Week 13 – West Virginia at Iowa State

Posted Nov 22, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction – West Virginia at Iowa State

West Virginia (5-5) at Iowa State (6-5) Nov. 23, 3:30, ABC

Here's The Deal: It's the first meeting between the two programs, and while the matchup might not seem that intriguing, the game itself should be entertaining - West Virginia games are always entertaining.

The Mountaineers might have lost last week, and they might be on a five-game losing streak, but they appeared to get their mojo back, hanging up 49 points against an Oklahoma defense that gave up three touchdown passes all season. The team is what it is – no D, great O, lots of fun. However, for all the craziness and all the big numbers, it would be nice to get the sixth win now to become bowl eligible so the pressure isn't on to beat Kansas next week.

Iowa State was able to do its part against Kansas with a 51-23 blowout to get to six wins and bowl eligibility, and now it's gravy time. Getting a 13th game isn't in question, but 7-5 is far more attractive in the bowl picture than 6-6, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to come up with another decent win to close strong.

Why West Virginia Might Win: Even Kansas, who isn't throwing the ball on anyone, was able to put up 189 yards and a score. Before that, the Cyclone secondary gave up 387 yards to Texas, and it would've been 400 if the Longhorn offense wasn't so busy running the ball at will. Before that, Oklahoma State, Baylor and Oklahoma all put up 400 yards through the air. This just in – West Virginia likes to throw the ball a bit. On the other side of the ball, Iowa State's passing game might not be strong enough to keep pace or take advantage of the miserable Mountaineer secondary. However …

Why Iowa State Might Win: There have been moments. Steele Jantz bombed away for 381 yards and five scores against Baylor, and Sam Richardson stepped in for an injury Jantz last week to complete 23-of-27 passes for 250 yards and four scores against the Jayhawks. Either one should be able to bomb away on a secondary that's not even coming close to slowing anyone down, so while ISU might not be West Virginia throwing the ball, but it'll look like it this week. Also, while the punting game and field position might not matter too much, Iowa State has a huge advantage. West Virginia is getting a good surge out of Tyler Bitancurt, but the ISU punting game is stronger.

What To Watch Out For: West Virginia is getting one of the greatest seasons ever out of a pair of receivers. Tavon Austin has 100 grabs on the year for 1,050 yards and 11 scores, but last week it was his running ability that caught the world by surprise. He's used to getting a few carries here and there, but after running just 14 times on the season, he got the ball 21 times for 344 yards and two scores against the Sooners. Meanwhile, Stedman Bailey is the hottest receiver in the country with 27 catches for 430 yards and five scores – four coming against OU – to get up to 88 catches on the season with 20 touchdowns.

What Will Happen: Iowa State always takes its game to another level on the home season finale, but West Virginia will finally get over the bowl hump with Smith throwing for 450 yards and Austin and Bailey each dominant. The Cyclones will put up big numbers, but they're not going to be able to keep up the pace.

CFN Prediction: West Virginia 41 … Iowa State 34
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) West Virginia -1 O/U: 68.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 3