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Scipio Tex: West Virginia Preview

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Both Texas and West Virginia come out of the bye week at 3-1, but both programs look very different under the hood. Holgo didn’t flee the mountains just because he hated the night life. He knows what left the program (5 NFL draft picks, the offense) and what was coming back. Of course, Major Applewhite didn’t exactly set the table for him in Houston, but let’s explore that tangent elsewhere.

The Mountaineers were humiliated on the road at Missouri (38-7), scraped by James Madison (20-13) and Kansas (29-24), and showed some legitimate spirit with a second half whipping of a pretty poor NC State team, who were held back offensively by a horrendous QB (who they’ve since benched). WVU’s statistical profile isn’t great and they don’t have many players that jump off of the screen.

Las Vegas is struggling with what to do with a Herman team that hasn’t excelled as a road favorite, Texas has lost their last five road openers, and the Horns are facing a classic “trap game” before the big showdown in Dallas. West Virginia hasn’t been a double digit dog since 2013 — when they upset Oklahoma State. Throw in an array of Texas injuries in a Texas pass defense that has already performed poorly and the 10,000 foot trend-driven view of Texas isn’t encouraging. The line opened at Texas -11, was bid down as low as -9.5 and then shot up to -11.5. Neither the public or the sharps can get a grip on this matchup.

In addition, pure quant nerds are still trying to use production models from last year to understand this year’s Texas — as if Texas is missing Newton Watson at RB, LJH at WR and the Longhorn OL is “down” from the losses of Vahe, Anderson, Rodriguez. Instead of being the best group since 2006. Trends and returning production don’t drive game results. The players do. My preseason prediction that Texas would replace and improve most of their losses have held true. Certainly on offense and the defensive line.

I’ll try to cut through the trend nonsense and give you an actual sense of the team we’ll play and how Texas matches up.

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