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Nonconference preview: West Virginia

Time for the final team in our look across each Big 12 team's nonconference schedule: West Virginia.

William and Mary, Aug. 31

  • Coach: Jimmye Laycock, 33rd season (215-60-2)

  • 2012 record: 2-9 (1-7, Colonial Athletic)

  • Offensive headliner: Receiver Tre McBride caught 55 passes for 897 yards and 10 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2012, earning second team all-conference honors.

  • Defensive headliner: Safety Jerome Couplin led the team with 91 tackles and three interceptions as a junior in 2012. He also had two tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and four pass breakups.

  • The skinny: The Tribe have a strong program under Laycock, and nearly upset Maryland to begin the 2012 season, losing 7-6. William and Mary are unranked in the FCS poll entering this season, but a bad outing for a WVU offense breaking in a ton of new faces could make this game a little close for comfort.

vs. Georgia State, Sept. 14

  • Coach: Trent Miles, first season (0-0)

  • 2012 record: 1-10 (1-7, Colonial Athletic)

  • Returning starters: seven offensive, seven defensive

  • Offensive headliner: Receiver Albert Wilson is the program's all-time leader in receiving yards. He caught 48 balls for 947 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

  • Defensive headliner: Defensive lineman Theo Agnew transferred in from UMass and led the team with eight tackles for loss a year ago. He had two sacks and made 60 total tackles.

  • The skinny: Georgia State has only had a football program since 2010, but will move into FBS classification this season as a member of the Sun Belt. I'd expect a rocky transition as the program continues to try and get its feet underneath it. Hard to see this game being close.

vs. Maryland at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Mary., Sept. 21.

  • Coach: Randy Edsall, third season (6-18)

  • 2012 record: 4-8 (2-6, ACC)

  • Returning starters: seven offensive, five defensive

  • Offensive headliner: Receiver/return man Stefon Diggs had a big freshman debut, catching 54 balls for 848 yards and six touchdowns. He also returned two kicks for touchdowns and averaged over 10 yards on his 22 punt returns.

  • Defensive headliner: Linebacker Cole Farrand led the team with 78 tackles a year ago, and is the team's leading returning player in tackles for loss, with six. He also forced three fumbles a year ago.

  • The skinny: Maryland was hamstrung by quarterback injuries a year ago, but before it got really bad, they hung with WVU in a 31-21 loss last season that included two long Diggs touchdown catches. This rivalry game is WVU's best shot to lose a game in nonconference play.

Chances of going 3-0: 65 percent

Wrapping up: West Virginia's schedule features two games that should be blowouts and another in which it's likely to be a solid favorite. Maryland is an improving program that's trying to bounce back from a tough season, and is fully capable of knocking off a rebuilding WVU team, especially in Baltimore. If WVU loses a nonconference game, there's about a 95 percent chance that's where it happens. Still, the Mountaineers have a lot of promise on offense, and have a good shot to be better than most think. The Maryland game comes down to a situation dependent on WVU: Play an average game, and West Virginia should walk away a winner.