Fearless Picks - Connecticut

It's a whole new contest after Matt Keller, who was much derided for his pick, moved into a tie for the season lead after last week's game.

Matt Keller Last Wk: W Season 4-1 Pick: WVU 28-24
West Virginia's 3-3-5 stack will not ever have a significant rush. It is a fact of which fans should be familiar. I have no questions of a defensive scheme save two: How many points does it allow, and how long does the opposing offense hold the ball?

I truly believe Mountaineer fans should be content to allow as few points as West Virginia has this season. As far as Time of Posession, that is a problem, at least against Tech. Few fans or coaches wish to see a team dominating the ball.

But the defense has not been the hindrance overall. Husky quarterback Dan Orlovsky is a skilled passer who -- unlike Tech's Bryan Randall -- will make WVU pay for its coverage sins. If WVU blows coverage this contest is over. If it runs with the recklessness of the past and throws when it CAN it wins. Bottom line: WVU's willfullness to win verusus UConn's desire to win. Edge: West Virginia and its ability to throw.

Bill Gleason Last Wk: L Season 4-1 Pick: WVU 45-24
Gloom and doom surrounds the media's favorite whipping boy, the West Virginia Mountaineers. Suffering through a miserable one-game losing streak, and set to face national juggernaut Connecticut, the Mountaineers are beset by injury, indecision and self-doubt. A paltry 6.5 point favorite over media darling UConn, WVU will have to bring its "A" game just to be able to keep this one respectable. Connecticut All-American Dan Orlovsky leads the free world in passing and opposing defenses are stricken unconscious by his mere appearance on the gridiron. UConn also sports a stellar defense, led by two certain NFL first round picks at linebacker. What once appeared to be a dream season for the Mountaineers and the Big East, will come crashing down on ESPN in Hartford.


Andy Easton Last Wk: L Season 4-1 Pick: WVU 31-28
This is the biggest game in the history of Rentschler Field. The 16th-ranked visiting Mountaineers will have their hands full with a pumped up crowd and a fired up Husky team looking for respect. Look for the Blue and Gold to open up the passing game while the WVU defensive backs are put to the test against the best quarterback that they will face all year. West Virginia's experience in big games will win this one.
Chris Richardson Last Wk: L Season 4-1 Pick: WVU 24-21
I'll be honest. I haven't had a good feeling about this game for months. While most of the UConn pub is centered around stud QB Dan Orlovsky, the player that scares me the most is running back Cornell Brockington. The Mountaineers have had trouble at times stopping the run this season, and have yet to see a back of Brockington's caliber. This matchup is the x-factor for the entire football game. If Brockington is held in check, and the Mountaineer offense can manage some first downs, they should escape with a victory. The longer that the Huskies hang around though, the more unnerved Blue and Gold fans will become. At the end of the day, I think you've got to chalk up a win for West Virginia based on big game experience alone.
Greg Hunter Last Wk: W Season 3-2 Pick: WVU 31-24
This weeknight, nationally televised game at UConn has felt like a trap for the Mountaineers ever since the schedule was announced. The Huskies aren't yet a football powerhouse, but they are more than good enough to score an upset unless WVU brings its A game.
Cam Huffman Last Wk: W Season 3-2 Pick: WVU 30-24
By now you are probably as sick of hearing about Connecticut quarterback Dan Orlovsky as you are of hearing about Bush and Kerry. But it is still worth repeating. Like it or not, Orlovsky is the Big East's top signal caller, and he is sure to be playing on Sundays very soon. For the first time, West Virginia will really be tested through the air. Expect UConn to come out throwing and then mix in the run game when WVU is looking for the pass. The Huskies will end the game with at least 130 yards on the ground and 150 more through the air. West Virginia's defense will make a couple of plays, but still give up at least 20 points. On offense, the Mountaineer coaches will finally turn the playbook to page two. Kay-Jay will be very limited, but the WVU run game will still find some success. Pennington will atone for his mistake in the passing game, and Eddie Jackson will start to pick up some of the slack left with Henry's lack of effort. Look for 150 on the ground and 200 in the air, coming mostly from a couple of big plays. Connecticut is a legitimate bowl team, and you will not be turning off the television early in this one. But in the end, West Virginia's offense will get the upper hand in a shoot-out, and the Mountaineers will return to the Mountain State with a 5-1 record after a 30-24 win.

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