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Can Penn State football get upset by West Virginia in week one?

It may sound like a bold claim, but are the Mountaineers capable of knocking off the Nittany Lions?



Penn State Football,
Oct 23, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin reacts to a call against the Illinois Fighting Illini during the second half at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The anticipation is slowly building for the 2023 Penn State football season, now just 42 days away from kickoff. Many expect a raucous environment when the Nittany Lions open up against the West Virginia Mountaineers for a night game in Beaver Stadium on September 2. But are the Mountaineers capable of spoiling the homecoming? Recently, popular CBS Sports analyst and podcast host Josh Pate broke down the prospect of West Virginia upsetting Penn State in week one.

Is it bold to think West Virginia can beat Penn State football in week one?

This week, Josh Pate, CBS Sports analyst and host of the popular podcast Late Kick, discussed the week one matchup between the Penn State Nittany Lions and West Virginia Mountaineers in his reoccurring segment “Bold Predictions.” In this segment, viewers submit the boldest claims for the upcoming season on which they’d be willing to bet their own money.

On Thursday’s show, a viewer predicted that West Virginia will beat both Penn State and Pitt this fall. Pate felt this claim was pretty bold, rating it as a 9.5 on a scale of 1-10. Since his model has the West Virginia-Pitt matchup as a one-point game, Pate spent most of this segment discussing the Mountaineer’s season opener, which he has as an almost 20-point spread in Penn State’s favor.

Pate noted that the expectations surrounding the Penn State football program are as high as they’ve been in a long time. “I don’t see a world, candidly, where West Virginia is capable of slowing down Penn State’s ground game,” the analyst said of the Nittany Lion offense.

Pate also focused on the ongoing West Virginia quarterback battle. The Mountaineers have yet to name a starting signal caller. Still, Pate feels whoever ultimately gets the nod will have a rough first game under center. “That guy’s going into Beaver Stadium in week one, 100+ thousand at full throat, and he’s going to do what? He’s gonna beat them? I don’t necessarily see that happening…” Pate said.

The Penn State-West Virginia game kicks off at 7:30 PM on September 2 and will air on NBC. The Mountaineers, predicted to finish last in the Big 12, will try to knock off the Nittany Lions, who have aspirations for a Big Ten title and more in 2023. While obviously, they play the games for a reason, West Virginia will have to overcome seemingly long odds to get a signature week one win.

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Matt is a co-owner and Editor in Chief of Basic Blues Nation. Launched in 2022, Basic Blues Nation is one of the fastest-growing websites covering all Penn State athletics, with over 3.5 million readers in 2023. Matt is also a credentialed member of the Penn State football beat, and is a member of the Football Writers Association of America.


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