No. 5: @ West Virginia
Playing in Morgantown, West Virginia is never easy, regardless of the sport. Part of the reason is that teams can’t fly right into town and instead have to fly to either Pittsburgh, PA, or Washington D.C. and bus multiple hours to the WVU campus. That makes the trip all the more difficult just from a logistical standpoint.
Additionally, the people of West Virginia are wildly passionate about their Mountaineers meaning that most of their home games are played in a hostile environment. However, it is fair to wonder if even those advantages will be enough to make up for how bad Neal Brown’s football team is supposed to be this season.
In the Big 12 preseason poll, the Mountaineers came in last place. In fact, many people do not expect Brown to survive this season after going 22-25 overall and just 14-21 in Big 12 play since taking over in 2019.
Now, the Mountaineers enter the season with no clear answer at quarterback and a new offensive coordinator, former Texas Tech assistant coach, Chad Scott. Add that to the fact that they are trying to rebuild a defense that gave up almost 33 points per game last year and it’s easy to see why many expect the Mountaineers to struggle again this fall.
Oh, and don’t overlook the fact that prior to facing the Red Raiders in the fourth game of the season, WVU will have to tangle with Penn State in Happy Valley and arch-rival Pitt in Morgantown, two teams that going to be expected to hand the Mountaineers a defeat.
So will Brown’s team have already lost most of its fight by the time September 23 rolls around? Probably not. They will more than likely come into this game with their backs against the wall and ready to battle for their season to remain worthwhile.
That may not matter though because the Mountaineers likely don’t have the firepower to beat Tech if the Red Raiders can match WVU’s effort and intensity. That’s why this typically difficult road trip looks to be one of the easiest of the season for McGuire and his team. Tech rides a four-game winning streak in this series into 2023 and that includes wins in Morgantown in 2021 and 2019. If form holds for both teams, that streak should run to five games.