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Is West Virginia on Upset Alert in Week One?



Photo by Christopher Hall

Finally, football is back and the city of Morgantown will be filled with energy and excitement all week long leading up to the Mountaineers season opener with James Madison.

Many college football experts have tabbed this game as a potential upset in the making. The Dukes return a lot of talent from a team that went 9-4 last year and made it to the 2nd round of the FCS playoffs, while first year WVU head coach Neal Brown and company have some challenging holes to fill.

Replacing Will Grier, David Sills and those guys won’t be easy, but the talent is there. We’ve talked about that talent all summer long and throughout camp and we will finally see how it all comes together this Saturday. Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall won the starting quarterback job and at receiver you will likely see a combination of returnees T.J. Simmons, Sam James, Tevin Bush, Bryce Wheaton and the two transfers Sean Ryan and George Campbell.

There’s a lot of new faces littered throughout the offense and even the defense.

Defensive coordinator Vic Koenning will have to replace starting linebacker VanDarius Cowan as he will be suspended for the first four games of the season. The suspension is something that carried over from his time at Alabama and is nothing new, but will be a huge blow not having him in the lineup.

With the departures of Derrek Pitts Jr., Kenny Robinson and E.J. Brown, it has left the secondary extremely thin. So thin that true freshman Nicktroy Fortune and Tacorey Turner are looking at serious playing time in 2019.

According to, the Mountaineers are currently listed as a touchdown favorite, with a projected score of 41.0-30.6.

It’s easy to look at this game and say, “Yeah, West Virginia has a lot to replace and with a new staff it will be even more challenging,” but the cupboard is not completely bare. Personally, I don’t believe that the Mountaineers are a serious candidate to be upset, but this is one FCS program you do not want to overlook.

An upset can happen, sure, but a lot of things will need to go the Dukes way to be able to pull it off.

**Note: The Mountaineers have yet to lose to an FCS opponent since the FCS formed in 1978.

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