Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers - Iowa State Cyclones

Our standings shuffle continued last week with several panelists making moves up (and down) the season-long ladder. This week's selections of WVU - Iowa State will have a similar effect in the season's tightly-bunched race.

Mountaintop Picks...

Greg and Matt, to their chagrin, were on target with their picks last week. They are also tops in the point differential category, giving them a leg up on any tiebreakers, but they still have work to do to catch leader Brian Jolliff.

...And The Valley Below

No one came within a stone's throw of the final score, inflating those totals across the board.

Brian Jolliff Last Week: L Season: 8-2 Point Differential: 221
My son truly understood what it felt like to be a Mountaineer fan this past Saturday as we both watched a game where whatever could go wrong, went wrong, and at the worst of times. I don't have a very warm and fuzzy feeling about the game this Saturday against the Cyclones, and although the coaches say there is still a lot to play for, I'm not sure how this team will respond. It should be a close game with some of West Virginia's play-makers keeping the team in the game, but I'm not confident they will come out on top.
  Iowa State 28-24  
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Point Differential: 179
Despite their recent two-game win streak, the Cyclones aren’t a great team. Their offense ranks ninth in the Big 12 in points scored (28.5 per game), and its defense is sixth in points allowed (29.7 per game). That mediocrity has led to a 3-8 record, yet five of those losses have come by less than 10 points, including all four of their home losses. WVU is the favorite, but any trip to Ames is filled with peril.
  West Virginia 31-17  
Jeff Cobb Last Week: L Season: 7-3 Point Differential: 202
There are ample reasons for concern going into this game with the Cyclones. Iowa State has been playing well, and the game is in Ames, not to mention the inevitable hangover from the Oklahoma loss. However, in the end I don't think those factors will be enough to cost WVU the game. I think the Mountaineers might start sluggishly, but will do enough to come out on the winning end.
  West Virginia 31-23  
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 6-4 Point Differential: 177
West Virginia said many of the correct things regarding rebounding from the Oklahoma defeat, and there's something in this team that makes one believe it. The leadership, focus and drive are there, and the Mountaineers have enough talent for a return to form against Iowa State. This isn't an easy place to play, but WVU uses a gutty, blue-collar effort and secures its third true road win of the season.
  West Virginia 31-24  
Jonathan Martin Last Week: L Season: 6-4 Point Differential: 222
The question for me this week is, will Oklahoma beat West Virginia again this week? The Mountaineers were crushed last week against the Sooners and will try to prevent a let down this week. Iowa State is a better football team than their record shows, but shouldn't win this game. I expect a bounce back and WVU win.
  West Virginia 34-24
Brian McCracken Last Week: L Season: 6-4 Point Differential: 228
Throughout the entire week I found myself going back and forth about this game. It's definitely not your typical "ranked 8-2 team" vs. "bottom feeder 3-8 team" match-up. For one, West Virginia fans have become all too accustomed to seeing the Mountaineers lose these "hangover games" after suffering tough defeats in previous years (2014 vs. Texas comes to mind). Also, Iowa State has a reputation for playing extremely tough at home, and coming off back-to-back wins including a 66-10 drubbing of Texas Tech, the Cyclones are more confident than ever and playing their best football of the year. Add that in with senior day and the intangibles of the match-up definitely favor ISU, but the talent favors West Virginia. All year Dana Holgorsen has discussed the chemistry and the senior leadership on this team and after interacting with some of the Mountaineer players earlier in the week I believe the focus is there and they genuinely believe there is still a lot left to play for. I think that is enough to lead WVU past Iowa State on Saturday.
  West Virginia 27-24  
Chris Richardson Last Week: L Season: 6-4 Point Differential: 231
WVU is licking its wounds coming off of an embarrassing home loss to Oklahoma. Iowa State is fired up after a beatdown of Texas Tech. I spend a lot of time in Iowa recruiting, and the people around Ames are awfully excited about the direction Matt Campbell is taking the Cyclones football program. They're starting to see results, too, with the Texas Tech game. ISU has made it tough on several Big 12 opponents in Ames this season, and I don't expect Saturday to be any different. But I do expect a better effort from West Virginia
  West Virginia 34-31  
Andy Easton Last Week: L Season: 6-4 Point Differential: 250
After the absolute implosion against the Sooners the Mountaineers look to regroup against the suddenly hot Cyclones.I look for the Cyclones to pull this game out late in the fourth quarter and take down the trash-talking Mountaineers.
  Iowa State 31-28  

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