8th: Big 12
1st: West Virginia
49th: Division I
2017 In A Sentence: West Virginia started out the season well and were 7-3 after 10 games but a injury to QB Will Grier had the Mountaineers tailspin with three straight losses including a Heart of Dallas Bowl loss to Utah to finish at just 7-6.
Biggest Shoes to Fill: RB Justin Crawford rushed for 2,244 yards and 11 touchdowns in his two seasons as a Mountaineer. One of the major highlights of Crawford’s career came against Oklahoma in 2016, when the then-junior rushed for 331 yards. He was signed to a college free agent contract by the Atlanta Falcons this past spring.
Key Player: QB Will Grier considered leaving before his senior season for the NFL draft but decided to come back to Morgantown for one more college shot with the Mountaineers. Last year, he threw for 3,490 yards before the aforementioned injury to a finger on his throwing hand sidelined him the last three games of the year. He was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year after coming to WVU from Florida and sitting out a year. He has four of his top receivers back and very well could be in the Heisman Trophy discussion at the end of the season.
Fearless Prediction: The WVU offense should have no trouble scoring points but the key to more than the seven-win season it had last year. The defense ranked last in the Big 12 last year. If the Mountaineers can just slow down the opposition enough, they will at least get back to the seven-win plateau. However, that is a big ‘if’ and that seems unlikely especially given just five starters back this fall.