|Matt Keller||Last Wk: W||Season 9-2||Pick: FSU 27-10|
BlueGoldNews.com hit the proverbial nail when it called West Virginia's
ability to run against Florida State's ability to stop it the "key of keys."
The positive for WVU is that it runs out of a style that is very different from
power teams. The Mountaineers' misdirection and keeper reads from Rasheed
Marshall could cause the Seminoles to over-pursue, the Achilles heel of many a
fast defense. The worry is that FSU has simply too much ability for Rick
Trickett's offensive line to do much about it.
WVU will need to complete some basic pass plays to back the 'Noles off, and must elevate its special teams performance. Even that might not be enough with Bobby Bowden's talent and penchant for postseason victories. Thought here is that West Virginia has done nothing to prove it can win a significant game. It won't start here. Rich Rodriguez adjusts too late and gets out-coached by Bowden while WVU is out-talented by FSU. Florida State, 27-10.
|Andy Easton||Last Wk: L||Season 8-3||Pick: FSU 42-7|
The Seminoles have been to a bowl game every year since their 31-12
dismantling of the Mountaineers in the 1982 Gator Bowl, amassing a 16-5-1
record. On the other hand the Blue and Gold has posted a 3-11 mark in
postseason play since their last match-up with Florida State.
Even if the Mountaineers bring their elusive "A" game, the Seminoles will use their talent and speed advantage and put this one away early.
|Chris Richardson||Last Wk: L||Season 8-3||Pick: WVU 17-14|
I'm really, really going out on a limb here, but Matt Keller has the
title all but sewn up so I figure I'll have a little fun with it.
Seniors like Rasheed Marshall and Adam Lehnortt deserve to end their
careers on a high note, and they'll do just that in Jacksonville.
Another thing helping the Mountaineers this year will be my ironic
luck. I decided not to go to the bowl game this year, and what better
way to validate my decision then by the Mountaineers coming out and
playing the game of their lives while I'm watching in Charleston.
Here's what happens: The Mountaineers get dominated in the first half by the FSU defense, but are only behind 7-0 at the half. When they enter the locker room at the half, Rich Rod introduces a special keynote speaker for the half. Out from the shadows comes Billy Bob Thornton who offers the following words of advice: "I've seen you fight. I've seen you not quit. Can you give me a great effort and just a little bit more. Can you be perfect?" Thornton's Friday Night Lights line inspires the Mountaineers to be just that, and the Blue and Gold outscore Daddy's bunch 17-7 in the second half, with a Rasheed Marshall to John Pennington touchdown with less than a minute to go proving to be the game winner.
|Greg Hunter||Last Wk: L||Season 7-4||Pick: FSU 24-17|
|Bowden vs. Rodriguez, the old vs. the new. Experience can help a coach, but talent trumps everything, and Florida State wins the talent edge. It's not so decisive that WVU has no prayer, but West Virginia will need to be near perfect.|
|Cam Huffman||Last Wk: L||Season 7-4||Pick: FSU 17-10|
I have to admit, picking this game ended up being much harder than I had originally anticipated.
At first I was sold on the fact that West Virginia had no chance, but with every passing day I have begun to feel better about this game. The Mountaineers have seemed very loose this week and I am convinced that they are ready to play.
Unfortunately, the Mountaineers may be able to play well and still lose. FSU's defense is as good as WVU has seen under Rodriguez, and the West Virginia offense has not been confused for Louisville on very many occasions. If West Virginia can post three or four scores it will win the game, but that may be extremely difficult and some of the scores may have to come from defense or spectial teams.
So even though I am now convinced there is a reason to play the game, I am going to pick the Seminoles. After all, I picked Maryland over the Mountaineers and that turned out well.
|Bill Gleason||Last Wk: L||Season 7-4||Pick: WVU 24-16|
Frigid conditions greeted the Mountaineers when they landed and practiced in Jacksonville. The Mountaineers were used to the chill, as a similar one has been blowing from their fans for more than a month. Rasheed Marshall, playing his final game as a Mountaineer, will re-take the Big East's single season rushing mark from Walter Washington and pass Oliver Luck for the second most TD passes in a season at WVU. Chris Henry will show the world what a difference maker he is, with two TDs. Kay Jay Harris will have a monster day against the best defense WVU has faced in two years, and extend the WVU streak of running backs with 1,000 yards in a season.
Chris Rix gets the start for Florida State. Bobby Bowden has no answer for the turnover machine that Rix captains. Defense can only do so much. This game should be a long one, as the Gator pits two of the most penalized teams in the country. Despite WVU's season full of warts, this Florida State squad has some vivid blemishes of its own.
Fearless Picks - Florida State
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