I’ve had discussions in the past where I’ve had to inform people that they aren’t college football fans. Just because you love your school doesn’t mean you love the game. If you only follow what WVU does without looking at the rest of the college football landscape, you’re only getting part of the big picture.
The Mountaineers are 3-0 on the season and control their own destiny. If they win all of their games, they are all but assured a spot in the College Football Playoff. If WVU has a dream season and makes the playoff, it will likely have to be with one loss. High powered Big 12 offenses and the landscape of current college football hint that it will be difficult to make it through the rest of the schedule unscathed. Both the wins and losses in the record need to be as strong as possible.
We need to look at other games across the country. There are things to watch for and certain outcomes that will benefit the ol’ gold and blue. None of this even matters if WVU fails to take care of business. Let’s believe that they will.
WHO: Texas at #4 TCU
WHEN: 12pm ET
WHY: TCU is coming off a near defeat last week at the hands of Texas Tech. They are ranked #4 nationally and WVU needs them to be undefeated when they visit Fort Worth on October 29. Texas was smoked 38-3 by Notre Dame in their season opener. At this point, it will benefit WVU fans if Texas is defeated handily by all quality opponents the rest of the season. It would be good for the conference for all contenders like TCU, to beat the Longhorns more convincingly that Notre Dame did.
WHO: #22 Michigan at Maryland
WHEN: 12pm ET
WHERE: Big Ten Network
WHY: In modern college football, once you defeat an opponent you should begin pulling for them. If the Terps could pull off the upset of Michigan just a week after being annihilated 45-6 by WVU, perception of the Mountaineer victory will be much better. Michigan should end the season as a bowl team and there is a lot of talk (though I consider it foolish) of the Wolverines winning the Big Ten. It’s a long shot that Maryland can do it. However, the game time has been changed due to Hurricane Joaquin. Maryland showed no ability to pass the ball against the Mountaineers and it may not even be an option if the game is played in a monsoon. They were able to run on WVU and the weather could benefit the Terps, though it’s a long shot.
WHO: Texas Tech at #5 Baylor
WHEN: 3:30pm ET
WHY: After defeating Arkansas and giving TCU all they can handle in back-to-back weeks, the Red Raiders have made a name for themselves on the national scene. However, they do have a loss already. It’s best for the conference (and WVU) if Tech plays with Baylor. The Bears could walk away with a close victory, make the Raiders look good and still not lose prestige. At the end of the day, defense in the Big 12 is a joke nationwide anyway. Baylor could actually receive help from a close game. Their schedule so far on the season leaves a lot to be desired and they haven’t even left the state of Texas.
WHO: North Carolina at Georgia Tech
WHEN: 3:30pm ET
WHY: Georgia Tech was a trendy pick to win the ACC this season. They’ve stumbled out of the gate, losing games to Notre Dame and Duke in the last two weeks. The ACC may be the weakest of the Power Five conferences, but it will help the Big 12 significantly if the teams cannibalize themselves. Georgia Tech still has Clemson and Florida State on the schedule, so a third loss followed by beating the Tigers and Seminoles is a good thing. Many Mountaineer fans are still bitter that Ryan Switzer plays at UNC, but put that aside for the weekend and be a Tar Heels fan.
WHO: #6 Notre Dame at #12 Clemson
WHEN: 8:00pm ET
WHY: Until they join a conference, any time that Notre Dame has a good season, the Power 5 conferences have to be concerned. If they make it into the playoff, at least two conferences end up without a representative. The Irish receive every benefit of the doubt in the polls and in the media. It’s no stretch to believe that the playoff selection committee will do the same thing. Just two seasons ago, they were in the National Championship game simply because they were undefeated. There were better teams with losses, but the Irish played for the title and were annihilated by Alabama. Hopefully the only one in the stadium “Clemsoning” on Saturday night is the Irish. However, there are still possible losses on both teams’ schedules.
There’s still a lot of football to be played and none of us know what is going to happen. This is just how I see it at this moment in time.