* Non-conference: West Virginia will be heavily favored in all three non-league games (Marshall, James Madison and Maryland). None are on the road.
* Soft finish: If the Mountaineers can stay in the race the first two months they could be in good shape. West Virginia closes league play against Iowa State and Kansas, which will probably be picked ninth and 10th.
* Key stretch: Following a Big 12 opener at home against Baylor, back-to-back road games at Texas and Texas Tech will set the tone. But the Mountaineers' tell-tale stretch is in November. Following a bye week, WVU will host TCU on Nov. 3 followed by a high profile game at Oklahoma State and a home game against Oklahoma.
By Mike Baldwin