Fearless Picks - UConn

The standings are tightening up, and the picks for this week are quite similar as the Blue and Gold News gang forecasts the West Virginia - UConn game

PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'

Cam takes weekly honors with a narrow four-point miss in the Syracuse game, but Greg, Jane, Andy and Bill don't lose much ground, as all missed the final score by less than ten points. Bill looks to retain his narrow lead with another thrity-poit margin of victory for WVU.


NOSE PICKING

You have to admit, Matt's picks are entertaining if nothing else. One day, WVU will play a close game, and he will claim victory. In the meantime, he's the first to hit triple digits in point differential.


Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season: 6-0 Pt Diff: 72
The Mountaineers roll into Connecticut after blowing Syracuse off the field in the second half last week. The short week to prepare will not hinder the Mountaineers as much as it will the Huskies.

No doubt the WVU coaching staff will remind the 2006 Mountaineers about the baiting tactics employed by the UConn players in trying to get Adam Jones and Chris Henry to lose their cool in 2004, including spitting on Adam Jones and ripping off his helmet and running across the field with it. It isn't like the Mountaineers need the added incentive. The Big East title is on the line every week and UConn is next in line.

Pat White is the Big East player of the week after setting the Big East single game QB rushing record. Steve Slaton had a pedestrian, at least by his standards, afternoon against the Cuse. Look for the friendly rivalry among teammates to push the intensity to another level again this week.

One big thing going against UConn is the memory of the Naval Academy romp just a couple of weeks ago. But as one of my good friends likes to point out: "This ain't Navy"!!!

Pick: West Virginia 45-13
 
Cam Huffman Last Week: W Season: 6-0 Pt Diff: 82
This one is going to be like one of those Preston-Morgantown matchups that are usually reserved for Friday night. Whether on Friday or on Monday, on six days rest or 14 days rest, on the Evansdale campus in Morgantown or on an abandoned airstrip in Connecticut, the Huskies simply do not have the weapons to upset the Mountaineers.

Jarrett Brown will see the field for the second time in Big East play this season, after Patrick White and Steve Slaton both rack up 100-yard performances once again. Owen Schmitt will also get into the action with a touchdown run, and the WVU defensive secondary will show some improvement with two interceptions.

West Virginia has proven more than once that a puppy — whether the bulldog variety or the more sporty Husky — is no match for a Mountaineer's musket, and Friday night will be no different. I still believe Friday's should be reserved for the games that are played only for pride, but it will still be nice to watch the Blue & Gold move to 7-0 no matter what day of the week it happens.

Pick: West Virginia 44-16
 
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 6-0 Pt Diff: 83
WVU's key at UConn is the same as alway – run the football effectively, play solid run defense, don't turn the ball over. Do that, and it wins handily.
Pick: West Virginia 42-17
 
Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 6-0 Pt Diff: 86
How much does college football on Friday night suck? In my opinion, a lot. I won't be at this game due to my responsibilities covering high school football at MetroNews. Heck, I probably won't even be able to watch the game. (Ed. Note: How does a multi-billion dollar operation like MetroNews not have a TV in its control room?) But it won't matter.

Looking for a source of motivation for the Mountaineers? How about this: it's homecoming at Rentschler Field. HOMECOMING! By comparison, Mississippi State scheduled I-AA Jacksonville State for homecoming. It's always supposed to be a game that you expect to win. Let the Huskies have their party. The Mountaineer running game will take part in the dancing as they slash, dash, bash, and bebop their way to victory number seven.

Pick: West Virginia 45-13
 
Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 6-0 Pt Diff: 95
It's a real shame that the broadcast media are interfering with the sacred tradition of Friday night high school football. Rich doesn't like it, most of the college coaches don't like it, and it's certainly not good for the high schools, especially in a small-town state like West Virginia.

Be that as it may, the Mountaineers will make the most of their appearance under the Friday Night Lights. WVU's offensive juggernaut keeps on keeping on, with the Pat & Stevie Show being broadcast nationally once again. The defense will pick up where it left off in the second half of the Syracuse game, a much calmer, more focused approach, and the penalties will continue to decline. Rich's teams always start slowly and take a while to get their feet under them. The second half of the Syracuse game showed that the ripening process is well underway. One more game this Friday night to weed and water the crop, and we'll see the full fruiting on November 2.

Pick: West Virginia 48-10
 
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 6-0 Pt Diff: 96
I'm sure everyone has that special day during the year that they look forward to, whether it be a favorite holiday or the last day of school, but for me that day is October 20th. You may or may not remember that the infamous film of Bigfoot was taken by Patterson and Gimlin on October 20th, 1967 or that a plane carrying Lynyrd Skynyrd crashed in Mississippi, killing lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and guitarist Steve Gaines on October 20th, 1977 or that the Mountaineers are 9-2 all-time on this date, having lost to Richmond in 1973 and Dartmouth in 1917.

It was also the date when a fired up Mountaineer team came back from a 20-3 halftime deficit to beat Doug Flutie and the fourth-ranked Boston College Eagles in 1984.

What does this have to do with Connecticut? Nothing, but I guarantee that the Mountaineers will not lose on my birthday.

Pick: West Virginia 45-14
 
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 6-0 Pt Diff: 108
Connecticut ranks 105th in the nation in rushing defense; West Virginia's first in rushing offense. The rest of the matchups aren't pup-friendly either. The Huskies are a rush-first attack that will face an odd stack set that is very difficult to run against. UConn doesn't throw the ball downfield, having infused its wideout corps with a youth movement while sitting vets.

Two of the top three receivers are running backs, and quarterback Matt Bonislawski doesn't have the downfield throwing ability of Louisville's Brian Brohm, or even East Carolina's James Pinkney. A wet grass field and potential 40 mph wind gusts might equate the talent and execution gap (100 percent chance of rain in the afternoon, with clearing skies by game time), but it's simply not enough. WVU would have to turn the ball over four times, or have a total lack of tackling, to lose this one. Connecticut adds a cheap one at the end.

Pick: West Virginia 34-13

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