Might the change in the Big 12 schedule help WVU this season?
Change isn’t coming to WVU and the Big 12.
That point was certainly driven home on Tuesday when the league issued the 2023 football schedule.
When it comes to Texas, well, it was horns down regarding the Mountaineer schedule. With the four new schools entering the Big 12, the Longhorns exited the West Virginia slate. There’s a good chance that will mark the end of the series with UT. Texas and Oklahoma, of course, are headed to the SEC. They may dip out early by brokering an agreement centered on future non-conference games.
Also missing from WVU’s schedule are league members Iowa State, Kansas State and Kansas.
If this proves to be the last year for the teams leaving the Big 12, WVU sort of got a box office raw deal. The Mountaineers will play at Oklahoma this season without Texas hitting Morgantown. Both, of course, sell tons of tickets for home teams.
But overall, this might work out better for WVU.
It was certainly different looking at the new Big 12 and WVU lineup. Incoming member Houston and old WVU coach Dana Holgorsen kicking off the season by hosting TCU on Sept. 16? Defending Big 12 champion K-State opening conference play against UCF on Sept. 23?
Of course, the Big 12 round-robin schedules are gone. Yet with the additions of BYU, UCF, Cincinnati and Houston, Big 12 teams will continue to play nine league games — without divisions. The top two teams by conference win percentage in the regular season standings will compete in the championship game. (By the way, TV selections for the first three weeks of the season are due to the Big 12 by June 1.)
Anyway, so off Texas and the others go and on to WVU’s schedule are BYU, Cincinnati, Houston, and UCF.
That should help the struggling Mountaineer program which has its opener at Penn State on Sept. 2 with the Pitt rivalry in Morgantown on Sept. 16.
Think about it. No Texas, Kansas State, Iowa State and Kansas. The schedule as it was previously constituted was more than a little much for a program gasping for air.
One would think WVU would be fine against a BYU team that was 8-5 last season. The only time WVU played BYU before was one of those FedExField games in Landover, Md., in 2016. Surely you remember Maurice Fleming sealing the deal for the Mountaineers with a late interception in the turnover-filled game, right?
It will be interesting to see how WVU fares in its Thursday night game at Holgorsen’s Houston. There’s also the UCF away game. As for Cincy, WVU is 16-3-1 all-time against the Bearcats.
“For the third straight year, we will open with a Power 5 opponent on the road, and we have a lot of work still ahead of us in our winter conditioning, spring practices and summer camp,” said WVU coach Neal Brown in a press release. “The season will be here before you know it and our focus will be on getting better every day in preparation for one of the strongest football schedules in the country.”
Indeed, it won’t be easy, especially considering the Mountaineers’ recent struggles.
But it could have been worse.
2023 WVU Football Schedule
Day Date Opponent Time
Sat. Sept. 2 at Penn State TBA
Sat. Sept. 9 Duquesne TBA
Sat. Sept. 16 Pitt TBA
Sat. Sept. 23 Texas Tech * TBA
Sat. Sept. 30 at TCU * TBA
Sat. Oct. 7 OPEN
Thurs. Oct. 12 at Houston * TBA
Sat. Oct. 21 Oklahoma State ^* TBA
Sat. Oct. 28 at UCF * TBA
Sat. Nov. 4 BYU #* TBA
Sat. Nov. 11 at Oklahoma * TBA
Sat. Nov. 18 Cincinnati * TBA
Sat. Nov. 25 at Baylor * TBA
Sat. Dec. 2 at Big 12 Championship + TBA
* Big 12 Conference Game
# Mountaineer Week
+ AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas
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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.