I have finished the ACC non-Pitt opponents. That means the first Pitt opponent of the 2022 season – West Virginia.
Neal Brown, the former head coach of Troy University, enters his fourth season as HC of the Mountaineers. During his three seasons, he is 17- 18 (11-15 Conference, 5-2 OOC and 1-1 Bowls).
That leads us to last year results and the upcoming 2022 schedule (or at least the only games that matter.)
My Oh My, a blowout win over an FCS team.
In OOC scheduling, WVU has been scheduling two P5 teams and an FCS team for the last five or six years (excluding the Covid 2020 season). P5 teams included Home/Away games with NC State, Maryland, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and now Pitt. The 2023/24 seasons will have Pitt and Psu games. But the two P5 ends in 2025 with only Pitt on the schedule and Alabama lined up for 26/27.
Here are the Rivals 5.6 and above 2022 commits. Also included are the current Transfer Portal (TP) additions.
Before JT Daniels transferred in, the WVU fan base thought 5.8, 4-star QB Nicco Marchiol would have a shot/be the starting QB.
Lee Kpogba, the 5.8, 4-star LB has an interesting story. He was a 5.8, 4-star in Syracuse’s 2020 class. Played one season with one tackle and transferred to a JUCO. He is now seen as key figure in rebuilding the LB group.
Currently three offensive, seven defensive and one kicker from the portal. Obviously QB JT Daniels is the star pickup. The transfer kicker probably will not be the starting field goal kicker. The current one, Casey Legg has a leg up on him.
WVU has lost 20 players to the TP
On to the stars identified as NCAA team leaders in selected stats or members of the All Big 10 teams.
Lot’s of color like Wake Forest’s chart. The difference is that Wake was blue (eligibility). WVU is red (TP).
The offense revolves around QB play. I have added sacked and yards lost to the QB chart.
Doege to the TP, opening the door for a new QB. Greene had more rushing attempts and yardage then passing. Crowder and Marchiol are untested. Enter JT Daniels. Here are his career passing stats along with Slovis and Patti’s.
If I were really good, I would add rushing yards. That would help in determining the best QB of the three. In fact, if I were really good at this, I would try to add stats on some of the TP additions.
WVU running backs and receivers 2021 activity. Also returning production summary for Pitt and West Virginia.
Lots of production lost mainly due to the TP. WVU did pickup a Clemson running back with experience. The TE pickup is now on his third team.
QB Greene was WVU third leading rusher with a net 297 yards on 48 carriers.
Both Pitt and WVU shed a lot of production.
Can the Oline stats help the lost production based on returning starters and experience. I added Pitt allowed sacks and tackles for loss.
The Mountaineers, like Pitt, return all their starters.
While WVU allowed less tackles for loss, as a percentage of total plays Pitt’s Oline is more solid.
That wraps up the West Virginia offense. On to the defensive review.
WVU had 41 players make a defensive stat. But five of them were offense players. One was a special teams players. That leaves 36 defensive players making a stat.
The chart below strips out the non-defensive players and fifteen players who did not make at least double digit tackles.
The below chart includes nine DB’s, five DL’s and six LB’s making up (and I mean made up) “ten tackles two deep.”
The WVU defense has been decimated by eligibility and the TP. The defensive backs are down to three players left from the shown chart. Of the five DB’s not on the chart, one is also in the TP. So not much help there.
WVU did get help from the TP – three incoming DB’s. They also have a 5.8. 4-star JUCO transfer recruit Hershey McLaurin.
The LB position is also an area of concern. While not as devastated as Pitt’s, it is a position of concern. Besides Kpogba (mentioned above) they did pick up a LB TP entry from Miam and have two 5.7, 3-stars recruits in the incoming class.
The DL appears to be solid though even with the loss of their leading tackler.
I have no idea where WVU stands on scholarships. I did find a site that had a scholarship tracker early in my research, but it has not been updated since mid- February. Even if scholarships are available, immediate TP impact players are few and far between. If this were just any P5 OOC game, I would expect Pitt to win. But it is a huge rivalry game for the players and fans especially for the younger fans amongst us. At this time, Pitt wins.