The Swami Speaks

After watching practice, talking to players and coaches, and reading every single pre-season rag I could get hold of, I have finally come to terms with my pre-season predictions for the Mountaineers.

Mind you, none of this means a hill of beans, and my knowledge of our opponents is limited to what I have read in the papers and in magazines.

October 31 - Tennessee
Uh, Chattanooga. WVU faces its first ever 1-AA foe in Morgantown. UTC is predicted a lofty 8th in the Southern Conference, widely accepted as the strongest conference in 1-AA. The SoCon will most likely send four teams to the 1-AA playoffs this season. UTC won't be one of them. Contrary to popular opinion WVU will learn a lot from this game. WVU wins this game large with a quick start, and plays everyone, and we may have a pretty good team. If the Mountaineers struggle, it will be a long season.
WVU 65 UTC 20. (1-0, 0-0)

September 7 - Wisconsin
Camp Randall Stadium is not the greatest of places to try to get started coming off an abysmal year. But the Badgers are not unbeatable. Coming off a 5-7 season, Wisconsin is hoping to turn it around to the recent Rose Bowl days of the past. Personally, I think we can win this game, but it isn't a lock. I put this one as a toss up, but my pick is:
WVU 31 UW 24. (2-0, 0-0)

September 14 - Cincinnati
UC has a super soph returning at QB. WVU will have a ton of fans at this game. Too bad baseball is going to be on strike; the Reds are scheduled to host the Cubs that weekend. UC has been to a bowl three of the last four years. One trip to the blue turf in Boise and two losses in Detroit. If we lose this game, we are in deep trouble. Too much Avon, and Rasheed is starting to make a name for himself.
WVU 38 UC 17. (3-0, 0-0)

September 28 - East Carolina
Coming off giving up 60+ points in a bowl game, AND losing your top QB, RB and WR, Morgantown can't look good. WVU's offense will score early and often. Even though ECU will have answers at all those positions, (and be talented as usual), inexperience and the home field gives this one to the Mountaineers, big.
WVU 40 ECU 20. (4-0, 0-0)

(Now, at this point, I see us at a minimum of 3-1, but things have to be going well, and we have to stay healthy at key positions.)

October 5 - Maryland
Everyone wants to anoint Maryland as the next great coming. I can't decide who gets more media smoke blown up their behinds, the Terps or Pitt. Maryland will still be good. WVU will be better than last year. We will not give them six turnovers this year, and a crowd in Morgantown with a 4-0 record tends to be a tad rowdy. Perry has a big day for Maryland if he plays, but Avon and Rasheed have bigger days for WVU. Travis Garvin and Dee Alston break out for the Mountaineers.
WVU 32 Maryland 24. (5-0, 0-0)

October 12 - Rutgers
Coming off scoring 80 points on a team tends to point towards a large letdown. Believe you me, Greg Schiano is pointing to these 80 points in practice every day. This will be the most lopsided point turnaround in college football.
WVU 45 Rutgers 17. (6-0, 1-0)

October 19 - Syracuse
Homecoming. The pick of this game all depends to me on the season going as I have so far predicted. Syracuse was there to be had last year, and we couldn't push one in. I don't think we will have that problem this season. This game will be on national TV as we are 6-0 and ranked in the top 20 for the first time in a while. Grant Wiley has a huge game on defense, Avon rushes for over 100 for the seventh straight game, Rasheed runs and throws for a score.
WVU 27 Syracuse 24 (7-0, 2-0)

October 26 - Miami
FINALLY, we get Miami late in the season in Morgantown. Someone pray to their deity of choice for some cold weather. I don't mean 32 degree cold. I mean deer season, twenty mile an hour wind, five below zero, achy bone cold. Mountaineer Maniacs rent every propane heater in a hundred mile radius. Miami is still too much, but it is closer than most expect
Miami 35 WVU 24 (7-1, 2-1)

November 2 - Temple
Here sits another prime opportunity for a letdown. One week off their first loss, playing in front of 35 people in Philly. Except we lost to these bums last year. I guarantee Rich has his mean on, and so do the 'Eers. Avon goes over 1,000 rushing for the season.
WVU 42 Temple 14. (8-1, 3-1)

November 9 - Boston College
BC's record in Morgantown is abysmal. It won't get any better this year. BC comes in sporting a nice record and a ranking. Avon goes wild in front of a national audience. Rasheed owns this offense, and the comparisons are over, he is his own man. WVU's defense has improved with each game, and gets a little revenge from last season.
WVU 37 BC 17. (9-1, 4-1)

November 20 - Virginia Tech
Tech is Tech. The game is on ESPN. Kirk and Lee will be busy kissing Hokie tush, and the expanded stadium will be loud. WVU will play much better than in years past in Blechsburg, but this one may just be too much to ask. If this game were in Morgantown, I may pick different. Tech again blocks a kick for a score on us, and wins.
Tech 30 WVU 27. (9-2, 4-2)

November 30 - Pitt
Another game against a media darling. Only this media darling has had its bubble burst several games ago. There will be 10,000+ Mountaineer fans in Heinz Field, rocking the house as Avon goes over the 1,700-yard barrier. The difference this year is Rasheed can pass too, proving that he was a better choice than Rod Rutherford, who has lost his job to Tyler Palko. Rasheed throws for three scores, and runs another one in. Mr. Palko, meet Mr. Wiley, and Mr. Upchurch, and Mr. Davis, and Mr. Dubouse.
WVU 38 Pitt 20. (10-2, 4-2)

Now that is my best-case scenario season. In truth, I see the games shaking out like this

Win: UTC, UC, ECU, Rutgers, and Temple
Toss Up: BC, Maryland, Syracuse, Pitt, Wisconsin
Loss: Miami, Virginia Tech.

How the toss-ups fall, determines our season. We will, as usual, lose a game we shouldn't, but we will win one we shouldn't as well. My pick is 10-2, but 8-4 is more realistic. We still have some depth concerns on defense, and with a couple of key injuries, we could be in trouble again. But, I am an optimist.

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