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West Virginia Football 2023 Season Predictions



WVU football flags in end zone

Expectations are low, but the games do need to be played. With tons of pressure on both head coach Neal Brown and the program as a whole, the 2023 season will go down as one of the most important for WVU football, for better or worse.

This team will look different than it did in 2022, both in personnel and schematically, but the schedule is brutal. But no excuse will matter anymore and Brown needs a winning season on the board to continue pursuing West Virginia’s climb.

Can WVU get back on the right track and enter a new era of the Big 12 as a blue blood brand for the conference poised for success? Or will another tough season result in another coaching search for the school and the next era of WVU football facing the task of following one of the darkest periods since the 1970’s for the 15th windiest program in the history of the sport?

Let’s take a look at how some who cover and follow the team closely feel about the Mountaineers in 2023.

Keenan Cummings ( – 6-6. West Virginia won’t finish last as projected in the Big 12 and will get back to a bowl game. There is room for 7-5 here with an easier second half to the schedule but I do think this will be an improved football team in many departments.

Bill Bender (Sporting News) – 5-7. The Mountaineers have one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the FBS, so they will have to take care of Big 12 newcomers Houston, UCF, BYU and Cincinnati to have a chance at a bowl game.

Shehan Jeyarajah (CBS Sports) – 3-9. West Virginia has things to like, including a budding star at running back and great offensive line, but it won’t be enough to save them from a brutal schedule. The sequencing of the schedule could play a major role as there’s a pathway to start 1-4 heading into a road game against Dana Holgorsen’s Houston Cougars. If that game goes south, the wheels could fly off. Record prediction: 3-9, 2-7 in Big 12.

Alex Wiederspiel (WKMZ) – 6-6. I think there are a lot of coin flip games on this schedule that can provide inflection points for a team that should be highly motivated in a critical season. The deficiencies are well documented, but the Mountaineers depth and ability to run the football behind a talented, veteran offensive line this season with a potential x-factor at quarterback should give them the goods to create a lot of favorable game scripts. The optimistic part: I’m predicting they wind up with a winning record in the coin flip draws.

George Gerbo (Washington Times) – 6-6. West Virginia will outperform expectations, though that isn’t hard, of course, when the expectations are the floor and not the ceiling of the Big 12. That being said, there’s a reasonable path for them to six wins and bowl eligibility in 2023.

I do think they’ll win the 106th edition of the Backyard Brawl, with the game under the lights in Morgantown and Neal Brown seemingly having a better understanding of what it means to his program and fans. WVU will get out to a 3-1 start, with the season becoming decidedly more of a slog as September ends and October begins. They’ll roll into Houston on a Thursday night and win the “Dana Bowl,” and it might be the Mountaineers’ only win away from Morgantown all season.

Brett McMurphy (Action Network) – 6-6.

Steve Slaton (WVU Legend) – 9-3. Comes down to if we can find our identity early. Defense stepping up and eliminating secondary mistakes. Special teams giving us good field position.

Rob Rossi (The Athletic) – 5-7. To be blunt, the only way I can process WVU football anymore is by thinking of how few games will be won. The losses seem unavoidable, and there’s been so many I’m not sure whatever total is added is something I can wrap my head around.

The football program, with respect to the student-athletes, seems to embody a feeling of dismay that exists with the university as a whole. I have trouble disconnecting the football decline from the financial failure of WVU. It’s, like, I know how things reached these low points, and that knowledge sucks any sense of pride.

But, also, it feels hopeless. Football — and more important the university itself — well, both feel irreparably damaged. And so, I don’t really know what to expect on the field because the recent results there, when combined with the recent embarrassments elsewhere (the Bob Huggins fiasco, the Gordon Gee mess, the cutting of programs and faculty) has become this blur of inconceivable— and entirely avoidable — demise.

So, having said all of that, 5 wins seems about right. And that’s because, as is the case right now with so many aspects about WVU across the board, any victories exist in the realm of losing.

Will Graves (Associated Press) – 4-8. Brown loses to PSU and Pitt decisively and is gone before Halloween. Editor’s note as asked to add by Will: For anyone who thinks Will is just picking on WVU, he is a WVU alum (’96).

Paul Zeise (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/93.7 The Fan) – 6-6.

Wes Uhler (970 ESPN Pittsburgh) – 5-7. It’s a brutal September slate for WVU. The team could easily be 1-4 by the end of the month, with the lone win against Duquesne. Things do look up starting in October. The Mountaineers see all four new Big 12 teams, in place of four programs they lost to last year (KU, KSU, Texas, and ISU). While Neal Brown’s squad has plenty of questions surrounding it, so do many of the Mountaineers Big 12 opponents as well. I see WVU finishing 5-7 once again, just like in 2022.

Andrew Stockey (WTAE-TV) – 4-8.

Cassidy Wood (WOWK-TV) – 5-7. I think WVU will finish either at .500, or 5-7. The opener in Happy Valley is going to be very difficult. I think they might be able to cover the 3 touchdown spread, but won’t come much closer than that. Duquesne could be an easy win. Probably their easiest game of the season. Then the backyard brawl… after that heartbreaking loss last year… the JT interception… the Mountaineers need to win this one. This is also my HCNB watch game because if he losses this one, he will be on the HOT hot seat. Tech and TCU will both win. There are a lot of storylines in the Houston game and I could see Dana being real aggressive and try to put on a show, especially because that one is at the Cougars den. So right there you’re already sitting at 2-4. Then 2 maybe 3 more wins in the back half of the season. Possibly beating Cincy, maybe BYU. But definitely no one else.

Dave Weekley (WV MetroNews) – 6-6. I’ve got WVU at 6-6. Look at it this way; the Mountaineers should easily handle Duquesne and have a reasonable shot at taking down all four of the Big 12 newcomers. If that scenario plays out, the Mountaineers will need to find only one more win to go bowling.

Schuyler Callihan (WVU FanNation – SI) 6-6. The first half of the schedule is brutal. But if the Mountaineers can keep their head above water through the month of September, I like their chances to get bowl eligible. With multiple winnable games down the stretch and with a veteran o-line and deep RB room, there is a path to postseason football for the first time since 2020.

Cody Nespor (Dominion Post) – 6-6. I think CJ Donaldson is a legitimate superstar tail back running behind a really good offensive line. Transfers on defense won’t fix all of their issues, but the unit will be much closer to league average than last season. The ability to run the ball and an improved defense will keep them in more games than not and there is enough talent on offense to win some contests late.

Matty Staudt (Jam Street Media) – 9-3. Why? Coach has nothing to lose and the team wants to help the coach keep his job. Hungry team equals winning team!

I would also add that offense has the potential to shock some teams and defense (that has taken so many hits in the press) has a lot to prove.

Justin “Couz” Walker (WVU fan, host of popular YouTube channel) – 7-5. I feel like having all four Big 12 newcomers on the schedule helps (WVU wins 3 of those 4), plus a few teams will not be as good as expected: Baylor and Oklahoma State for example. The Pitt game being in Morgantown at night should help win that one, and of course the Duquesne game (that’s seven).

Ethan Bock (WV Sports Now) – 5-7. I don’t think West Virginia will be as easy of a win as the rest of the Big 12 thinks, some don’t even think the Mountaineers can eclipse three wins. I do think WVU’s schedule prevents them from making any jump in year five with Neal Brown. West Virginia’s run game is one of the best in the conference and I think Garrett Greene’s grittiness alone can win some games. The problem is this team could be limping into the month of October and fall behind once again.

Logan Carney (WV Sports Now) – 5-7. I have very little faith in this year’s iteration of the Mountaineers making a bowl berth, granted I don’t think they’ll be a three-win team like some others. The schedule is tough, including road games at No. 7 Penn State, No. 17 TCU and No. 20 Oklahoma that I envision as losses. The Backyard Brawl is a coin flip that I’m giving to Pitt for having a much better roster, but that can really go either way. Outside of the offensive line, there isn’t a position group for West Virginia that I truly like. There’s some talent, CJ Donaldson deserves a shoutout for one, but not enough to survive an 11-game P5 schedule.

Mike Asti (WV Sports Now) – 6-6. Nothing from the worst season in over 20 years to a winning that’s good enough for Brown to stick around would surprise me, to be honest. And it’s tough to be too confident, but I am going with 6-6 off a gut feeling that West Virginia squeaks out the exact type of back and forth season that makes for the most polarizing offseason possible. I am also confident the Mountaineers have a real shot to win the Backyard Brawl at home.

A losing season means a head coaching search and those who throw it all on Brown can at least be happy about moving on. A bad year means Wren Baker will get to put his own stamp on WVU football and hire his guy.

A winning season may actually create some excitement, kinda like what occurred after the 2020 season and Liberty Bowl win. Most importantly, seven or more wins could cause an uptick in money deposited into the NIL bank and some optimism about the future in a new Big 12 as the all-time winningest blue blood program in the new version of the conference.

But 6-6 will lead to some pointing to Brown’s record still firmly under .500 and uncertainty and arguing he’s just not met the standard. That is how much each and every game matters for Brown and West Virginia this season, arguably one of the most important years in recent memory.


What do you think? Tell us in the comments.

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