Fearless Picks: West Virginia Mountaineers – Kansas Jayhawks
With his pick of West Virginia last week, Greg vaults into the lead while maintaining his unblemished record on the season. He also took the lead in points differential, as his miss of 16, while not a record-breaker, pushed him past the rest of the panel, whose misses were mostly in the high 20s and 30s.
This week, points will matter again, as the group sees a Mountaineer win — although one that will be close.
Last Week: W Season Record: 3-0 Point Differential: 49
West Virginia obviously has deficiencies, but Kansas has even more. The Jayhawks do have this game’s best player in Pooka Williams, and WVU can’t let him run wild. KU’s only win over the Mountaineers came in 2013 when the Jayhawks rushed for 315 yards. Provided WVU doesn’t let Kansas/Williams duplicate that feat, this is a win the Mountaineers should manage to obtain.
West Virginia 31-24
Last Week: L Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 54
What a difference a week makes. Before last Saturday both West Virginia and Kansas were written off as the Big 12 bottom feeders before pulling off a pair of resounding victories against ACC teams.
Now we get to see if either team can maintain that momentum and high level of play entering week four. I don’t expect the Mountaineers to play quite as well as last Saturday, but I do think they do have a significant talent edge over the Jayhawks at some key positions. If West Virginia can avoid debilitating mistakes and contain Pooka Williams it comes out with a close W in Lawrence.
West Virginia 28-23
Last Week: L Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 62
I’m worried about Kansas. West Virginia’s defense is still having problems stopping the run game. Kahlil Herbert ran all over WVU two years agoand he is back. Pooka Williams is a beast. Jayhawk QB Carter Stanley seems to be doing a solid job distributing the ball to a surprisingly effective group of no-name receivers. KU also seems to be playing decent (not outstanding) defense. So the question becomes: Can WVU outscore them? Still not totally sold that the Mountaineers have fixed the glaring deficiencies we saw at Missouri, but they have definitely taken steps to at least disguise or mitigate them. I’m thinking it will be just enough to get past the rejuvenated Jayhawks.
West Virginia 37-31
Last Week: L Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 70
If you’ve ever watched a Kansas basketball game on TV, you’re probably familiar with the “Rock Chalk Jayhawk!” chant. The origins of the chant can be traced back to a KU professor in the 1860’s, who supposedly came up with it while on a train back to Lawrence while trying to pass the time. His version was “Rah, rah Jayhawk, KU” with the Rah Rah later changed to “Rock Chalk” by students as a tribute to the limestone that constructs Mount Oread, on which the KU campus rests to this day in Lawrence.
Officially adopted by the school as its chant in 1897, it was also a familiar rallying cry for Kansas troops in the Philippines shortly after, the Boxer Rebellion in China, and later World War II. In fact, former President Teddy Roosevelt supposedly referred to the chant as the greatest college chant he’s ever heard.
Here’s hoping it’s not heard often on Saturday evening in Lawrence.
West Virginia 34-28
Last Week: W Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 71
This time last week, who had both of these teams coming off of wins? I doubt many did. West Virginia’s resurgence was very encouraging, and its offense will be deeper with players returning from injury, illness, and suspension, so I give the Mountaineers the slight edge. Both of these coaches will have these programs in a better position sooner rather than later.
West Virginia 28-24
Last Week: L Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 77
Les Miles had the Jayhawks firing on all cylinders last week against Boston College while the Mountaineers seemed to find their grove against the Wolfpack of N.C. State. Kansas has a strong running game but WVU has more talent and better coaching.
West Virginia 27-21
Last Week: L Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 87
Signs of life in the Puskar Center this week as Coach Brown put his stamp on the program with what started as a wholesale tryout for the young guys and turned into the type of game that West Virginia fans have grown to love. There are still plenty of holes for this team to fill, but there is obviously talent and a coaching staff that’s willing to make changes to get things going.
Problem is, this week’s opponent just pasted Boston College on the road and is coming home licking its chops to face a West Virginia team that has only shown solid play in one of three games this year. And this WVU rush defense has to make the Jayhawks’ eyes light up.
This will be a much tougher game than people think. Les Miles is no joke. But I’ll take the good guys coming off a nice home win looking to build a trend.
West Virginia 45-31
Last Week: L Season Record: 1-2 Point Differential: 97
Competition for starting slots! Team discipline! Half-time adjustments! Ooooh. Looks like the Mountaineers have themselves a coach. A real, honest-to-goodness coach. This is the same coach who spent the summer ingratiating himself with the Mountaineer Faithful. Be still my heart.
Kansas might not be the pushover we have come to appreciate, although I still think Les Miles is a weird hire.
West Virginia 30-27