PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'
David made a huge jump to the top of the board. Not only did he pick a WVU win, but only Noel Devine's late touchdown sprint against a dispirited Auburn defense kept him from nailing the final score exactly. However, with seven pickers now tied with 5-2 records, and only 42 points separating the pack, a good week or two could springboard anyone to the top of the standings.
Andy's loss kicks off a wild scramble in the standings, and drops the former leader from first place to sixth. That's almost as bad as the Yankees! The higher than expected point totals put Greg, Jane and Matt in the cup with Andy with the biggest point misses of the week – not to mention outright losses.
|David Velegol||Last Week: W||Season: 5-2||Pt Diff: 127|
|You are never really sure what UConn team is going to show up this year. But two things are obvious: 1) West Virginia better take care of the ball or UConn will make it pay and, 2) The Huskies are a much better at home than on the road. I realize can be the case for many teams, but UConn has displayed a fair amount of inconsistency this year and these appear to be two key factors in their play. West Virginia needs to build on its momentum and take care of business in a workmanlike fashion.|
|Pick: West Virginia 27-17|
|Patrick Curry||Last Week: W||Season: 5-2||Pt Diff: 143|
|While Connecticut has a great running game, it hasn't shown consistent productivity in the passing game thus far this season. Since starter Lorenzen went down, Connecticut is 1-2, not including the Louisville game that Frazer ended. West Virginia held Auburn's big backs to just 33 yards rushing in the second half, and if the Mountaineers can continue their success on offense, this could be a long afternoon for Connecticut.|
|Pick: West Virginia 31-14|
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: W||Season: 5-2||Pt Diff: 154|
Was West Virginia's offensive explosion a sign of things to come, or
simply an exception to the rule? We'll find out this Saturday when the
Mountaineers travel to UConn.
UConn's Donald Brown is a phenomenal running back, and at this point should be the frontrunner for the Big East's Offensive Player of the Year. He will get some yards, but the Mountaineers can't simply let him run wild and expect to win the game. If they can hold him under 150, they should have a chance to win.
The Huskies lead the Big East in takeaways with 17. Can West Virginia avoid the turnover bug on the road? If so, the Mountaineers should win the game. If they don't, they won't. I think they will.
|Pick: West Virginia 31-20|
|Jane Donovan||Last Week: W||Season: 5-2||Pt Diff: 157|
|The Mountaineers are as healthy as they've been in some weeks, and, as usual, better conditioned than most. U Conn just may be the biggest challenge of the remaining Big East schedule, as talking heads' favorites Pitt and South Florida have proven vulnerable, but let's take this one game at a time. With Dorrell Jalloh as inspiration, let's jete' through the BE. In the immortal words of Bill Cosby, there's always room for Jello.|
|Pick: West Virginia 27-14|
|Cam Huffman||Last Week: W||Season: 5-2||Pt Diff: 157|
|Does West Virginia have things completely turned around? We will find out this week. If the Mountaineers are not ready to be the leader in the Big East, they won't win on the road against a solid Connecticut team. My prediction? There are great players and great coaches in Morgantown, and they have grown from individuals into a team.|
|Pick: West Virginia 28-10|
|Andy Easton||Last Week: L||Season: 5-2||Pt Diff: 162|
|As Mountaineer fans, we are starting to hear the same things about UConn as we have about Rutgers over the past few years --something about turning a corner. The Huskies may well be doing that but until they beef up their non-conference schedule, its all talk. Sure they have a solid running back in Donald Brown and an opportunistic defense, but they haven't beaten a team with West Virginia's talent. Sorry Huskies fans, the home winning streak is over.|
|Pick: West Virginia 31-10|
|Taylor Jones||Last Week: W||Season: 5-2||Pt Diff: 169|
|If the Mountaineers play anything like what they against Auburn last Thursday, UConn doesn't have a chance. With most of WVU's injured players back into the mix, such as Jarrett Brown and Scooter Berry, WVU should be refreshed and ready to play. Donald Brown will prove to be a challenge for the Mountaineer defense, but that unit's continuing improvement will be able to stop the talented running back.|
|Pick: West Virginia 28-17|
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: L||Season: 4-3||Pt Diff: 131|
|UConn wins the old-fashion way – strong run game and solid defense. WVU's offense has been too explosive in the past for the Huskies. This year figures to be closer, but West Virginia still has the talent edge.|
|Pick: West Virginia 28-17|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: L||Season: 4-3||Pt Diff: 153|
Connecticut's running game has been effective against every foe it has faced this season. But the blocking and pursuit angles of West Virginia's 3-3-5 defense are unlike any foe the Huskies have thus far played in 2008, and the team hasn't shown much ability to match-up well there in past meetings. UConn will manage ball control against the Mountaineers with a patient ground game and head coach Randy Edsall's insistence on milking the play clock for the majority of early series. Without being able to capitalize on tight end routes across the face of the defense and midrange, sit down patterns versus the WVU secondary, the mainly one-dimensional style won't be enough.
West Virginia gets off the field defensively and continues to play solidly on offense. It won't roll like it did in the latter portions of its last outing, but it will show improvement and more of a lean toward that efficient execution. If the Mountaineers don't get picked or put the ball on the grass a few times, they manage a solid - if not spectacular - win.
|Pick: West Virginia 30-21|
|Bill Gleason||Last Week: W||Season: 4-3||Pt Diff: 183|
Now that Bill Stewart's team has shown it does have an idea or two about how to put the ball across the goal line, and the defense continues to make steps each week towards being a very solid unit, the quick thought here is to pick a blowout win over the UConn Huskies. While I think we could very easily see Pat White lead the Mountaineers to a 40-point barrage and a blowout victory, until I see it happen on the road, I'm not picking that way.
I still can't pick against this team based upon last week's performance, though. UConn's Donald Brown will get his numbers, but Noel Devine will outshine him and go over 1,000 yards for the season as the WVU passing attack continues to open lanes big enough to drive Matt Keller's ego through.
|Pick: West Virginia 27-17|