In 2018, the West Virginia Mountaineers were poised to break out in the Big 12 conference and even nationally.
That was not the case, as some peoples College Football Playoff dark horse stumbled late.
West Virginia ended up losing three games in the regular season, including the last two, and failed to play in the Big 12 championship game.
No Big 12 championship game, no New Year’s Six game, no playoff.
Now after a disappointing showing in the Camping World Bowl, WVU appears to be heading back to mediocracy.
Head coach Dana Holgorsen took the same position at the University of Houston. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital took the head coaching job at Texas State. Will Grier, David Sills, Gary Jennings, Yodny Cajuste, and David Long will all be playing on Sunday’s next fall.
It is still a mystery to see how the rest of the coaching staff will be filled out and what other changes are going to be made.
The quarterback next season will- likely- be one of Jack Allison or Trey Lowe.
Allison was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and committed to Miami (FL) before transferring to WVU.
In the regular season, Allison threw for 75 yards with one touchdown and one inteception, with virtually all of his looks coming in garbage time.
Against Syracuse in the bowl game, he did get the starting nod, throwing for 277 yards and one interception.
True freshman Trey Lowe did not get any action in the regular season, and saw little time in the bowl game.
He only threw two passes, both of which were completed, but did not rack up any yards. On the ground, he ran the ball twice for three yards.
Lowe, if or when he is given the starting position, could bring a dual-threat quarterback to the table that Morgantown has not seen in some time. The Mountaineers could be able to run a read-option type of offense, especially with the amount of talented running backs on the roster.
That is one of the only exciting things for Mountaineer football going forward. The quarterback situation is up in the air, the pieces that are leaving WVU are big time, key players that will greatly be missed.
The defense is going to take what figures to be a massive step back. Dravon Askew-Henry, Kenny Bigelow, Jabrill Robinson, and the aforementioned Long will all be gone.
It will be a younger defense that figures to give up lots of big plays, mainly when it comes to Big 12 opponents.
Oklahoma will always be a threat and the team to beat. Kansas will be better under Les Miles. Oklahoma State and TCU will always be tough teams to play. Iowa State should see more improvement from this season. And Texas is back.
There are tons of questions going forward for the Mountaineers. Unless one of the quarterbacks pans out and athletic director Shane Lyons knocks the head coaching hire out of the park, WVU will be finishing in the bottom half of the Big 12 conference for seasons to come.