Week 7 - West Virginia at Texas Tech

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Week 7 Fearless Predictions - West Virginia at Texas Tech

West Virginia (5-0) at Texas Tech (4-1) Oct. 13, 3:30, ABC

Here's The Deal: For those of you still anxiously waiting the sequel to the 1938 Sun Bowl – a 7-6 West Virginia win – you'll get your wish. For those who love defensive slugfests, please look elsewhere.

This won't be Baylor –West Virginia – Texas Tech can play a little bit of defense – but mix the nation's No. 7 passing game and the Heisman front-runner leading the nation's No. 2 passing attack and there should be a whole bunch of fun.

West Virginia has been a terrific new addition to the Big 12, beating Baylor in one of the wildest shootouts in college football history and following it up with a strong win over a great Texas team, and now comes another big test before a potential showdown against Kansas State. Geno Smith and the offense have been brilliant, running the ball against the Longhorns after bombing away on the Bears, but the defense has been lacking and the special teams have been shaky. If nothing else, the team has been wildly entertaining, but it's all good as long as it's winning.

Texas Tech has been solid in a bounceback season, at least so far, but the offense didn't do enough against Oklahoma and the defense couldn't hold up in a 41-20 loss. With four of the last six games on the road – and with Kansas State, Texas and Oklahoma State still to deal with – the Red Raiders need to come up with the home win and need to come through with the biggest win under Tommy Tuberville since the shocker over the Sooners last season.

Why West Virginia Might Win: Texas generated a pass rush on Smith, and the secondary got picked apart. Baylor hung back and tried to cover everyone, and the secondary got picked apart. Texas Tech's stats against the pass are solid, but without a consistent pass rush and without a top-shelf secondary, when the Mountaineers get the ball to their receivers and playmakers on the move, there will be problems. Yes, Texas Tech is No. 1 in the nation in pass defense, but last week against OU was the first time it faced anyone who could throw, and Landry Jones had few problems throwing for 259 yards and two scores. And why? The normally leaky Sooner offensive front didn't allow a sack. Smith should be able to do whatever he wants.

Why Texas Tech Might Win: Who better to match up punch for punch with what the West Virginia offense does than the Texas Tech attack that spreads everyone out and gets the passing attack moving? Like the Mountaineers, the Red Raiders have a little bit of a running game, too, with just enough balance to make the linebacking corps cheat up a bit. If quarterback Seth Doege can get a half-second to wait for his receivers to get into the second level, he should be able to pick, pick, pick his way down the field. The WVU secondary is getting ripped apart by everyone, and not just because teams have to throw to try to keep up the pace. Texas Tech will try to balance out the offense bit, but its bread will still be buttered with the passing attack that should flirt with the 400 yard mark.

What To Watch Out For: 5-9, 187-pound sophomore Andrew Buie showed that West Virginia was more than just Geno. The speedster's 82-yard, two score day against Baylor flew a bit under the radar because of all the other fireworks, but last week he took center stage, gashing the Texas D for 207 yards and two scores, while taking three passes 66 yards. He has been good enough to force Texas Tech to worry; anything taking away from concentrating on the passing game is a problem.

Doege has to cut down on his interceptions. The senior has thrown 14 picks in his last nine Big 12 games giving up three last week against the Sooners and two in the win over Iowa State. The Mountaineers don't pick off a slew of passes with just four on the year and one in each of the first four games. It's not like they need a bunch of easier chances, but they could get them if Doege is pressing and isn't making the right reads.

What Will Happen: While Texas Tech is far, far better than it was last year, and while it's more than good enough to pull off the win, West Virginia is playing too well. Smith won't get pressured enough to bog down, and the Texas Tech attack will make a few too many mistakes to keep up in the wild firefight.

CFN Prediction: West Virginia 45 … Texas Tech 34
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) West Virginia -3.5 O/U: 78
Must Watch Rating (5 – Argo, 1 – Pitch Perfect): 4