The West Virginia Mountaineers are 102 days from kicking off the 2014 season against Alabama on Aug. 30th. With over three months until the regular season, questions abound about the program, including who the starting quarterback will be. Today, ESPN released their 2014 Preseason College Football Power Index in which WVU comes in at No. 56.
ESPN’s Stats and Info has come up with a scientific way of ranking all 128 FBS teams based upon the previous year, returning players, new players and how good the offense, defense and special teams is expected to be this year. You can find a detailed look at how the rankings are determined HERE.
While there are questions at quarterback and along the offensive line, the backfield is loaded. Incoming transfer Rushell Shell, Dustin Garrison, Andrew Buie, Wendell Smallwood and Dreamius Smith could combine for a very talented backfield. ESPN ranks WVU has having the 65th best offense in the nation.
The experienced defense will be looked upon to keep WVU in games much as it did last season before injuries decimated the unit’s depth. The incoming recruiting class replete with junior college transfers will give much needed depth. New defensive line coach Damon Cogdell is tasked with replacing the departed Will Clarke and Shaq Rowell. Tony Gibson and new hire Tom Bradley are giving the huge task of stopping the potent offenses prevalent in the Big 12. Isiah Bruce, Nick Kwiatkoski, Jared Barber, Wes Tonkery, Brandon Golson and Shaq Petteway bring plenty of experience to the unit. ESPN sees WVU as having the 44th best defense.
ESPN believes the special teams unit is the weakest of the team, and places them at 90th.
The Mountaineers are ranked only above Big 12 foes Iowa St. (62) and Kansas (83).
No. 57 on that list? Marshall.