Picks and Pontifications: WVU - TCU

The standings saw another shakeup last week as several selectors didn't see a WVU win in Stillwater. Things are still relatively close at the top, but another Top Ten match-up could jumble things further as our panel picks the West Virginia - TCU game.

The standings saw another shakeup last week as several selectors didn't see a WVU win in Stillwater. Things are still relatively close at the top, but another Top Ten match-up could jumble things further as our panel picks the West Virginia - TCU game.

WINNING SELECTIONS

Tony fended off Michael, Chris and Jon to remain atop the leaderboard, but just 25 points separate that quartet from each other. That deficit could be wiped out in a single week, as last week's picks showed. Jane was the only selector to miss by fewer than 20 points (17) to take the weekly honors.


HOPE YOU DIDN'T BET THIS PICK

West Virginia's defensive performance took many selectors by surprise, as the Cowboys' 10 total points were far below everyone's expectations. Matt and Andy's two-game losing streaks plunged both down the standings, but with a correct pick this week they could quickly right their respective ships.


Tony Dobies Last Week: W Season: 7-1 Point Differential: 135
This one is going to be fun to watch. TCU is a really, really good team. The Horned Frogs will probably give West Virginia's defense as much or more trouble than Baylor and Oklahoma State, and that TCU defense is pretty decent, too. I wouldn't be surprised if this doesn't come down to the end ... maybe even the final play. I see TCU pulling off a fairly high-scoring win in Morgantown.
TCU 41-34

Michael Carvelli Last Week: W Season: 7-1 Point Differential: 145
After many expected these two teams to be among the Big 12’s bottom tier this season, both West Virginia and TCU have used a potent offense and stingy defense to emerge among the favorites to win the league as we head into November. If West Virginia wants to have a chance in this one, its defense is going to need to come to play again and slow down a TCU offense that has averaged more than 60 points per game the last three weeks. If it wants to do that, it will have to continue to get off the field on third down the way it did against Baylor and Oklahoma State (the Mountaineer defense has allowed the last two offenses it faced to convert on just five of 31 third down tries). If the Mountaineers can get in a rhythm early, this could be another special day in Morgantown, but they might have to play their best game of the season to win this one.
TCU 41-35

Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 7-1 Point Differential: 150
I've wrestled with this pick all week. In fact, I've probably spent too much time thinking about West Virginia's matchup with TCU. From the beginning of the season, I've been telling anyone who would listen that the Horned Frogs were the Big 12's sleeper. Gary Patterson loosened up the reins offensively, going from his traditional, conservative pro-style offense to a Mike Leach-like air attack. Quarterback Trevone Boykin has been a beast, and is almost certainly the best quarterback West Virginia has faced to this point.

There's a lot of hype in Morgantown though. And rightfully so. The Mountaineers are bowl-eligible with a month left to play, back in the top 25, battle-tested with one of the nation's toughest schedules, and getting better every week. My gut has said TCU all week, but I'm giving WVU the benefit of the doubt. Tony Gibson's defense slows down TCU, and Clint Trickett directs the offense to another big win.
West Virginia 44-35

Jonathan Martin Last Week: W Season: 7-1 Point Differential: 160
West Virginia survived another thrilling week in the Big 12 with a win on the road over Oklahoma State. It doesn't get any easier this week, though, as highly ranked TCU and its number one offense rolls in the Morgantown. Can the Mountaineers draw up another formula for success? I expect a high-scoring affair with the winner of the turnover battle coming out with the victory.
TCU 47-38

Greg Hunter Last Week: L Season: 6-2 Point Differential: 117
TCU is one of only three Power 5 teams in the country that is both in the top 10 in the country in scoring offense (50.4 ppg) and top 30 in scoring defense (21.6), along with Ohio State and Georgia. This will be TCU’s first game of the season outside of the state of Texas, though, and if the Horned Frogs don’t defend better than they did at Baylor, West Virginia could come away with another top-10 upset.
West Virginia 36-34

Matt Keller Last Week: L Season: 6-2 Point Differential: 147
West Virginia's offense is playing at a high level. TCU's is playing on another level. The Mountaineer defense is executing and getting off the field as well as anyone in the Big 12 - except the Horned Frogs, which lead the league in a whopping six defensive categories. WVU has the intangibles of weather, atmosphere and, perhaps the biggest in the home field. It is, as has been noted, not only TCU's first game outside the state of Texas, but the first travel of any more than 100 miles for the Frogs, which have totaled 140 in their two road "trips" this season. West Virginia, meanwhile, has logged approximately 3,400. Unfortunately, its typically the tangibles that play out in the W-L column.
TCU 34-31

Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 6-2 Point Differential: 147
It has the makings of a perfect storm: Halloween, ESPN Game Day, the first snow of the season, and a sold-out Mountaineer Field. Students have been camping out on Mountainlair Plaza since Sunday night because they don't want to miss a thing. This weekend has the potential of becoming one of those epic events about which you tell your grandchildren. Even you, Gentle Reader, will claim to have eaten frozen frog legs.
West Virginia 38-35

Roger "CJ" Harvey Last Week: L Season: 6-2 Point Differential: 151
West Virginia and TCU are two of the hottest teams in the country. Both sides have proven they can win big games at home and on the road. Neither of the two teams were highly acclaimed coming into the season; now both are in contention for the Big 12 title, and possibly a playoff birth. This will be the fist time WVU lines up against a true dual threat quarterback in Trevone Boykin. For the Mountaineers to walk away with a victory the defense will need to be stout as they were against Baylor. A team doesn’t score 82 on the road by accident. This might be the toughest test for WVU yet, and I don’t see the team getting it done.
TCU 34-24

Andy Easton Last Week: L Season: 6-2 Point Differential: 171
The Horned Frogs come into Saturday's game averaging over 54 points in Big 12 games this season. TCU's passing attack and rushing game is ranked nationally, sixth and 35th, respectively. Throw in Trevone Boykin, who may be the best player in the country, and WVU will have its hands full this weekend. The Mountaineers will have a hard time containing the dual threat Boykin and will drop their third game this season.
TCU 41-31

Brian Jolliff Last Week: W Season: 6-2 Point Differential: 173
Well, the Mountaineers are back in previously familiar waters and are dead in the spotlight this Saturday night in Morgantown. Last time that happened, everything was going swimmingly until the return coverage team took the field. Hopefully this weekend's matchup with TCU will have a different outcome. The Frogs' offense looks daunting, but I thought that about Baylor a few weeks ago and we all know how that turned out. So instead of working the numbers, I'm going to go with the late Jack Fleming who felt that night time in Morgantown was a special time and that anything can happen on the field of battle.
West Virginia 45-35


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