WVU Gameday Blog

Mitch Vingle WVU pick: At TCU

In this Sept. 3, 2016, filephoto, TCU head coach Gary Patterson waits to lead his team onto the field before an NCAA college football game against South Dakota State in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero, File)

This game, I believe, will have a lot to do with the teams’ previous successes or lack of successes. While WVU plays Virginia Tech, TCU will be looking for revenge against Arkansas in a Week 2 trip to Fayetteville. If both win, the nation will take note of this game. If one wins and the other loses, the victor will have an edge.
Big picture, West Virginia could do worse than Kansas and TCU if it has to have back-to-back away Big 12 games. TCU was picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, while WVU was picked sixth. The Horned Frogs, meanwhile, will play five of the nine league games on the road. They’ll show desperation here.
The good news for TCU? It has quarterback Kenny Hill back. The good news for West Virginia? The Horned Frogs have Kenny Hill back.
The call from here, though, is TCU will want this more than WVU. Also, the Frogs have a couple more above average players. Plus, coach Gary Patterson is due to strike.

TCU, 28-24.

By Ryan Decker

Major Harris, Noel Devine and Tavon Austin headline the fan version of the best Mountaineer football team.
Major Harris, Noel Devine and Tavon Austin headline the fan version of the best Mountaineer football team. Graphic created 

Wednesday’s post gave Mountaineer fans a task they were up for: create the best WVU football team possible using $15 of fictitious money.

The responses were great, and the suggestions for additions of Marc Bulger, Jeff Hostetler and Stedman Bailey are duly noted if I ever try this again.

Here are a few takeaways from the process:

  • Major Harris edged out Pat White by two votes, while Noel Devine beat his former teammate Steve Slaton by one vote, and Tavon Austin got just four more votes than Kevin White.
  • Austin tied Bobby Bowden for the highest percentage of votes (42%) for a single player or coach. They were only outdone by the 2007 defense, which collected nearly half the votes.
  • The top vote getters at each position – Major Harris, Noel Devine, Tavon Austin, the 2007 defense, and Bobby Bowden – collectively create a team within the price range, and actually leave two dollars to spare.   However, not a single person picked that exact team.
  • The combination of P. White, Devine, Austin, 2007 D and Bowden was picked by two different people, as was the team of P. White, Slaton, K. White, 2007 D and Bowden.
  • Biggest surprise: The great Don Nehlen only received two votes.
  • Favorite answer: A commenter by the name of “ML” created a team that only cost him $14, and he said the “extra dollar goes to Stewart’s charity.” Despite it being fake money, it was a great sentiment.

Below you’ll find the final results from all the entries.

P. White   33% S. Slaton   28% T. Austin   42% 1996 D   19% D. Nehlen   5%
G. Smith   12% A. Zereoue   14% S. Gibson   <1% 1988 D   9% D. Holgorsen   16%
M. Harris   37% N. Devine   30% K. White   33% 2015 D   14% R. Rodriguez   19%
S. Howard   9% A. Cobourne   21% D. Saunders   2% 1982 D   9% B. Stewart   19%
R. Marshall   9% R. Walker   7% C. Henry   23% 2007 D   49% B. Bowden   42%
Kansas and WVU tangle in Lawrence this year to start the conference schedule. (AP photo)

The Big 12 office did WVU a solid by starting the away portion of the Mountaineer schedule in Lawrence. West Virginia won handily against the Jayhawks last season and there’s no evidence KU will rise up this season.
One note: Many probably think Jayhawk coach David Beaty is on the hot season after a 2-22 record over the last two seasons. But that’s not the case. School athletic director Sheahon Zenger, in fact, gave the guy a raise and extension.
Among the other movements, Beaty brought in TCU co-offensive coordinator Doug Meacham, who will take over the play-calling.
In sum, there is some light at the end of the tunnel for Kansas. Yet WVU will mimic an oncoming train in this game. The Jayhawk secondary is weak. My man Fish Smithson is gone. And Mountaineer quarterback Will Grier will have a very nice day indeed. West Virginia moves to 4-0.
WVU, 35-17

Delaware State

If you’re in a hurry today, I’m going to get you on your way in a flash.
This will be no contest. None.
It’s not even Delaware. The Blue Hens, in fact, routed the Hornets 56-14 last season. Delaware State finished a robust 0-11.
And in this season’s MEAC preseason polling? DSU was again predicted to finish last of 11 teams.
In sum, WVU’s Dana Holgorsen will be able to name the final score. If you wish that I throw out a couple names to watch, OK. I’m a sweetheart. So the Hornets have a couple skilled guys in running back Mike Waters and receiver Mason Rutherford, who were named to the second-team all-MEAC preseason squad.
Yet enough of the pleasantries. The Mountaineers will easily win this to move to 3-0.
And one last note. The Hornets finish their season in Tallahassee against Florida State. Oh, the humanity…

Mountaineer Pick ‘Em

If you’re on social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram, you’ve probably seen something similar to this.

The scenario is simple: You’re given $15 in fictitious money, and a chart of players to chose from. Using only that $15, pick the best team possible.

You can’t go over that price point, but if you come in under budget, reevaluate.

This chart, obviously, is centered on WVU greats.




Comment your team below.

Mitch Vingle’s WVU prediction: ECU

In this photo taken Friday, Aug. 4, 2017, East Carolina quarterback Garner Minshew warms up during the team's NCAA college football practice in Greenville, N.C. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Normally, a WVU game against East Carolina would be cause for pause.
Yet this 2017 Pirates team isn’t your father’s ECU.
True, East Carolina of the American Athletic Conference (which would have been WVU’s home had the Big 12 not rescued the Mountaineers) beat North Carolina State last season. The Pirates started off 2-0.
But then went 1-9.
ECU quarterback Zay Jones is gone along with most of the team’s receiving corps. If you search preseason all-AAC lists, about all you’ll find is wideout Jimmy Williams, 5-11, 194 pounds listed.
Otherwise, it’s barren. Most are calling for the Pirates to finish dead last in the AAC East Division, which also consists of South Florida, Central Florida, Temple, Cincinnati and Connecticut. (Bring back memories?)
Too, the worst news for East Carolina is it’s very weak against the run.
West Virginia is very strong at the run. Expect the Mountaineers’ Justin Crawford to have a very big day – as well as reserves like Kennedy McKoy (if he isn’t in the slot) and Martell Pettaway.
WVU wins this one going away.

WVU, 48-17.

Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente looks over his team at the start of NCAA college football practice in Blacksburg, Va., Thursday Aug. 3, 2017. | AP photo


Hello all. Welcome to my annual WVU predictions, this year with a twist.
It’s going to be blog-o-mized.
We’ll run down my predictions a day at a time.
Today, I’ll take a swing at a toughie: the Mountaineers’ opener against Virginia Tech at Landover, Maryland.
So let’s get to it, shall we?
If you’re either a fan or a gambler, you know the Hokies have opened as a slight (4-point-ish) favorite.
Honestly, WVU could have been established as the favorite and I wouldn’t have blinked. The Mountaineers have weapons at running back (Justin Crawford, Kennedy McKoy and Martell Pettaway) and quarterback (Will Grier). I truly expect Ka’Raun White to have a breakout season at wideout. Also, on defense, there’s some terrific talent in Kyzir White and Dravon Askew-Henry.
Of course, questions remain along the offensive front, most notably in regard to depth. Same with the defensive front.
On the flip side, Virginia Tech will start its first freshman at quarterback in an opener since Michael Vick in 1999. And, no, he is not of the Michael Vick caliber. His name is Josh Jackson and he’ll certainly be a target for WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson’s blitz attack. The Hokies do, though, have some veteran pieces returning on offense.
On defense, Tech has a boatload of returning starters. That’s not good for a WVU team seeking receivers, especially if Marcus Simms is out. But, like the Mountaineers, there are depth problems.
Expect this one to be close, but the quarterback comparison certainly favors West Virginia and there’s a soft spot along the Hokies’ defensive front that Crawford and company can exploit.
WVU 30, VT 28.

Texas Tech reinstates QB

Texas Tech has allowed redshirt freshman quarterback Jett Duffey to resume practicing with the team after he served a two-semester suspension. Duffey was suspended by the university in January after being found responsible for two counts of sexual misconduct.

Duffey was the No. 13 dual threat quarterback in the 2015 recruiting class by 247Sports, and despite the suspension, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said in February that he expects Duffey to, “slide right in and be very good.”


WVU’s Simms arrested

West Virginia wide receiver Marcus Simms was arrested early Sunday morning, and charged with DUI and driving with a revoked license. Neither WVU or the team have commented on the incident.


Gundy reacts to scrimmage

Oklahoma State held its first scrimmage Sunday morning, and head coach Mike Gundy addressed the media afterwards about the team’s progress.

The head coach, who recently celebrated his 50th birthday, said he likes where the team is at, but there are still decisions to be made at backup quarterback, running back and, “we’ve got to decide who’s going to be out there first in the secondary.”


Texas RB sustains injury

Chris Warren, the top returning running back for the Texas Longhorns, sustained a concussion during last Thursday’s practice, the latest in a history of injuries for the junior.

“He was having a good camp,” Herman. “He’s alert. He’s in the protocol. If he’s still out this time next week, yeah, that would be concerning. But right now, I’m not too concerned.”

Warren missed most of last season with a year-ending knee injury. He rushed for 366 yards through the first four games of the season before suffering the injury.

This is just the latest in a slew of injuries felt in the Longhorn camp. Right tackle Elijah Rodriguez, who was battling for a starting spot, underwent surgery on his right ankle Thursday. There is no timetable for his return.

Toe dipping

Hey all, it’s Mitch Vingle. All set to blog going forward!

Hope you enjoyed my story on WVU’s Mountain State punting connection in today’s paper. One quick note from Friday’s Mountaineer practice is Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples made the trip in.

Also, check out my Sunday story on a man who can make a big difference for WVU this season. His first name is Ka’Raun.

Can it!

West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen is a fan of many things. Football and energy drinks are two that should easily come to mind.

But we have learned over the last few days that he’s also a big fan of Gatorade … in a can.


That was Wednesday.

Today, as a group of media members made our way through one of the tunnels at the south end zone leading to the field, the head coach was there waiting for us. Not to talk about football, but to once again pitch us on Gatorade in a can.

With a smile on his face, the visored Holgorsen invited us to take a can to try for ourselves as he stood beside a large container of canned Gatorade. And boy, did we.

All I can ask for now is that it is served high above the field in Morgantown on Saturdays from here on out.

In saying that, I’m not sure if I’m as enthused with it as Holgorsen is, but it’s pretty good.

What do you think?