If you look at the entire 2012 West Virginia football schedule, a couple of games will stand out. Maryland, Marshall, Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas Christian, Kansas and Kansas State will all travel to Morgantown while WVU will travel to Austin, Stillwater, Ames and Lubbock.
The one odd ball game out of the entire schedule is the Sept. 15 game against James Madison at FedEx Field in Landover, Md.
This game is a neutral site game at an NFL stadium that will pay out a little over $2 million dollars to the Mountaineers, who will be a heavy favorite to win.
Nearly every Mountaineer fan will be looking forward to games against Oklahoma, Texas, TCU and Maryland. Few will be excited about the James Madison game. In fact, during a recent poll I placed in one of my articles discussing WVU's future non-conference schedules I asked fans if they were excited about the 2012 matchup with James Madison and 78 percent of over 1,200 people who voted basically said they were not excited about the game.
This is exactly why the James Madison game should be considered a "trap game". Look what Norfolk State was able to do to the Mountaineers (at least in the first half) last season. Sure, WVU came out in the second half and pulled out the win, but no Mountaineer fan during halftime could say with absolute certianty that WVU would come back and hang up 45 additional unanswered points, especially after that first-half performance.
The Mountaineers almost looked past Norfolk State last year; lets hope they don't begin to do the same with James Madison this season. After all, JMU is a school that has a recent history with upsetting teams from the region.
It has to be hard for a head coach to motivate his players to play a team like JMU when there is a schedule as tough as what the Mountaineers' schedule is. The good news is this game is early in the season; it is the third game of the year and follows Marshall and Maryland.
This should make a difference, considering that no "big games" have been played and every game will be important starting out.
The three games "should be" some of the easiest of the season for West Virginia considering the rest of the schedule and taking into consideration the down seasons that both Maryland and Marshall had last year. Not to downplay the non-conference schedule WVU has, but compared to Oklahoma, Texas, etc., the non-conference is very winnable in comparison.
Other potential "trap games" will be after the Oklahoma game in Morgantown. Games like the ones against Iowa State in Ames and Kansas at home. The Cyclones have a recent history of upsetting highly-ranked Oklahoma State and Kansas may improve vastly under new head coach Charlie Weis.
But as far as the whole schedule goes, I feel it will be easier for WVU to look past 1-AA James Madison University as any other on the schedule, thus making it important not to do so.