I’ve been asked a lot about the college football season into which we’ve been wading.
I anticipate it like the stock market of late. Lots of ups and downs. Hopefully all will be good. And hopefully it doesn’t crash.
Yet let’s have some fun. Let’s look at WVU. Let’s look at college football in the big picture. And let’s ignore – at least for the time it takes to read this blog – that dark cloud that’s been hanging over us.
So to WVU. As I’ve said over and over, I love what Neal Brown has done with the program. I love it for the student-athletes.
Yes, Brown reminds me of Don Nehlen in the early years. Yet – if you’ll excuse the sports crossover — he also reminds me a bit of John Beilein. He adds that cerebral touch.
And all three pan or panned for gold. Sans five-star recruits, there was and is sifting involved. Look at Brown’s team and you’ll see specks of glitter.
I’ll ignore the obvious ones like the Stills brothers, the prides of the Pepperoni Roll Capital of the World. Check out Akheem Mesidor at defensive tackle. You can ask offensive lineman James Gmiter about him. Raves. Jalen Thornton is a backup to Jeffrey Pooler at defensive end.
I could go on and on. Dreshun Miller at corner. We’ve seen Tykee Smith and Nicktroy Fortune. There’s Daryl Porter. There are the receivers.
I just have a couple of concerns regarding this WVU team. The first is the Mountaineer offensive line. I heard Gmiter say this is going to be one of the nation’s most improved offensive lines. I wish to see the evidence. West Virginia simply HAS to be able to run the ball this year.
Second is the youth in WVU’s 2-deep chart. Twelve freshmen or redshirt freshmen.
Methinks the Mountaineers might be a year away. I have a lot of respect for Brown, though, so I won’t be surprised if they win seven.
Then there’s the national picture. I hate to say it, but I expect the top of the heap to look much the same: Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, etc.
But I have a couple things for you to watch. First, keep an eye on Miami. I know Clemson QB Trevor Lawrence is the Heisman Trophy frontrunner heading into the season.
Yet I think D’Eriq King of the U. is more dynamic. He just hasn’t had this kind of stage before because he was at (wait for it) Houston, home of Dana Holgorsen.
Holgorsen was burned trying to toy with the redshirt rule. When he saw the Cougars weren’t going anywhere last season, he sat King and others after the allotted four games. Oops. The sharks circled King, a standout. He was devoured by Miami, where he will shine this season. I dare say he’ll be a Heisman candidate.
Elsewhere, yes, I expect Notre Dame to have a great year. (I mean, c’mon. It’s playing in the ACC.) Plus, QB Ian Book is back after throwing for 3,034 yards and 34 TDs last year.
And as for WVU’s Big 12, yes, I expect Oklahoma to dominate. Honestly, I’m not sure if Texas’ Tom Herman has the Longhorns back to full speed, but this is his deepest team and you have to kinda like QB Sam Ehlinger.
After that, Oklahoma State should be right there with running back Chuba Hubbard. Then it’s completely wide open. Many have Iowa State and Baylor contending, but I’ll need proof.
So sit back. Cross your fingers. And let’s hope this college football season is a boom rather than a bust.
Editor’s note: Mitch will be off next week.
+ + +
Mitch Vingle covered sports in West Virginia for 38 years. Follow Mitch on Twitter at @MitchVingle and be sure to check out the rest of Wheelhouse Creative’s website for your marketing and advertising needs. If interested, call us at 304-905-6005.