PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'
There was little to smile about in last week's game, as WVU's miniscule point production and porous defens left most pickers far off the mark. Andy's 42-point miss was the closest of the week. Ouch.
No good news equals lots of bad news. with misses in the 40-point range common, there weren't any picks that really stood out -- even including Patrick's 52-point miss.
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: L||Season: 5-1||Pt Diff: 197|
West Virginia returns home licking its wounds from last weekend's blowout loss at Texas Tech in desperate need of a win. It won't be easy, either, as waiting for the Mountaineers in Morgantown will be the best team they've faced to date. Bill Snyder has (for the second time) turned the Kansas State Wildcats into a national power and a conference championship contender in the Big 12.
This is the game all season that has given me red flags. K-State has a great quarterback, and an offense that can both score with West Virginia's and eat clock/control the ball when need be. The Wildcats also have an opportunistic defense that is among the nation's best in takeaways (14). There are too many reasons to pick against the Mountaineers this week to be ignored.
No Country Roads this weekend, folks. Only the Wabash Cannonball in the visiting corner of the stadium.
|Pick: Kansas State 41-35|
|Brian Jolliff||Last Week: L||Season: 5-1||Pt Diff: 214|
Dammit. I really don't know what to say this time around. Last Saturday's game has me more confused than I have been since that late-winter loss a half-decade past. I think we all knew this new defense would struggle and we all hoped that we would get better as the season progressed, but that is clearly not what has happened. In Lubbock last weekend, the Mountaineers offered up a double serving of Swiss cheese and got thoroughly whipped by the Red Raiders.
I'm equally as stunned at the poor offensive showing, as I felt that it would keep WVU in many games as the young defense progressed. So where does that leave me for this week's game where a solid K-State team boasting a #3 national ranking rides into Morgantown? I still have the faith in this team and coaches and hope they will put this game on their backs and shine as we know they can. Hey, it is a night game in Morgantown, and strange things seem to happen.
|Pick: West Virginia 48-45|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: L||Season: 5-1||Pt Diff: 224|
|West Virginia will win this football game. That is all.|
|Pick: West Virginia 35-31|
|Jane Donovan||Last Week: L||Season: 5-1||Pt Diff: 236|
|The Mountaineers are banged up, body and soul, but hopefully the trash talking coming out of the KSU fanbase will serve as high motivation and spur the team to a redemptive victory. Despite widespread distress, gnashing of teeth, wringing of hands, and apocalyptic-level despair among the Mountaineer Faithful, WVU's season is not over with one loss to Texas Tech. Granted, it was an embarrassingly bad loss, but if the Mountaineers can beat KSU this weekend, every team in the conference will have one loss and we are back in the hunt. It's all in our own hands. But then again, it always is. Let's hope Steady B, Big Braun, and others are healthy, or at least healthy enough. If so, Mountaineer Field will be rocking on Saturday night.|
|Pick: West Virginia 38-35|
|Patrick Southern||Last Week: L||Season: 4-2||Pt Diff: 172|
"What was that about?" The question came from just about everyone who I spoke to in the days after last week's loss at Texas Tech. Sure, most didn't foresee an undefeated season coming, and West Virginia has historically been good for one head-scratcher of a performance per season, but a 35-point loss? With this offense? If you told me that happened, I would have assumed a final score of 90-55 or something similar.
But in hindsight, Texas Tech was well equipped to exploit WVU's weaknesses on defense. It seems like years since the Mountaineers have kept an opposing tight end from torching them as Tech's Jace Amaro did. The Red Raiders had far more depth at receiver than WVU did at corner. And give Texas Tech credit for taking advantage of circumstances: defensive coordinator Art Kaufman gambled Geno Smith couldn't complete deep passes in the gusting winds in Lubbock, and he was right.
Kansas State poses what, on paper, appears to be a better matchup. West Virginia has defended the run well, and the Wildcats' offensive success is predicated on running the ball effectively. Still, bet against Collin Klein and Bill Snyder at your own risk. They are winners. But can they go on the road and cement their status as the Big 12 title favorite in front of a hostile nighttime crowd in Morgantown?
|Pick: West Virginia 45-41|
|Andy Easton||Last Week: L||Season: 4-2||Pt Diff: 182|
After the licking in Lubbock the Mountaineers face their toughest test of season as the Kansas State Wildcats creep into Morgantown looking to bolster their resume for the National Championship game. The Blue and Gold will be looking to get their offense back on track and their defense to at least be in the same area code as the Wildcat receivers.
41 38 There is something about playing at Milan Puskar Stadium at night in a nationally televised game. The Mountaineers will find a way to knock the Wildcats from the ranks of the undefeated.
|Pick: West Virginia 41-38|
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: L||Season: 4-2||Pt Diff: 188|
|If WVU wants to contend for the Big 12 title this season, a win over Kansas State is a must. Kansas State may lack the high-powered passing attack to take advantage of West Virginia's biggest weakness, but until the Mountaineers show that their defense can slow down a quality opponent, it's hard to predict a WVU victory.|
|Pick: Kansas State 42-38|
|Bill Gleason||Last Week: L||Season: 4-2||Pt Diff: 195|
Coming off the Lackluster Lubbock effort, WVU faces what is quite possibly the best all-around team in the conference. Let's just say that the debacle at Texas Tech has dampened my confidence that the offense can overcome the defensive ineptitude.
Overlooked in all the hemming and hawing over last week's performance is the fact that WVU actually held the ball for 10:50 in the third quarter. The defense forced a fumble and allowed zero yardage on a drive where Tech took over at the WVU 25 and didn't score. It was the offense thatdidn't provide any support in the second half.
I would like to think that Morgantown, on Saturday, at night, will be enough to get the Mountaineers over the top. But I'm not real comfortable with this pick.
|Pick: West Virginia 48-41|
|Tony Dobies||Last Week: L||Season: 4-2||Pt Diff: 195|
Kansas State is beatable. But, it's going to take a better performance by West Virginia than what it showed a week ago to get the job done. Call it the perfect storm for West Virginia, because Kansas State is probably the better-coached team. Being at home with the motivation of last weekend's loss should help the Mountaineers pull off the victory.
The WVU offense won't put up another unsettling performance, and the Mountaineer have a chance to take advantage of a good, but not great pass defense by the Wildcats. Defensively, WVU just has to keep it together. Statistically, this could be the best chance for the Mountaineers to prove something. While KSU has a great quarterback, Collin Klein isn't the best thrower.
It will be a shootout, and I like WVU's offense just a bit better at this point.
|Pick: West Virginia 59-53|