Fearless Picks: Selecting the West Virginia - Texas Tech Football Game

The pack broke up a bit with the selections in West Virginia's first Big 12 game of the year, and there could be more shuffling this week as the road trip to Texas Tech has our panel puzzling over the results.

Mountaintop Picks...

Jeff and the Brians jumped to the top of the standings with last week's pick of West Virginia. Will they stay that course on the road this week?

...And The Valley Below

It's tough to knock those who wanted to see WVU prove it on the fied vs. K-State. Now that it did, though, will that influence this week's selections?

Jeff Cobb Last Week: W Season: 4-0 Point Differential: 67
Lubbock. The name to me is mud. It's the site of the 2012 debacle when the 5-0, fifth-ranked Mountaineers came to that west Texas cattle town and came away with its first loss of the year. West Virginia has never been quite the same since, either tangibly or in the eyes of the public and media. And I blame Lubbock for that. It's an insidiously difficult place to get to. This is the first true road test for the Mountaineers. How they respond on Saturday at noon will go a long way into telling us this team's character. Are they a tough, resilient bunch that refuse to lose? Or are they a lucky team whose luck will finally run out on the dry desert plain? Texas Tech's defense is putrid. But their offense is electric and Mahomes is a tough hombre. However I think these particular Mountaineers - unlike the Geno Smith-led squad of four seasons ago - will find a way to win another close one.
  West Virginia 45-41  
Brian Joliff Last Week: W Season: 4-0 Point Differential: 74
West Virginia goes on the road this Saturday to seek its fifth victory of the year against a very effective Texas Tech offensive unit. Although the Mountaineers seem to have the tools to keep pace with the Red Raiders' scoring, they have yet to demonstrate that ability this season. I would give the Mountaineers the edge on defense, but that is only because of the very poor defense TT has shown this year, thus far. But as we all know, WVU's defense has a history of making average offensive teams look good, so when you put a very good offensive team up against the Mountaineer defense, I really don't know what to predict. I think the WVU comes away this weekend with its first loss of the season, but I'm hoping that gut feeling is wrong. So, instead of playing the numbers, I'll go out on a limb and hope.
  West Virginia 42-38  
Brian McCracken Last Week: W Season: 4-0 Point Differential: 85
On Saturday, West Virginia will travel to Lubbock for its first true road game of the year against Texas Tech. This game will obviously come down to the match-up between Patrick Mahomes and Texas Tech's offense and the Mountaineer defense. The Mountaineers are coming off what could be their best defensive performance of the season against K-State, but on Saturday they will face an offense unlike any other in college football. I think the Mountaineers will be able to score some points, but I don't know if the defense can get off the field enough to pull this one out. An inexperienced secondary whch has already seen a rash of injuries going against the best quarterback in the conference in its first true road game of the year could spell bad news for West Virginia.
  Texas Tech 45-42  
Greg Hunter
Last Week: L Season: 3-1 Point Differential: 37
This won’t be a game determined by defensive dominance but likely by which defense gets a few stops. WVU’s defense may not be great (20.0 points per game), but it is much better than Tech’s (37.2 ppg). Still, the Red Raiders are built for shootouts, and their point-a-minute offense (59.5 ppg) will be difficult to keep up with, even for a WVU unit that is pretty good itself (29.0 ppg). This could come down to who has the ball last, much like WVU’s 2014 trip to Lubbock.
  Texas Tech 47-45  
Matt Keller Last Week: L Season: 3-1 Point Differential: 48
West Virginia hasn't played well in two meetings in Lubbock, and it figures the Mountaineer secondary should have issues slowing Texas Tech's passing game. But the Red Raiders haven't been able to stop much, if anything, themselves. This figures to be a back-and-forth affair where a couple of solid stops wins it. With how WVU has allowed foes to stick closer than they should have, Tech's offense takes advantage.
  Texas Tech 45-40  
Andy Easton Last Week: L Season: 3-1 Point Differential: 75
Texas Tech has one is the best passing attacks in the nation but its defense has been giving up yards at an alarming rate. It's WVU's first true road game and the jury is still out on this team.There will be plenty of points scored on Saturday with WVU coming out in top.
  West Virginia 42-37  
Jonathan Martin Last Week: L Season: 3-1 Point Differential: 78
West Virginia is off to a hot start in 2016 but faces a tough challenge this weekend at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders are known for scoring points - and lots of them. In previous matchups the Mountaineers have ran the ball extremely well in keeping the potent Texas Tech offense on the sidelines. I expect HCDH will use similar strategy this time around. However, will it be enough? West Virginia has struggled significantly in the red zone this season and kicking field goals in Lubbock won't translate into a win.
  Texas Tech 48-35  
Chris Richardson Last Week: L Season: 3-1 Point Differential: 90
I am happy to have been wrong a few weeks back about the K-State game. That was a great win for the Mountaineers, especially the way they came through when they needed to offensively late in the game. In short, WVU will need its best effort on both sides of the ball this week to come out of Lubbock with a win. The Red Raiders thrive on out-scoring teams, and while I believe the Mountaineer offense is better than its shown, I don't know that this is a team that is capable of outscoring the high-octane teams in the league. If the Mountaineers can turn this game into a fist fight, and keep it from getting into a track meet, they can leave Lubbock with a big league road win. I can't yet wrap my mind around that happening, though.
  Texas Tech 49-45  

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