With six games down and six more to go in the 2013 season, West Virginia’s record stands at 3-3 and the team is halfway to qualifying for bowl eligibility.
Including the Texas Tech game Saturday, the Mountaineers have three home games left in the season, while they travel to face Kansas State, TCU and Kansas to close out their road schedule.
After an up-and-down first half of the season during which West Virginia faced three top-25 teams in Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Baylor. WVU also took on Maryland in the first half of the season, a team that has been in and out of the top 25.
As it stands, No. 16 Texas Tech is the only ranked team left on West Virginia’s schedule. Don’t let that fool you. The road to bowl eligibility for the Mountaineers is still tough.
The next four games for West Virginia will be particularly challenging. Texas Tech comes into Morgantown undefeated with a record of 6-0. Despite injuries to two of its quarterbacks, Michael Brewer and Baker Mayfield, the Red Raiders are off to their best start since 2008.
West Virginia travels to Manhattan, Kan., Oct. 26 to take on the Kansas State Wildcats. Despite their record of 2-4, the Wildcats have been a tough team to beat this season. During its last 24 home games, the Wildcats have posted a record of 19-5 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.
West Virginia will then play TCU in Fort Worth Nov. 2. The Horned Frogs have endured one of the most grueling schedules in the Big 12 this season. With its losses coming to LSU, Oklahoma and Texas Tech – all of which are now in the top 25 – TCU is much better than its .500 record.
Following back-to-back road games against Kansas State and TCU, West Virginia comes home to take on a Texas Longhorn team that might have turned its season around and saved head coach Mack Brown’s job with an upset win against then-No. 12 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry Saturday. Although starting quarterback David Ash has been out with an injury, backup quarterback Case McCoy has filled in nicely, going 3-1 since taking over.
The Mountaineers then finish off the season with two winnable games, on the road against Kansas Nov. 16 and at home against Iowa State Nov. 30.
Even if you count the last two games of the season as wins, which I would recommend you not to do so, West Virginia would still need one more victory to be bowl eligible.
In order to reach six wins, West Virginia has to find a way to win at least two of its final three home games.
In 2012, No. 5 West Virginia went into Lubbock, Texas, with a 5-0 record to face an unranked Texas Tech team. The Red Raiders were all over West Virginia from start to finish and pulled off the upset 49-14.
The roles of the two teams have been reversed this season. Texas Tech comes to Morgantown as a favored top-25 team, with unranked West Virginia now hoping to spring the upset.
With back-to-back road games looming, this game becomes important for West Virginia. A win will keep the team on track for its 12th consecutive season of reaching bowl eligibility, while a loss could be detrimental to the Mountaineers’ postseason aspirations.