Fearless Picks: WVU - Colorado

Well, that wasn't good. None of our pickers forecast WVU's shocking loss to East Carolina.

Will that make at least some of them go with the home team in this weeks lengthy trip to Boulder to take on Colorado? One thing's for sure, our panel thinks the end zones will be busy places on Thursday night.

PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'

Chris' lead in the standing shrank considerably. Greg gets the weekly honors for missing the final score by "only" 28 points – which may be a low mark in the history of this competition. Knowing Hunter's modesty, he will likely forego the crown for last week's win, such as it was.


NOSE PICKING

Matt's distance from the top of the standings is almost as far as his new home is from Morgantown. However, with a four-way tie just two points above him, he still has plenty of chances to escape the season dunce cap.


Chris Richardson Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 28
After the longest 12-day break in the history of college football, West Virginia returns to the gridiron for a road game at Colorado. In front of a national television audience and a skeptical fan base, the Mountaineers have a huge opportunity for redemption after the forgettable effort at East Carolina last weekend. The question is, can they do it?

I'm always leery of those wacky western passing attacks in the long run, but for one game against an unfamiliar opponent, they can certainly do some damage. So, combine Colorado's potent passing game with West Virginia's unproven secondary, and there is plenty of reason to worry if you're a fan of the Old Gold and Blue. Pat White and Noel Devine, though, present plenty of challenges for the CU defense. At the end of the day, that should be enough for West Virginia to escape Boulder with its second victory of the young season.

Of course it will take more than reputation to get a big road victory such as this. The Mountaineers cannot afford to just show up and win as many thought they could against East Carolina. After all...

ITS DIVISION I FOOTBALL! ITS THE BIG XII! IT AIN'T INTRAMURALS!!!

I've been waiting fifteen months to make that joke.

Pick: West Virginia 31-27
 
Greg Hunter Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 40
There are a lot of unknowns in this game, between two programs which have never met in football. Most foes have a tough enough time slowing Pat White, but it's extra tough when you're facing him for the first time.
Pick: West Virginia 28-27
 
Andy Easton Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 46
The Mountaineers' second win of the season will be coming very soon, but unfortunately it will not be until the 27th of September against the Thundering Herd. WVU had way too much to correct from the East Carolina debacle to expect to fly into mile high country and snag a win from the Buffaloes.
Pick: Colorado 24-17
 
Bill Gleason Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 55
The Mountaineers face a tough test in the night sky in Boulder, Colorado. Leaving Greenville with more new questions than answers, the Mountaineers are on the brink of being sub .500 in September for the first time since 2001. The Buffaloes roll into this contest averaging 34.5 points per game, and the West Virginia defense doesn't appear to be equipped to defend a squad that is lofting nearly 35 passes per game.

The nattering nabobs of negativity have been set loose in the hills of West Virginia, and the real question is can Bill Stewart and his high priced coaching staff put this team back on the upswing before things get out of hand and people start sacrificing their children and burning down churches and recreation halls in the greater Morgantown area. After what I saw up close and personal last week, I have no reason to believe that this will be the week things turn around, unless the best offensive line in the history of WVU at least plays up to the measure of some of the worst. If WVU can't score, and Colorado can get pressure with four, this will be a rout and a bad scene back at home. If the offense shows up, the defense will be able to slow the Buffs down enough to win.

Pick: West Virginia 45-35
 
Cam Huffman Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 55
I, along with the rest of our "experts," proved last week that I know as much about picking games as Lee Corso. I did everything but stand up and shout that the Mountaineers would beat East Carolina by "at least four touchdowns." Oh well, I guess Hollywood won't be making a movie about all my success in Vegas anytime soon. It could be worse. I could be a Pitt fan. But if you still want me to make a pick, I am going with the Mountaineers again. I see no reason why the offensive line can't be greatly improved -- after all, it has done it before -- and the learning process in the secondary won't be as big of an issue if the offense can stay on the field longer. I predict that it will.
Pick: West Virginia 31-28
 
Taylor Jones Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 56
I'm going to be optimistic with my prediction and hope that the Mountaineers have a complete turnaround when they play Colorado on Thursday. Without stating every part of the team which needs to improve its performance from the ECU game, I'm going to predict that WVU returns to its offensive rushing roots and runs all over CU. The Buffaoles are a good team, though, so it's going to be close.
Pick: West Virginia 38-35
 
David Velegol Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 56
Based upon the results against East Carolina it is easy to assume the worst at Colorado. WVU has had difficulties with recent evening road games, such as Louisville and South Florida. In those games it seemed like the Mountaineers just couldn't get any momentum and had critical turnovers.

That being said West Virginia is, at times, like a rabid animal that is cornered. I must believe that WVU will fight to pull this one out and right the ship. I believe we'll know in the first quarter which way this one is going.

Pick: West Virginia 20-17
 
Jane Donovan Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 56
The great hand wringing and gnashing of teeth that followed the loss to East Carolina has been ridiculous. For pete's sake, people, it's one loss, to a team that is clearly far better than anticipated. Patrick White's record as our starting quarterback is 27-5. Think about that a minute. 27-5. Reports of our collective demise are highly exaggerated and dramatically premature.

Stew will have them 'coached up' and ready to go for a Thursday night rumble on national TV. Pat White does NOT like to lose and will find a way to win this one.

Pick: West Virginia 35-21
 
Patrick Curry Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 56
This is going to be a difficult test for the Mountaineers. Traveling to a stadium they aren't use to playing in against a team they have little experience against is always a challenge. Colorado is loaded with talent but it is still a young team that will make mistakes. This game will be all about leadership for the Mountaineers. WVU was dominated in every aspect of the game against East Carolina, but I'm not ready to give up on this team and neither should anyone else. There is a reason they play 12 games in a season and the champion isn't decided just two games in. I expect to see the leaders of the team take charge and show everyone the type of team and the type of talent West Virginia has. It's going to be tough, but I look for West Virginia to get back on track and silence some of its critics.
Pick: West Virginia 24-17
 
Matt Keller Last Week: L Season: 1-1 Pt Diff: 58
Colorado defines dual threat. The Buffs throw multiple looks at defenses, then throw caution to the wind with wide open plays and a ground attack that's surprisingly solid. Look for West Virginia's tackling and defensive aggression to improve after the debacle versus East Carolina; what could trouble the Mountaineers, however, is lack of a polished backfield. There's little evidence supporting a secondary that has neither covered nor tackled well and might not have enough honed talent to give the front six enough time to pressure quarterback Cody Hawkins. WVU allows 24 points, but flashes enough offense - both in yardage and points - to get a win in Boulder. Patrick White runs well and breaks several big gains against a defense that has viewed him only on film while Pat McAfee effectively flips the field. Special teams will also be key for the Mountainers to gain a second win - and a second wind of confidence.
Pick: West Virginia 27-24

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