Is West Virginia the Worst Program In The BIG 12?

West Virginia In 2019

It’s been a rough start for Neal Brown and the mountaineers.

In week one the Mountaineers struggled to beat FCS opponent JMU. Although disappointing, it wasn’t the end of the world. It was the first game under a new coach. To be fair, they covered the spread and did get the win, you could say they met expectations.

The real issues became apparent the following week. WVU came into week 2 as a 14 point dog to Missouri and proceeded to lose 38-7. Sure Missouri is an SEC school but they just lost to Wyoming the week before and then they put WVU in a body bag.

The biggest take away from week 2 was a lack of offense for WVU- primarily in the run game – after averaging 32 rushing yards per game.

Week 3 showed a glimmer of hope for WVU with their 44-27 win over NC State – but I’m still not sold.  West Virginia generated offense through their QB but that was it. Kendall went 27/40 and for 272 yards and 3 TDs. Unfortunately, their run game was still mediocre at best – 173 yards against a sub par ACC team. This game should not have even been that close.

So overall, WVU is sitting at 2-1 but it’s not a good 2-1. They barely squeaked by JMU and their NC State win was adequate at best. Compound this with the tremendous gaps in the run game and I am not optimistic about WVU going into week 4.

The Big 12

So we know WVU is pretty bad but how do they stack up to the rest of the big 12?

The easiest way to sort things out would be to look at the records in the big 12 and take it from there.

Well, Kansas, Texas Tech, and Texas are all 2-1 and Iowa State is 1-1 with a game in hand. Kansas lost a real nail biter to Coastal 12-7, Texas Tech lost to Arizona 28-14, Texas lost to LSU 45-38, and Iowa State lost to Iowa 18-17. 

It’s pretty clear Kansas’ loss is the only one that sticks out. I think Texas Tech and Iowa State are well rounded teams that will be at the top of the big 12 – behind OU of course – this year. While Texas Tech  might  not be anything special and their QB is injured – they’ve got an adequate defense. I could see them ending slightly above average.

That leaves us with Kansas,
Unfortunately for them, they might be the only team worse than WVU.

WVU Vs Kansas

Kansas’ 12-7 loss to coastal is just as bad as WVU’s 38 -7 to Missouri. I know Missouri is an SEC team but like I said, they lost lost to Wyoming the week before. Kansas lost to a team I forgot existed so there’s that. 

Of course, to get a better idea of who’s worse, we need to look deeper than just wins and losses.

Let’s look at who’s leading these teams. On one hand we have Neal  Brown,  a competent coach with little experience as a HC in a power 5 conference. On the other hand we’ve got Les Miles who’s already coached on “the big stage” and has experience against strong opponents. 

Looking at just this year, Miles demonstrated great leadership and discipline when they blew out Boston College on the road as 20 point dogs, something I haven’t seen from Brown.

I think both guys are solid coaches but I always tend to side with someone who has more experience – in this case its Les Miles. 

There’s also the issue of the run game. I think WVU has more talent than Kansas in the air – but you have to have some kind of run game to be successful. While WVU has essentially nothing right now, the Jayhawks have a solid RB corps led by Pooka Williams Jr – arguably one of the best RBs in the league right now. Pooka has a list of accolades from last year and was voted Preseason All-Big 12 First Team (Athlon) this year.

So far in 2019 WVU is averaging 2.8 yards/rush with 237 rushing yards; and Kansas is averaging 5.2 yards/rush with 201 yards. Ultimately, although the difference is only a few yards, Kansas is more efficient in the run game and I think they have way more potential with Pooka.

Unfortunately for WVU I think their abysmal run game compared to Kansas’s slightly more efficient run game is the nail in the coffin.

It looks like West Virginia is the worse program in the big 12 but there’s only one way to know for sure – they need to go head to head. Fortunately for us, it just so happens WVU and Kansas will be playing this weekend (week 4). I’m obviously taking Kansas this game – who are you taking? 

Let us know on facebook, twitter, or instagram @sattailgate1.

You can also hit me up on Twitter (@tombianchi8) and tell me how brilliant or stupid you think I am – I’ll appreciate it either way. 

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