Fearless Picks - James Madison

A little daylight was created between the pickers last week, but there won't be any changes in the standings after this week's contest.

Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season 3-0 Pick: WVU 67-17
James Madison. 1-AA. Lets not forget why this team is on our schedule, because Miami, Tech and BC tucked tail and ran to the ACC. At least Tech signed a deal to play us this season and next. (Like they'll ever honor the return trip to Morgantown).

We should be playing the Canes in what could be billed as the biggest game in the nation this Saturday. Instead, Miami took on juggernaut Houston on ESPN's Thursday Night game, and we are left with JMU. Don't pooh pooh this squad just because they are 1-AA. Historically, they are a playoff team in their division. This is not Tennessee-Chatanooga. They will move the ball some, and present some problems to the Mountaineer defense. But in the end, skill, experience and depth will wear them out. WVU could name the score in this game, but it won't.

 
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season 3-0 Pick: WVU 48-9
No one in their right mind would pick the Dukes to leave Morgantown with a win on Saturday, but this game could be closer than some expect. Coming off an emotional win against Maryland and with Virginia Tech on the horizon don't be surprised if the Mountaineers come out a little flat in the first quarter.

That being said, Kay Jay Harris will reach the 100-yard mark for the third time this season, and the Mountaineers will end up with the win.

 
Greg Hunter Last Week: L Season 2-1 Pick: WVU 49-7
JMU is a solid I-AA program, and on any given Saturday, anything can happen. But still it's hard to envision WVU will have problems. This figures to be a chance to get some youngsters PT and also rest the starters as a trip to Hokieland looms.
 
Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season 3-0 Pick: WVU 63-7
It's always a battle when these two get together in the Palumbo Center...no wait a minute, wrong sport, and wrong Dukes. Listen, I'm sure Mickey Matthews is a nice enough guy. He didn't ask to take on the nation's 6th-ranked team right before getting into the A-10 schedule.

Kay Jay will get his yards, but the Blue and Gold will get plenty of points and yardage through the air in this one as well. Adam Bednarik shows why he will be the next starting quarterback with outstanding play in about a quarter and a half of action. The most important thing for the Mountaineers is to get out of this game with no injuries, improved offensive play from last week, and a cutdown in the penalties that have plagued this team all season. Unless David Fanning returns to James Madison and dons a football uniform, I feel pretty safe about this one. The Mountaineer faithful will be up in arms after this one when, on CBS, Tim Brando shows the security guards disassembling the goalposts after the win and says "You know you're in a weak conference when you tear down the goalposts after beating the fourth or fifth best team in the Atlantic 10." Bring on the Hokies!

 
Cam Huffman Last Week: L Season 2-1 Pick: WVU 58-10
It will never happen again. For the first time in my life I picked against the Mountaineers last week, and all that it got me was a loss. This week, though, is not quite as difficult of an assignment. Picking the JMU-WVU clash is about like picking a Virginia Tech game at the end of the year. You know the result before the game ever takes place.

Look for some big numbers from some relative unknowns this weekend in Morgantown. Expect Bryan Wright to have a career day on the ground, and look for Eddie Jackson to finally break out of his shell, and Charles Hales to haul in his first pass as a receiver. Adam Bednarik will throw his first touchdown pass as a Mountaineer, and WVU will put 58 points on the puppies from Harrisonburg, Va. MO< On defense, West Virginia will give up a field goal in the first half, and then a late touchdown as some of the younger Mountaineers get their shots. Pacman will not get a pick, as the Dukes will avoid him all afternoon long, but he will bring back a kickoff at least 60 yards. Jay Henry will show his skill by leading the team with three sacks, while Larry Williams will get his second INT of the season.

West Virginia is not Rutgers, and there is no chance of a surprise in this one. The Mountaineers move to 4-0, and Governor Bob Wise will declare a special turkey season in the state of West Virginia, as the backstabbing gobblers from Blacksburg wait just around the corner.

 
Matt Keller Last Week: L Season 2-1 Pick: WVU 42-10
No. 6 West Virginia is the highest ranked foe JMU has ever faced. That is worth absolutely nothing, as then-No. 11 Virginia Tech showed in leading by just seven after a quarter against the Dukes last year. This team will not be affected by the crowd, and solid poise might allow it to hang around early.

A very talented D-IAA team, transfers from Virginia Tech and Duke highlight the roster. James Madison will surely finish higher than its current 24th in the AA poll. And with a difficult Atlantic-10 slate upcoming, the Dukes can focus on this game as a measuring stick of the program. They have nothing to lose, and with respect to coach Mickey Matthews' Lou Holtz routine, those types of teams are very dangerous. There should be too much talent here, but the Mountaineers must execute their expected vanilla offense. Another slop-filled contest like Cincy, however, and the game could be close. West Virginia plays an average game, which is enough to go into Blacksburg 4-0.


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