Fearless Picks: Forecasting the West Virginia Mountaineers - Kansas State Wildcats Football Game

It's on to the Big 12 opener for West Virginia, and a tougher selection for our panel. K-State's hex over the Mountaineers weighs on the minds of some of our panelists, making this week the first of several separation Saturdays to come.

Mountaintop Picks...

Greg continued an incredible run last week, missing the final score of the WVU - BYU game by just six points. That widened his lead over Matt, who continues to hold on to second place. Andy (six) and Brian J (9) also had single digit misses.

...And The Valley Below

Once again, no losses and across-the-boad solid accuracy makes it tough to hand out any knocks this week.

Greg Hunter
Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 19
Just like last year, West Virginia may look slightly better on paper than K-State, but somehow the Wildcats’ veteran coach Bill Snyder wrings everything possible from his squad, especially when it faces WVU. I, and many others, have undervalued Kansas State too many times in the past, and I’m not going to do it again. Until the Mountaineers actually beat the Wildcats, I’m not going to predict they can do so.
  Kansas State 27-24  
 
 
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 30
Four times West Virginia and Kansas State have played as Big 12 members. And four times have the Mountaineers emerged losers. K-State has won the game when it has been more talented, and it has won the game when it has been less talented. Until proven otherwise, there's no reason to think the Wildcats won't win again.
  Kansas State 27-24  
 
 
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 41
Kansas State and Oklahoma remain the only teams that WVU has yet to defeat since joining the Big 12 in 2012. It can be argued the Oklahoma has better athletes in most years than the Mountaineers but the same can't be said for the Wildcats. So why has Kansas State defeated WVU the last four seasons? The answer is Bill Synder. Until WVU can match the coaching of Snyder, my money is on the Wildcats.
  Kansas State 37-30  
 
 
Jeff Cobb Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 46
Are there two teams more diametrically opposed in the Big 12 than Kansas State and West Virginia? It goes beyond conservative vs. free-wheeling. It’s the old school, no frills approach of Bill Snyder against the outside-the-box, Air Raid thinking of Dana Holgorsen. It’s typewriters vs. smart phones. Handwritten notes vs. Tweets. Malt shop vs. Red Bull. And so far, the old guard has schooled the new guard, with WVU falling to the Wildcats in each contest the two have played against each other as league members. Colin Klein destroyed the Mountaineers in their first meeting, but each subsequent contest has gotten closer and closer. The last two games have been decided by special teams, and that’s an area where the solid fundamentals of Kansas State has shown out the most against WVU. But West Virginia has closed the gap as far as fundamentals, turnovers and playing more mistake-free football (WVU’s kick-off problems against BYU notwithstanding). So will this be the year that the Mountaineers finally break through and defeat the Wildcats? I tend to think so. It’s a sold out, Stripe the Stadium home game. Holgorsen has the Mountaineers operating at a high level offensively, and Tony Gibson’s defense is doing well, although it has not been able to provide a consistent level of resistance to this point. K-State is #1 in the nation in defense, but that might be attributed to the schedule, which has included equally conservative Stanford in the opening game, along with a couple of cream puffs. WVU has been tested in each and every game, including FCS opponent YSU.
  West Virginia 34-20  
 
 
Jonathan Martin Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 48
After a solid start to the season West Virginia opens conference play with its annual nemesis Kansas State. WVU's struggles against K-State are well documented - having never defeated the Wildcats since joining the Big 12. If the Mountaineers are going to win they'll need to continue piling up points, as the defense has struggled. I'm not convinced this year will be any different.
  Kansas State 35-28  
 
 
Brian Joliff Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 48
WVU has seen its struggles in every game this season so far and I don't expect that trend to end this Saturday against a Kansas State team that just seems to have WVU's number. Neither team has faced any elite competition this season so there are still many questions as what either of these squads can do. WVU seems to hold the upper hand on offense this weekend but the defense has been equal amounts of awesome and awful. Head coach Dana Holgerson is probably correct in thinking that special teams will be where this game is decided, so if the Mountaineers can win that fight it should have the upper hand -- unless the turnover margin is big. Either way this looks to be a toss up.
  West Virginia 31-28  
 
 
Brian McCracken Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 57
West Virginia enters its fourth game of the year hoping to accomplish something it never has as a member of the Big 12 conference: defeating Kansas State. Bill Snyder's ball club comes to Morgantown boasting the No.1 total defense in the country, only allowing 179 yards per game. If West Virginia hopes to get the proverbial monkey off of its back (or Wildcat in this case) and beat Snyder's 25th Kansas State team, they must find a way to consistently move the ball on K-State and score some points (the Wildcats only allow 11.0 ppg). I think they do and I think Josh Lambert re-introduces himself to Mountaineer nation by kicking a game winning field goal as time expires. The Mountaineers win a big-time, close game at home for the first time in far too long and catapult into the Top 25 next week.
  West Virginia 31-30  
 
 
Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 3-0 Point Differential: 61
West Virginia was solid overall in the win over BYU, good enough to beat the Cougars. If there was an achilles heel, though, it was run defense. And the issues there will have to be shored up in a big way if the Mountaineers want to win their Big 12 opener on Saturday against Kansas State. The Wildcats and Coach Bill Snyder have gotten the better of WVU every year in the Big 12. Is this finally the year the Mountaineers break through with a win against K-State? I'd love to say yes, but until they've actually done it, I've got to go with the Wildcats.
  Kansas State 35-27  

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