|Bill Gleason||Last Week: W||Season: 4-0|
Sporting a two game cushion on Keller gives one the ability to take a
chance. The Mountaineer defense has been stellar this season, even in the
debacle that was the East Carolina walkthrough. The Virginia Tech offense is solid and has several big time playmakers. Marcus Vick is the straw that stirs the drink, but if you take your eyes off Imoh and Hughes you're likely to get steamrolled.
It isn't the Virginia Tech offense, however, that makes this team great.
The Virginia Tech defense is ranked #3 in the country, just ahead of WVU. An unbalanced offense will not be successful against this squad. But even that isn't the scary part. The Virginia Tech special teams continue to be the best in the country at turning a close game into a mind-boggling rout. And the West Virginia special teams have been more than willing over the years to enable Tech to score on special teams.
West Virginia's passing game has been quietly efficient, yet unspectacular. Expect to see Adam Bednarik throw the ball a lot and Brandon Myles and Darius Reynaud break out on national television, giving the running game the room it needs to run clock, churn yardage and keep Tech's offense on the side. Pat McAfee comes through on a 55-yarder in the fourth quarter to bring the Black Diamond Trophy back to the Puskar Center.
|Pick: WVU 20-19|
|Andy Easton||Last Week: W||Season: 4-0|
The Mountaineers will have their hands full on Saturday with this flock of
Hokies. In this case, the numbers do not lie. Virginia Tech is 36-8 as a
road favorite while the Blue and Gold are 5-12 as a home underdog. The
Mountaineers have not won two straight home games against the Hokies since
the 1985 & 1987 seasons.
Rich Rodriguez' troops are a little banged up and the offensive line hasn't been stable over the last few games. These Hokies have too much for the 2005 Mountaineers.
|Pick: VT 24-13|
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: W||Season: 4-0|
I hate Virginia Tech. Let's get that out of the way first and foremost.
I loathe and abhor the Chicago maroon and burnt orange with every fiber
of my being. I also hate to lose, so this isn't easy for me. I'll take
a lot of heat for this pick, but I'm picking with my head and not my
heart. I would never love to be more wrong than I am about this, but...
Let's face it: they're good. Real good. The Hokie offense has only turned the ball over once in their first four games. I don't care who you're playing against, that's impressive. Their defense and special teams combined to score 21 points against a formidable opponent last week, which is one more point that the Mountaineer offense managed in the win over an improved East Carolina team. They're coming off a statement win over Georgia Tech. Yes, it's their biggest road test to date, and yes I know there are several eerily similar parallels to the 2003 game. But the truth hurts sometimes, and the truth is that this Hokie team is better than anybody on their schedule, and unfortunately this week that means the Mountaineers.
|Pick: VT 31 -17|
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: W||Season: 4-0|
|WVU has talent, but No. 3 Virginia Tech has more. Thus you have to give VT the edge on paper. But emotion and toughness will be the deciding factor, and that you can't judge until the ball is snapped.|
|Pick: VT 24-21|
|Cam Huffman||Last Week: W||Season: 4-0|
|Jane Donovan||Last Week: W||Season: 4-0|
From Tuesday's press release issued by the City of Morgantown and WVU:
"For the safety and enjoyment of all fans, we will be stepping up
security and enforcement measures Saturday - not only in the stands, but
in the surrounding lots and student-populated areas of the City. There
will be no tolerance for illegal behavior, including rushing the playing
field, throwing objects onto the field or possessing alcohol beverages
at the stadium. Further, any post-game actions involving illegal
burnings, destruction of property, charging entry to a house party,
underage drinking and other unlawful acts will also be punishable by
So by Saturday morning, the cops will have removed all the couches from Sunnyside, all the flammable materials from Fraternity Row, and all the alcohol from The Pit. There will be nothing left to do but play football.
The campus is abuzz, the Mountaineer Maniacs are hard at work preparing some new and creative serenades for the Hated Hokies, and the gentlemen who wear the Gold and Blue are having trouble walking through the Mountainlair because of all the handshakes, high 5s, and messages of encouragement being offered by their classmates. Here in Morgantown, we are definitely ready.
|Pick: WVU 17-14|
|Chuck McGill||Last Week: W||Season: 4-0|
Last week's unimpressive win over East Carolina likely scared off the upset-minded prognosticators. Count me in with the crowd who no longer believes the Mountaineers will have a repeat performance of October 22, 2003.
Can they? Sure. Will they? Nope.
The Virginia Tech Hokies are well-rounded, and its weak links from the past are no longer there. They aren't invincible, but they are just a completely sound, solid football team.
The secret to WVU's success lies within its ability to establish anything resembling offensive rhythm and tempo, but this is the wrong team to try and right the ship. If the Mountaineer defense is all kinds of nasty (which we all know it can be), and the turnovers or that infamous "big" play is avoided (hint, hint: special teams) - then the sold-out stadium will aid West Virginia in the fourth quarter. In the end, it just won't be enough.
|Pick: VT 27-13|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2|
"I tried to hold out, I really did. I tried to think of something great, something from my childhood that could never hurt anybody."
"Oh my god..."
"No, it, it can't be!"
"It's the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man..."
You can watch all those BlueGoldNews.com matchups all you want -- watch them go in favor of the visiting team.
West Virginia has its best punter playing quarterback, its best quarterback playing reciever, its best running back is a fullback who won't get many carries, and its second best missed portions of practices for the biggest game of the year thus far. It's best guard is at center, and its best center quit. We have a spread offense running, and the WVU fan base thinks it has a gimmicky everything: Gimmicky special teams, gimmicky offense, gimmicky defense.
Bud Foster's Virginia Tech defenses need a couple things to play well: A solid, pressuring line and good to great corners. He has those this year, and the wild card rover slot as well. He can do everything WVU defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel can with more talent. West Virginia has no chance, on paper or on the field.
|Pick: VT 55-0|