Despite history against ranked foes, West Virginia a slight favorite over No. 14 Iowa State

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For the fifth time in just nine games this season, the West Virginia Mountaineers will see a ranked foe on Saturday in the form of No. 14 Iowa State.

The Mountaineers opened up as a 2.5-point favorite, per, but recent history indicates that being pitted against a team with a number next to its name should leave West Virginia fans feeling uneasy about the potential outcome.

For example, all three of West Virginia’s 2017 losses have come at the hands of ranked competition in then-No. 21 Virginia Tech, then-No. 8 TCU and No. 11 Oklahoma State. If it weren’t for outlasting then-No. 24 Texas Tech, 46-35, the Mountaineers would remain winless against ranked foes this season.

The sample size isn’t limited to just 2017, though.

Dating back to 2015, the Mountaineers are 1-8 against ranked opponents and those struggles worsen to 2-12 if you consider 2014. In fact, since Dana Holgorsen’s arrival in 2011, West Virginia is a combined 7-18 against ranked competition, that that 38.8 winning percentage doesn’t increase by much at home, the the Mountaineers sitting at just 4-10 during that span.

The Mountaineers have still managed to win 51 games during that span, but of course, 44 of those victories came against less than stellar, unranked competition.

Prior to the season, and even several weeks in, it appeared that would be the case by the time West Virginia’s Week 10 matchup with Iowa State rolled around. Instead, on the heels of four straight wins and two top-five victories in October (No. 3 OU, No. 4 TCU), Iowa State is up to No. 14 in the polls after what was greater than a decade-long drought as an unranked program entering the season.

Yet, despite Iowa State boasting all the momentum and a 6-2 (4-1) record, it’s West Virginia that currently stands as the slight favorite. Of course, that won’t matter much to the Cyclones, who recorded wins over Oklahoma, Texas Tech and TCU as underdogs.

Rather, with a ranked foe coming to town, it’s West Virginia that should be worried about dropping a second consecutive game and its third in the last five tries.

The post Despite history against ranked foes, West Virginia a slight favorite over No. 14 Iowa State appeared first on Diehards.

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