Week 14 - Kansas at West Virginia

Posted Nov 30, 2012

Week 14 Fearless Prediction - Kansas at West Virginia

Kansas (1-10) at West Virginia (6-5) Dec. 1, 2:30, FCS

Here's The Deal: November 8th, 1941. West Virginia hosted Kansas and came away with 21-0 victory. That was the only time the two Big 12 brothers have met, and neither one was particularly strong back that. This year, Kansas has cemented its spot at the bottom of the conference foot chain with ten straight losses, but there have been several close calls. 1-10 is still 1-10, and an 0-11 record against FBS teams would be a total disaster for the opening of the Charlie Weis era.

West Virginia finally broke a losing slide of its own, dropping five straight before getting by Iowa State 31-24 last week to become bowl eligible. While a win over Kansas wouldn't exactly make the season, the last thing the program needs is to be the team that allowed the Jayhawks to get a Big 12 win, and it certainly wouldn't be a plus to finish tied for second-to-last in the conference. However, with a win, there's a chance to fly up the bowl pecking order and with a 7-5 record tying Texas Tech and potentially both TCU and Oklahoma State. The high-octane offense continues to hum, and if nothing else, the tremendous statistical season will get a little more padding.

Why Kansas Might Win: Run, run and run some more. One of the only things KU has been able to do relatively well is run the ball with over 200 yards in each of the last four games with two scores in each. It's possible that KU can keep the high-powered West Virginia offense off the field by hanging on to the ball and keeping the chains moving. The stats on the Mountaineer run defense aren't bad, but that's because everyone has had it so easy bombing away with the passing game. The WVU secondary is ranked dead last in the nation in yards allowed, but …

Why West Virginia Might Win: Kansas has no passing game whatsoever. The emphasis has been on running the ball over the last month, but it hasn't helped that the Jayhawk offense didn't even hit the 100-yard mark in passing yards for three weeks in a row and threw for 189 yards in blowout mode last week against Iowa State. KU doesn't have the ability to take advantage of the soft Mountaineers thanks to the least efficient passing game in college football. There aren't any big plays down the field and there isn't enough pop to keep up the pace. To put the KU passing game into perspective, over the last five games it threw for 477 yards and three touchdowns. Geno Smith averages 327 yards and 3.4 touchdowns per game, and threw for 656 yards and eight touchdowns in his biggest performance of the season against Baylor.

What To Watch Out For: It has been a long, tough career for Dayne Crist, who started out as the main man for the Notre Dame offense before moving over to Kansas to follow Charlie Weis. Moved aside so the program could develop Michael Cummings, however, that hasn't exactly worked out so well. Cummings is a runner, and the team, in desperate need of passing help against Iowa State, turned back to Crist who completed just 9-of-20 passes for 156 yards and a score with a pick. Against the miserable West Virginia secondary, it might be too tempting to not turn Crist loose to see what he can do.

What Will Happen: West Virginia will close with a flurry. Kansas will run well, but the offense simply isn't there to keep up with the Mountaineers in their home finale. Smith won't go ballistic, but he'll have a nice day.

CFN Prediction: West Virginia 41 … Kansas 24
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) West Virginia -20 O/U: 71
Must Watch Rating (5 – Crossfire Hurricane, 1 – Comic Book Men: 2.5