AMES, IA â NOVEMBER 26: Wide receiver Shelton Gibson #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers pulls in a 50 yard pass in the first half of play against the Iowa State Cyclones at Jack Trice Stadium on November 26, 2016 in Ames, Iowa. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)
Getty Images

Instagram the vehicle for WVU’s Shelton Gibson to announce NFL plans

Leave a comment

For the first time this cycle, West Virginia is losing a Mountaineer football player to early draft attrition.

On his Instagram account Wednesday afternoon, Shelton Gibson revealed that  he has decided to enter the 2017 NFL draft, foregoing his remaining collegiate eligibility.  The wide receiver said he came to his decision “[a]fter many emotional talks with God, family, coaches and teammates.”

🤐GODS PLAN🙏🏾 #blessed #216

A photo posted by Shelton Gibson (@sheltongibson_) on Jan 11, 2017 at 9:45am PST

Gibson led the Mountaineers this year with 951 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions, while his 22.1 yards per catch was good for fourth nationally. He also led the Mountaineers in all-purpose yardage at 124.1 yards per game as he was also the team’s primary kick returner.

Following the regular season, Gibson was named second-team All-Big 12.

The 10 best and 10 worst bowl matchups, as ranked by F/+

EL PASO, TX - DECEMBER 30:  The Miami Hurricanes kick off to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sun Bowl on December 30, 2010 in El Paso, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Getty Images
7 Comments

2016’s most even bowl matchup will happen in El Paso, Texas, while the most lopsided game will take place in Boise, Idaho.

Those on-paper analyses are based on the end-of-the-season F/+ rankings, which are explained here on Football Outsiders. Personally, they’re a go-to for getting a rough idea of how good a certain team is, so why not use them to preview the best and worst bowl matchups?

Here are the 10 best games based on how close the two participants’ F/+ rankings are:

Sun Bowl (+1): No. 25 Stanford vs. No. 26 UNC
Fiesta Bowl (+2): No. 2 Ohio State vs. No. 4 Clemson
Rose Bowl (+2): No. 7 USC vs. No. 9 Penn State
Sugar Bowl (+2): No. 8 Auburn vs. No. 10 Oklahoma
Armed Forces Bowl (+2): No. 51 Louisiana Tech vs. No. 53 Navy

Peach Bowl (+4): No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 5 Washington
Quick Lane Bowl (+4): No. 93 Boston College vs. No. 97 Maryland
New Mexico Bowl (+5): No. 81 New Mexico vs. No. 86 UT-San Antonio
Citrus Bowl (+6): No. 5 LSU vs. No. 11 Louisville
Cotton Bowl (+10): No. 12 Wisconsin vs. No. 22 Western Michigan

Obviously, the two College Football Playoff games (Ohio State-Clemson, Alabama-Washington) are among the closest, but it’s good to see three of the four other New Year’s Six bowls in here as well. The Orange Bowl (No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 13 Florida State) just barely missed the cut.

As for the 10 biggest mismatches:

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (+71): No. 29 Colorado State vs. No. 100 Idaho
Birmingham Bowl (+61): No. 33 South Florida vs. No. 94 South Carolina
Military Bowl (+54): No. 18 Temple vs. No. 72 Wake Forest
Cactus Bowl (+52): No. 14 Boise State vs. No. 66 Baylor
Miami Beach Bowl (+45): No. 44 Tulsa vs. No. 89 Central Michigan

Arizona Bowl (+38): No. 49 Air Force vs. No. 87 South Alabama
Las Vegas Bowl (+30): No. 20 Houston vs. No. 50 San Diego State
Poinsettia Bowl (+27): No. 30 BYU vs. No. 57 Wyoming
Heart of Dallas Bowl (+26): No. 85 Army vs. No. 111 North Texas
Russell Athletic Bowl (+25): No. 15 Miami vs. No. 40 West Virginia

It’s not surprising three of these games involve top-level Group of Five teams (South Florida, Temple, Boise State) playing 6-6 Power Five teams (South Carolina, Wake Forest, Baylor), given that’s where a lot of bowl mismatches can take place. It was a little surprising to see the gulf between Houston and San Diego State be so significant, though.

But while these matchups may either be close or lopsided, always remember the ironclad rule of bowl season: Weird stuff is gonna happen. One team may not care while the other does, one team may not deal with the elements (especially in the northern bowls) as well as the other, or one team may come in with something to prove while the other team doesn’t. The best-case scenario for us college football fans is that every game is interesting and worth watching, no matter what the on-paper numbers may say.

Broken leg sidelines WVU’s second-leading receiver for rest of season

STILLWATER, OK - OCTOBER 29:  Wide receiver Ka'Raun White #2 of the West Virginia Mountaineers is unable to catch a pass during the second half of a NCAA football game against Oklahoma State at Boone Pickens Stadium October 29, 2016 in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Oklahoma State defeated #10 West Virginia 37-10.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
Getty Images
Leave a comment

West Virginia’s offense has taken a rather significant late-season hit.

Dana Holgorsen revealed that Ka’Raun White has a broken bone in his lower leg and will undergo surgery shortly to repair the damage.  The expected recovery time is 6-8 weeks, meaning the wide receiver will miss the remainder of the season.

The injury will sideline White for the regular-season finale against Baylor this weekend as well as WVU’s bowl game.

Holgorsen believes that White, the younger brother of former WVU and current Chicago Bears wide receiver Kevin White, will be fully recovered for the start of spring practice next year.

A junior, White’s 48 receptions and five receiving touchdowns are second on the Mountaineers.  His 583 yards are third on the team.

Oklahoma State puts No. 10 West Virginia on upset alert with 20-10 halftime lead

Pistol Pete
Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
1 Comment

What looked like it could setup to be a bit of an offensive showcase has instead been a much more defensive battle than expected. Oklahoma State’s upset bid against No. 10 West Virginia is one half closer to completion, with the Cowboys taking a 20-10 lead on the visiting Mountaineers in Stillwater. A key turnover by West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard led to a go-ahead score for Oklahoma State.

West Virginia and Oklahoma State exchanged field goals on the first two possessions of the game, and the Cowboys took a 6-3 lead on their second offensive series with a second field goal from Ben Grogan. West Virginia scored the first touchdown of the afternoon when Shelton Gibson stretched to bring in a 19-yard pass in the end zone from Howard.

Howard has generally been reliable for West Virginia, but he lost the football while being sacked by Vincent Taylor deep in his own end, giving Oklahoma State the football at the West Virginia eight-yard line. Two plays later, Mason Rudolph completed a pass to Chris Lacy for a 13-10 lead. Oklahoma State added to the lead on their next offensive possession, after West Virginia missed a field goal. The 15-play drive ended with Rudolph connecting with Jalen McCleskey for a short touchdown play, putting the home team up 20-10.

3 TDs from Skyler Howard give WVU 21-10 halftime lead on TCU

LANDOVER, MD - SEPTEMBER 24: Quarterback Skyler Howard #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers throws a pass against the Brigham Young Cougars during the first half at FedExField on September 24, 2016 in Landover, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Looking to prove they are every much worth respecting, West Virginia is off to a good start at home against TCU in Big 12 play this afternoon. The Mountaineers took advantage of a special teams mistake by TCU on the opening kickoff and now hold a 21-10 lead at halftime.

Deante Gray had the ball knocked out of his hands on TCU’s opening kickoff return. West Virginia recovered the loose ball and setup the offense from the TCU 17-yard line. Skyler Howard completed a 10-yard touchdown pass to Daikiel Shorts on a third and short for an early 7-0 lead. TCU’s first offensive possession did not last long, with an interception by Rasul Douglas giving West Virginia a second straight offensive opportunity on TCU’s side of the field, but West Virginia missed a field goal on the possession.

Howard completed a second touchdown pass later with a 22-yard play to Shelton Gibson to put West Virginia up 14-0. TCU got on the board on the ensuing possession with a field goal at the end of an 11-play drive. After a three-and-out by the Mountaineers offense, TCU pulled even closer with a 12-play drive capped by a Kenny Hill touchdown pass to Jaelen Austin. West Virginia wasted little time rebuilding the lead with Howard’s third touchdown pass of the half, this time to Gary Jennings.

West Virginia’s Elijah Battle was ejected from the game in the second quarter following the latest in a long string of controversial targeting penalties around college football.