Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers – Iowa State Cyclones

West Virginia receivers David Sills (left) and Gary Jennings (right) kneel prior to the game

Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers – Iowa State Cyclones

Picks Central can’t recall a tighter race this late in the season. Greg and Jonathan remain in a dead heat atop the standings, and there’s only a 19-point differential between first and seventh place. That could be bridged in as little as one week.

Jane took low miss honors last week, landing just eight points away from the final score of WVU – Kansas, while Greg and Jon were one point behind at nine. Picks have been so on target this year that Chris’ ten-point margin was good for only fourth place.

Greg Hunter

Last Week: W      Season Record: 5-0      Point Differential: 55

Just like last year, Iowa State has a very stingy defense. It allowed 20.9 points a game in 2017 and 20.0 through four games in 2018. But the Cyclone offense is averaging 11.5 points fewer this year than last (29.2 down to 17.5). Meanwhile WVU’s offense has added more than a TD on last year’s average (34.5 to 42.2), and its D has taken away nearly two (31.5 to 17.8). Iowa State simply can’t score enough to seriously worry WVU.

West Virginia 41-24

Jonathan Martin

Last Week: W      Season Record: 5-0      Point Differential: 55

After a lackluster performance against Kansas last weekend West Virginia faces a tough Iowa State team on the road. A true night game in Ames, could be just what the doctor ordered for the Mountaineers. The offense, and specifically Will Grier, has struggled of late
trying to be too perfect. Expect the Mountaineers to implement a strong run game and the defense to continue its production.

West Virginia 37-24

Jane Donovan

Last Week: W      Season Record: 5-0      Point Differential: 56

Keeping with the musical theme I started last week, my all-time favorite 1950s movie musical is “The Music Man.” I know, it’s impossibly corny in this hip hop-Hamilton era, but I still love Opie Taylor lisping his way through “Gary, Indiana.” Indiana reference aside, the story takes place in River City, Iowa. You knew this would circle around to Iowa eventually. My point, and I do have one, is that Iowa State almost always gives us Trouble, with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for pool. And, yes, Ames is a river city. The South Skunk River flows through the town. I’m not kidding.

So, Mountaineers, buckle up. Focus. Play four complete quarters, and there’ll be bells on a hill, and we will hear them ringing. If you don’t get any of my jokes, you probably don’t know that Ron Howard was a child star before he became a great director.

West Virginia 35-21

Chris Richardson

Last Week: W      Season Record: 5-0      Point Differential: 64

On paper this looks like a good matchup for WVU. The Mountaineers are first in scoring defense in the Big 12, while only Kansas State averages fewerpoints per game than the Cyclones. All of that goes out the window on the road, though, especially at night. Ames will be juiced up come kickoff time, and West Virginia will have to play better than it has for much of the past two weeks to come out with a win. The prediction here is that the Mountaineers get the job done. More importantly, if you’re heading to Ames, I recommend Jethro’s Steak N Chop. You won’t be disappointed!

West Virginia 41-24

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Jeff Cobb

Last Week: W      Season Record: 5-0      Point Differential: 69

I think teams are starting to figure out ways to slow the Mountaineer attack. Iowa State has surely watched film and will employ its own defensive strategy based on tendencies. Will WVU be able to self-scout and continue to evolve?

As far as West Virginia’s defense, Tony Gibson’s troops have historically done very well against freshman QBs. But will it be Purdy or the more experienced Kyle Kempt?

Either way, I think the Mountaineers will do just enough in front a raucous Cyclone fan base to squeak this one out.

West Virginia 37-34

Brian Jolliff

Last Week: W      Season Record: 5-0      Point Differential: 73

Another game in the record books and it was not a thing of beauty, but it was a win. Grier had a rough game last week, but don’t look for that trend to continue. Look for this game to be sharper and clean with the defense being the deciding factor as they face a very good, but young and untested dual-threat QB. If the defense can create pressure and confuse the true freshman, WVU will come away with a victory.

West Virginia 38-28

Bill Gleason

Last Week: W      Season Record: 5-0      Point Differential: 74

This game doesn’t look all that great right now. West Virginia is playing undisciplined and having a hard time playing the full 60 minutes. Meanwhile, Iowa State went into Stillwater and ran roughshod on the 25th-ranked OSU Cowboys in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score.

Fact is, the No. 6 team in the country should dominate this game in all three phases. So it’s time to stop farting around and start dominating these games. Otherwise, the so-called gauntlet in November will be meaningless.

West Virginia 45-27

Andy Easton

Last Week: W      Season Record: 4-1      Point Differential: 74

Iowa State enters the game against the Mountaineers with renewed confidence coming off a 48-42 victory at Oklahoma State. The Cyclones went to their third string quarterback in the first quarter and never looked back. Brock Purdy, a true freshman, was 18-23 for 318 yards and four TD’s against the Cowboys and was the team’s leading rusher with 84 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries.

WVU defensive coordinator Tony Gibson should have something up his sleeve for Purdy and the Cyclone offense but WVU will still have its hands full with an ISU team that has beaten the last two top 10 teams they’ve played.

Look for the Mountaineers to get out to an early lead only to see the lead nearly evaporate over the next three quarters. Sound familiar?

West Virginia 34-28