A trap game can be found on every team’s schedule during a college football season, no matter if they’re a powerhouse in one of the Power Five conferences or a bottom feeder in any of other existing FBS conferences.
It could be a difficult decision to make, specifically in the case of West Virginia, which game that would be of the 12 making up the 2014 schedule.
Looking back, the William & Mary Tribe certainly filled the role of a trap game for West Virginia in 2013’s season opener in Morgantown. Seeming to be just the typical tune-up West Virginia scheduled many times over the years, William & Mary came for a win last September, not just a paycheck to be an FBS program’s punching bag.
West Virginia had a huge game the following week in the team’s Big 12 Conference opener, the Mountaineers first visit to Norman since the 1982 upset of then-No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners.
Following an easy drive that ended with a Charles Sims touchdown run, William & Mary answered with a pair of touchdowns and a field goal, building a 17-7 lead over West Virginia as the game reached halftime in front of a dazed crowd at Milan Puskar Stadium. West Virginia quickly put the first half lull behind them as Wendell Smallwood’s touchdown inside the final minute of the game helped avoid the upset bid by William & Mary.
Without question, West Virginia’s game against the Alabama Crimson Tide will be significantly tougher than last year’s game against William & Mary and possibly more than any Mountaineer opponent in recent memory. But after the showdown with Alabama, what team will give West Virginia the most trouble in a game the team should breeze through on a particular week this year?
You don’t have to look far to find that team on West Virginia’s schedule by just looking at the team that follows Alabama, the Colonial Athletic Association’s Towson Tigers on September 6.
However, Towson isn’t the same type of FCS team you see get blown out by other FBS teams in the early portion of a season. The team made it to the FCS National Championship game last year, as well as winning at least a share of the CAA in 2011 and 2013.
Towson has more than 30 players who are either seniors or juniors that would love to defeat a second FBS team in as many years after knocking off the Connecticut Huskies in both team’s season opener last year.
Despite a great deal of experience on the Towson roster, those players have not experienced a game played at Milan Puskar Stadium at night with an atmosphere only rivaled by a handful of programs across the country.
Coming off the Alabama game, fans are sure to be enthusiastic about the West Virginia’s home opener against Towson. That may be to West Virginia’s advantage, as the crowd likely will force players back into focus should the team start to be out performed by the Tigers.
Outrage would be minimal even from the most diehard fan if West Virginia lost to an Alabama team that’s won at least 10 games each year, two Southeastern Conference and three national championships since 2008. That same understanding from a possible Alabama loss might not be available from the Mountaineer Nation fan base for a loss to Towson.