Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers – Kansas Jayhawks

West Virginia wide receiver Sam James (13) speeds past Kansas' Kyle Mayberry (8) for a touchdown

It was a stellar day for our panel as Horns Down ruled in Milan Puskar Stadium. Five panelists were within 11 points of the final score, with Jane’s six-point miss taking weekly honors.

The season race remains tight, with Jeff, Bill and Chris all capable of taking the lead with a close-to-the-score prediction, while Jane needs to find a win that the four at the top don’t in order to move into the overall standings battle.

This week, though, it’s all about the score picks, as everyone sees the Mountaineers getting the bowl-eligibility win they need on their trip to Lawrence.

West Virginia (5-6 / 3-5) vs. Kansas (2-9 / 1-8) Sat Nov. 27 7:00 PM ET
Memorial Stadium Lawrence, KS TV: FS1
Rank: WVU: NR KU: NR Series: WVU 9-1 Last Game: WVU 38-17
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Jeff Cobb

Last Game: W     Season Record: 6-5     Point Differential: 189

This would seem like an obvious choice. WVU needs to win to become bowl eligible, and the opponent is Kansas, the Big 12’s perennial doormat. But these are not your father’s Jayhawks. They have shown some life and some spunk, so I expect them to put up a fight in Lawrence. West Virginia is very thin defensively, so how that unit hold up against an improved Kansas offense will be something to watch in this game. All that being said, I still expect the Mountaineers to take care of business, finish at 6-6, and qualify for a low level bowl. That’s not an improvement over last year, but status quo is better than a step back.

West Virginia 34-21

Bill Gleason

Last Game: W     Season Record: 6-5     Point Differential: 197

Only four FBS teams have a worse defense than Kansas. KU is 117th in sacks and 129th of 130 in tackles for loss. The Jayhawks are also 122nd in red zone defense and worst in the country in third down stops.

None of that matters if WVU doesn’t play with energy. Kansas isn’t good but it’s not a pushover and won’t quit.
Injuries have taken their toll on the Mountaineers, especially on defense. Even against a team 118th in scoring offense, WVU must take control or risk a dogfight.

West Virginia 37-20

Chris Richardson

Last Game: W     Season Record: 6-5     Point Differential: 198

West Virginia heads to the Sunflower State with a bowl game opportunity on the line. Make no mistake – this is a postseason type of game for the Mountaineers. If West Virginia can effectively run the football and keep Kansas from doing the same, they’ll be in a good position to pick up the road win and go bowling. KU is improving, but I see this one ending up in WVU’s favor.

West Virginia 24-17

Brian McCracken

Last Game: W     Season Record: 6-5     Point Differential: 241

Kansas has shown some improvement with an overtime win over Texas and near upset of TCU, but WVU should go into Lawrence and put up enough points on a bad Jayhawk defense to take care of business and secure bowl eligibility.

West Virginia 34-28

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Jane Donovan

Last Game: W     Season Record: 5-6     Point Differential: 176

Happy belated Thanksgiving, Mountaineer Nation. I hope you spent some time thinking about all the things you were thankful for last weekend: football beating Texas, women’s basketball, Ceili McCabe finishing third at the national championships, beating Texas, the men’s basketball win over Clemson, Bob Huggins’s hilarious post-game TV interview after the Clemson game, and, of course, beating Texas in what I suspect will be their last trip to Mountaineer Field.

If I ever had any insight into what to expect from this Mountaineer team, I lost it long ago. I do suspect, however, that Kansas will be more trouble than we’d like. Did I mention that we beat Texas last week?

West Virginia 28-24

Chad Everson

Last Game: W     Season Record: 4-7     Point Differential: 273

Well, it has been a weird season, and here the Mountaineers sit on the edge of bowl eligibility. The offensive line seems to be coming together, and Jarret Doege is a different quarterback if he isn’t feeling constant pressure. We all know this season has lacked consistency, so we’ll see if Doege can continue what he did last week.

On the other side, this isn’t your typical Kansas team. QB Jalon Daniels and crew are playing well. To top it off, this is their last game of the season. The Jayhawks are at home, under the lights, with nothing to lose. West Virginia will surely get their best punch, but I don’t think it will be quite enough. Leddie Brown leads the Mountaineers to a 2021 bowl game.

West Virginia 37-24

Greg Hunter

Last Game: L     Season Record: 3-8     Point Differential: 203

In first-year coach Lance Leipold, Kansas appears to have someone who can turn the hapless ‘Hawks around. A strong performance against Oklahoma and a stunning win at Texas opened many eyes, and certainly no one, including WVU, can just take a win over the Jayhawks for granted anymore. Still, KU has had some clunkers in ‘21 (55-3 L to OSU, 35-10 L to KSU and 59-7 L to ISU). Kansas is definitely improved from the past, but still WVU is better.

West Virginia 28-24