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Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers - Oklahoma Sooners

Unlike the College Football Playoff rankings, losses matter in the Fearless Picks. Last week's game resulted in a big shakeup in the standings, and this week's nighttime, primetime showdown with Oklahoma promises more of the same.

Mountaintop Picks...

Most importantly, Brian J, Greg, Jon and Chris picked the correct team in Austin. The Mountaineer victory pushed them all up in the standings. (See how that works, Kirby Hocutt?) No one was closer to the final score than Brian's 15-point miss, but all four were in the 17-22 point range.

...And The Valley Below

It's just tough to ding anyone for picking the Longhorns, especially given the closeness of the game. Matt's in uncharted depths, though he has tried to take a couple for the team.

Brian Jolliff Last Week: W Season: 8-1 Point Differential: 186
Another key game for West Virginia this week but against one of the best that the Big 12 has to offer. It seems that most of the experts are leaning on Oklahoma to come away with a victory. The words of these so called experts can't sway me. I'm picking the Mountaineers to come away with their ninth win of the season. Damn the stats, damn the advantages, damn the skeptics... it's a night game in Morgantown and Let's Go Mountaineers!
  West Virginia 38-31  
 
 
Jeff Cobb Last Week: L Season: 7-2 Point Differential: 170
Disrespect. That's the word most associated with WVU football this week. The CFB Playoff Committee released its latest ranking on Tuesday, revealing that West Virginia was #14 in the country -- by far the lowest ranked one loss Power 5 team. Behind two loss Utah, Colorado and Penn State. Behind three loss Southern Cal. Meanwhile, Clemson and Michigan lose to unranked teams...and stay in the Top 4! That has managed to put a sizable chip on the shoulders of the majority of the fan base. And the chip that already rides around on Skyler Howard's shoulder? Boulder-sized now. Nobody is giving West Virginia a chance in this game -- not the national media, not the casual football fan, certainly not Vegas. The only group giving WVU a chance are Mountaineer fans, and of course the football team itself. If I have learned anything in all my years of following WVU football, it's this: When things look the most insurmountable, that's when the Mountaineers will emerge victorious. It's the 2008 Fiesta Bowl all over again! All WVU needs to complete the deja vu experience is a victory and a teary eyed Elijah Wellman interview afterward. No way am I going to pick against the Mountaineers this week.
  West Virginia 35-31  
 
 
Greg Hunter
Last Week: W Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 153
Much will be at stake when Oklahoma visits Mountaineer Field this Saturday. The Sooners are seeking to secure at least a piece of their 10th Big 12 regular season title, while West Virginia is trying to challenge for its first. OU’s offense is outstanding (44.2 ppg), though its defense has struggled (30.8 ppg). WVU’s defense will face its biggest test because of the balance the Sooners have offensively, so WVU’s offense has to perform at a high level to keep this close.
  Oklahoma 30-28  
 
 
Jonathan Martin Last Week: W Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 190
If West Virginia wants to find a place in the final four of the CFB Playoffs at season's end it must find a way to win on Saturday night. The Mountaineers face a tough opponent in Oklahoma ... a team they haven't beaten since becoming a member of the Big 12 Conference. The Sooners are an excellent offensive football team. Expect the Mountaineers to use a steady run game and run clock. If Skyler Howard can keep from turning the football over they can pull off the upset.
  West Virginia 35-31
 
 
Brian McCracken Last Week: L Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 197
In last week's win over Texas, West Virginia's offense committed four turnovers and only managed to score 24 points. Neither of those numbers will be satisfactory this week as the Mountaineers must find a way to outscore the most talented offense in the Big 12. Tony Gibson's defense should be able to slow down the Sooners but Oklahoma has too much talent to be completely shut down. I think WVU's offense gets back on track this week and the Mountaineers get enough points to beat Oklahoma in a sold out Milan Puskar Stadium.
  West Virginia 38-35  
 
 
Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 201
West Virginia wasn't it's best on Saturday at Texas, but still found a way to come home with a win. Being able to do that on the road against good competition (and I know Texas isn't at the top of the league this year, but still) is a sign of a great team. More and more, the Mountaineers are looking like a great team. Are they flawed? Sure. But they're also tough and resilient. A blue-collar group that seemingly finds a way every week. I expect a raucous atmosphere at Mountaineer Field on Saturday night when the Sooners come to town. Is Oklahoma more talented? Yes. Are they playing their best football of the season? It appears so. But as the great Jack Fleming said, "Anything can happen in football. On any given night, on any given field it can happen." And I think it will happen on Saturday night in Morgantown. 60,000 strong singing Country Roads at midnight on a Saturday? Yes please.
  West Virginia 37-35  
 
 
Andy Easton Last Week: L Season: 6-3 Point Differential: 218
Oklahoma brings a seven-game winning streak to Morgantown on Saturday night to face the Mountaineers. The Sooners probably have more talent on offense but have struggled on defense for most of the season.The Mountaineers haven't beaten the Sooners since joining the Big 12 but it's a night game in Morgantown and WVU will end the losing streak.
  West Virginia 35-31  
 
 
Matt Keller Last Week: L Season: 5-4 Point Differential: 153
Oklahoma possesses the most balanced, complete offense West Virginia will face this regular season. The Sooners offer a pair of high caliber backs in Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, a stellar horizontal and vertical threat in Dede Westbrook and a mobile quarterback in Baker Mayfield who can extend plays and exploit defenses off such with his arm or legs. Mayfield plays with a gutty, self-assured confidence that's innate, and has become ingrained in OU's offense overall. West Virginia can hang in this game, but it must eliminate the big play defensively, while protecting the ball and making the routine plays on offense. A more healthy Rushel Shell wouldn't hurt, either. Solid, steady execution can give the Mountaineers a chance late, but there's simply too much on paper here.
  Oklahoma 33-27  

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