MORGANTOWN-The wait is nearly over.
After posting a 93-51-1 mark during its stay in the Big East Conference, West Virginia (3-0) plays its first Big 12 Conference game when it plays host to No. 25 Baylor University (3-0) at Milan Puskar Stadium beginning at noon on Saturday.
"There has been a lot of excitement since we've joined a little over a year ago," second-year head coach Dana Holgorsen said during his weekly Big 12 teleconference. "A lot of anticipation. There will be a lot of eyes on us, but we have a lot of experienced kids that are used to that."
The Bears, who will be making their first visit to Mountaineer Field, have some experience winning before large, hostile crowds as Baylor traveled to UL-Monroe last Saturday and came away with a 47-42 victory.
"Any time you can go on the road and get in an environment where you don't have the number of people on your side than the other people do, it gives you a good vibe when you are able to come out of there with a win," said Baylor head coach Art Briles. "We understand that it is going to be a war, a battle, and you better have everything in line."
Tops on that list will be finding a way to slow down WVU's Heisman Trophy candidate. quarterback Geno Smith.
"He (Smith) is just phenomenal," continued Briles. "He's been playing really strongly for the last couple of years. He's why they (WVU) are where they are - No. 7 in America."
The Mountaineers' senior quarterback is coming off his poorest performance of the season in WVU's 31-21 victory over Maryland. But, the three-year starter, who completed 30-of-43 attempts for 338 yards and three touchdowns against the Terrapins, has connected on 81.3 percent of his passes (96-of-118) for 1,072 yards and 12 touchdowns.
His counterpart for the Bears, senior Nick Florence, had to wait a while before getting his opportunity to display his skills as he was playing behind eventual Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. But, he has wasted little time showing that he belongs under center this season.
"His (Florence) actions speak louder than my words," said Briles. "He has been very productive. He's done what he's been asked to do. At this stage of the season, we are right where we thought we'd be with him."
Florence also has eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in the air, completing 71-of-110 attempts for 1,004 yards and 11 touchdowns. The senior also has had four passes picked off.
"It's a road trip," continued Briles. "You never know what to expect on a road trip. Just West Virginia football in general. I guess you can say, over the last decade or so, that they have been a pretty dominant program."
WVU and Baylor won't be the only conference matchup as Iowa State (3-0) plays host to Texas Tech (3-0) and No. 12 Texas (3-0) travels to Oklahoma State (2-1). In non-conference action, No. 15 TCU (3-0, 1-0 Big 12) entertains Southern Methodist (1-2).
Kansas State, which moved up to the No. 7 slot in the Associated Press poll after its win at Oklahoma, Kansas (1-3, 0-1 Big 12) and the Sooners (2-1, 0-1 Big 12) have the week off.
"We really have to have leadership from within and take things in perspective," said Kansas State head coach Bill Snyder. "Polls have their place. But, I think everyone in the world understands that what happens in December is based on what you did before then."