PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'
Chris maintains his lead, but Greg is poised to take over the season long race if he stumbles. Matt's point differential puts him in the hole in third, so he needs a loss from Greg as well to make a challenge for the top spot. Andy takes last week's top honors with a ten-point overall miss.
Brian and Jane, we love your loyalty, but not much else about your selections. The heart is a tough thing to work against, but picks for WVU in the current environment are leading to more losses.
|Chris Richardson||Last Week: W||Season: 7-2||Pt Diff: 256|
In a perfect world, the Mountaineers are going to reach back in time, retrieve their early-season offensive magic, and pull a rabbit out of their hat with a win over a very good Oklahoma team. As we all know, however, this is anything but a perfect world.
Not much to say about this one. Oklahoma is better on all three sides of the ball. The streak slides to five.
|Pick: Oklahoma 45-31|
|Greg Hunter||Last Week: W||Season: 6-3||Pt Diff: 249|
|Oklahoma is as good advertised – excellent in all three play phases. The Sooners' only two losses this year came against top 4 teams. Not coincidently, OU also lost the turnover battle in both those games. West Virginia's best hope is to also win the turnover battle decisively, but that will be tough for a WVU defense that hasn't been creating a ton of turnovers.|
|Pick: Oklahoma 39-35|
|Matt Keller||Last Week: W||Season: 6-3||Pt Diff: 309|
|Oklahoma is too much of everything. Too much depth, talent, ability to execute, ability to close wins as needed. This Sooners team should be the Big 12 representative in the BCS if Kansas State makes the national title game. West Virginia is facing its second-toughest test of the year, and with the recent level of play, it would appear another loss is in the making. The Sooners flip the score this time.|
|Pick: Oklahoma 48-28|
|Patrick Southern||Last Week:W||Season: 5-4||Pt Diff: 241|
|In what may be the most eye-popping stat of the season I've seen thus far, Oklahoma's defense has allowed only three passing touchdowns thus far this year. That's how good the Sooners are at corner and safety. With West Virginia's running game struggling to generate much of any production, that's a recipe for another Mountaineer loss.|
|Pick: Oklahoma 52-31|
|Andy Easton||Last Week: W||Season: 5-4||Pt Diff: 252|
With a four game losing streak, WVU's first since the 2001 season, tensions are running high in Mountaineer Nation. Fans are calling for players to quit and for coaches to be fired. Attendance figures are dropping and rumors abound of poor student attendance for the final two home games. I've always heard and thought that WVU had the best fan base in the country, but it just isn't so. At the slightest hint of adversity some Mountaineer faithful start jumping ship. With a 60,000 seat stadium and Big 12 foes invading Morgantown there should never be an empty seat in the house, but there are. What do we expect as fans? To win every game? A double digit win total every year? What teams are able to accomplish that? None. All major teams have a down season or two now and then, but one thing remains constant with the big time programs: their fans keep coming to games. In 1999 the South Carolina Gamecocks went 0-11 and averaged around 79,000 fans per game. In fact, their attendance increased from the season before. In 2010 the Texas Longhorns went 5-7, far below par, but still ranked fifth in attendance in the nation, averaging over 100k per game. That is a big time fanbase! We lose to three highly ranked teams and a solid TCU team and we jump ship.
Remember the sign held high at the Fiesta Bowl after Coach Rodriguez left WVU? "We Will Never Leave You" it read. How soon we forget. We are Mountaineers, it's time to pull together behind this team, coach and program.
Now, on to the game. I look for WVU to play better this weekend considering the time of the game and name of the opponent but I'm afraid the result will be the same as the last four.
|Pick: Oklahoma 41-28|
|Tony Dobies||Last Week: W||Season: 5-4||Pt Diff: 260|
The slide continues, as West Virginia just keeps coming up against superior teams. While it may be able to have success early on in the game, just like last weekend, the Mountaineers will struggle in the second half and allow their opponent to run away with a victory.
WVU will have to find a way to put it all together for the first time in more than a month. If it wasn't the defense that was the issue, it was special teams or the offense. The way this season has gone, however, I don't see it happening. The likely smallest crowd since 1981 to see a top 13 team face the Mountaineers in Milan Puskar Stadium is going to be disappointed.
|Bill Gleason||Last Week: W||Season: 5-4||Pt Diff: 274|
Perhaps it is now time to put an end to the ridiculous "Touchdown City" moniker that was created by a Morgantown media outlet, even though it sure seems apropos for Mountaineer opponents this year.
Win this game and there's a chance to seize enough momentum to at least feel good about this team's first foray into the Big 12. Lose, and you better hope your skin is tougher than the defense.
|Pick: Oklahoma 65-38|
|Brian Jolliff||Last Week: L||Season: 5-4||Pt Diff: 293|
|I don't like picking against my Mountaineers, but realistically, they have not earned much confidence over the last four games to support that line of thought. Simply put, this game comes down to a "Tale of Two Seasons". Do we get the first five games Mountaineers or the last four games Mountaineers? My brain says one thing and my heart says another. To break that impasse, I will go with the irrational and base it off of the prior score from the Fiesta Bowl.|
|Pick: West Virginia 48-28|
|Jane Donovan||Last Week: L||Season: 5-4||Pt Diff: 313|
It has been a tumultous week for the Mountaineers. Have the departures -- and the arrival of everybody's favorite defensive end, Bruce Irvin as honorary game captain -- been enough to kick the team into gear?
I predict cold temperatures, a full day of tailgating to, um, warm up the crowd, and some weird bounces of the football.
Leave no doubt. About anything.
|Pick: West Virginia 42-38|