Fearless Picks: WVU – Utah
Andy has sewn up this year’s title, as the scores he and Chris picked aren’t different enough to help Chris make up the point gap. Matt’s pick of Utah also puts him out of the running (a WVU pick would have given him a shot, but credit due for going with his head and not his heart.
There’s still a couple of surprise picks in the bunch to see, and some other standings battles to settle as the Mountaineers play their final game of the 2017 season.
Last Week: W Season Record: 11-1 Point Differential: 186
I hope everyone has a great Christmas because the day after won’t be a good one for the Mountaineers. Utah’s defense is better than the Blue and Gold’s and Will Grier will be without his helmet. WVU fans witnessed how good WVU is without him at the helm against Texas and Oklahoma. Utah is 13-1 in bowl games since 1999. WVU is 7-7 during the same time frame.
Last Week: W Season Record: 11-1 Point Differential: 220
WVU-Utah in the postseason. Just like the 1998 Sweet 16 vs. Rick Majerus and the Runnin’ Utes. While not as much is on the line this time, it’s still an opportunity to finish the season on a high note. Unfortunately for West Virginia, it will be a bit undermanned in this one. No Grier, no Crawford. The Mountaineers will fight hard, but it won’t be enough. Don’t get too down, Mountaineer fans. With all the talent returning next season, 2018 could be one to remember.
Last Week: W Season Record: 10-2 Point Differential: 176
Neither team carries much momentum into the postseason after Utah needed a win in the regular season finale’ to become bowl eligible, while West Virginia dropped its final pair of games after the injury to Will Grier. Unlike the Mountaineers, however, a Utes defense that anchored the team is getting healthy. That, combined with the loss of Grier and running back Justin Crawford, is enough to tip the scales in favor of the Pac 12 participant. WVU looks to a promising 2018, but not before a trio of losses to close this year.
Last Week: W Season Record: 10-2 Point Differential: 184
West Virginia enters the Heart of Dallas Bowl without its starting quarterback and running back. Typically, that would be a recipe for disaster. However, the Mountaineers are deep in the backfield and are likely to rely heavily on the run game. A combination of that plus a bend don’t break defense and things could even out.
West Virginia 27-24
Last Week: W Season Record: 9-3 Point Differential: 191
If Will Grier were healthy, this prediction would be different. But without him, WVU is a seven-point underdog. Utah is a good but not great team that has lost a bunch of close decisios. But how good is WVU without Grier? In the last 34 years, WVU is 8-3 in bowl games when scoring 30+ points and 0-13 whe scoring fewer than 30. Can WVU score more than 30 without Grier? Tat’s probably tough.
Last Week: W Season Record: 9-3 Point Differential: 225
My one wish for this day after Christmas is that the Mountaineers are able to get through this bowl game without any significant or lingering injuries. With the announced return of Will Grier and David Sills, as a fan you hope that good news is not marred. I don’t have many good feelings about this game, especially with Grier unavailable and Justin Crawford sitting out. The Mountaineers will keep the game somewhat close, but Utah’s trip home will be more joyous this year.
Last Week: W Season Record: 8-4 Point Differential: 229
Anytime you try to predict a bowl game score, what you are really trying to do is predict which team is more motivated to play. Will your team go through the motions? Or play with fire and passion? The best games are the ones where both are more of the latter. Utah and West Virginia are in the same boat this year. Similar records. Lost the “big games” on their schedule. West Virginia, of course, is without Will Grier. Do the Mountaineer coaches crank up Chris Chugonov? Or do they draw up more plays for Kennedy McKoy in the Wildcat formation? I think you’ll see variations of play calling and building off of the Oklahoma game plan. Defensively, WVU got chewed up and spit out by the Oklahoma juggernaut. But the Sooners do have the best offensive attack in the nation so fans are hoping they fare better against Utah.
West Virginia 31-27