Picks and Pontifications: Towson

It's a complete outlook reversal as our panel takes on the WVU - Towson game

While our selectors would have happily accepted a loss on their ledgers in return for a Mountaineer win, they did get a bit of salve in the form of some very close picks of last week's game.

WINNING SELECTIONS

Greg and Roger headed a very on-target group of selectors this week, missing the final score by just three points apiece. Matt, Michael, Jane, Jon, Tony and Chris were hot on their heels, missing by an average of just eight points per selection.


HOPE YOU DIDN'T BET THIS PICK

Although they wren't terrible misses, Andy and Brian brought up the back of the pack with 19- and 21-point misses. There's plenty of time for them to rally, however.


Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 3
Towson is a very FCS good program, but it’s still likely to be the least talented team – by far – that West Virginia will play this season. If WVU can’t easily tame the Tigers, it will have little hope of being competitive in the Big 12. The Mountaineers should pull away to a comfortable victory. If they don’t, nothing this season will be comfortable.
West Virginia 38-14

Roger Harvey Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 3
If the game against Alabama is any indication of WVU's potential, then the game against Towson should be a mark in the 'Win' column. Don't get me wrong, the 2013 FCS runner up is a good team; the Tigers upset UConn just last season. But if WVU is focused, then the game should not be a problem. If the squad is concerned about Maryland next week, than this could be a classic trap game. Regardless, WVU should pull away with the victory.
West Virginia 31-17

Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 4
Both West Virginia and Towson enter nursing hangovers of a vastly different sort. For the Mountaineers, it's one born of frustration and disappointment with a dash of confidence. For the Tigers, it's the bitter aftertaste of being upset at home in the opener one game after reaching the FCS championship. And while both teams enter with something to prove, only Towson can likely cement any semblance of a proven commodity because of talent discrepancy. The Mountaineers have more at almost every position, and should, barring the same unforced errors, win handily. This game is about WVU and self-improvement heading into a key contest at Maryland in week three. This might be close early, but superior skill pulls away.
West Virginia 45-17

Michael Carvelli Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 7
This is West Virginia’s opportunity to come out and take care of business against a team it should beat. The Mountaineers will thrive in the environment of a night game in Morgantown and do exactly what they need to do in order to get back in the win column. WVU’s offense will be too much with its balanced attack while this game could give the defense an opportunity to flex its muscles a bit.
West Virginia 37-13

Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 8
The geopolitics of football: I suspect we are playing Towson because former WVU president Jim Clements came to the Mountaineers from Towson, where he was provost. Clements has since moved on, and is now president of Clemson. Therefore, there is no reason to go easy on the suburbanites from greater Baltimore.
West Virginia 45-10

Jonathan Martin Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 9
West Virginia surprised almost everyone with its performance against Alabama. The concern now, though, is will there be a letdown against Towson? The Mountaineers appear to be locked in and focused on the task at hand. I anticipate a heavy dose of Rushel Shall and Dreamius Smith in an effort to wear down the Tigers and another strong outing for Kevin White. If West Virginia disappoints it won’t be this week.
West Virginia 37-17

Tony Dobies Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 10
West Virginia shouldn't have much trouble with the Tigers if the Mountaineers come out with the same energy on Saturday as they did against Alabama ... and if they don't, it will be a battle. WVU will run away with the game in the second half, and it might be an opportunity for the offense to shine for the first time since the start of the 2012 season. I expect a big game from the running backs in a fairly easy victory to open the home slate.
West Virginia 44-16

Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 12
West Virginia showed a lot of toughness and resolve during last week's 10-point loss to heavily-favored Alabama. Sitting there the whole time, I never felt like the Mountaineers were being completely dominated. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of work to be done. But by and large this team looks improved over last year's squad. Now it's time for them to reap some of the rewards for that improvement.

Towson comes to town off a season-opening upset loss to Central Connecticut State. The Tigers are breaking in a new quarterback, new running back, new offensive line, and five new starters on the defensive side of the ball. I'm not great at math, but that doesn't sound like an equation that turns out favorably for last season's FCS runner-up.

The word of the week in Morgantown is "finish." Finish drives with touchdowns, not field goals. Finish defensive possessions by getting off the field on third down. Finish good defensive plays with sound tackling. Finish blocks to allow for bigger gains. You get the point.
West Virginia 34-13

Brian Jolliff Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 19
I'm pleasantly surprised at the effort that the Mountaineers gave last weekend in what was more or less a home game for Alabama. I admit that I did not think our guys would hold up as well as they did against the second ranked team in the country, being so far from home. Sure, there were mistakes and missed opportunities. WVU allowed Alabama to get into a rhythm in the second half and gave up more yardage in the game than it needed to, but if I'm judging the season so far from that singular performance, I honestly cannot completely disappointed.

Next up is Towson in the Mountaineers' first home game this season. I think WVU will be able to win the game comfortably. The predicted weather as I write this pick is for an 80% chance of thunderstorms Saturday and that can rarely be a positive thing for an up-tempo team. But I feel that WVU will still be able to overcome any miscues caused by the weather and come away with its first victory of the young season.
West Virginia 42-17

Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Point Differential: 21
After a 31-27 loss to Central Connecticut State, the Towson Tigers dropped to 22nd in this week's FCS rankings and will be looking to extend their 11-game road winning streak in Morgantown this weekend. Look for the Mountaineer to get their first win of the season against a quality FCS foe.
West Virginia 42-17

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