West Virginia Mountaineers 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
West Virginia Mountaineers 2015 Preview
Odds To Win National Championship: 300/1 See the Latest Odds
The West Virginia Mountaineers were 8-5 last season and won the 2016 Motel 6 Cactus Bowl against Arizona State by a score of 43-42.
Overview: Dana Holgorsen and the West Virginia Mountaineers will look to compete for a Big 12 Title this season behind one of the better offenses in the conference. West Virginia is on the road against Texas Tech and Texas while hosting Baylor, Oklahoma, and TCU. West Virginia will have to take advantage of the home scheduling this season in order to compete in the Big 12.
USA TODAY Sports
Offense: Joe Wickline will lead the West Virginia offense after they averaged 34 points per game with 228.2 rushing yards and 251.5 passing yards per game last season. West Virginia is returning their quarterback, Skyler Howard, who threw for 3,145 yards and 26 touchdowns last season. Rushel Shell will most likely be the lead back after running for 708 yards and 8 touchdowns for the Mountaineers last season. Shelton Gibson and Daikiel Shorts will lead the West Virginia receivers after being the leading receivers last season. Gibson had 887 yards and 9 touchdowns, while Shorts had 528 yards and 5 touchdowns. The West Virginia offense should be very strong, but can their defense get enough stops?
Defense: Tony Gibson leads the West Virginia defense that gave up 24.6 points per game with 158.8 rushing yards and 237.7 passing yards per game last season. Gibson has his work cut out for him, as he will need to replace all 3 linebackers from last season. West Virginia also lost 3 defensive backs, which does not bode well for their pass defense. The defensive line returns 2 starters, including Noble Nwachukwu, who had 8.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss last season. Dravon Askew-Henry is the leading tackler that is returning for West Virginia with 59 tackles last season. There are plenty of holes to fill in the West Virginia defense, which makes me worry about how they will hold up against the high-powered Big 12.
Special Teams: The punting job is up for grabs this season, as the West Virginia punter from last season is gone. Josh Lambert will handle the kicking duties after going 21-28 last season. Shelton Gibson should be the return man after averaging 32.8 yards with 1 touchdown for West Virginia last season.
Outlook: West Virginia will look to over power teams once again this season. The fact they get Baylor, TCU, and Oklahoma at home is a huge help, but I am not sure their defense will hold up against those offenses. I like West Virginia to get at least 8 wins this season.
Sept. 3 Missouri
Sept. 10 Youngstown State
Sept. 24 vs. BYU (at FedEx Field)
Oct. 1 Kansas State
Oct. 15 at Texas Tech
Oct. 22 TCU
Oct. 29 at Oklahoma State
Nov. 5 Kansas
Nov. 12 at Texas
Nov. 19 Oklahoma
Nov. 26 at Iowa State
Dec. 3 Baylor