Picks and Pontifications: WVU - Texas

Oh so close. Not only the outcome of the WVU - TCU game, but also the fortunes of our panel, who saw their respective positions rise and fall as the winning Horned Frog kick squeezed inside the left upright. It's on to Texas now, with both team and pickers looking to recover from a tough week.

WINNING SELECTIONS

Matt missed the final by just four points to solidify his hold at the head of the pack which is one game behind leaders Tony, Michael and Jon. CJ and Greg were also close in the points picks, missing the final score by a total of nine.


HOPE YOU DIDN'T BET THIS PICK

It was another overall good week for our panel in terms of point differential, as only one selector missed it by more than 19. The won-loss standings could have easily gone the other way, so it's tough to dun those who made West Virginia their selection. One less turnover, one fourth quarter first down or two more mph on a crosswind might have put Brian, Chris, Greg and Jane in the win column.


Tony Dobies Last Week: W Season: 8-1 Point Differential: 149
This will be a nice opportunity for West Virginia to prove that it can put up points again after an absolutely disgraceful fourth quarter against TCU. The Longhorns have a solid defense that should test WVU's best skill players. I guess we'll find out if the Mountaineers are still "spooked" a week after their last-second loss to the Horned Frogs. Defensively, WVU shouldn't have much of an issue, as Texas just hasn't shown to be able to move the ball against some of the better defenses it has played.
West Virginia 34-20

Michael Carvelli Last Week: W Season: 8-1 Point Differential: 160
This is potentially a make-or-break game for this WVU team. If it is able to bounce back from that devastating loss, it has a chance to get back on track. But if not, there is some serious potential for a big slide down the stretch this season. Personally, I think this is a much more mature team that can handle adversity like this in a better way, and it helps that it gets a Texas team that has been down this year. Finishing strong is the key, as the Mountaineers really need to find a way to get the passing game going - especially with Kevin White - if they want to win.
West Virginia 34-24

Jonathan Martin Last Week: W Season: 8-1 Point Differential: 184
After a heartbreaking loss to TCU last week, West Virginia looks to get back to its winning ways on the road against Texas. While this isn't the Longhorn team of years past, expect the Mountaineers to face a difficult challenge. Look for WVU to get back to throwing the ball around the field while the defense steps up once again.
West Virginia 37-28

Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 7-2 Point Differential: 151
Teams have generally moved the football on the ground adequately against the Longhorns, as three teams have rushed for at least 247 yards. The prime match-up will be a Mountaineer passing attack limited well over the last two weeks against a UT defense that has held opponents to 177 yards per game, almost 250 yards less than what WVU is averaging this season. The winner of this area is likely the game's victor, considering West Virginia should handle the Texas offense, and has seemingly cleaned up its special teams game.

Texas attracts a large crowd, but to call it intimidating is to be mistaken. Wine and cheese it isn't, but Texas rivals Michigan as the quietest 100,000-plus facilities in the nation. This is a road game with which a solid bowl team comes away. We'll find out much about how WVU finishes this weekend. Win, and an 8-4 season is in sight. Lose, and this team could flounder to an ultra-disappointing 6-6 record, and among the lowest of bowl bids. This is the swing game of the late season.
West Virginia 34-24

Roger "CJ" Harvey Last Week: W Season: 7-2 Point Differential: 160
Charlie Strong has taken on a zero-tolerance policy this season ast Texas. Nine players have been dismissed, including running back Joe Bergeron, who reached the end zone four times against WVU in 2012. The dismissals have hurt the Longhorns, and the team's record agrees at a middling 4-5. Texas is scoring in the red zone only 77 percent of the time, which ranks in the bottom 25 nationally.

WVU's defense has played well this season. There is no reason to doubt it against the ailing Longhorns.
West Virginia 35-17

Chris Richardson Last Week: L Season: 7-2 Point Differential: 168
The heck with football. I'm trying to beat Duke.

(Editor's Note: This may be the best prediction of all time. Site alumnus Chris Richardson, currently ann assistant at Central Missouri, is helping prep his team for a trip to Cameron Indoor Stadium this Saturday. If UCM pulls off the upset, Chris may be awarded this contest by default. Go Mules!)
West Virginia 31-27

Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 7-2 Point Differential: 182
WVU looks to grab a win on the Longhorns' home turf for the second time in as many tries. Every away game is tough in the Big 12 and this one will be no different. I think Texas is starting to put things together under first year head coach Charlie Strong, which is bad news for the shell shocked Mountaineers. WVU is the better team on a neutral field but it will be tough going at Austin.
Texas 31-28

Greg Hunter Last Week: L Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 126
First-year UT head coach Charlie Strong will likely return the Longhorns to prominence at some point. But the fact is Texas just isn’t very good this year. While UT’s defense has been solid, its offense rivals only Kansas for the worst in the Big 12. Texas has played five good teams, and lost all five – by an average of 28.6 to 11.4. WVU is also a good team, and it shouldn’t have too much problem – even in Austin.
West Virginia 31-17

Jane Donovan Last Week: L Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 159
Do they really grow yellow roses in Texas? If so, does that make Texas rose growers into secret Mountaineer fans? (You know, yellow roses, the ones you buy your sweetie for all important WVU events, tied up with a blue bow. You don't buy yellow roses with blue bows? Well, you should). Why isn't "she," whoever "she" is, the orange rose of Texas? Is this a philosophy question or a horticulture question? Oh, wait. It was a football question.
West Virginia 31-21

Brian Jolliff Last Week: L Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 1923
You can try to predict a game's outcome and the final score, but how can you predict a team transforming into Pitt last Saturday evening? Maybe it's just bad karma for all of the jokes I made against the hapless Panthers during their turnover spree a few weeks ago. Regardless of whether you were satisfied with the play calling last weekend or not, the aggressiveness or lack of it... WVU fans were fortunate that game was not a blowout embarrassment with the number of turnovers committed.

So this week we are off to Texas for a road game with the Longhorns. The question is how this squad and the coaches will react after last week's crushing loss, which pretty much closed the door on any Big 12 title hopes. This game looks to be a toss up so I'll go with my heart on this one and call it in favor of WVU.
West Virginia 31-28


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