Fearless Picks: WVU - Pitt

Another swing in the standings, as one picker falls back in the pack and others try to close ground. This week's selections promise more movement as WVU takes on Pitt in the Backyard Brawl.

PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'

Patrick held on to his lead with an excellent pick of the Louisville game, missing the final score by just four points. David kept close pace, however, missing the final score by just eight.


NOSE PICKING

Chris falls almost to the cellar with his pick of the Cardinals, but his logic for doing so couldn't be attacked. Still, the solo loss of the week deserves the walk of shame.


Patrick Curry Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Pt Diff: 172
Bill Stewart can say that revenge won't play a factor is this game, but I'm not buying it. I think on some level the memory of last year's loss has to be in the back of the player's minds and should be a motivating factor. West Virginia has done well to slow down top running backs this year, including UConn's Donald Brown, the nation's leading rusher at the time. Brown is not as shifty as McCoy but with their track record against the run this season and West Virginia's speed on offense, I like West Virginia to go on the road and pick up a victory.
Pick: West Virginia 35-17
 
David Velegol Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Pt Diff: 178
I love Coach Stewart's approach on focusing on the Pitt game and not on anything else, including the BCS situation. Pitt is 3-2 at home this year and doesn't have a strong home field advantage. On the flip side, there will be a strong West Virginia following, as always, and psychologically this is a big emotional lift. Pitt can score points, but WVU's defense is one of the best the Panthers will face all season. This is a team game, but I just cannot picture Patrick White letting this one slip away. If theoffensive line gives Pat enough time and space, the Mountaineers should win comfortably
Pick: West Virginia 30-20
 
Cam Huffman Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Pt Diff: 193
If you ever see me pick Pitt over West Virginia, start an investigation. Somebody is stealing my identity and sending in my picks. The little kitties may have found a win against Rich Rodriguez and crew, but this Mountaineer team will be willing to do what it takes to win, even if it means putting the original game plan aside. Pitt may be a little better this season, but it is still Pitt, and the kitties have been a joke ever since Dave Wannstedt came home.

Can Syracuse pull off an upset and give the Mountaineers a chance at another title? Anything is possible. But even if the Orange don't pull it off, beating Pitt again will be sweet. Pat White will go over 100 yards on the ground and toss two touchdown passes; Noel Devine will break off his biggest highlight run of the year and the Mountaineers will roll.

Pick: West Virginia 36-20
 
Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Pt Diff: 202
"La vengeance est un plat qui se mange froid." (Revenge is a dish best eaten cold.) -- Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

Enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey, and then, may you and all WVU Mountaineers enjoy a huge helping of Cold Revenge.

Pick: West Virginia 35-21
 
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Pt Diff: 210
At this point in the season it's all about sending Pat White out on a high note and settling the score with the Panthers and Bulls. It's not about a BCS bowl because, to me, a three-loss team hasn't done everything in its power to deserve the Orange, Rose, Sugar or Fiesta Bowl.

If the Mountaineers can contain LeSean McCoy and win the turnover battle, the Backyard Brawl will be theirs.

Pick: West Virginia 31-30
 
Taylor Jones Last Week: W Season: 7-3 Pt Diff: 214
Despite what it does for each team as far as rankings and bowl games, I feel like this is the biggest game of the year for both teams. The Backyard Brawl always proves to be quite a football game. The Mountaineers will obviously be looking for revenge and the Panthers will have the home field advantage. I predict that this will be a very well-played game that will be very close. Here's to hoping it comes down to Pat McAfee making the game winning field goal.
Pick: West Virginia 20-17
 
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 6-4 Pt Diff: 178
This year's Brawl won't affect the national title picture, but it very well could affect the Big East title chase. The team that can establish the run and hit a couple big plays through the air will win. McCoy and company have simply been more consistent than Pat White and the Mountaineers.
Pick: Pitt 21-20
 
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 6-4 Pt Diff: 186
West Virginia will mix up the offense more than it did in the Pitt loss last year. But the joke of a field will again come into play. The fact that this hasn't properly been addressed is absurd. The facility needs a ground crew with a clue or artificial turf. This idiocy is a microcosm of the city of Pittsburgh: mismanagement, misappropriation of funds and no idea how to run anything.

The footing will be poor, the conditions average. It combines to negate WVU's speed edge, and that will be enough to decide it. The Panthers utilize LeSean McCoy and placekicker Conner Lee to overcome Dave Wannstedt and best the Mountaineers for the third time in five years.

Pick: Pitt 23-21
 
Chris Richardson Last Week: L Season: 6-4 Pt Diff: 214
With last season's gut-punching win by Pitt, the 101st edition of the Backyard Brawl has a little added zest that has been noticeably missing over the past few years. And, as bad as the loss was for the Mountaineers, I have to admit that part of me likes the fact that the disdain I had for Pitt growing up is back. After all, it's kind of hard to really, truly hate another team when they are completely outmatched, as was the case for the Brawls of 2005 and 2006.

Emotions aside, however, I have to look at this objectively. Which team is more talented? Which team is more consistent? The answer to each of those questions is Pitt.

Pick: Pitt 31-21
 
Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season: 6-4 Pt Diff: 224
Here we are again, for the fifth time in six years, needing a victory over Pitt to get a shot or a share of some type of Championship. Pitt could have made this game even more important with a win over Cincinnati last week, but once again The Stache comes up short in the big game. Certainly his supporters will point to Pitt's 13-9 victory over West Virginia in 2007 as winning one in the clutch. But really, how much pressure was Pitt under last year in its last game with absolutely nothing to lose? Big game? Riiiight.

West Virginia still fighting for a share of the Big East title for the fifth time in six seasons, needs to play better for the entire game in order to have any hopes for their share of the title. Can West Virginia's unheralded defense stop LeSean McCoy? Can Pitt's defense stop Pat White? Can West Virginia's offensive line slow down Pitt's heralded defensive line? Can Noel Devine find room to run?

Once again it comes down to which Mountaineer team shows up. If WVU storms out of the gate with their "A" game, Pitt has shown that they are susceptible to implosion. If WVU muddles through the first half, will it be enough to stay close with McCoy's Panthers? I think WVU's A game would be a blowout 45-17. But until I see four quarters of execution, I'm not picking that.

Pick: West Virginia 24-17

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