Looking through the Crystal Ball: West Virginia

Justin K. Aller

It was one of the most exciting games of 2012, but the rematch could be a blowout.

A last minute 94-yard touchdown, a blocked field goal, a reverse pass for a touchdown and the same two point conversion that won at Boise State the year prior define TCU's first matchup against West Virginia. It was an impressive victory for TCU, and it clinched bowl eligibility that was far from guaranteed until that point.

However, while TCU looks to be better than they were in 2012, the same cannot be said for the Mountaineers.

Offense

They've lost their best receiver, first round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft Tavon Austin and Geno Smith, soon-to-be starting quarterback for the New York Jets.

In their place? junior quarterback Paul Millard and JUCO transfer wide receiver Kevin White. To say there will be a learning curve for the new Mountaineers would be stating the obvious, but there's definitely talent there with Millard and White. White stands at 6'3" and weighs in at 210 pounds, and is a very imposing physical presence, something West Virginia hasn't had in the past few years.

Alongside White at wide receiver will be a lot more inexperience, but talent none the less. Class of 2013 recruits Shelton Gibson and Mario Alford are expected to earn the starting roles once the get on campus this summer, but they'll be pushed by sophomores Connor Arlia, Dante Campbell and K.J. Meyers.

Running back Andrew Buie comes back as the most experienced offensive player West Virginia has, but that doesn't guarantee him snaps. He's backed by Dreamius Smith and Dustin Garrison, two guys that will push for more PT. This will be a very good running back core come fall, and it wouldn't surprise me to see West Virginia move to a more run-centric offensive game.

Defense

West Virginia wasn't exactly a defensive juggernaut in 2012, ranking second to last in the Big 12 in total defense. They allowed over 38 points and almost 470 yards of opposing offense per game. They struggled to get pressure on the quarterback, struggled against the run, and struggled against the pass.

It looks to be more of the same in 2013 for the Mountaineers, which is a major reason most people project them in the bottom quadrant of the conference standings.

West Virginia's linebacker situation is more convoluted than TCU's, which is saying a lot, and their safeties are looking to avoid another embarrassing season of getting torched.

The only bright light is on defensive line, but even that unit, which is easily the deepest, is still lacking.

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With the game in Fort Worth this year, it'll be fun to see what kind of showing Mountaineer fans make. If they come out in droves, it should make for a fun atmosphere, similar to the Tech and OU games last year. I'll chalk this up as a TCU win, but who knows what state the Frogs will be in when they get to this game at the start of November.

Go Frogs.

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