PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'
First, due to a trasncription error and bad communication on our part, We had a pick wrong last week. Andy Easton picked a 27-26 Auburn win. (I have the original email to prove it, with a date and timestamp prior to the game.) Therefore, kudos to Andy for being the only correct prognosticator for the week -- and also for avoiding the inevitiable pre-game harrassment that goes with selecting against the Mountaineers.
This one goes on me for messing up Andy's pick. As the independent arbiter of the picks feature, you'd think I'd be able to run this without a hitch. Apparently, not so. Fifty lashes with a wet noodle, as my high school Latin teacher used to say.
|Andy Easton||Last Week: W||Season: 3-0||Pt Diff: 38|
|These Buffaloes are not the same Buffaloes of the early 1990's. Dan Hawkins is on the hot seat as head coach and his son, the starting quarterback, has struggled at times this season. I don't think the Mountaineers cover the 17.5 point spread, but a win Thursday night is in the cards.|
|Pick: West Virginia 37-21|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 34|
|West Virginia has more ability, showcases better execution and is simply a better football team playing at home in a night game. The turnovers at Auburn, one hopes, were more the exception than the rule, and one would think quarterback Jarrett Brown couldn't possibly be able to duplicate the sheer number of mistakes in any other outing. And even with that, the Mountaineers, on their second-to-last possession, had the ball and a chance to lead with a touchdown. Enough about the last game. Colorado has been torched by the Mountain West and the MAC, and it has yet to show a vertical passing threat or the ability to block well enough to run. That combination won't move the football, and there's little evidence that the Buffs can come close to slowing West Virginia – a team that has thus far beaten itself in its lone loss. This one won't be close.|
|Pick: West Virginia 40-17|
|Cam Huffman||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 35|
|While many Mountaineer fans were all doom and gloom after the loss to Auburn, I was excited about the future. This WVU team has offensive balance, and Jarrett Brown has all the tools to be a special quarterback. Turnovers are correctable, and better decisions come with experience. Talent and good coaching, though, are hard to find, and the Mountaineers have both. This is going to be a fun season, and it will begin against Colorado.|
|Pick: West Virginia 36-20|
|Bill Gleason||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 38|
Heading into what appears to be a softer stretch of the schedule by national standards, it is time for the Mountaineers to put the foot to the floor and not let up until it is time to clear the bench.
I don't necessarily subscribe to the thought that Colorado should be a blowout win, despite its against Colorado State (rivalry) and Toledo (look past).
I do believe that if WVU plays like it did against Auburn, and keeps the turnovers down, that this game is a rout for the Mountaineers. I'm just not of the mind that WVU can just line up and run the ball over anyone at this point in the season, at least until I see the offensive line start to plow the road and give Noel and the rest of the backfield room to run.
On paper, at least, it appears that Colorado's offense is the cure for what ails the Mountaineer defense, as they roll in here ranked 84th in the country in total offense 72nd in 3rd down conversions and 69th in scoring offense. I'm banking on the home, night crowd and a sour taste leftover from the Auburn game.
|Pick: West Virginia 45-20|
|Jane Donovan||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 46|
There is nothing quite like a Thursday night game in Morgantown. The crowd will be pumped, the tailgating menus sublime, and the stadium will be rocking. Now, if we could just get all the Monday morning quarterbacks to chill, we'll be fine. If our fanbase of discontent knows as much about football as they think they do, why don't they have big-time coaching jobs? JB will be settled down, Noel will be divine, and the Mountaineers will win this year's John Denver Bowl.
|Pick: West Virginia 35-17|
|Taylor Jones||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 48|
|I am confident that Thursday's showing between West Virginia and Colorado will be a good game. The Mountaineers will likely have a great showing seeing as how something special always seems to happen under the lights in Morgantown. Having Reed Williams back will likely be a big boost to the Mountaineer defense. I am hoping to see a good game out of Jarrett Brown so that he can clear his mind of the mishaps in Auburn. All in all, I see the Mountaineers winning big.|
|Pick: West Virginia 35-21|
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 51|
West Virginia returns home after a wet, wild and -- ultimately -- disappointing trip to Auburn. Luckily for the Mountaineers, few things can cure the sting of a loss like a mid-week home game. Add in the fact that, at least by all appearances, WVU is the far superior team and it should be a fun night in Touchdown City.
The revenge factor will probably be played up by some in the media, but once the ball is kicked and the game settles its all about what happens between the hashmarks, not what happened last September in Boulder. Count me in for a big bounce back game from Jarrett Brown in front of a national television audience.
|Pick: West Virginia 45-17|
|Patrick Southern||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 52|
This is a serious chance for West Virginia's defense, which has not performed up to some lofty preseason expectations thus far, to turn the corner. Jeff Casteel's 3-3-5 unit came together against Colorado a season ago, and history should largely repeat itself Thursday night.
Expect Cody Hawkins and company to find some success on the crossing routes that seem to plague this defense, but otherwise look for an inspired performance from the Mountaineer defenders.
While the Buffaloes did shut out Wyoming their last time out, one can't ignore the fact that they gave up 54 points to Toledo. Jarrett Brown will give the CU defense fits, and WVU's balanced attack will gradually wear down its opposition.
|Pick: West Virginia 34-13|
|Brian Jolliff||Last Week: L||Season: 2-1||Pt Diff: 58|
Right up until the third quarter in the game at Auburn, I thought my pick for the game would be (almost) prophetic. Leading 21-20 going into the third and with WVU's history of making defensive adjustments in the second half of games, I expected the defense to tighten things up and the offense to pour in another 1-2 TD's and a field goal to give us a 14-17 point victory. Which is what might have happened had it not been for the turnovers.
Look for the Mountaineers to bounce back this week against Colorado on Thursday night in what will turn out to be a seemingly close game, but will statistically be a lopsided win, as many back-ups have a change to get some valuable playing time. The magic is back in Morgantown for this night game as Jarrett Brown will have a solid game, but Devine will shine the brightest.
|Pick: West Virginia 42-24|
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: L||Season: 1-2||Pt Diff: 60|
|WVU can't take this one for granted, because Colorado does have some quality athletes. But the Buffs have a young, struggling offensive line and a defense which appears to lack speed. Being slow is a recipe for disaster against WVU's fleet-footed skill position players.|
|Pick: West Virginia 42-21|