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West Virginia Mountaineers

Best 2018 Big 12 Football Non-Conference Games: No. 5, West Virginia at NC State

NCAA Football: Oklahoma at West Virginia

We are within 100 days until we kick off the 2018 college football season. Well, it’s 82 to be exact, but who’s counting? The Big 12 Conference has a slew of great non-conference games that will get fans juiced up for the conference schedule, which begins as early as mid-September for some teams. Heartland College Sports’ Pete Mundo and Derek Duke will be taking you through the top 10 non-conference games on the Big 12 football schedule, ranking from No. 10 down to No. 1. Let’s get to it!

If you missed others in our countdown:

No. 10: Texas @ Maryland
No. 9: West Virginia vs. Tennessee
No. 8: Oklahoma State vs. Boise State
No. 7: Oklahoma vs. UCLA
No. 6: Texas Tech vs. Ole Miss

 

9/15/18 @ 2:30 PM CT: West Virginia at NC State

The Mountaineers have aspirations of winning a Big 12 Championship this fall and their non-conference schedule will be a nice early-season test to see where this program stands this fall. They open the season at a neutral site against Tennessee and two weeks later it’s a true road game against the NC State Wolkfpack.

NC State went 9-4 last season and lost three games by a touchdown or less. Ryan Finley returns at quarterback as one of the ACC’s most efficient passers and has been around the block, playing in 26 games the past two seasons. Reggie Gallaspy will be the go-to guy in the backfield with the loss of 1,000 yard rusher Nyheim Hines. Speaking of losses, NC State losses nine defensive starters, including top 5 NFL Draft pick Bradley Chubb. That’s great news for the Mountaineers.

If the Mountaineers are serious Big 12 contenders then they go 3-0 in non-conference play. I know the Mountaineers play two Power 5 teams in non-conference play, but if they are legit Big 12 contenders, anything less than 3-0 will be a disappointment. We will learn a ton about what the Mountaineers’ ceiling is before the following week’s Big 12 opener against Kansas State.

Plus, anytime the Big 12 can get a win over the ACC, which is a good conference, but is very top heavy in football, then that’s a big positive. And WVU needs to lock of a victory here because while NC State has a nice program under Dave Doeren (who was rumored for other job openings this offseason, notably Tennessee), they are not projected to be finishing near the top of the conference standings. Just another reason the pressure will be on WVU to pick up this road win.

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