Should WVU be ranked? Only handful of Associated Press voters think so, but one of them is willing to go on the record with WV Sports Now to explain why he feels West Virginia should be included in the top 25.
Even though WVU has been winning, there are still people unsure of how to evaluate the Mountaineers. And since many of those people are those who vote in the major college football polls, West Virginia was left out of the top 25 despite sitting at 4-1 and coming off a big road win.
Greg Madia, who covers the University of Virginia for the Daily Progress, has a vote in the Associated Press’ top 25 poll and also owns a Heisman Trophy vote.
Madia offered this reasoning to WVSN’s Mike Asti about why he voted for WVU:
“West Virginia was on my ballot this week because the Mountaineers appear to have a clear identity and that’s helped them win games. They rely on their veteran offensive line to play tough, and it’s worked to win games against Pittsburgh, Texas Tech and at TCU. They’ve done it while having to play multiple quarterbacks, too, which is impressive because it shows the strength is the offensive line, running game and tough defense and that’s a recipe for success.”
For further context, Madia placed West Virginia number 24 on his ballot. The rest of his 20 through 25 looks like this: Ole Miss at 20, Missouri at 21, Fresno State at 22, Kansas State right in front of WVU at 23, West Virginia in the 24 spot and then Louisville rounding it out at 25.
Unfortunately for Neal Brown and his team, Madia is only one vote and was only one of five votes in favor of West Virginia being within the top 25. Brown will argue that not every voter is putting in the kind of work necessary to truly know what’s going on around the country.
WVU HC Neal Brown: “We should be a nationally ranked team.”
And he’s right. https://t.co/adSU4niGSi
— Mike J. Asti (@MikeAsti11) October 1, 2023
Brown, and others, will bring up that West Virginia has played a schedule that’s forced the Mountaineers to face more Power Five opponents than the other programs vying for spots in the top 25, certainly the back half. He will even mention that the win over TCU is arguably a better win than some teams currently ranked have achieved to this point. Brown will say his group has had to already overcome more adversity than most.
And while all of that is valid and supports the case for West Virginia to be ranked for the first time under Brown, the fact remains WVU is still on the outside looking in. It will also now be interesting if voters hold being off this week against West Virginia.
WVU is on a bye week, one that’s actually coming at the perfect time health wise, while teams like Maryland, a program getting more votes but also just outside the top 25, will play one of its biggest games of the season. A Maryland upset win over the Buckeyes and there’s no way the voters can deny the Terrapins. And if a team not ranked jumps into the top 25, that will only add one more obstacle in front of West Virginia trying to get in.
At the end of the day, being ranked 25th or voters believing you are really the 30th best team instead doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. However, it’s no secret Brown and his players want the validation that comes with being ranked. But all WVU can do to control the voting is to keep winning, something Brown is very confident his team will do and further prove critics wrong.
After the bye, West Virginia will head back down to Texas for a matchup with Brown’s predecessor Dana Holgoesen and Houston.
For a related story, Mike Asti talked with Kelley Ford, who creates an analytically charged ranking model each week, on a show about why the main stream polls are going about ranking teams all wrong.
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