Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers - Iowa State Cyclones

Can Iowa State summon an emotion-fueled effort to send their coach off with a victory in his finale? Or will West Virginia continue its November march? Our panel weighs in with their thoughts and picks as the Cyclones visit the Mountaineers in Big 12 football action.

Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Point Differential: 185
Iowa State will be full of emotion in what will be the final game for head coach Paul Rhoads. Mark my words: the man will have his team ready to play. He is a master motivator, and he'll have the Cyclones ready to run through a brick wall for Saturday's game.The fact is, though, that West Virginia is a better football team. The Mountaineers are playing their best ball of the season, and will want to send their senior teammates out on a good note in their final home game. Win number 7 it is.
  West Virginia 35-17  
Connor Murray Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Point Differential: 187
The Mountaineers can stick with the formula that has won them three straight games this week. Pound the Iowa State defense on the ground with a combination of Smallwood, Shell and Howard all afternoon. Tony Gibson's defense continues to play well despite injuries, and I see that continuing Saturday.
  West Virginia 41-20  
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Point Differential: 206
The Mountaineers are on upset alert this week with Iowa State coming to town. The Cyclones are coming off two strong performances against K-State and Oklahoma State, but also have the baggage of a lame duck head coach. How the Cyclone players react to the adversity will go a long way to determining the outcome. If the Mountaineers can get a couple of early quick scores the Cyclones might shut it down. If not, it will be a close game to the end.
  West Virginia 38-24  
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Point Differential: 217
Iowa State certainly isn’t a great team, but it showed signs in a 24-0 blowout of Texas in Ames and hard-fought losses to No. 4 Oklahoma State in Stillwater and K-State in Manhattan, that it is capable of playing solid football. But now that their head coach Paul Rhoads has been fired earlier this week, how much desire do the Cyclones have left? Especially against a WVU team that appears to be finding its stride.
  West Virginia 37-24  
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 8-2 Point Differential: 176
Iowa State is more than capable of not only staying in this game, but winning it. The Cyclones have excellent experience, and just enough talent and ability to execute to cause problems. There's a question about which way the team will lean regarding the firing of head coach Paul Rhoads. Either the Cyclones collapse, and completely quit, or play with additional juice. I think Iowa State finds some resolve, at least enough to match the emotional farewell of WVU's first group of seniors to fully play within the Big 12. In the end, the Mountaineers' ground game proves too much, and West Virginia gets a fourth straight win to set-up the finale at Kansas State.
  West Virginia 34-21  
Roger "C.J." Harvey Last Week: W Season: 8-2 Point Differential: 190
Iowa State has been all over the map this year. The Cyclones have been somewhat competitive against the Big 12’s elite, but have only tallied wins over Kansas and Texas. West Virginia, on the other hand, has found a second wind in the month of November. If WVU continues to aggressively attack with the run game, Iowa State won’t be able to put up much of a fight.
  West Virginia 44-17  
Jonathan Martin Last Week: W Season: 8-2 Point Differential: 215
West Virginia goes for its fourth straight win on Saturday when it hosts Iowa State. This is a game the Mountaineers should win. But, with the recent news of ISU's Paul Rhoads being out after the season, the Cyclones will have plenty to play for. It won't matter, though. The Mountaineers will continue to run the ball with ease and score plenty.
  West Virginia 42-27  
Brian Jolliff Last Week: W Season: 8-2 Point Differential: 222
There are a lot of side stories to this weekend's match-up between WVU and Iowa State. One one side you have an outgoing coach that is well supported by his players in what would be a tribute game for the Cyclone's Paul Rhoads. On the other side, you have WVU coming off of a 3 game win streak and playing incredible run offense and great defense, not to mention this being senior week in what would be a tribute game for the senior's last home game at Milan Puskar Stadium. What will be the key factor in this game will be the same as it has been for the last several games in solid defense, strong running game and turnovers. If WVU keeps on track, this should add up to number 4 in a row.
  West Virginia 38-21  
Jane Donovan
Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Point Differential: 199
Nothing completes leftover turkey and cranberry sauce like football. While we're celebrating all that we're thankful for, don't forget this resilient, determined Mountaineer senior class. Thanks for the memories, guys.
  West Virginia 42-24  

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