Picks and Pontifications: WVU - Texas A&M

It's down to the wire in the season picks contest, and Tony, Michael and Andy head into the Liberty Bowl tied with ten wins each, and separated by just two points. Will it be the selector of the winning team, or a points battle that decides it all?


It finally happened. For the first time in contest history, a predictor nailed the exact final score. Andy's 37-24 pick of WVU's win over Iowa State not only enshrines him on our virtual Wall of Honor, but also pulled him into a tie with Michael, and just two points behind Tony.

Andy's on-the-nose selection took the spotlight off Brian's oh-so-close one point miss, and left Matt's normally excellent seven-point miss in the dark.


CJ and Chris each missed by 17 -- normally a not-bad margin but the worst of the week. That kept them separated by just one point in the battle for fourth place.

Tony Dobies Last Week: W Season: 10-2 Point Differential: 204
I don't see West Virginia finding a way to pull off a victory over Texas A&M in this one. The Mountaineers have been just too inconsistent over the last month of the regular season for me to see them winning this game. The SEC has been known to dominate in bowl games, and while the Aggies are by no means the best in their conference, they'll be good enough to win this one.
Texas A&M 38-27

Michael Carvelli Last Week: W Season: 10-2 Point Differential: 206
This is probably going to be one of the most entertaining games this season, or at least it looks that way on paper. For both WVU and A&M, it's tough to tell which team will show up. At the end of the day though, I think it'll be the Mountaineer defense that will be able to make just enough stops to come away with a pretty good win.
West Virginia 34-30

Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 10-2 Point Differential: 206
Clint Trickett's career over and WVU's hopes lie on the relatively untested Skylar Howard. Throw in the fact that the Aggie coaches are very familiar with WVU's offensive style, and it could be a long day for the Mountaineers.
Texas A&M 37-24

Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 9-3 Point Differential: 222
There are so many ties between the two coaching staffs that this might as well be a backyard game after a big family meal. But the game isn't about the coaches, it's about the players. WVU caps off its bounce back season with a win.

Now for the real question for those of you who went to Memphis: best ribs?
West Virginia 31-23

Roger "CJ" Harvey Last Week: W Season: 9-3 Point Differential: 223
Texas A&M switched quarterbacks midway through the season, and after a promising start to the year the Aggies fell downhill. A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin knows how to win bowl games, but a high flying West Virginia team will be a difficult opponent. I think WVU's good defense and speedy offense will outlast the Aggies. The Mountaineers win with Skyler Howard at the helm.
West Virginia 35-28

Jonathan Martin Last Week: W Season: 9-3 Point Differential: 238
West Virginia is back! After two years of bowl season absence the Mountaineers face Texas A&M in the Liberty Bowl.

West Virginia is likely to showcase both Kevin White and Mario Alford in the passing game while trying to use a complement of backs to do just enough on the ground. The biggest concern is being able to stop the Aggies. If West Virginia can generate turnovers and get off the field on third down, expect the Mountaineers to pick up their eighth win of the year.
West Virginia 37-31

Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 8-4 Point Differential: 176
With two offenses that are so similar, this game will probably be decided by which Liberty Bowl opponent has the better defense. That’s West Virginia, though a big special teams play also could play an important factor, and that’s not typically been WVU’s strong suit. Bowls are always hard to predict, but if A&M’s defense is as porous as it was in the regular season, WVU should prevail in a high-scoring affair.
West Virginia 33-31

Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 8-4 Point Differential: 197
In a season of what-ifs for both programs, this Liberty Bowl figures to be a match-up of who's more excited to play, and which team's execute is superior over the course of four quarters. On defense, that would seem to be West Virginia. On offense, it's a toss-up, and in special teams, one figures the edge to A&M. These, along with season-openers, are the most difficult games to gauge. It's about tackling, avoiding the glaring mistake and actually wanting to be there. If consistency does indeed win, as WVU wrestling coach Sammie Henson claims, then this game is West Virginia's, if by the slightest of margins.
West Virginia 34-30

Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 7-5 Point Differential: 210
It's been a tumultuous post-season for the Mountaineers, with Oliver Luck's and Shannon Dawson's departures announced and the quarterback uncertainty, but this team really wants to win, so hopefully it will maintain the focus they need to beat TAMU. Even though Kevin White didn't get a big trophy, hopefully Santa will bring him a first-round draft pick and a generous contract.

So in the spirit of the season: On Dasher, on Dancer, on Tonk, Shell & Kwit; On Lambert, on Alford, you have to admit. Through good times and bad ones, our Mountaineers reign. Now punt, pass, and kick and win this bowl game. Hey, it's Christmas. You didn't expect Shakespearean sonnets, did you?
West Virginia 35-31

Brian Jolliff Last Week: W Season: 7-5 Point Differential: 233
We've all gonethrough the ups and downs this football season as we've watched theMountaineers go from a surprise team and a potential Big 12 title contender to losing the final 3 of 4 games. But in the end, I think we probably ended up about where many of my fellow Mountaineer fans expected to be at the end of the year -- better than last year, but not quite back to where we want to be. This Monday's game against Texas A&M could give this team a chance to finish out the year on a positive not, and that's something that I fully expect the squad to do. One more win and West Virginia can double its win total from last season.
West Virginia 38-31

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