgorsen) was at Texas Tech as offensive coordinator under Mike Leach, they were No. 2 in the country in total offense and No. 1 in passing. When he was at Oklahoma State under Mike Gundy he was No. 3 in total offense and No. 2 in passing so those defenses never figured out how to stop his system.
Here is the entire six-minute segment on the Mountaineers: