Fearless Picks: WVU – Kansas
With a miss of just three points, Jon jumped up the standings to take the lead of the one-loss pack. Hitting that mark will again be vital this week in the tightly-bunched points differential column, as we again have a unanimous opinion on the outcome of the Mountaineer – Jayhawk Big 12 opener.
Last Week: W Season Record: 3-0 Point Differential: 32
The WVU offense looked solid last week against Delaware State but the defense, special teams and overall team discipline continue to be question marks. There’s just no excuse for allowing the Hornets to put up 16 points. There were some quotes after the game alluding to the fact that the players weren’t focused for a team like DSU, which explained the dropped balls and missed assignments. Is the same unfocused play to be expected in Lawrence, Kansas on Saturday? Kansas is 3-24 since the beginning of 2015 and has won only three conference games since WVU joined the Big 12 (one of those came against WVU in 2013). Look for Will Grier and the offense continue to roll against a struggling Jayhawk defense while Washington State transfer QB Peyton Bender throws for 350+ yards and three TD’s against the Mountaineer defense.
West Virginia 48-21
Last Week: W Season Record: 3-0 Point Differential: 48
While it’s still not clear just how good West Virginia is, it has become increasingly clear in recent weeks that Kansas is not good. Living a little more than an hour from Lawrence, I heard a steady stream of optimism all summer about KU football. However with an 0-2 record in the MAC, with both losses by double digits, it appears that tales of Kansas football’s improvement were greatly exaggerated.
West Virginia 41-21
Last Week: W Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 31
West Virginia travels to Lawrence to open up Big 12 conference play in what should be a win. The Jayhawks are not a good football team. Expect the Mountaineer offense to explode both on the ground and through the air. This one won’t be close.
West Virginia 52-24
Last Week: W Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 37
Yeah, Kansas has thrown for a lot of yards. And they have a transfer QB tutored by among the best pure passing minds in the game in Washington State’s Mike Leach. But a lot of that is that KU has – as usual – been behind in games. The Jayhawks rank ninth in the Big 12 in scoring offense, 10th in rushing offense and just eighth in total offense. The defense is the league’s worst in controlling the pass, not a good recipe against Will Grier. WVU rolls sans a slow start in the 80-plus degree sunshine in Lawrence.
West Virginia 45-20
Last Week: W Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 39
The Jayhawks have shown slight improvement on the football field the past couple of seasons in comparison to where they were, but they still have a long ways to go to rate as even competitive. West Virginia has shown nice signs this season, especially offensively. It’s hard to imagine the Mountaineers will stumble in Lawrence
West Virginia 45-20
Last Week: W Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 41
West Virginia begins the conference campaign with a Kansas team that had high hopes entering the season, but is already sputtering before September draws to a close with two bad losses to MAC teams. Offensively, Kansas seems to have improved, averaging 32 points per game through the first three contest. But it’s defensively that they have stood still, or perhaps regressed. Central Michigan and Ohio University combined to score 87 on the Jayhawks the past two weeks. I would look for more of the same against WVU, who will look to come out sharper and more disciplined after a sloppy opening quarter last week against FCS opponent Delaware State. David Sills and Gary Jennings will be out to prove that last week was an aberration and not a trend. And Kennedy McKoy will resume his customary backup role with something to prove as well after sitting out last week due to a team violation.
West Virginia 41-18
Last Week: W Season Record: 2-1 Point Differential: 58
As I watched the game against Delaware State last weekend, I kept thinking to myself, is this a defensive team playing down to its competition or do we legitimately have concerns. After cooling down a bit, I believe that there was a little of both in play, but overall, I just came away with the impression that it was a sloppy game. A half dozen dropped passes, two that were certain TDs, mishandling of the ball, missed defensive assignments… even the PA announcer got into the mix and had to blurt out three or four corrections during the game. Not to be outdone, the officiating crew chipped in on several occasions with corrections to calls. This week, we have our first true road game against Kansas and let’s just be honest here: Kansas is not very good. The question becomes, does WVU play down to the level of competition, play unfocused and undisciplined again, or does it tighten up and put forth the effort against the Jayhawks? I’m betting on the Mountaineers putting together a solid game behind a strong offensive effort and gaining its third “W”.
West Virginia 56-21