College Football Pick
No one is really talking about it, but West Virginia is a sneaky play to win the Big 12 right now. The Mountaineers are undefeated and host the other two undefeated teams in the conference, Oklahoma and Baylor. That said, there is still a long way to go as they are a -5.5 point favorite against TCU this weekend.
The Mountaineers are playing their best football of the season, winning last week at Texas Tech 48-17. It was quite the performance after escaping against Kansas State in the previous Game by one point. But after holding down a top Red Raiders offense, it may be time to think WVU is for real.
On the other end, TCU is not for real. The Horned Frogs have struggled through the season and don’t have a good win yet with their two losses coming against Arkansas and Oklahoma. Most troubling had to be the 24-23 result at Kansas a couple weeks ago in which the Frogs needed 10 points late to get the win. But with the week off, maybe TCU has regrouped.
The main problem for the Horned Frogs has easily been the defense, which continues to give up points against almost every opponent and against good offenses, gives up 40-plus. West Virginia maybe doesn’t have an elite offense, but as seen last week, can put points on the board.
However, that wasn’t the case when these teams played last season. In that Game, TCU actually had a defense as they held Skyler Howard to just 16-of-39 passing for 160 yards and contained the Mountaineers ground attack just enough. The difference for TCU was that Trevone Boykin was still on the team and he led the way with Four touchdowns in a 40-10 win.
Howard has been noticeably better passing the ball this season, although that doesn’t completely show in the numbers with 8 TDs and 4 INTs. But more importantly, his completion percentage is up almost 12 percent from a year ago at 66.1% and he’s at nearly nine yards per attempt. Combine that with a solid duo in the backfield of Justin Crawford (373 yards, 3 TDs) and Rushel Shell (348 yards, 5 TDs) and they’ve gotten by in every Game.
Right now, there’s no reason to believe TCU can stop this offense. But on the other end, after WVU held Texas Tech to 17 points, there’s every reason to think that the Mountaineers can stop TCU.
Kenny Hill has been electric at times for the Horned Frogs, but his up-and-down nature has affected how successful this offense can be. None more noticeable was when he threw three interceptions in the win at Kansas. Hill and running back Kyle Hicks have helped the Frogs to 40 points per Game, but on the road again against maybe the best defense in the conference, Hill has a big task on his hands.
This line is only a few points, but if West Virginia can put the same type of showing as seen last weekend against the Red Raiders, another cover is easily attainable. And if that happens, the Mountaineers may jump inside the top 10 in the polls and be a legitimate threat to win the Big 12.
Our Pick – West Virginia -6