PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'
The potential was there for a massive shakeup in the rankings, but WVU couldn't make the final play it needed. As a result, the standings stayed roughly the same, with Andy, Chris and Michael still at the top.
Brian was the closest points predictor of the week with a 22-point miss, as no one saw a shootout coming. With most everyone picking a WVU win this week, score differential will be critical in determining moves in the standings.
|Andy Easton||Last Week: W||Season: 8-2||Pt Diff: 229|
The Mountaineers travel to Lawrence, Kan., needing a win to keep their bowl chances alive. The Jayhawks are looking for their first Big 12 win for second-year head coach Charlie Weis.
Let's face it: Kansas is terrible. The Jawhawks have not beaten a current Big 12 team since October 10, 2009 -- a 41-36 win over Iowa State. They rank 90th or worse in 15 national statistical categories and have only scored 20 points or more once, in a 31-14 defeat of South Dakota.
Not faring much better are the 4-6 Mountaineers, who rank 90th or worse in 11 national statistical categories and are giving up 36.4 ppg in their last seven contests. If the Blue and Gold want to extend their bowl game appearance streak to 12 they will need to jump on the Jayhawks early and often to take any thought of an upset out of their minds.
|Pick: West Virginia 35-21|
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: W||Season: 8-2||Pt Diff: 245|
This game will not be viewed by many on TV. There will not be many people in the stands. And in the grand scheme of the 2013 college football season, is means very little. But for West Virginia, it is without question the biggest game of the season.
It's now or never for these Mountaineers. Every week is a playoff. Win this week, and hopes of going to a bowl game are still alive. Lose, and Christmas Break just got a whole lot longer (which obviously isn't a good thing if you're a college football player or coach.)
I've been down on this team. But I think they find a way to win this week in Lawrence.
|Pick: West Virginia 24-17|
|Michael Carvelli||Last Week: W||Season: 8-2||Pt Diff: 266|
While West Virginia hasn't played well this season, it hasn't been anywhere near
the level of Kansas. The Jayhawks will have a very hard time getting much
momentum going offensively, and this could be a game in which the WVU offense - whether led by Clint Trickett or Paul Millard - shouldn't have much difficulty
moving the ball.
A lot of games recently have been tough to pick, but this one isn't really for me.
|Pick: West Virginia 35-13|
|Tony Dobies||Last Week: W||Season: 7-3||Pt Diff: 280|
|West Virginia can't lose to Kansas, right? I doubt the Mountaineers fail to pull off the victory on Saturday - even on the road. The Jayhawks don't have an offense that can put up a ton of points, and West Virginia should be able to take advantage of field position and score enough points to stay alive for a bowl.|
|Pick: West Virginia 31-17|
|Bill Gleason||Last Week: L||Season: 6-4||Pt Diff: 261|
Regardless of the urgency here, this is the classic definition of a trap game for WVU. A game WVU is supposed to win over a team that hasn't won a conference game in three years. The week after a hugely emotional loss at home in front of one of the best atmospheres this team has ever seen. In a half-empty stadium against a team with no emotional attachment to WVU in football.
The standard line "don't let a team beat you twice" directly relates to this situation. The 1996 Syracuse game immediately comes to mind.
If Dana and staff can get the Mountaineers to practice hard, prepare well and treat Kansas like Texas, WVU should win going away. WVU isn't good enough to sleep walk over KU.
|Pick: West Virginia 49-23|
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: W||Season: 6-4||Pt Diff: 279|
|There are a lot of good teams in the Big 12, but Kansas isn't one of them. Eventually the Jayhawks will snap their 27-game league losing streak. But even though WVU has had its own struggles this year, particularly on the road, this shouldn't be the week KU finds a Big 12 win. As long as West Virginia avoids critical errors, it should come away from Lawrence with a win.|
|Pick: West Virginia 31-14|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: W||Season: 6-4||Pt Diff: 282|
|There's no reason to think this team won't just collapse at this point. There's a certain talent differential. Maybe that will be enough o overcome yet another emotional defeat. At this point, it's time to play for the Pinstripe - what a reward.|
|Pick: Kansas 28-24|
|Jane Donovan||Last Week: W||Season: 5-5||Pt Diff: 255|
|And so we come to the final away game of the regular season with much on the line for the Mountaineers. The old-timers among us remember Charlie Weis at Notre Dame and don't believe he will do any better at Kansas than he did in South Bend. The WVU defense, which is dramatically improved over this time last year, is sorely depleted by injuries, but it's also anchored by Will Clarke and other seniors who badly want a bowl game. Will that be enough to get the win? As that great twentieth century British philosopher, Sir Michael Jagger, once famously wrote: Start me up.|
|Pick: West Virginia 35-21|
|Jon Martin||Last Week: L||Season: 5-5||Pt Diff: 263|
West Virginia hits the road for the final time this season, an uneventful matchup with Kansas. This game, however, has more value to the Mountaineers.
West Virginia needs to win their remaining two games to become bowl eligible. So while wrapping up a season with a 6-6 mark isn't exceeding expectations, it certainly would be a confidence booster to the program.
The Mountaineers showed signs of life last week in their overtime loss to Texas. Charles Sims had another solid performance, Mario Alford displayed flashes of what we thought he'd be, and the defense was efficient for the majority of the contest.
Fast-forward a week, and the same will ring true. West Virginia will put enough together to take down the Jayhawks,
|Pick: West Virginia 34-21|
|Brian Jolliff||Last Week: L||Season: 5-5||Pt Diff: 276|
Without trying to be cliché, this weekend's game with Kansas is "do or die", at least in regard to WVU's post season aspirations. You win this week and next and you potentially get a bowl game; lose and the season ends in two weeks.
With that motivation, along with the good that we saw last week in the loss to Texas and the seemingly no-quit attitude of this squad, I think the Mountaineers come out of this weekend with a solid victory.
|Pick: West Virginia 38-24|