West Virginia will begin the season ranked 11th in the Associated Press Poll, which was released this morning. Previously, WVU was also ranked 11th in the coaches’ preseason poll.
It marks the 16th time in school history the Mountaineers are starting the season ranked in the AP poll and the seventh since 2004. Last year, West Virginia began the year at No. 24 and finished the season at No. 17 after walloping Clemson 70-33 in the Orange Bowl.
The Mountaineers have nine offensive starters returning from that team, including quarterback Geno Smith
, top playmaking wide receivers Tavon Austin
and Stedman Bailey
, and three-year starting center Joe Madsen
The defense also returns seven starters from last year’s unit, but must contend with a new defensive system being installed by first year co-defensive coordinator Joe DeForest.
West Virginia was one of six Big 12 teams in this year’s preseason poll. Oklahoma was No. 4, Texas No. 15, Oklahoma State No. 19, TCU No. 20 and Kansas State No. 22, giving the Big 12 the most teams in the preseason Top 25 along with the SEC.
The Big Ten had five teams in the preseason poll while the ACC and the Pac 12 had three teams ranked.
West Virginia opens the 2012 campaign on Saturday, Sept. 1 at Milan Puskar Stadium against Marshall in a game that will kickoff at noon.
The Mountaineers’ toughest stretch begins in early October with games at 15th-ranked Texas on Oct. 6, against 22nd-ranked K-State on Oct. 20, 20th-ranked TCU on Nov. 3, at 19th-ranked Oklahoma State on Nov. 10 and then against fourth-ranked Oklahoma on Nov. 17. During that time, WVU could potentially face five ranked teams in a span of just 43 days.More Poll Notes
- This year marks the 16th time in school history that West Virginia is ranked in the AP preseason poll. The prior years: 2011 (24); 2010 (25); 2008 (8); 2007 (3); 2006 (5); 2004 (10); 1998 (11); 1995 (23); 1994 (24); 1990 (25); 1989 (17); 1988 (16); 1970 (20); 1955 (19) and 1953 (16).
- Of those 16 times the Mountaineers began the season ranked in the AP poll, eight times they went on to remain in the rankings at the season’s conclusion: 2011, 2008, 2007, 2006, 1989, 1988, 1955 and 1953. Additionally, only three times, in 2011, 1988 and 1953, were the Mountaineers able to improve their ranking from the preseason to the final poll. In 2011 WVU went from No. 24 to No. 17, in 1988 it went from No. 16 to No. 5 and in 1953 it gained six spots from No. 16 to No. 10.
- The Mountaineers now rank 27th in all-time preseason AP poll appearances along with Colorado, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia Tech and Stanford. Ohio State is No. 1 with 59 preseason appearances, followed by Oklahoma (54), USC (52), Notre Dame (50) and Texas (49) to round out the top five. Eight schools in the all-time top 20 in AP preseason appearances were not ranked in this year’s poll – Notre Dame, Penn State, Tennessee, UCLA, Auburn, Miami (Fla.), Washington and Texas A&M.
Information provided by collegepollarchive.com.