The final game of the regular season may have ended in disappointment, but West Virginia still has a chance to finish the season with nine wins and a top-15 ranking.
It’s hard to accept that a literal last-minute loss at Oklahoma State is the difference between West Virginia playing Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and West Virginia playing Syracuse in the Camping World Bowl. When the bowl matchups were being released yesterday, there was some hope that the Mountaineers would get an invite to the Alamo Bowl, which ultimately didn’t happen. Instead, the WVU will play in the same bowl they did two years ago when it lost to Miami 31-14.
Now that the Mountaineers know their bowl destination and opponent, there is growing concern of who will actually play in the game.
Senior wide receiver David Sills V was asked following the loss to Oklahoma if he intended on playing in the bowl.
“Absolutely. 100 percent. I am 100 percent dedicated to this program,” Sills said. “We’ve put too much time and effort together. I’ll 100% be playing in the bowl game.”
Will Grier was also asked if he had yet considered playing in the upcoming game against Syracuse. He hasn’t thought about it either way — yet.
“I have no thoughts or decisions,” Grier said. “I was planning on playing [in the Big 12 championship]. Just kind of taking it all in, my last game in Morgantown. Wish we would have came out on top, but we left it all out there for the fans.”
A decision could come down from Grier and the remaining seniors as soon as tomorrow. The team needs to get its game plan together for Syracuse and they will need to know who will be available to game-plan around. It seems that the majority of the seniors will in fact play, as many of them are still trying to improve their draft stock and go out on top as a Mountaineer.
The toughest decision is for Grier. He’s highly regarded as one of the top quarterbacks in this spring’s NFL Draft, and by playing, he could risk injury in a bowl game that doesn’t carry the same status or visibility as a New Years Six or playoff game. If Grier does happen to skip the bowl game, it would give backup quarterback Jack Allison a dry run ahead of the 2019 season.
I know Mountaineer fans would love to see Grier-to-Sills a few more times, but Mountaineer fans should respect these players’ decision, regardless of the outcome. This group of seniors has done a hell of a lot for this program, and it’s tough to fault them for wanting to protect their future.
Last year, running back Justin Crawford and offensive lineman Kyle Bosch both sat out the Heart of Dallas bowl game against Utah. Expect this year’s decisions within the next week or so.