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A Look at Next Year’s Non-Conference Opponents

By Staff | Jun 30, 2008

Every year around this time the list comes out, and every year West Virginia University fans either roll their eyes or let out a sigh of relief. In this year’s case, I’m doing both; I can’t figure out if I’m intrigued or disgusted.

I’ll start with football, seeing as the pages of Graffiti need more Pat White love.

East Carolina should present no major threat. Even on their home field and even with our questionable defense, this should prove to be an easy win. I give it 15:1 odds of a loss.  And that’s a generous offer to the purple and gold pirates.

Next up is Colorado. I saw a hideous Colorado game on TV last year, so when my dad said this match-up should give us trouble, I thought it over and sneaked a giggle. Not only was the game I saw a flop, but they were playing a mediocre Florida State team on their home field. Needless to say, they only put six points on the board. We won’t let them score anything more than a field goal.

Expect the governor to attend the Auburn game in his usual casual business attire. If there’s one game that a mine disaster wouldn’t keep him from missing, it’s Auburn. He’ll be there, through thick and thin, patting tired players on the backs, whispering hackneyed pep slogans in their ears to boost morale and will the game in his favor. If we lose this one, blame it on this man and this man only.

I’m cautious to mention Villanova because I honestly don’t think its program is worthy of entering Milan Puskar Stadium.

To start off the basketball season, the Mountaineers will play four games as part of the Las Vegas Invitational.

As usual, many small colleges are on tap, including Longwood and Radford. On Nov. 25, the team will play Delaware State in Charleston, a team WVU beat in the first round of 2007’s NIT Championship. If State’s personnel resembles anything close to ‘07’s squad, fans have absolutely nothing to worry about.

The most anticipated of all the match-ups has to be the second half of the Las Vegas Invitational, where the squad will face two out of three of the following teams: Iowa, Kansas State or Kentucky.  

Iowa hasn’t had as much press as the other two, so I’m hoping we play Kansas State and Kentucky, for obvious reasons. Kansas State is the former one-year home of Coach Bob Huggins, and there’s a built-in animosity factor going into a game like that. Kentucky, on the other hand, borders West Virginia, and I’m hoping it will faithfully reenact the legendary Hatfield and McCoy feud. Fans could have a field day with that theme. If the game plays out like the feud (the Hatfields got the best of the McCoys), then logic dictates a WVU win.

The biggest and most assuredly epic of all the non-conference games has to be WVU at Ohio State. It will be payback of sorts considering WVU almost played Ohio State in the National Championship in football. I think we’ll be hungrier. And guess what? They’re coming to Morgantown for a rematch during the 2009-2010 season. With Da’Sean Butler and Wellington Smith ripping it up as seniors, it has all the makings of a new and improved rivalry.

Despite our football and basketball schedules lacking girth compared to some of the powerhouse programs, it’ll still be an uphill battle worth watching.

Contact Patrick at pdolan@graffitiwv.com