WVU Wins, But Heads To Champs Sports Bowl Rather Than BCS

West Virginia hopes to keep its Big East Championship hopes alive with a win against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights on Senior Day in Morgantown.

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West Virginia Bowl Game: WVU To Play In Champs Sports Bowl

West Virginia will play in the Champs Sports Bowl on December 28 in Orlando, the Post-Gazette reports. The Mountaineers’ most likely opponent will be unranked North Carolina State (8-4).

Because UConn beat South Florida yesterday, the Huskies will be heading to a BCS bowl as the Big East’s representative. The Champs Sports Bowl is the next best thing. In his article on Big East (and Big Ten) bowl projections, our own Jeff Junstrom predicted Champs Sports would pick Notre Dame instead of a Big East team, but they ended up picking a ranked Big East squad instead of the Fighting Irish, who will head to the Sun Bowl instead.

North Carolina State would go to the game as the fifth representative from the ACC. The Wolfpack beat a ranked team in Florida State and kept it close against another one in Virginia Tech, so they won’t be pushovers, but losses to East Carolina, Clemson and Maryland kept it out of the AP rankings. NC State will bring a pass-happy game led by quarterback Russell Wilson, and the Wolfpack has played a ton of high-scoring games so far this season

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UConn Defeats South Florida, Keeps West Virginia Out Of BCS

WVU won its game Saturday against Rutgers, but UConn’s 19-16 win over South Florida will keep WVU out of a BCS bowl. UConn’s Dave Teggart hit a 52-yard field goal just before the game ended to clinch the win for the Huskies, who claim the Big East’s BCS berth by posting a 5-2 conference record and beating WVU and Pitt, which had the same conference record.

It’s a shame, really, because despite losing to UConn, WVU is a better team – the Mountaineers are ranked, and didn’t, for example, lose to Rutgers, Louisville and Temple, as the Huskies did. The Big East conference has been a joke this year, but sending a honest-to-goodness decent team in the Mountaineers to a BCS game might have blunted the punchline a little bit. But it wasn’t to be.

The Mountaineers now appear headed to the Meineke Car Care Bowl (to face the ACC’s No. 5 team) or the Champs Sports Bowl (to face the ACC’s No. 3 team).

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Week 14 College Football Rankings: West Virginia Likely To Get A Bump With Victory

While it hardly takes a world-class football team to beat Rutgers, West Virginia is likely to get a bump in the college football rankings this week with its regular-season-ending victory. Arizona and Northern Illinois, both of whom are grouped near WVU in both the BCS rankings and the AP poll, both already lost this week (to Arizona State and Miami of Ohio, respectively). Florida State (No. 20 in the AP poll) faces a very tough matchup against No. 12 Virginia Tech, and No. 18 South Carolina takes on No. 1 Auburn. Both FSU and South Carolina would pick up their fourth losses of the season if they were to lose this week, potentially opening the door for WVU to move up another couple of spots. No. 14 Nevada is also currently losing to Louisiana Tech, but it’s probably unlikely that Nevada would fall enough for the Mountaineers to pass them.

All in all, though, it looks like it might be possible for the Mountaineers to finish the regular season at somewhere around No. 20 in the AP poll after being at No. 23 last week. Let’s hope UConn loses tonight, not only because it would get WVU to a BCS bowl, but also because it would allow the Big East’s BCS representative to be a ranked team.

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College Football Scores, Week 14: West Virginia Beats Rutgers 35-14, Stays In Big East Title Hunt

WVU stayed in the hunt for a BCS berth by beating lowly Rutgers 35-14 on Saturday in Morgantown. Ryan Clarke had three touchdowns for the Mountaineers and Geno Smith threw for 352 yards. Tavon Austin also had three touchdowns for the Mountaineers, one through the air and one on the ground, and picked up 121 yards receiving.

The Mountaineers appeared much more athletic than the Scarlet Knights, who struggled to get anything going offensively. Chas Dodd had 139 yards passing with two touch downs.

The Mountaineers will now turn their eyes toward UConn’s game tonight against the South Florida Bulls. If the Bulls can beat South Florida – and they’re slightly favored – WVU will head to a BCS bowl game despite an imperfect 5-2 conference record. If not, WVU will head to a lesser poll. Either way, the Mountaineers will probably move up a few spots in the polls with the win today, perhaps to around No. 20.

Pitt also won today, defeating the Bearcats 28-10 in snowy conditions in Cincinnati, but were eliminated from BCS contention with WVU's win.

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Rutgers Vs. West Virginia: Mountaineers Hope To Close Out Season With A Win

The final home game of the season comes to Mountaineer Field today at noon as the Mountaineers face off against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. For the WVU football team, their entire season is on the line. While the Mountaineers still need some help tonight from the South Florida Bulls as they play UConn, a glimmer of hope still burns for the BCS. While the Gold and Blue can't help what happens in Tampa, what happens in Morgantown is under their control.

On paper, it should be a cakewalk for the Mountaineers, but those who remember "13-9" won't count their chickens before they hatch. Some thoughts on today's matchup:

  • It's Senior Day.  First and foremost, it means the Noel Devine and Jock Sanders era comes to an end. Devine is the most highly-touted Mountaineer recruit of my lifetime and he has lived up to the hype in his four years Morgantown. I'll always associate Devine with Sanders since they arrived on campus at the same time and seem to be clones of each other. When they go back through the years tallying up the most athletic players in school history, both will finish high on the list. My biggest regret is that after coming back for his senior season, which he didn't have to do, Devine spent most of the season banged-up and ineffectual. Also playing in their final home game's today are much of the foundation of this nationally-ranked defense, including JT Thomas, Pat Lazear, Brandon Hogan, Scooter Berry, Anthony Leonard, Chris Neild and Sidney Glover. It's scary to think of where this team would be without those guys. That's a crew that will be hard to replace next season.
  • The Mountaineer defense has led the way all season, and I expect more of the same. With the Rutgers offensive line being one of the worst in the conference, this could be a huge day for Bruce Irvin and JT Thomas.  Those guys could find themselves spending a lot of time in the Rutgers backfield. Expect the Scarlet Knights to spend much of the game buried deep in their own territory, so it's not out of this world to think the Mountaineer defense could put a few points on the board of their own.
  • On offense, I'd like the see offensive coordinator Jeff Mullen continue what he started against Pittsburgh. The Rutgers defense is nothing to be afraid of, so I expect to see Geno Smith get more time in the pocket to go through his reads. That said, there will still be a large helping of the heavy running game. I know that Bill Stewart's affinity for Noel Devine will make him a prominent part of the game plan early, but I think we see a whole lot of Ryan Clarke and Shawne Alston in the second half. Alston and Clarke are better backs for WVU right now than Devine, but that's based solely on the shortcomings of the line, and the ability of bigger backs to grit out tough yardage. That said, it would be absolutely tragic if Devine didn't find paydirt in his last game at Mountaineer Field.
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