2023 Season Preview – West Virginia Mountaineers

2022 Record – 5-7; 3-6 Big 12

2023 Schedule

  • 9/2 – at Penn State
  • 9/9 – VS Duquesne
  • 9/16 – VS Pittsburgh
  • 9/23 – VS Texas Tech
  • 9/30 – at TCU
  • 10/12 – at Houston
  • 10/21 – VS Oklahoma State
  • 10/28 – at UCF
  • 11/4 – VS BYU
  • 11/11 – at Oklahoma
  • 11/16 – VS Cincinnati
  • 11/25 – at Baylor

2022 Recap

West Virginia started the 2022 season with what would be one of the best games of the year at Pittsburgh in the renewal of the Backyard Brawl. After carrying a seven-point lead late into the fourth, the Mountaineers would give up a touchdown late immediately followed by a pick-six to let the Panthers sneak away with a 38-31 win. This loss would come to be a synopsis of the entire West Virginia season.

The second week was a similar story with an overtime loss to upstart Kansas in early conference play. There was a bounce back though, first with an easy win over FCS team Towson followed by a surprisingly easy win over Virginia Tech to get back to 2-2.

Once the rest of conference play started West Virginia’s struggles picked up. The 5 remaining losses they had were all by at least 10 points, with the average loss of those games being by 20 points. The three conference wins the Mountaineers pulled together were against teams that struggled, Baylor before they picked up steam, Oklahoma, and an Oklahoma State team that fell apart during the home stretch.

West Virginia finished 2022 with a 5-7 record; 3-6 in the Big 12.

2023 Preview

There are still questions for West Virginia at quarterback going into the 2023 season. The contest is between Garrett Greene, who finished up the 2022 season as the starter, and Nicco Marchiol, a red-shirt freshman. Whomever gets the nod will have a fairly inexperienced wide receiver core to throw the ball to. The leading receiver could be Devin Carter who transferred in from NC State.

This means the key to the Mountaineer offense will be with the running game. They ran the ball via committee in 2022 with five different players having at least 275 yards. Leading back Tony Mathis is gone, but CJ Donaldson, Justin Johnson, and Jaylen Anderson all return. (Quarterback Garrett Greene was the other player.) On top of this, all five offensive starters are expected to be back.

West Virginia’s biggest struggles in 2022 were on the defensive side. To be competitive this will have to be the biggest area of improvement going into this season. They gave up 33 points a game and only had four interceptions all season long.

Luckily, leading tackler Lee Kpogba is returning after 92 tackles in 2022. This should provide stability at the linebacker position. The biggest question mark will be in the secondary, where the Mountaineers will still be young, although multiple players are returning which should help with the extra experience.

2023 Prediction

West Virginia has an extremely tough non-conference schedule to start off the year. Starting the season at Penn State is a tough ask for a team that is going to be trying to find themselves. They do have an easy W against Duquesne in game two, but then have to play arch-rival Pitt in the Backyard Brawl. It is at home, but that is still a hard ask which will cause the Mountaineers to likely start the season 1-2.

The Big 12 schedule also starts out very tough for the Mountaineers. Starting off against an up-and-coming Texas Tech team plus a TCU team coming off a National Championship runner-up season means a likely 0-2 conference start.

The one good part about West Virginia’s schedule is playing all four of the conference newcomers. Even then, none of those games are going to be easy wins this season. It will be a good outcome if they pull out victories in two of the games.

At the end of day, West Virginia is going to struggle in 2023. They will definitely miss out on a bowl game and struggle mightily with their conference schedule. I think three wins is the best the Mountaineers will pull off.

Prediction – 3-9

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