As for Houston, no team from Texas has won in Huntington. But more important, the Coogs are a tad overrated. They will not win the West.
Hey, I respect a team with Charles Sims running behind a veteran line, but the other team is going to get the ball. And I don't care how many returning starters that defense has, they don't have Marcus McGraw and Sammy Brown among them.
A few of those 73-whatever games from the last few years are going to be reversed on that bunch.
In the Mountaineers, I still see Geno Smith-to-Tavon Austin, but I always point to WVU's defense vs. Marshall's offense as the mismatch du jour. The Herd's offensive line will need a few games to find its way.
Supplemental prediction: With the advent of Big 12 officiating, the home fans will be startled by the referee's accent. (Remember, the Herd pioneered this migration to the Southwest. I should have scouted out Stillwater for Mountaineer fans, but didn't. Sorry about that.)
Marshall will find away to boot another game in the state of Texas, losing to Rice in Conference USA's largest and most uninteresting city. I just hope to get out of there without getting rear-ended on the freeway (again).
I like Tulsa to win the West. I expect Nebraska transfer Cody Green to plug himself right in at quarterback and let all those skill players continue to run wild.
UCF has that habit of bouncing back after a bad season. If the coaching staff doesn't mess up the quarterback situation and gets the expected mileage out of a deep backfield, the Knights will indeed win the East.
So that's 5-4 with roadies against Purdue, Southern Miss and East Carolina unaccounted for. There is the Herd's challenge, in a nutshell.
With that, let the pigskins fly.
Reach Doug Smock at 304-348-5130, dougsm...@wvgazette.com or follow him at twitter.com/dougsmock.