Last season's record: 9-4
Returning starters/letterwinners: 16/41
Key losses: Nose tackle Chris Neild and free safety Robert Sands anchored the front and back of the dominating Mountaineer defense in 2010. Talent remains, but this pair of players, now working in NFL camps, will be hard to replace. Noel Devine's absnece will also be felt as WVU searches for a featured back in Dana Holgorsen's offense.
Key returnees: Quarterback Geno Smith will be the focal point of Holgorsen's read and attack offense. Defensive front liners Bruce Irvin and Julian Miller will be counted on to keep the defense from slipping too far from its lofty national rankings of a year ago.
Best game: Sat. Sept. 24 vs. LSU
Projected finish: 10-2
Outlook: Picked to win the Big East by all but three writers in the preseason media poll, West Virginia still has a number of bumps to smooth if the ride to a title and a BCS berth are to be completed successfully. WVU must show it can assimilate Holgorsen's offense quickly while retooling a defense that lost seven starters. Still, the Mountaineers should be playing for the league title in their last two games of the season against Pitt and South Florida.
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