MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WV News) — With more transfers and late roster additions and subtractions than ever before, getting a read on the way a future football schedule will play out is even more difficult than it used to be, when rosters were far more stable and coaching staffs weren’t flipping like orders of hash browns at the local Waffle House. However, there are a few items of note to highlight, and a couple more to ponder, with the release of West Virginia’s 2022 pigskin slate.
First, and foremost for fans, are two very attendable road games. Short jaunts to Pitt and Virginia Tech should make for full visiting attendance sections at the latter, and much more at the former, if WVU supporters are to hold on to their reputations as road warriors backing their team.
The excitement of opening against Pitt should build anticipation throughout the spring and summer, and although it’s tough to decipher now just what each squad will look like, that shouldn’t lessen what will be one of the better buildups to a season.
WVU and Pitt have faced off 104 times on the football field, but only 10 of those have come in WVU’s season opener, with the Panthers holding a narrow 6-4 lead in those contests.
Three weeks later, it’s a trip to Blacksburg, with the Mountaineers looking to defend the Black Diamond Trophy, which they retook with a 27-21 win this year. Virginia Tech will be one of three teams with a first year head coach that WVU will face in 2022.
In between, WVU hosts Kansas and Towson, and will be favored in both those contests. As in 2021, getting off to a good start will be vital, and the Mountaineers didn’t get that done, starting out the campaign 2-4 before rallying to get to a bowl. A 3-1 record in the first four games of 2022 will be the minimum needed to build improvement, and a 4-0 start would be much better, because the 2022 schedule is backloaded.
That doesn’t necessarily include the first game in October, in which WVU goes to Texas, because the Longhorns continue to be the most overrated program in the country. The Mountaineers are 5-5 against UT in Big 12 play, and shouldn’t have any confidence fears in making that trip, but it will constitute the back end of a pair of consecutive road games.
From there, though, it gets more difficult. WVU hosts Baylor on a Thursday-nighter at home, and it will be interesting to see what attendance and support is like for that mid-week encounter. The Mountaineers and Bears traded Thursday night games in 2018 and 2019, with each team winning at home. WVU then makes the tiring, lengthy trip to Lubbock to face a Texas Tech team that has won three straight against WVU, and that’s one that the Mountaineers will need to win if it has hopes of finishing in the top half of the league.
A home game against TCU, with new head coach Sonny Dykes, could give the chance for back to back wins, but then it’s Iowa State, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Oklahoma State, alternating on the road and at home, to close out the regular season. WVU is just 12-27 against that quartet in Big 12 play, and has to make big jumps in order to be competitive against three of those schools. The potential of that tough finishing stretch makes it all the more important for the Mountaineers to get off to a quality start.