WVU takes strong reputation to Big 12
College Football Videos
DALLAS — West Virginia hasn't played a game in the Big 12 Conference, yet the Mountaineers have already generated water-cooler talk around the league.
West Virginia was picked to finish second in the conference behind Oklahoma, which entered last season ranked No. 1 in the nation. Senior quarterback Geno Smith was selected as the league's preseason offensive player of the year ahead of Oklahoma senior quarterback Landry Jones, who was mentioned as a Heisman Trophy candidate in 2011.
The Big 12 hasn't seen much of the Mountaineers in person. However, their reputation already precedes them.
“They'll come in and compete immediately,'' Iowa State coach and former Pitt defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads said Monday at Big 12 media day. “I would expect them to come in and compete for a conference championship; they're that level of program.''
West Virginia's players understand the challenge they'll face while taking a step up in competition.
The Mountaineers realize that coming from the Big East, they'll be expected to play with more consistency against Big 12 teams, which had six members finish in the final Top 25 poll last season.
“It'll be a big transition, but they're saying we're playing NFL teams. It's ridiculous,'' West Virginia sophomore linebacker Jared Barber said. “Yeah, we talk about it. I think we understand what's in front of us. It'll be bigger, but I don't think it'll be what everybody's making it out to be. We're going to play West Virginia football and not worry about who we're playing.''
West Virginia will be playing in a league so talented that Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby declared, “We have the uniqueness this year of having the start of the season with three conference champions (Oklahoma State, Big 12; West Virginia, Big East; TCU, Mountain West). We had six teams win 10 games last year. The talent pool in the Big 12 takes a back seat to no organization.''
John Harris is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.