Fearless Picks - Maryland

And now, a toughie. Our panel of six is split right down the middle on the Maryland game. And just like the teams in the game, some of our pickers' perfect records are going down the tubes.

Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season 2-0 Pick: WVU 47-41
WVU nemesis Maryland rolls into town at the same time Tropical Storm Ivan dumps mass quantities of rain on the east, from southeast Ohio across to the Atlantic and north to Maine.

The team that can fight through the torrential downpours better will win and the predicted hard rains will put a large emphasis on ball control and power running, The status of Kay Jay Harris puts an even larger cloud over this game for WVU, though. A healthy Harris and WVU has an outstanding triple threat running the ball. A game without Harris and WVU looks to walk-on Bryan Wright, who is nursing an ankle injury of his own, as the third option in the backfield in addition to Jason Colson. Wright proved he can do the job against UCF, if healthy.

Maryland has nothing but momentum in this series, and has no reason to think they'll do anything but paste WVU again. Just as in the last three battles, the war will be won in the trenches. WVU's offensive line appears to be well matched against anyone they play. It will be time for WVU's defensive front seven to step up to the big time table and hold their own. If the Mountaineer offense can move the ball and put some early points on the board, WVU will win. If WVU cannot move the ball, and Maryland gets a couple of quick scores, it could be ugly. I'll go with my heart in this one, because my head tells me we should win this one. It will take three overtimes to do it, though.

Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season 2-0 Pick: UM 21-17
No doubt that WVU can win this game. It appears to have more talent, and the home crowd should be a huge benefit. But Maryland has owned this series the past couple of years, and until WVU reverses the trend, I can't pick the Mountaineers.
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season 2-0 Pick: WVU 28-27
The is the key game for the 2004 Mountaineers. The Blue and Gold cannot turn the ball over as they have in the past two games if they want to end the losing streak against the Terps. The team that wins the turnover battle will win this game, and that team will be the Mountaineers.

The last time the Mountaineers lost a home game while they were ranked in the Top 10 was a 1989 defeat at the hands Virginia Tech, a streak that will be extended by another week

Cam Huffman Last Week: W Season 2-0 Pick: UM 38-35
I have analyzed this game from every angle, and I truly believe that West Virginia is going to come away with the win. I have seen both of Maryland's games in their entirety and I am just not impressed.

The Twerps' new quarterback, Joel Statham, has been less than stellar in his first two career starts and he has really not been pressured much by Temple or Northern Illinois. If the Mountaineers are able to put some heat on the Terrapin QB, he could be in trouble. If the Maryland receivers had not been allowed to push off on nearly every pass, the game against Temple could have been much closer, as well. They may have been able to get away with it against the Owls, but Pacman will definitely push back.

On defense, the Terps' front seven is younger than the front row at a Harry Potter movie and I expect Kay-Jay and company to lose 15 pounds with all the running they will do. It is not going to be easy, but I am confident that "Scotty's Curse" is finally over and "The Fridge" will be eating all of his derogatory comments that he has made about the Mountaineers over the last couple of seasons — not that he will mind the extra grub. But, even with all of this said, I promised myself after the Gator Bowl that I would pick Maryland every time until WVU proved otherwise. So despite my belief that the Mountaineers will pull this off, I am going with the Terrapins.

Matt Keller Last Week: W Season 2-0 Pick: UM 27-17
This game is psychological. One can compare stats, players, schemes and experience. Doesn't matter. This one'll be played in the mind in the first half. West Virginia stays close, it has a chance. But a major kick return or a pick for six deflates an already frail Mountaineer psyche.

Fans will not see a bounce-back effort like the one against Wisconsin last year. Go down more than a score early, and the bags are packed, they're ready to go.

Add in an injured Kay Jay Harris, and West Virginia doesn't have the game-breaker it needs in the backfield. Maryland can carve up the secondary opposite Pac Man Jones and run crossing routes through the 3-3-5. If UM gets any kind of ground game going it's another early KO.

Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season 2-0 Pick: WVU 42-31
Simply put, this is arguably the biggest game since the Mountaineers took on Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. We've all been looking forward to it since January and it's finally here.

Call me crazy, but this year the Blue and Gold are the better football team. For the past three years we've seen crossing route after crossing route dissect the Mountaineer defense. We've seen Scotty Mac, an average quarterback on his best days against anybody else, turn into Brett Favre. The new packages on the Mountaineer defense make the Terps change their gameplan early. A sold out, hostile, Mountaineer crowd gets to Joel Statham early, and the Terps start the game rattled. Ralph Friedgen is a great football coach, but he doesn't play the game. Too much Chris Henry, too much noise. Only a late Terp touchdown makes this one even look respectable.

BlueGoldNews Top Stories