Now to profess that preseason expectations mean nothing would seem defensive and rather optimistic, so we will offer none of that here. There will be plenty of that this week from the Mountaineers and those who are considered to share their lowly station. Likewise, the reverse will hold true for most of those estimated to be at or nearer the top, generally discounting such prognostications so as not to seem arrogant or possessed of an inflated self worth.
It is, however, fine to speculate that in terms of accuracy these lowly preseason expectations for West Virginia could be wildly off . . . in either direction. These Mountaineers could be much better than anyone believes. But they could also be even worse.
Really. Call it the product of so, so many unanswered questions and new faces.
For instance, the quarterback and his top running back could very well be transfers who have never even practiced with the team, much less played for it. The majority of passes will almost certainly be thrown toward players who have never caught one at this level of competition. The defense, an embarrassment of staggering, even epic proportions a year ago, will have essentially the same personnel but a different direction. Which way will that go?
Even the coaching has to be considered a wild card.
Holgorsen has worked wonders with offenses in the past, but never with an entire team as a head coach. And in his third full season, he's working now with just one assistant coach - Shannon Dawson - who was with him during his first. If that's not enough change, consider that only one member of last year's staff - defensive line coach Erik Slaughter - is in the same position now.
Add it all up and it seems almost as fair to question how WVU was picked so high, not so low.
Almost universally, the strength of this team is considered merely to be that Holgorsen has always managed to field an offense among the best in all of football and that he will do so again. But everything concerning this year's team - even that offense - is guesswork. Everything.
And with that in mind, know that all of these preseason predictions are likely way off. It's just hard to tell in which direction.
Reach Dave Hickman at 304-348-1734 or dphickm...@aol.com or follow him at Twitter.com/dphickman1.