The WVU Mountaineers football team officially has a season to prepare for. Second-year coach Neal Brown and his squad are back on the practice field this week, preparing for the 2020 college football season.
On Wednesday, the Big 12 Conference announced it was going forward with fall sports as planned.
This is massive news for the college sports world, as several leagues have already decided to postpone their football seasons.
The Big Ten, along with the Pac-12 Conference, confirmed on Tuesday that they are postponing all fall sports this year because of COVID-19.
This now leaves just the ACC, SEC and Big 12 to participate in college football next month.
Although somewhat controversial, the move makes many in the Mountain State happy. College football is such a big part of the culture in Morgantown, that a year without WVU football would be unheard of.
Thankfully, with a season in place, bettors can put some action down at retail sportsbooks or one of the three online sports betting apps.
This is encouraging news for the state budget, which has already felt the impacts of the coronavirus shutdown. With betting figures at sportsbooks and casinos expectedly down of late, football wagering is even more important.
Let’s examine the state of college football this year and break down the news from the WVU practice field.
Big 12 Chooses To Play
This week’s announcement from the Big 12 was highly anticipated following the news from the Big Ten and Pac-12. It was a possibility that teams like WVU, Texas and Oklahoma would have had to wait until at least the spring to play football again.
With the decision to play this season, many in the state will be excited about the fall. Even though many parts of the US have been hit hard by the pandemic, the Mountain State has remained on the healthier side.
It’s clear that COVID-19 isn’t going anywhere, but how decision-makers choose how to handle it tend to differ. There is a political divide in the US, and apparently a clear one within the NCAA, too.
Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby discussed the differences in opinion between the conferences.
According to The New York Times, Bowlsby said:
“Reasonable people can disagree on it, and the Pac-12 and the Big Ten are seeing much of the same information that we’re seeing. But our board believes in our scientists and has come to a conclusion that’s different, and so have the leadership of the SEC and the A.C.C.”
To help safeguard the health of its student-athletes, the Big 12 said it plans to test football players three times per week.
Unfortunately, the conferences understand nothing is guaranteed. Mississippi athletic director Keith Carter talked about what’s ahead. He said:
“Our runway is shortening. If we feel like we can’t do this in a safe manner, we may pivot.”
WVU Football Getting Ready
Since teams now have the green light, practice is a full go. Football programs within the three active Power 5 Conferences must make up for lost time.
Many were forced to conduct workouts and meetings online throughout the offseason while everyone was in quarantine.
Although the season is now pushed back for a number of teams, WVU’s schedule has remained mostly the same. Beyond dropping the games against Florida State and Maryland, the Mountaineers will still play Eastern Kentucky at home.
They’ll open with EKU on Saturday, Sept. 12, as the only non-conference game on the slate. The remainder of the games are all Big 12 matchups, with five of those taking place in Morgantown.
With the start of the year now less than a month away, WVU must figure some things out on the field.
A positive note is that there’s already a new player to get excited about. Freshman defensive lineman Sean Martin, a native of Bluefield, is turning heads in the first few days at camp.
Coach Brown was more than impressed with his young student-athlete.
According to the WV MetroNews, Brown said:
“Sean Martin was a big get for us. Not only does he look the part, he has done everything we have asked him to do since he has been here. He is learning. The game is obviously at a different speed. He is extremely detail-oriented. He is intelligent and understands the game. He is about the right things so I think he has a bright future.”
In what’s likely to be a bizarre season, there’s no telling how well WVU can do this year. After winning two of the last three games in 2019, hopes are high for a quality campaign from the Mountaineers.
College Football Betting Odds At WV Sportsbooks
Bettors in WV can place wagers on the upcoming season with any of the online betting platforms available. They include:
Right now, you’re able to bet on which team will win the Big 12, SEC or ACC this fall.
DraftKings currently lists Alabama as the favorite in the SEC, with odds of -143. Georgia has the next best chance at +200.
In the ACC, Clemson is again the heavy favorite to repeat as conference champion at -455. Newly-added Notre Dame is listed as second, with odds of +600.
As for WVU, DraftKings shows the following odds to win the Big 12 this year:
- Oklahoma -125
- Texas +175
- Oklahoma State +650
- Iowa State +1000
- TCU +1600
- WVU +2500
- Baylor +3300
- Kansas State +4000
- Texas Tech +6600
- Kansas +10000