PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'
Andy retains his one game lead in the standings, and also isn't doing badly in the points race with a total of 84. David moves into second overall with a point total miss of 78, sparked by his miss of just 14 in WVU's win over the Herd.
No one picked WVU to hold the Herd under double digits, let alone to their measly three-point outing. Bill drops to the bottom of the rankings with his third consecutive miss – perhaps a record for this contest.
A special boo to Chris, who accompanied his drop in the standings with giant disrespect to the great game of football. Watch out for that karma!
|Andy Easton||Last Week: W||Season: 3-1||Pt Diff: 78|
After experiencing two solid seasons in which the Scarlet Knights racked up 19 wins and two bowl victories, Rutgers has finally turned the corner and crashed right into the 2008 season. With only a victory over Morgan State
under their belts, Greg Schiano and his troops travel to Morgantown looking for his first victory over West Virginia.
WVU will be looking to continue its strong defensive showing from the last two games while trying to improve on its point production from the last three games.
Sorry Rutgers, there's always next year.
|Pick: West Virginia 35-17|
|David Velegol||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2||Pt Diff: 76|
West Virginia has shown to be solid at home on both sides of the ball. On the flip side Rutgers has yet to beat a BCS program, but its loss to Navy doesn't appear as bad as it did at the time of the beatin, as the Midshipmen turned around and beat #16 Wake Forest on the road. As long as West Virginia applies "some" pressure on Teel, the Mountaineers should prevail with some comfort.
Without walk-on special teams ace Jim Lewis this past week, West Virginia's kickoff team struggled, but that won't be enough to make a difference in the outcome.
|Pick: West Virginia 34-17|
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2||Pt Diff: 79|
|Odds are that some day Rutgers will beat WVU again, but logic also says you can't predict a streak to be snapped until first they snap the streak, if that makes sense.|
|Pick: West Virginia 31-17|
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2||Pt Diff:86|
How can anyone possibly watch college football at a time such as this?
With NBA Training Camp now underway and the Major League Baseball
postseason in full swing, football moves down to third in my pecking
But since I have to make a prediction, I'll simply point out that Rutgers hasn't beaten the Mountaineers since Bill Clinton's first term in the White House. At the very least, the Scarlet Knights will have to wait until a new leader of the free world is nearly a year into his first term to break their streak of unprecedented futility.
To win this weekend, RU must score some points. Receivers Kenny Britt and Tiquan Underwood are dangerous with the ball in their hands, but getting it there has been a big issue for the Knights so far in 2008. Add in the fact that the RU running game has struggled without the services of Ray Rice, and I just don't see how they are going to put enough points on the board to beat West Virginia in Morgantown, which, by the way, is something they have never done.
Hey, at least those Rutgers fans who also cheer for the Yankees can flip on the tube to watch their beloved Bronx Bombers battle in the playoffs after the football game goes final. Oh wait...that's right…
|Pick: West Virginia 35-13|
|Patrick Curry||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2||Pt Diff: 86|
Rutgers is chock full of talent, but for whatever reason they haven't been showing it. Last week West Virginia showed signs that it can play like many Mountaineer fans know it is capable of.
This game will come down to the defense of West Virginia. If it can hold Rutgers as it did for the last combined seven quarters against Colorado and Marshall, it will take a lot of pressure off Jeff Mullen and allow the offense to operate much more freely. Considering Rutgers' offense hasn't done much so far, I like West Virginia's odds.
|Pick: West Virginia 38-14|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2||Pt Diff: 98|
|Rutgers' struggles against even reasonable foes has been one of the sizeable shocks of the season. The Knights have failed to establish the once-vaunted running game, haven't been able to capitalize on an above-average wideout corps and a quarterback with an arm and ability. There's little to show that changes this weekend. West Virginia, while not rolling, has evened its record. With three more consecutive home games, two of which - Rutgers included - appear easily winnable, WVU is poised to get on a roll. The Mountaineers throw well and gain ground yardage with more than simple broken plays. The defense limits the Knights to fewer than 225 total yards and WVU gets to 3-2 with its easiest game remaining next.|
|Pick: West Virginia 34-14|
|Jane Donovan||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2||Pt Diff: 102|
Last week's solid win served several useful purposes:
1. Victory in the Kanawha Valley war of words. So are you Martians sick of taking your annual butt-kicking yet? You couldn't beat us with Chad Pennington and Randy Moss, and you couldn't beat us when we are in the throes of a coaching transition. We'll gladly let you out of the four games remaining on your "contract" if you promise to go away and leave us alone. Take your band announcer with you. Please.
2. Solving several problems that became apparent during the Colorado game. Play-calling was much improved, sideline management was much improved, and Stew may have found the answer to the third and short problem in Jarrett Brown. This does not mean, however, that we have everything solved. The dramatic improvements from ECU to marshla are very encouraging. May they continue apace.
3. A good practice game for WVU's youngsters, under regular game conditions, lights, the cool new side scoreboards and very noisy fans, just before the Big East season begins, plus some badly-needed playing time for Jarrett Brown et al.
Now, on to the task at hand: Rutgers has problems, some of which are on the field and some off the field. If you think WVU misses Owen Schmitt (nice to see you, Big Guy), wait till you see how much Rutgers misses Ray Rice.
|Pick: West Virginia 27-14|
|Cam Huffman||Last Week: W||Season: 2-2||Pt Diff: 107|
My money this week is on Mike Teel in the fifth round. Glen Lee may have quicker feet, but Teel has a clear size advantage at 6-foot-4, 220 pounds compared to Lee's 6-foot-2, 195-pound frame. Teel's reach will play a major factor, as he will be able to keep Lee out of striking distance and land a couple of hooks when they are least expected. Lee may have the crowd in his corner, but Teel has heard the boo-birds before and is comfortable performing in that situation.
Oh, you want a prediction on the football game? Rutgers has the talent to compete with any team in the Big East, but the program seems to be a little unstable right now, despite what head coach Greg Schiano keeps preaching. West Virginia, on the other hand, has gotten better each week and seems to be gaining a little more confidence every time out. The Mountaineers will take another step this week.
|Pick: West Virginia 30-17|
|Taylor Jones||Last Week: L||Season: 1-2||Pt Diff: 98|
|I've been an optimistic WVU fan my entire life and I'm going to continue that. I think the Mountaineers are on their way to a season turnaround, and will play even better than they did against Marshall. Wishfully thinking, I'm going to predict a heavy passing game with Dorrell Jalloh playing a big part in Saturday's. I hope to see more of White and Brown on the field together. I think that could be the recipe for success. I think the Mountaineers have all the parts of the puzzle from coaches to talent, they just need to put the puzzle completely together. I think that continues this week, and if nothing else, Mountaineer Field is a very difficult place to play.|
|Pick: West Virginia 35-17|
|Bill Gleason||Last Week: L||Season: 1-3||Pt Diff: 138|
West Virginia's defense looks much improved from week one, and it will have
to be against the Rutgers passing game.
West Virginia's offense also looks much improved, but the offensive line will have to be more physical against the Rutgers defense.
This is another difficult pick, because while I believe that Marshall is much better than last year, WVU still needs to win a BCS-caliber ball game. I'm going with the Mountaineers, in what should be a laugher. But if the kickoff return unit gives the Scarlet Knights the ball at the WVU 25 three times, Rutgers will score.
|Pick: West Virginia 34-14|