PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'
It's down to the wire as Greg and David race for the regular season title and Matt puts on a valiant effort to recover from his vanity Marshall pick to crawl past Cam. The Backyard Brawl also brings out the creativity in our panel.
With the possibilities of the weekend's action, we're feeling too good to rag on anyone's poor performances. If we were, however, Andy's giant-sized miss of 41 points a week ago would certainly have merited comment.
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: W||Season: 8-1||Pt Diff:|
|This Brawl may be the 100th, but it means more than just history for WVU, as it still has a great deal at stake. Pitt has been up and down this year, but the young, improving Panthers would like nothing better than to spoil the party for their bitter rivals. Hard to imagine it will really happen, though.|
|Pick: West Virginia 38-17|
|David Velegol||Last Week: W||Season: 8-1||Pt Diff: 185|
|Pitt hasn't been able to stop teams like South Florida or Navy who each rang up 48 points against them. West Virginia has scored 52 against Pitt in 1998, 1999 and 2003 and I think we ready for another 52. It will be cold and the Pitt team will be looking to get back in the warm locker room and the eventual ride home. I believe we will see very dominating victory.|
|Pick: West Virginia 52-0|
|Jeff Mason||Last Week: W||Season: 8-1||Pt Diff: 179|
|History is on Pittsburgh's side in this 100th Backyard Brawl as the Steel City gridders lead the all-time series by 22 games and have won most of the past red letter or series anniversary (25th, 50th, etc) matchups. However, the time is today, not yesterday, and Coach Rod's squad has more than enough talent and incentive to bury the Panthers. Amazingly, some college football "experts" are now saying that the BCS system is tragically flawed if the title game this season is WVU versus Missouri--in other words, the Mountaineers are not really the best and therefore not truly worthy of appearing in the BCS title game. WVU will take care of business and not only defeat their ultra-nemesis rivals in the Backyard Brawl, but prove to America that West Virginia's football team ranks up there with some of the greatest college gridiron teams of all-time. If you have a chance to go to this game and you do not, you may need a checkup from the neck up! No mercy will be shown to Wannstedt's team. And any pundit with the gall of accusing Coach Rodriguez of running up the score afterward is a pure unadulterated hypocrite! West Virginia will give up a score or two but viewers outside the confines of W.Va. and Pennsylvania will watch this game and conclude, "Yes, West Virginia, there is a BCS Title Game in your future! You do look MAHVELOUS (to quote comedian Billy Crystal). Mountaineer fans will truly enjoy this historic whipping of Pitt. Ira E. Rodgers, Jim Braxton, Vann Washington, and Jack Fleming will look down from heaven and smile very broadly when the speaker system at Milan Puskar Stadium closes the festivities with "Country Roads."|
|Pick: West Virginia 55-10|
|Bill Gleason||Last Week: W||Season: 8-1||Pt Diff: 183|
Hello and welcome to the weekend that you as a fan have dreamed about since your father put you on his knee to listen to Jack Fleming call the Mountaineers to either a monumental victory, or a horrendous screwing by the officials. The Backyard Brawl takes on a whole new meaning as the Mountaineers sit on the verge of the BCS national title game with a victory over Pitt.
Senior night. National title game. Night game in Morgantown. National title game. Pitt. National title game.
If you can't get up for this game, you need to see a coroner.
Mountaineer fans take up a collection outside Mountaineer Field to KEEP Dave Wannstedt at Pitt.
|Pick: West Virginia 75-13|
|Cam Huffman||Last Week: W||Season: 8-1||Pt Diff: 240|
|It's the 100th edition of the Backyard Brawl, so something strange could happen. In a rivalry series you just never know, especially with West Virginia sitting in the cursed No. 2 position. But Pitt has one thing on its sideline that trumps both the rivalry wild card and the stigma that comes with the No. 2 ranking -- Dave Wannstedt. As long as the man behind the mustache is patrolling the Panther sidelines, WVU should have no problem. Saturday, Dec. 1 will be a date that will forever be remembered in the Mountain State not for an epic football game, but instead for the party that will begin midway through the third quarter with the game firmly in the Mountaineers' control. Look out Bourbon Street!|
|Pick: West Virginia 46-20|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: W||Season: 8-1||Pt Diff: 205|
Pitt is much improved from its last two versions, which allowed a combined 888 rushing yards and 90 points to West Virginia in 2005 and'06. The Panthers rank 11th in the nation in total defense and have limited foes to less than 150 yards rushing on average. The secondary and front seven play has improved, and third-year head coach Dave Wannstedt appears to be better using his talent, at least on defense.
The issue is on the flipside, where Pitt has started three quarterbacks and is being forced to use true freshman Pat Bostick because of injuries. Bostick has thrown costly interceptions, and because of his inexperience, the Panthers have come to rely solely on their run game. That's especially dangerous versus West Virginia, which has allowed just five 100-yard rushers in the last 36 games. WVU is holding opponents to 17 points and 100 rushing yards per game to make teams beat it by throwing. Pitt doesn't appear able to do so, and against the odd stack set, Bostick could be forced into additional miscues. Teams that can't score into the 30s can't beat West Virginia, as long as the Mountaineers don't beat themselves via fumbles or special teams breakdowns. As UConn head coach Randy Edsall noted, if WVU doesn't turn the ball over in this game or, with a win, the BCS national title tilt, it will win its first NCAA football championship. Pitt is better; it is still not good enough, not for this West Virginia team.
|Pick: West Virginia 45-20|
|Andy Easton||Last Week: W||Season: 7-2||Pt Diff: 176|
The 100th edition of the Backyard Brawl could be a very special one for the Mountaineers, as a national championship game is on the line. For the 4-7 Panthers, most of the dissapointments of the 2007 season could be forgotten by ruining WVU's dreams of the Sears Trophy.
While Bostick and McCoy may give the Mountaineers fits over the next few seasons, they will have to take a back seat this year, as the Blue and Gold will shine under the bright lights at Milan Puskar Stadium.
|Pick: West Virginia 52-25|
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: W||Season: 7-2||Pt Diff: 19769|
Of the 100 Backyard Brawls played, none has had as much on the line
for West Virginia as this one will. Simply put, if West Virginia wins,
it goes to the national championship game with a chance to do
something no Mountaineer football team has ever done.
Win, and you're in. That's it. Nothing else matters.
As for Pitt, well...it ain't happenin. Maybe one day, Dave Wannstedt and his coaching staff (likely full of new names next season) will be able to do something -- ANYTHING -- with the talented palyers they have been recruiting. That day isn't December 1, 2007. No, that date is reserved for what may be the biggest party Morgantown has ever seen.
In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Backyard Brawl, West Virginia scores 100 points. Pitt, on the other hand, scores one point for everything it has to play for: nothing.
|Pick: West Virginia 100-0|