After back-to-back season going bowling under Neal Brown, West Virginia returned to a five-win campaign last fall. Will the Mountaineers climb back up the Big 12 rankings in the 2023 college football season or is a slippery descent coming down that country road? Our West Virginia season predictions may have some answers for Mountaineers fans.
West Virginia Season Predictions: Predicting the Game-By-Game Results
Using groupthink, College Football Network analysts have painstakingly gone through every game for every team in the Big 12 and across the country.
Picking these games straight up with a projected score using the rosters as up-to-date as the last spring practice, the West Virginia season predictions indicate what fans can possibly expect for the Mountaineers in 2023.
Week 1 – West Virginia @ Penn State: Loss, 21-35
West Virginia begins their 2023 college football campaign in primetime against Penn State, the first meeting of the two teams in over 30 years. The Mountaineers haven’t won in University Park since 1954, and with the Nittany Lions boasting one of the best running back duos in the nation amongst a plethora of elite talent, Penn State has the clear upper hand here.
Week 2 – West Virginia vs. Duquesne: Win, 39-7
The Mountaineers have proved too big an obstacle to climb for FCS teams, having never lost to a non-FBS opponent in the history of the program. Although James Madison played them close in 2019, we don’t foresee Duquesne posing those same problems as West Virginia notches up a first win of the season.
Week 3 – West Virginia vs. Pittsburgh: Loss, 24-27
The Backyard Brawl gave us an incredible game of football one year ago, introducing the world to freshman phenom C.J. Donaldson. Although Pittsburgh lost a number of their suffocating defense from last fall, they return enough talent on both sides of the ball to pose significant problems for West Virginia. We predict a closer game, but the same result for WVU.
Week 4 – West Virginia vs. Texas Tech: Loss, 21-31
Texas Tech takes a four-game winning streak into Morgantown in Week 4 of the 2023 college football season and is arguably the form team in the Big 12. Although West Virginia added a combination of transfers and recruits to their secondary in an attempt to boost one of the Big 12’s most beleaguered passing defenses, Joey McGuire’s team may prove too offensively strong.
Week 5 – West Virginia @ TCU: Loss, 24-28
There’s substantial roster turnover at TCU, which has the potential to put the national championship runners-up into turmoil this fall. However, a trio of Alabama transfers on offense plus returning back Emani Bailey should give the Horned Frogs enough of an offensive advantage while kicker Griffin Kell could prove a difference-maker in a tight game.
Week 7 – West Virginia @ Houston: Loss, 20-21
Dana Holgorsen welcomes his former team to John O’Quinn Field as the Houston Cougars settle into life in the Big 12. Although Houston’s defense failed to live up to its potential last fall, they return several enforcers on the defensive front who can be a thorn in the side of the West Virginia offense.
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On offense, Houston is led by Donovan Smith, who completed the scoring for Texas Tech against West Virginia last fall. Smith gives Houston a slight edge over the Mountaineers at the QB position, with a battle between Garrett Greene and Nicco Marchiol still raging into summer camp.
Week 8 – West Virginia vs. Oklahoma State: Loss, 20-23
West Virginia closed out its 2022 campaign with a win over Mike Gundy’s Oklahoma State team in Stillwater. However, the Mountaineers haven’t beaten the Cowboys in Morgantown since 2013, and Oklahoma State added some important defensive reinforcements from the transfer portal. In a sign of how competitive the Big 12 will be, it’s another tight loss for WVU.
Week 9 – West Virginia @ UCF: Loss, 20-30
UCF got turned over the last two times these teams met, but that was almost 20 years ago and much has changed since then. UCF won’t be a walkover for anyone in the Big 12 during their inaugural season in the conference, and WVU’s defense may struggle to contain dual-threat quarterback John Rhys Plumlee, similar to their struggles against Kansas in 2022.
Week 10 – West Virginia vs. BYU: Loss, 27-30
Kedon Slovis put up over 300 yards on the West Virginia defense last fall as he led Pitt to a win in the “Backyard Brawl,” and he returns to torment the Mountaineers’ defense once more in 2023. While that familiarity will attract pre-game attention, watch out for new Cougars running back Aidan Robbins to be the sledgehammer to WVU hearts in this tight Week 10 clash.
Week 11 – West Virginia @ Oklahoma: Loss, 23-32
Greene torched the Oklahoma defense to the tune of 119 rushing yards and two touchdowns in a West Virginia win over the Sooners last fall. However, the Mountaineers haven’t won in Norman since 1982, and with Oklahoma expected to be a substantially improved team in their second year under Brent Venables, our season predictions don’t envisage a repeat result.
Week 12 – West Virginia vs. Cincinnati: Win, 26-23
It took until Week 12, but our West Virginia season predictions finally have the Mountaineers getting a Big 12 win. With a new head coach and a substantially overhauled roster, the Cincinnati Bearcats may have the most uncertainty of any team in the conference. After coming out on the wrong side of multiple close games, WVU closes out a tight one with a three-point win.
Week 13 – West Virginia @ Baylor: Loss, 26-27
West Virginia is 1-4 in Waco, with its sole victory coming in a close game in 2017. Our season predictions forecast another tight affair, but Baylor’s offensive line — buoyed by the addition of Clark and Campbell Barrington — should be strong enough to resist the Mountaineers’ defensive advances and give the ground game led by Richard Reese enough room to eke out a win.