It should not come as a surprise that West Virginia will not be in any top 25 preseason rankings before the 2020 college football season. CBS Sports ranked all 130 college football teams on Wednesday and placed the Mountaineers at 82.
I could make an argument that the Mountaineers should be in consideration to be around the 25-mark, mainly based on the defense, but the lack of proven offensive firepower makes it a tough sell.
However, there is a lot of optimism surrounding the program, and rightfully so. West Virginia finished the season going 2-1 in the final three games, including an upset win over nationally-ranked Kansas State.
Then, there is a brief history of Neal Brown’s head coaching career. His success from year one to year two, turning a 4-8 Troy team into 10 wins and conference champs, followed by him sustaining that success is what ultimately led to his hiring at West Virginia.
The Mountaineers are coming off a 5-7 season, and albeit not stellar offensive production, West Virginia brings most of that production from last season. Then add in his confidence that West Virginia will be the “most improved team in college football”, there is some excitement in the air around Morgantown.
West Virginia could create some momentum early starting with the season opener with Florida State. Although CBS Sports places them at number 56, the Mountaineers schedule is favorable early despite facing a talented Florida State team game one, but they’ll be under year one with former Memphis head coach Mike Norvell.
Next, they will face FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky at home before hosting Maryland (110) the following week.
Florida State by no means is an easy win, but if they can start the season 3-0, West Virginia could potentially face their first top 25 opponent of the season in their Big 12 Conference opener against Kansas State (26) at Mountaineer Field.
The potential is there early for West Virginia to make their presence felt on the national landscape, but it all starts with game one against Florida State on September 5 in Atlanta.
Big 12 Standings according to CBS Sports 130
1. Oklahoma (8)
2. Baylor (10)
3. Oklahoma State (25)
4. Kansas State (26)
5. Texas (33)
6. Iowa State (38)
7. TCU (61)
8. West Virginia (82)
9. Texas Tech (88)
10. Kansas (109)
*The numbers in parenthesis indicate CBS Sports 130 preseason ranking
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