1988 vs. 2007: Who Was the Best WVU Football Team Ever?

There have been several great football teams over the years at West Virginia, but when it comes to the discussion of the best team ever there’s only two groups that can be considered – 1988 and 2007.

The group in 1988 led by Major Harris finished the regular season with an unblemished record, becoming the first team in school history to go undefeated and untied in regular season action. The No. 3 Mountaineers earned the right to play No. 1 Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl for what was considered to be the national championship game. Harris suffered an injury early in the game and the life was sucked right out from under the Mountaineers. I wasn’t around to experience his greatness or that Fiest Bowl itself, but many who were still believe to this day West Virginia would have won that game had No. 9 been healthy. At the very worst, it would have been a much closer game.

That group ran through its competition week in and week out, but benefitted from a relatively light schedule. As a matter of fact, nine of the teams they played that season finished the year with a losing record – Bowling Green (2-8-1), Cal St. Fullerton (5-6), Maryland (5-6), Virginia Tech (3-8), East Carolina (3-8), Penn State (5-6), Cincinnati (3-8), and Rutgers (5-6). For the entire schedule, the opponents combined record was 62-71-1 (.466). They did what they were supposed to do against a weaker schedule, blowing out just about everyone they played. Their average margin of victory on the year? 27.1.

As for the 2007 team, they faced four teams ranked in the AP Top 25 and even dominated a decent Mississippi State team in non-conference play, 38-13. Pat White, Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt, and Noel Devine made up the most feared backfield in all of college football, one that averaged 39.6 points per game. I hate to bring it up, but the one blemish at the end of the year against Pitt in the Backyard Brawl prevented them from being the second team in program history to appear in the national title game. Despite having their soul ripped out and losing head coach Rich Rodriguez to Michigan, West Virginia bounced back with an unforgettable performance against Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, beating the Sooners 48-28.

It’s really difficult to separate these two teams. One ran the table and made it to the championship game with a lighter schedule while the other had an incredible run making it to the doorstep of the big game. Our crew on the In the Gun Podcast recently ran a poll on X, letting the fans settle this great debate. 52.3% of voters picked the 1988 team as the best in program history while 47.7% voted for the 2007 bunch.

Wes Uhler, Jed Drenning, and Owen Schmitt discussed the results on this week’s episode.


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