Fearless Picks - Pitt

Head vs. heart? That's the dilemma for our pickers in the final football game of the regular season.

Matt Keller Last Wk: W Season 8-2 Pick: Pitt 41-14
I would like to apologize to readers for picking with my heart rather than head last week. My pick, as well as the team I chose, was embarrassing.

It continued this week with the suspension of the only viable passing option, and thus there is little reason to expect anything the remainder of the year from this squad. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but this team is very hard to like. Perhaps it is penalties or lack of discipline and the hard-edge associated with Mountaineer football.

We all love the Mountaineers, but many do not like them right now. It is uncomfortable for many fans to enjoy last year's 8-5 year more than an 8-2 season. It'll become 8-3 soon enough. Pitt manages to slow the run, and even Walt Harris isn't enough for WVU.

 
Andy Easton Last Wk: W Season 8-2 Pick: WVU 52-49
Just like rivalries normally are, this game is to close to call. There are so many different factor and angles to this matchup it will probably come down to something as unlikely as a "special" WVU special teams play, like a Brad Cooper field goal with 52 seconds left to go in the game. Enjoy - this is going to be a wild one!
 
Chris Richardson Last Wk: W Season 8-2 Pick: WVU 31-28
Pitt could have Marino, Fitzgerald, and Dorsett (however he's prouncing it these days) all in the same lineup, with Mark May on the line and I'd still pick the Mountaineers. Plain and simple, I hate Pitt. Of course they still have that "offensive genius" Walt Harris roaming the sideline. You better get up early and pack a lunch if you think you're going to outsmart Walt and all of his wizardry. Cmon, his mere presence on the sideline alone is worth at least a touchdown! He's the football equivalent to a former Marshall basketball coach, who shall remain nameless. Pitt could very well win this game, but my biased opinion and fear of being disowned by my family, friends, and the Blue and Gold News heavily outweighs any logical thought process at this point. BEAT PITT!!
 
Greg Hunter Last Wk: W Season 7-3 Pick: WVU 28-27
This Brawl has the potential to be just as exciting as the last two, which were each 15s on a drama scale of 1 to 10. Pitt won 52 of the first 76 games in this rivalry, which started in 1895, but WVU has dominated lately, going 13-6-2 against those from the other end of the Monongahela River. But if WVU is still mourning the loss to BC, it loses.
 
Cam Huffman Last Wk: W Season 7-3 Pick: WVU 28-24
As I sit down here with the bottom-dwellers of this contest, I see no clear way that I can find a way to come out on top in the overall standings. Therefore I see no reason to pick the hated Panthers in the Backyard Brawl. I have tried to make honest opinions all year long, but I learned at an early age to hate Pitt. There is no reason to go against that lesson now.

Despite my personal disgust for Chris Henry because of his me-first attitude, I cannot deny the fact that losing his services could really hurt. I will not argue the fact that West Virginia — and really every other team in the Big East — does not have any player that can make the plays that Henry does.

That being said, West Virginia has to run the ball to win, regardless of who is in the game, and I am confident that this can be done. Having not played a game in 12 days, Harris, Colson and Williams should be as healthy as they have been all year.

With Henry out, look for West Virginia to go to the short passing game much more frequently than they have in the past. Pennington and Henderson will both have big days, as Rasheed posts 150 passing yards and 70 on the ground. Rasheed has not been willing to let his home-city team get the best of him yet, and he is not about to let that happen now.

 
Bill Gleason Last Wk: W Season 7-3 Pick: WVU 31-27
Coming off a devastating loss to Boston College, the Mountaineers try to recover to clinch a share of the Big East title for the second straight year. They'll have to do it without Chris Henry, however, who decided again that he is more important than the team. Pitt is riding the high of defeating Notre Dame in South Bend. Tyler Palko tossed five touchdown passes and a perfectly timed F-Bomb on the NBC crowd on the way out the door. Pitt's rushing attack has been sorely lacking again this year. Coming into the game, the Panthers are ranked 101st in the country in rushing offense, but behind the arm, and mouth, of Palko, the Panthers are 26th in the country in passing offense and 32nd in pass efficiency.

West Virginia enters the game with the fifth ranked rushing offense, and the tenth ranked pass efficiency offense, which will be hampered by the loss of Henry.

Special teams will once again decide the game, which doesn't bode well for the Mountaineers. The wind coming off the river at Heinz Field has cost a couple of kickers their professional jobs with the Steelers, and college kickers haven't enjoyed the place much either.

West Virginia will move the ball on Pitt's defense. And if Brandon Myles, Charles Hales, John Pennington, Dwayne Thompson and RayRay Bolden step up and provide a reason for the Panther defense to play honest, the Mountaineers should be able to control the clock and score. However, Palko has the ability to lead Pitt to quick scores from anywhere on the field. This game will be much closer than it should be, thanks to Henry, pathetic special teams, and WVU's lack of ability to put anyone away this season.


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