Fearless Picks - Syracuse

Even with a shattered elbow, Bill Gleason moves atop the contestants heading into this week. Can he hold on to his spot?

PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'

With the best score selection to date (a 42-13 prognostication of the MSU game), Bill moves to the top of the pick list. And he did it with a broken elbow suffered while trying to shag fly balls for his son's Little League team. If he can act his age, he might be able to hold on to the lead.


NOSE PICKING

Cam barely avoided a no-pick by waiting way past the deadline for submitting his selection. No such grace period will be awarded again, especially to a bachelor with only one paper per week to produce. But what's worse, Chris and Matt are even slower than he is. Matt, whose pick hasn't even shown up this week, continues on his own path, which is taking him deeper into the nether regions of the competition.


Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season: 5-0 Pt Diff: 65
West Virginia faces its first Big East rival of the season while Syracuse limps in off a loss to Pitt. The only saving grace for everyone involved is that the Cuse won't be wearing those hideous blue and orange uniforms during Mountaineer Homecoming festivities.

Perry Patterson has thrown more passes than any Big East quarterback. West Virginia has faced more passes than any Big East team. Expect no difference on Saturday as the Mountaineer offense uses their speed to run circles around a decent Syracuse defense.

The Pat and Steve show reaches game six and the sneaky Darius Reynaud lingers in the background doing everything he's asked and providing a huge, yet underappreciated, spark.

Pick: West Virginia 48-17
 
Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 5-0 Pt Diff: 73
The Orange are better than they were when these teams last met. The Mountaineers are A LOT better than they were when these teams last met. That 15-7 Mountaineer victory over the Orange last September did not involve Steve Slaton, and did not involve much of Pat White. That's bad news for the Orange.

Whereas teams like South Florida, Louisville, East Carolina, etc. had an idea of how fast the playmaking duo was from last year's contests, the Orange do not. West Virginia wins its fifth straight over the men from central New York, and Greg Robinson drops to 0-8 as a head coach against Big East competition. One more note about last year's game in the Carrier Dome. The game program featured a picture of Robinson with a headline reading: "The Chosen One."

Needless to say, things have changed for Robinson's program.

Pick: West Virginia 38-7
 
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 5-0 Pt Diff: 77
In the 2005 opener, these two old rivals battled in a close but sloppy game (7 turnovers, 5 by WVU) before West Virginia pulled out a 15-7 win. The fortunes of the two teams may not have seemed that diverse that afternoon in the Carrier Dome, but each went in opposite directions after that, and those divergent paths don't figure to alter course this Saturday.
Pick: West Virginia 38-14
 
Cam Huffman Last Week: W Season: 5-0 Pt Diff: 78
West Virginia was way overrated coming into the season. They haven't proven anything yet. They belong behind Florida, Michigan, USC and Ohio State, and right now they are not good enough to beat Louisville. The Mountaineers may even struggle this week at home against a much-improved Syracuse team.

If you can feel the steam releasing out of your ears, imagine how the players themselves must feel. This is all they have been hearing since a 42-14 victory on the road in hostile SEC territory last week, and they have certainly heard enough. Expect WVU to come out with a lot of emotion in front of the homecoming crowd this Saturday in Morgantown. The Mountaineers have something to prove, and they will prove it.

Syracuse is a better football team than it was last season, but it is still not good enough to compete with the Mountaineers. The aggressive defense that the Orange employ could lead to some big plays for Steve Slaton and the Mountaineer running backs if they can just get past the initial wave. Slaton will rush for 150 again this week, and Patrick White will run free at least once. White will also deliver a big play through the air, although his attempts will again be limited.

On the other side of the football, Rodriguez's psychological games will pay off, and West Virginia's defense will be out to prove it is not the team's Achilles Heel. Syracuse's Perry Patterson will wish he was up against Wyoming again, as the Mountaineers will force him into critical mistakes all afternoon long.

In the end, the alumni that pack Mountaineer Field will be able to sing "Take Me Home, Country Roads," loud and proud with their undefeated team, which will move up in the standings with a loss from at least one of the top five this weekend.

Pick: West Virginia 41-13
 
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 5-0 Pt Diff: 88
The Syracuse football program has definitely made stides in the last two seasons to get back into the thick of things in the Big East, but the Orange are not quite ready to challege WVU and Louisville for the league championship. The Mountaineers have dominated Cuse over the last four seasons and that trend will continue on Saturday.
Pick: West Virginia 40-10
 
Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 5-0 Pt Diff: 88
Predictions for the Syracuse game:

  • There will be fewer penalties assessed on the Mountaineers. Laps have been run, ears have been chewed, temper tantrums have been thrown. All will have had somewhat of an effect.

  • Ridwan Malik will have a break-out performance.

  • Patrick Shadle of Syracuse, a hometown Morgantown boy, will kick two field goals, one of which will be more than 40 yards. He will be both cheered and booed.

  • A homecoming queen and king will be crowned.

  • Syracuse will have on the ugliest uniforms in the history of major college football.

  • Oh, and the Mountaineers will keep on keeping on, although considerably more tidily this week. Is Perry Patterson a senior yet? It seems like he's been playing for Syracuse for at least a decade now.
  • Pick: West Virginia 38-13
     
    Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 5-0 Pt Diff: 97
    Pick: ???

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