Fearless Picks - Eastern Washington

It was an easy week for our predictors, who were about as challenged in picking a WVU win as the Mountaineers were in slicing though the Herd defense. Things might not be much tougher this week, but that makes the point differential all the more important.

Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Pt Diff: 4
To be honest, I haven't thought a whole lot about this one. Eastern Washington got waxed by Oregon State, who then turned around and got waxed by Boise State. The Eagles could be without their starters at the two most important positions on offense (quarterback and center.) Oh, and they're playing the No. 5 team in the country. That's not exactly a recipe for an upset. Making matters worse for the Eagles is the fact that the Mountaineers always seem to play well around my birthday, which falls on Sunday.

There is no way they can beat WVU. I hope everyone enjoys the Jarrett Brown show in the second half. The only challenge for this game is to pick the correct score. I did pretty well last week, as my 38-10 pick was just four points off the total. I'll leave my counterparts even further behind this week heading into the Maryland game.

Pick: West Virginia 48-3
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Pt Diff: 7
There's not much to say about this one, except for, "Thanks Buffalo". Last week the Eastern Washington Eagles imploded in the first quarter against Oregon State and were down 28-0 before the crowd settled in their seats. It is hard to get a read on the Eagles from that performace becuase they were obviously taken out of their game plan early. Look for EWU to try and establish a running game early in order to make their inexperienced quarterbacks more comfortable in the hostile environment. On the other side of the field look for the Mountaineers to take an early lead allowing Rich Rodriguez to gain some experience for the guys down on the depth chart.
Pick: West Virginia 48-10
Cam Huffman Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Pt Diff: ?
A win over a 1-AA opponent is not as much of an automatic as most would think. Some of the country's best teams have struggled with "minor league" foes over the years, and 2006 is no different. In one week, Division I-AA teams scored wins over the Big 12, when Colorado fell to Montana State, and the ACC, via Richmond's victory over Duke — that one had a lot of fans smiling, including John Beilein and myself. Eastern Washington has proven to be a top 25 team in 1-AA in recent years, so believing that the Eagles could be the next to pull off the upset in not that far-fetched.

I had you going for a minute there didn't I? Folks, West Virginia is not Duke, and the Big East is no ACC. The Mountaineers are ready to take care of business, and that is exactly what they will do. If the weather is clear, Eastern Washington may enjoy the view out the window on its trip across the United States, but that will be the highlight of the trip to Morgantown. West Virginia will move the ball even more easily that it did against Marshall, if that is possible, and the game will be over by halftime. WVU will hold a 24-point lead at that point, and the second half will be nothing more than a glorified scrimmage for many of the younger Mountaineers.

EWU will manage a field goal off West Virginia's first team unit, and it will pick up a late touchdown against the WVU reserves, but that will be about it. Slaton will again top the 100-yard mark, all of it coming in the first half, and the Mountaineers will get a pair of touchdowns in the passing game. Nate Sowers will both catch a pass from the slot position and complete a pass from under center, and Jarrett Brown will score his second rushing TD of the year.

Pick: West Virginia 56-10
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Pt Diff: 14
WVU had to scramble to pick up Eastern Washington after Buffalo dropped the Mountaineers last spring. The I-AA Eagles may actually be a better program than the MAC-member Bulls, but it doesn't really matter, because West Virginia is too talented to have trouble in this one. EWU's passing attack may have caused the Mountaineers some problems last year, but the rebuilding Eagles shouldn't challenge this season
Pick: West Virginia 49-7
Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Pt Diff: 17
Now that we finally have the buffalo (as well as the heaping piles of pre-Coal Bowl buffalo by-products lobbed by sycophantic members of the down-state press corps) off of our collective backs, WVU can settle in to its regular football season. We express our appreciation to the Eastern Washington Eagles for flying in to fill the open home date when that other herd of Buffalo so ungraciously bailed out of their contract to play at Mountaineer Field this Saturday. Gratitude, however, only goes so far. It would have been fun to begin the season with two bison barbecues, but we'll have to settle for poultry this weekend. Steve Slaton racks up another 200 yards and more Heisman speculation, Owen Schmidt goes through another helmet, and the WVU defense starts to gel.
Pick: West Virginia 45-7
Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Pt Diff: 17
West Virginia takes care of business in quick fashion and gets needed reps for backups at several key positions.

However, look for the starters in several key spots to play deep into the game as they need the experience as well.

The Mountaineers will work in the passing game with both White and Brown throwing to multiple receivers

Pick: West Virginia 52-13
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 1-0 Pt Diff: 19
West Virginia has talent, but it doesn't have enough where it can just show up and win. The starters will play as long as they need to, because the WVU is going to do everything it can to win the game. Irregardless, the Mountaineers must have some semblance of execution and things of that nature. To me, it's about keeping that hard edge and playing hard every snap, for the whole game. If the players are good enough to win with, they'll play.

Eastern Washington is going to be excited. Coach Paul Wulff already said that it was the biggest game they have ever played. I'm sure they'll enjoy the challenge.

Pick: West Virginia 45-13

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