The regular season did not end the way most Mountaineer faithful would have liked. However, the season itself is not over.
Over the next week bowl projections will be the topic of the day for most programs around the nation, including WVU. Looking through those projections this morning there were two that stood out, one of which Mountaineer fans would either get excited or sick to their stomach about.
Jerry Palm of CBS Sports likes the Mountaineers traveling again to Tempe, Arizona to play in the Cactus Bowl. The last time the Mountaineers traveled to Tempe we saw one of the wildest bowl games in recent WVU football history as the Mountaineers beat Arizona State 43-42. A game that saw a total of 950 passing yards.
This season Palm predicts the Mountaineers will face the Oregon Ducks out of the Pac12. The Ducks finished the regular season 7-5, much in the same fashion the Mountaineers did. They won the games they were supposed to and struggled in games in which they were the underdog.
The Ducks are 2-0 all time vs the Mountaineers who haven’t played each other since 1963.
The second prediction is much more intriguing and much closer to home. Peter Fuitak of College Football News, likes the Mountaineers traveling to Orlando, Fl to play in the Camping World Bowl on December 28th. Their opponent? The Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The Irishs’ loss to Stanford this past Saturday has dropped them out of playoff contention and into the middle of the pack in the ACC in terms of bowl selection.
Although finishing 9-3 on the season the Irish have only beaten one Top 25 team, USC, while losing to all other ranked opponents.
The Irish are 4-0 all time vs the Mountaineers including the Fiesta Bowl in 1989 and last playing in 2000 where Notre Dame beat WVU 42-28.
No matter what bowl game the Mountaineers are selected for, the question of Will Grier’s status will loom large. December 28th would be toward the end of Grier’s recovery time from his surgery, potentially setting up the possibility for an epic comeback. One that could solidify Grier into WVU football history.
It is very likely these predictions can, and will, change over the next week. But remember, bowl selections are based on much more than just records. When taking brand, fan base, and the intrigue of the matchup into consideration, it wouldn’t get much more interesting than West Virginia vs Notre Dame.