MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The nattering nabobs of negativism came out in unfiltered bluster after WVU managed only a teetering tidbit of trivial triumph against William & Mary. One of the few sure-fire victories on this season’s schedule remained a tussle into the final three minutes before the Mountaineers survived for a win that was immediately filed under “meh.”

Ben Queen/MetroNews photo

WVU defensive lineman Will Clarke (98) celebrates after making a second-half tackle against William & Mary.

Now, ready or not, comes the Week 2 trip to Soonerland, where Bud Wilkinson won 47 straight games, Barry Switzer stockpiled trophies atop scandal and John Blake nearly crippled the empire. Though Bob Stoops restored Oklahoma to its national championship perch, the Sooners now occupy an uncomfortable rut—four seasons removed from contending for the top spot, and not much indication that they can avoid a fifth.

Oklahoma sits No. 16 in the AP poll and sounds genuinely pleased by a 34-0 trouncing of Louisiana-Monroe—the type of outcome to warrant its own “meh” from more ambitious Sooners teams of the past. Pounding a Sun Belt team may be a start, but this crew is still only one game removed from being ginned in the Cotton Bowl, and it marches behind a redshirt freshman quarterback, Trevor Knight, who’s capable of shearing the Mountaineers or gagging hard on his first prime-time platform.

The latter would involve West Virginia bringing significantly more pressure than it did in Week 1, and moreover, reverting to a level of defense it hasn’t shown since 2011. The three-touchdown spread feels enormous, but  hardly unreasonable, given WVU’s reliance on personnel that has yet shown more potential than productivity.

West Virginia’s coaches seemingly possess an inkling their squad isn’t the eighth-best in a 10-team league, and they’re irked by perceptions the program has been in freefall mode since last October. Witness Dana Holgorsen on Thursday night, describing the OU game as “a chance to prove to the nation that we’re not just an afterthought.”

Funny, because on a slightly grander scale, Stoops and his program are trying to prove the same.

Pick: Oklahoma 28-17

Ranking the other Big 12 games:

1. No. 15 Texas 30, BYU 21: (Longhorns -7) Mack Brown’s players worked out in elevation training masks for this matchup of future Big 12 members—yes, we’re still beating the drum for some LDS inclusion. BYU already fits the Big 12 profile after running 93 plays at Virginia last week, though the Cougs’ somehow turned all those snaps into a measly 16 points.
2. No. 13 Oklahoma State 38, Texas-San Antonio 14: (Cowboys -26) The Roadrunners are a second-year FBS program coached by Larry Coker, meaning that even if they spring a monumental upset, Butch Davis will get all the credit.
3. Kansas State 30, Louisiana-Lafayette 21: (Wildcats -10) While Mark Hudspeth has steered ULaLa to consecutive nine-win seasons, we’re more impressed that he recently benched 225 pounds 25 times. We’re hoping he’s cautious with Bill Snyder during the postgame handshake.
4. No. 23 Baylor 54, Buffalo 21: (Bears -27.5) Last week the Bulls netted $1 million while absorbing a 23-point loss at Ohio State, and now comes another cash-for-smash game in Waco.
5. No. 24 TCU 37, Southeastern Louisiana 10: (no line) Can the Horned Frogs stop Michael Vick? Considering this one’s a 270-pound offensive lineman for SLU, yes, they probably can. The bigger question is can TCU slow down Bryan Bennett, the Oregon transfer who three years ago came out of high school as Rivals’ No. 15-rated quarterback.
6. Kansas 34, South Dakota 17: (no line) Losers of 11 in a row, the Jayhawks can’t wait to take out their frustration on the Coyote Uglies, who last season went 1-10, essentially making them the Kansas of the FCS.
7. Texas Tech 66, Stephen F. Austin 17: (no line) Question: After the Lumberjacks surrendered 50 points to Weber State, how many single-game records can the Red Raiders offense expect to smash Saturday? Answer: As many as they wish.
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  • Justin

    WVU run defense is underrated this year and so is the Mountaineer running attack. Nick O'Toole will be the player of the game. OU's QB issues will come to light and the Mountaineers will pull the upset 35-28

    • William


  • Little Terry

    New Rules For Posters.
    If you know a lot about football, alignments and schemes and still think WVU could be a good team you shouldn't be allowed to post...
    Come on people lets be real we are a long way from being a good team. Its nice to think we could beat OK, anything can happen, and I will be right there with you hoping it does.

    • big tom


    • Charles

      15-7 against a horrible Syracuse team in 2005 says you don't know anything. Did you know we had backs missing holes all day Saturday??? Missing big play potential. New scheme!! We are pulling lineman unlike previous years under holgerson. New I line coach. This stuff does not jell day 1. But it will. Will it tomorrow. Don't know. Could it. Yes. This team will get better each week and won't reach full potential till later. Whether we win or lose tomorrow wont determine our final destiny either. Just don't jump back on when it gets fun.

      • Joe Cool

        Good thing the other teams won't be getting better each week.

      • Concerned

        Amen. Finally someone who actually knows what a football is.

      • Maxxajay

        @ Charles like your post like all the good things you had to say ....

  • Hoppy

    The defense is still a joke!

    • cutty77

      @ Hoppy,
      Ok Einstien Tell me the last Time WVU held anybody scoreless in the 2nd Half?

  • cutty77

    WVU is One and 0

  • Sam

    "The nattering nabobs of negativism came out in unfiltered bluster after WVU managed only a teetering tidbit of trivial triumph against William & Mary." -- Heck of a lead for a sports story, Allan. How long have you been waiting to use that intro? :)

    Both teams are under pressure, but nothing that a win won't cure. That said, a win would restore excitement to our program, but a win for Oklahoma, unless it's convincing, won't necessarily restore excitement to theirs.

  • Buster

    Charles, most of us have a life besides football and I didn't know a deep knowledge of offense/defense schemes was a prerequisite to post on this site. Dude, it's just a game.

    • Charles

      Then relax and just watch and quit complaint about the world coming to an end after 1 game. Like a season's destiny is determined game 1. If watching wvu is such a torture to fans. Don't watch. Quit acting like as a fan than you know more about football than guys that have grew up and get paid to do it.

      • Joe

        Charles.....I bet you are the center of attention at your high school reunions. We are fans who simply want to be engaged in the conversation and express an opinion. BTW, which sideline reporter, Jed Drenning or Amanda Mazey?!

        Queue the the "I was a linebacker tough guy response".

  • WVU_93

    If as I suspect we ran a very basic offense to not tip our hand to OU and nearly got caught, some eyes could be opened this weekend.

    • MountainMover

      If we ran a basic offense it actually wasn't that bad, we moved the ball but didn't finish drives in the first half. We did better in the second half and likely could've scored at the end if we didn't sit on it. The defense pursued and tackled better, but the real concern is our cornerbacks. Even if we play well offensively and score, and even if we get pressure on their young QB, it seems lately any QB can just throw it up and if the ball is in the same area code as a receiver they come down with it. Agree with you though, I look for us to be better and more creative on offense.

  • big tom

    we don't have a tavon , a Stedman , or a geno......our def. is no better than last yr.
    read between the lines,,, 38-10 okla. and im being generous with wvu,,, miracles do happen and some things happen for a reason,, and being that okla is more talented, is faster , bigger, quicker, we just don't have a chance and I think we fall behind early and never lead....the 38 pts. could be even larger,,,i was conservative in my prediction.

  • Big Larry

    Get ready to watch on "old fashioned butt kickin" because you are going to see one tomorrow night...

    Oklahoma 52 WVU 10

    • WVAtty

      Why even watch Big Larry? Why don't you just dust off the old Archie Bunker video tapes and keep your miserable comments to yourself. You and William are a waste with your constant negativity and BS comments. It is so old.

    • Charles

      New rule for posters. If you do not know what a eagle front, weak eagle, g, what a 2 technique, 3, 5, 7, 9, or where the coverage actually is on cov 2, 3, 4 or 1 free please do not post. You show complete football ignorance and insults a complete fanbase. Football teams take more than 1 game to gell. I bet you complained the first 6 weeks of 2005 also and wanted rr fired. Qb battle. Defense was unknown.

      • GW

        All that smack to misspell the word "gel".

      • derek

        Oh Charles what level of college or pro do you coach at. Probably the ACQ College of want to but don't.

        • Charles

          If you want to know I played a few times against our sideline reporter and coached against him too. Some of us can't do the low paying jobs you have to getting started in coaching. Holgerson's volunteer jobs early and stipends of 5000 a year early in his career wouldn't feed my kid. So I decided another path. Have fun. Just watch and cheer. 1 game does not decide a team's destiny. Remember 15-7 2005 against a 1-10 Syracuse team. Chill!!

      • Mark

        Well aren't you special with your fancy football terminology.

  • Shawn

    We are very young and unproven. Hopefully we can put pressure on there young QB and he will turn the ball over to us. I think we will have a sleeper player open up some eyes for us. My guess on who that is Wendall Smallwood. he has a monster game and we pull off the upset 31-27.

  • Dave

    How about this... Childress is a surprise starter and lights up the scoreboard with a wild passing attack focusing on White and Alford. The defense actually covers the receivers and there's a good pass rush. WVU 49 OU 6. I love dreaming

    • Bobby M

      YEP! SURE sounds like DREAM to me too!

      I'm ready SOONER now OR later!
      Rock N ROLL RUMBLE!

  • Dale

    Very true however WV had scores of proven athletes then. This game involves a group that has not been tested. Hugh challenge. Hope for some turnovers and few penalties with solid running game to keep Oklahoma offense off the field!

  • tw eagle

    there is a big difference from the fiesta bowl and the game scheduled for tomorrow . . .the WVU fiesta team had proven talent , but was
    deemed to be in deep turmoil from the abrupt departure of their head coach . . .this team as yet , doesn't have a 'track record' . . .I personally like this WVU team and think they have the "right stuff" . . .in November , this team will beat oakie , but at this point in the season i'm not sure how well they have gelled as a team . . .
    Let's Goo Mountaaiinneeerrrsss ! !

  • al

    Remember, no body gave the Mountaineers even a slight chance just a few short years ago in the Fiesta bowl against OU.

    • Bondo

      Or against Clemson

    • DWM

      That WVU team should have been playing Ohio State and winning the National Championship instead of trouncing Oklahoma. That was a perfect storm and Oklahoma had no chance.

      This won't be a blow out, We'll lose by ten and it will be the offense we'll be questioning in the aftermath of the the game. Final 24-14.

      • Maxxajay

        I am not sure how many of West Virginia fans remember, Bob stoops tried to get a higher ranked team to come to that Fiesta Bowl off 2007.. He did not want to play a lower -ranked team because when they won. They wanted to be ranked close enough to maybe win a championship... '. Put that on the bulletin board coach ' West Virginia usually plays the level of their competition like last week.... I hope they get jacked up and play the intensity and of the level of Oklahoma Saturday... West Virginia can win at Oklahoma...WVU by 3....

    • must go

      The 07 was a good team. WVU was not given a chance because is is WVU.

      Those "Game Day" goofballs Corso and Herbstiet, NEVER give WV a chance against enyone.

    • Grant

      Not much of a comparison. The 07 team was legit. This team will be extremely LUCKY to win 8 games. Don't get me wrong, it won't take a 'miracle' like most think, but this will be a MUCH bigger 'upset' than the Fiesta Bowl.

      • BH

        I agree. IMHO the 07 team was the best ever. (which makes that loss to Pitt STILL hard for me to figure out- thanks for making me think about it Grant :)

      • MountainMover

        Agree, WVU was wayyyy underrated going into that game. Many TV prognosticators believed Rodriguez's departure on top of losing a shot at the national championship would cause them to mail it in.

      • clearanceman

        8 games? I'm guess three more or a total of four. Our schedule is tough this year.

  • big tom

    I struggle with the idea of wvu scoring that many pts// I say 10 a very anemic 10.
    I am sure we didn't show our hand last sat. but then again, I think we are in the bottom tier of the big 12 and okla is in the top/
    I am comfortable with the spread, I think that's pretty close to how it will turn out,, maybe give them another td.
    offensively, we are really really inexperienced. who knows how millard will cope with 80 thou, screaming sooners.
    Our D is miles away from much improvement over last yr..
    too bad this game is so early, we certainly needed some tune up games before this one..
    What scares me it that I really think Maryland will also beat us... t hen I see us struggling to win 5 games,
    I like our coaching staff,, they must show us they can recruit and quickly.. right now, it doesn't look good.
    I feel that this maybe the worst team in yrs. Now I certainly hope they prove me wrong, but I don't see us as a very talented team.

    • William

      It's a sad year to be a Mountaineer fan, no matter where you may be!
      FIRE DANA "YOU KNOW" HOLGERSON and BOB "SWEATSUIT" HUGGINS and bring in coaches with GREAT CHARACTER! Why does WVU hire guys with so much BAGGAGE?

      • William

        It was a BIG mistake that WVU got in the BIG 12, who cares about teams half way across the USA. It is sad that WVU must schedule cupcake non- conf. teams, this is the only way they have a chance for a winning season. WVU fans should start booking their rooms in NY, because it will be THE PINSTRIPE BOWL AGAIN!

        • GF

          Too lazy to even write a post, you just cut and paste the same thing on every article. What a loser.

        • BH

          No, not a mistake. The Big 12 is a much better conference. As a fan , I like the challenge the Big 12 offers.