Fearless Picks - Temple Edition

Anyone for an upset? Well, probably not, but there are still some interesting observations to check out in this week's prognostications.

Matt Keller Last Wk: W Season 7-1 Pick: WVU 35-24
Temple's Walter Washington is the most physically skilled quarterback WVU will face this season. His one-man show accounted for 288 of Temple's 347 offensive yards against the Mountaineers last year. He will again go over 100 yards rushing if the Owls can avoid turnovers. There might also be no Pac-Man Jones. All that leads to points, at least 20 of them.

The Owl 4-2-5 defense should test West Virginia. Remember, last season WVU's first 14 points came off special teams and defensive play. Its offense outscored Temple by just three points and held the ball nine fewer minutes than the Owls.

If head coach Bobby Wallace's team can limit turnovers it will be right in the game. The Mountaineers will have little passing attack because of Chris Henry's benching; That allows Temple to put eight to nine players in the box and crash linebackers from the outside. Virginia Tech did it, James Madison did it. WVU struggled against both. It will not be easy the rest of the way for this mistake-prone version of Mountaineer football.

 
Andy Easton Last Wk: W Season 7-1 Pick: WVU 38-24
Quarterback Walter Washington leads his Owls into Milan Puskar Stadium for the second year in a row. Last season the Mountaineers took a 21-0 lead going into the second quarter only to be outscored 28-24 in the final three quarters. This year will be no different, since the Blue and Gold seems unlikely to put together four solid quarters of football. West Virginia will take the early lead only to see Temple score a few cheap ones in the second half.
 
Chris Richardson Last Wk: W Season 7-1 Pick: WVU 38-13
I didn't really know what to think about this one, so I turned to the Japanese for some assistance. That's right...I fired up the ol' PlayStation 2 to see how things played out. Just to make things accurate, I sat Chris Henry, reshuffled the offensive line, and ran exclusively out of the 3-3-5 bringing a different linebacker on every play. Here's what happened: Despite not having Chris Henry, Rasheed Marshall had a very very good game. He was able to bide his time in the pocket against a weak Temple rush and hit some receivers underneath. When the Temple "D" crept up, he hit the big play deep. I have no reason to believe any different will happen Saturday. In addition to what I saw on the PS2, I expect Walter Washington to run close to 1,000 QB draws right up the gut, picking up 4 and five yards early on and by late in the game barely being able to get back to the line of scrimmage. Really, this could be a boring game. Here's my wildcard for Saturday though: Does Eddie Jackson finally step up? Stay tuned.
 
Greg Hunter Last Wk: W Season 6-2 Pick: WVU 34-21
Temple usually puts up a pretty good scrap against the Mountaineers, but in the end, WVU usually prevails. In a series which dates back to 1932, this last meeting figures to follow the form seen for the past two decades – a hard-fought WVU win.
 
Cam Huffman Last Wk: W Season 6-2 Pick: WVU 38-17
Make no mistake about it, Temple quarterback Walter Washington is very good.

Unfortunately for the Owls, when 22 players go up against one, the 22 usually come out on top. OK, maybe it won't quite be 22-on-1, but the Owls certainly don't have any other players of Washington's caliber on either side of the ball. He is their leading rusher, their leading passer and at times he does the laundry and folds the towels.

As they did last year in Morgantown, expect the Owls to score some points. If Pacman is in, look for them to test his foot by going in his direction early. If he is on the sidelines, expect the Owls to test his replacement. There will be some yards available for Temple and most likely a few scores.

Defense is what will keep the Owls from putting up much of the fight. West Virginia's offense faces tougher competition every day when it goes up against its own scout team. The Mountaineers will pile up more than 200 yards on the ground and at least 150 more through the air, even without "Slim" on the field.

Even Bill Cosby's Jello pudding pops won't be enough to ease the Owls' pain after this one.

West Virginia wins to set up a Big East showdown with Boston College.

 
Bill Gleason Last Wk: L Season 6-2 Pick: WVU 54-20
The 12th/15th ranked Mountaineers finally come home for a Saturday clash and get to face a pathetic Temple squad with a stellar QB.

Walter Washington can do it all, both through the air and on the ground. Too bad he doesn't get any help. Temple gave up 45 to Maryland, 44 to Virginia, 45 to Toledo, 70 to Bowling Green and 45 to UConn.

The Mountaineers will pad their offensive stats all day long against the Owls, and send them to the depths of 1A independence with a physical beating.


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