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Where Does WVU Football Rank in Phil Steele’s Preseason Top 40?

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WVU Football Jahiem White and Hudson Clement

Coming off of a 9-win season that was capped off by a bowl win, WVU looks to continue its momentum into the 2024 campaign. So where does Phil Steele have the Mountaineers on his preseason top 40 list? Did they even make the cut?

Steele currently has West Virginia at No. 35, placing Neal Brown’s team sixth in the Big 12. He also has newcomer Utah as the clear front runner in the conference at No. 8, Oklahoma State at No. 15, Kansas State at No. 23, Iowa State taking a step forward and coming in at No. 29, Arizona at No. 30 in their debut season and then Kansas two spots behind WVU at No. 37.

For a comparison, Athlon Sports has West Virginia just outside their current top 25 at No. 26.

But despite the increased expectations from fans and the surprise success of 2023, the ESPN FPI is projecting WVU to struggle to even reach bowl eligibility. Major sportsbooks also have West Virginia’s over/under win total only set at 6.5 and view the Mountaineers as a heavy underdog in their season opening game to Penn State, granted Athlon likely agrees with the latter since they have the Nittany Lions as their No. 8 best team in the country and a contender for making the College Football Playoff.

Fans may argue the Mountaineers are being disrespected by some while others may feel talk of winning a conference title is premature, but one thing is certain – Brown and the rest of the coaching staff prefer to be the underdog. However, any of the low projections are interesting, taking into account most of the key players are returning and the schedule is arguably similar to last year.

After a 9-4 (6-3) season and a Duke’s Mayo Bowl victory, West Virginia is hungry to start the 2024 season getting revenge on the Nittany Lions. Penn State beat WVU in the 2023 season opener at Beaver Stadium 38-15. Penn State would finish the year at 10-3 (7-2), losing to Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl.

Of course, the success or failure of the 2024 Mountaineers will largely depend on the play of Garrett Greene and if he lives up the hype or stays stagnate.

For a related story, Brown, who was firmly on the hot seat at this time one year ago, has moved way up the national coaching ranks.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. jackson five

    June 30, 2024 at 4:12 pm

    i do think we have a darn good backup qb,, so i anticipate that 1. greene will get hurt sometime during the season, if he runs alot,and 2. our backup qb won’t be much of a letdown , even if any,,, but if we win 8 games it was a very good season, we just have to recruit better and better, and we have to generate huge amts of NIL money,, college football is basically all about money now and average coaching,,

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