With the 2018 season halfway over and West Virginia still in position to reach the Big 12 championship game if it can win out, it’s way too early to start thinking about the 2019 season. But it’s an open week. And the 2019 schedule was released on Thursday. So we’re going to cheat and start thinking about 2019, dang it.
Most exciting game
Texas, Oct. 5
By next season, people won’t be asking “Is Texas back?” anymore. The Longhorns will have arrived by Tom Herman’s third year in charge. They’ll be in Morgantown after an open date for the Mountaineers, which typically shapes up as an ideal time to spring an upset. (Disadvantage: The Horns are also coming into the game with an off week).
With Will Grier, David Sills and a host of talented players on the way out after this season, you can already set it in stone that the Mountaineers will be an underdog in this one. But that always makes for a festive atmosphere.
Most exciting game (had it been this year)
At Missouri, Sept. 7
A shootout between Will Grier and Drew Lock? Sign me up!
Wait – they’re both graduating and potentially getting drafted in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft? Well, shoot.
What could have been the type of early-season matchup that College GameDay would have shown up for if it took place this season will feel absolutely anti-climactic next September as both teams will likely be trusting inexperienced quarterbacks with much less explosive offenses than they currently possess.
What could have been a classic will instead closer resemble the 2016 snoozer in Morgantown between the Tigers and Mountaineers that West Virginia won 26-11.
Least appealing game
At Kansas State, Nov. 16
Manhattan, Kan. in mid-November? Surely there are worse fates. But I’ve yet to be introduced to one.
Don’t sleep on…
James Madison, Aug. 31
You can start the upset alert now, because the Dukes are a nightmare waiting to happen.
There are FCS teams, and then there’s James Madison. West Virginia fans surely cackled with delight when JMU upset ranked Virginia Tech in 2010, but the Dukes didn’t stop there. James Madison has FBS wins against SMU and East Carolina in the years since, and gave N.C. State quite a fight before falling 24-13 in this year’s season opener.
With the Mountaineers likely breaking in Grier’s replacement, this opener is a more worrisome matchup than you’d think.