Week 11 - West Virginia at Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle
Oklahoma State RB Joseph Randle
Posted Nov 8, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction – West Virginia at Oklahoma State


West Virginia (5-3) at Oklahoma State (5-3) Nov. 10, 3:30, ABC/ESPN2

Here's The Deal: Neither team is going anywhere in the Big 12 race, and now it's all about just trying to get one more win to become bowl eligible, but if all goes according to plan this could be one of the wildest and craziest games this season.

West Virginia's offense hasn't been able to roll after finally dealing with a few defenses that can actually play, but everything is there to blow up again with the passing attack still among the best in the country and the offense averaging 480 yards and 41 points per game. However, most of the big stats were put together over the first five games of the season before crashing with a resounding thud in blowouts against Texas Tech and Kansas State. Geno Smith's sure-thing Heisman and the Mountaineer run to the BCS championship are long gone, but there's still time to make this a strong first season in the Big 12 with a win this week and a big performance against Oklahoma to follow.

The Cowboys are rebuilding and reloading, and while they're technically still in the hunt for the Big 12 title chase, the goal at the moment is to keep improving and continue to jockey for bowl position. Last week's loss at Kansas State put an end to a three-game winning streak, and with Texas Tech and Oklahoma up next, getting a victory this week over the Mountaineers could be a must to avoid some nervous moments in the chase for a winning season.

This is the fourth time the two teams have met with Oklahoma State coming out ahead in a 35-33 shootout in the 1987 Sun Bowl. The other two meetings go way, way back with WVU winning 9-6 in 1929 and 32-6 in 1928.

Why West Virginia Might Win: Turnovers. It continues to be a big problem for Oklahoma State with 18 on the year and the flow not slowing down. It's the team's problem week after week with five – including four interceptions – a killer in the loss to Kansas State and at least two giveaways in every game but the win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Even with turnover issues of its own over the last few weeks, West Virginia has only given the ball away seven times. Four of the giveaways have come in the last two losses, but the defense has been able to pick up the slack with three takeaways against TCU. In a game that should be a back-and-forth shootout, any little mistake will be a big deal.

Why Oklahoma State Might Win: Is it possible the West Virginia offense just doesn't work anymore? Oh sure, it was able to put up mega-numbers against Baylor, and James Madison, and the awful Texas defense, but as soon as there was a little bit of pressure into the backfield, and as soon as the deep ball was taken away, Smith didn't have many places to go with the ball. All of a sudden, the passing game was mediocre, the running game didn't work, and the losses started to come. Oklahoma State's defense has been terrific so far allowing just three touchdown passes in the last four weeks and holding up relatively well against Kansas State's running game – the Cowboys have yet to give up 200 yards on the ground. The OSU D just might be better than the Mountaineer O.

What To Watch Out For: Has any player fallen off the Heisman bandwagon harder or faster than Geno Smith? He hasn't been awful by normal standards, but after playing so well over the first half of the season, 278 yards and a touchdown doesn't get the juices flowing. 260 yards and three touchdown passes doesn't get people talking. Smith still might be the first quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL draft, and he's still haven't a whale of a season with 29 touchdown passes and just three picks. However, those three interceptions came in the last two games and the team isn't winning. He has five games left in his college football career, and there's still time to finish with a flourish. But if he's NFL-franchise material, and if he's going to end his career on a high note, he has to be good enough to carry his team to wins and it has to start this week.

What Will Happen: It's not going to happen this week. Oklahoma State might be too mistake prone, and the defense is going to be lit up by a resurgent day from Smith, but the balance of the Cowboy attack will be too much for the miserable West Virginia defense.

CFN Prediction: Oklahoma State 48 … West Virginia 38
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Oklahoma State -7.5 O/U: 79
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 3.5