Fearless Picks: West Virginia - South Florida

The BGN gang tries to shake off the post-holiday lethargy with some pithy comments -- do any of them see an upset in the making?

PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'

Jane's pick of the week, which missed by only six points, vaulted her within range of Bill and Greg at the top of the one-loss brigade. (Why does this sound like a column on the BCS?) Chris continues to maintain his lead over Matt due to the latter's inability to contact his muse (or a certain Air Force officer that helped him to his best pick of the season).


NOSE PICKING

Bill has been very close to WVU's point totals all year, but his downfall has been his misses on opponents' points. A bit more accuracy there, and he would be the clear one-loss leader. In the words of Charles Emerson Wichester, that's akin to being the finest ice hocker player in all of Ecuador.


Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 10-0 Pt Diff: 136
Three games left in the Fearless Picks, and unless I pull a Lefty and try to drive the green on 18, I should be lighting up a la Red Auerbach in a few weeks. For the next three games, though, I'll stay hungry and stay humble.

South Florida has been one of the league's biggest surprises over the past two years. The Bulls are blessed with more team speed than anyone on West Virginia's schedule, including Louisville. I expect them to throw anything and everything into the gameplan this week. I'm very interested to see how redshirt freshman Matt Grothe reacts to his first game in Morgantown. Then again, I'm real interested to see how all the Bulls react to their first game in Morgantown, given that this is only the second meeting between the two schools.

To be honest, I have no feeling for this game whatsoever, other than the fact that I feel West Virginia will win. I've never liked games on the Saturday following Thanksgiving. They just don't interest me. At least Thanksgiving night games are national events. Whatever...I'm rambling. This is officially the most boring pick in the history of our site.

Pick: West Virginia 38-17
 
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 10-0 Pt Diff: 165
South Florida posesses the speed and athleticism at linebacker that few teams can match. Look for them to utilize that to again limit West Virginia tailback Steve Slaton, held to 86 yards against the Bulls last year. The difficulty, and therein lies the expolosivness of the Mountaineer offense, is stopping both backfield threats. Quarterback Patrick White should set the WVU career record for rushing yards for a quarterback (he needs just 31), which would also be a Big East record as former signal caller Rasheed Marshall currently holds that mark with 2,040. He'll also score at least one rushing touchdown, and the first one West Virginia gets will tie the single season record for running scores in a season with 41 (1988).

The Mountaineer defense will do what it does in limiting the run and allowing some pass yardage. But anything the Bulls muster under mobile quarterback Matt Grothe won't be nearly enough. USF isn't likely to reach 20 points barring another WVU special teams breakdown. And 20, against West Virginia, isn't nearly enough.

Pick: West Virginia 42-17
 
Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Pt Diff: 127
WVU has a chance at the BCS with two more wins. USF has a chance to improve its bowl positioning with two more wins.

The thing I remember most about USF last year was their complete lack of humility and understanding of their place in Division IA football. Never in my life have I heard more people whine about getting "stuck" in a bowl -- the first bowl in school history. Then to beat all I had to hear a media guy from Tampa tell me how USF was two plays from beating the Mountaineers. You'll remember that USF sold out to stop Steve Slaton in 2005 and did a pretty good job. The problem was that they forgot about Patrick White.

How USF gets to come to Morgantown on Thanksgiving weekend and play in 60 degree weather is beyond my belief. But it won't matter. Slaton runs wild. White runs wild. Reynaud gets a few more touches. Welcome to Mountaineer Field, noobs.

Pick: West Virginia 45-24
 
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Pt Diff: 133
Grothe has the ability to keep the Bulls in the game with both his running and passing ability, but no one has figured out how to slow down Slaton and White, and USF doesn't appear to have the defense which can do so either.
Pick: West Virginia 45-20
 
Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Pt Diff: 136
Cincinnati's victory over Rutgers last week initiated endless rounds of speculation about WVU's eventual bowl destination. Will it be a BCS Bowl? Which one? Blah, blah, blah. Of course, we all want to go to a BCS Bowl, but there's the not-so-small matter of 2 more games to be played. The turkey-and-dressing-deprived warriors will be ready, and can celebrate Thanksgiving after December 2. I know that's a day on which I hope to be truly thankful for an 11-1 season. The Slaton-White Show draws another national audience and racks up the big numbers.
Pick: West Virginia 45-17
 
Cam Huffman Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Pt Diff: 143
I will be making my triumphant return to Morgantown this weekend — I am expecting a police escort and a steak dinner — and with me I will bring an unstoppable offense and an improving defense. What's that you say? Those ingredients have already arrived in Morgantown? Well then, I will bring my eyes and ears so that I can once again see it for myself. I have only been away for two games, but I already miss seeing two of the best players in the country on a regular basis. Look for Patrick White and Steve Slaton to both put on a show for my return — or for the national television audience, but who really cares about that? — and rack up more than 350 yards of offense between them. The Bulls will get a couple early scores, but this one will never be in doubt. The Thanksgiving weekend will be completed with the singing of "Take Me Home, Country Roads," and another Big East title will stay within the Mountaineers' grasp.
Pick: West Virginia 48-20
 
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 9-1 Pt Diff: 149
South Florida is a young team with a bunch of speed, athleticism and hope for the future, but it's also a team that lacks experience to win the big games. The Bulls own two victories over teams with winning records (7-4 McNeese State and 6-5 Pitt) with the average score of their four loses being 22-10. USF is a solid team that could give the Mountaineers fits over the next few seasons, but not this year.
Pick: West Virginia 48-17

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