The Smoking Musket Pick Em Gauntlet is an online college pick 'em game where we will try to pick the winners of the weekly Big 12 contests plus Yahoo! editors' selected games (usually the games involving the top 25 teams). We do pick against the spread (when available). There are usually 20-30 games to pick each week and each correct pick is worth one point. The winner (excluding Musket staff) will be the person at the end of the regular season who has the most correct picks/points. Points are cumulative, so don't worry if you happen to miss a week or two. We will award the winner a WVU Nike T-shirt at the conclusion of the games in December.
All participants are subject to the Official Rules (PDF document link) as determined by SB Nation.
In the case of a tie at the end, the winner will be determined by who "won" the most weeks, head to head with the other folks tied. Coin flip will be used in case that method not resolving the issue..
Our game, as in the past, will be hosted by Yahoo! Fantasy. GAME LINK
Group Name: The Smoking Musket
Group ID: 8233
Group password: WestByGod
We have 23 games to pick this week, starting with games at 8 pm ET Friday. Deadline for each pick is 5 minutes before kickoff.
Here are the top performers (top 11 and ties) from week 5. Congratulations to JW err's 234 for winning week 6 (all you win for this is kudos).
Here are the overall standings after six weeks:
We will once again also be featuring staff predictions for the weekly WVU game (or game of interest on the off-weeks). Without further adieu (in order of staff ranking, number correct in parentheses):
For a team, program and fan base that built an identity around getting up for nights games - home and road - it's odd to be in a spot where nooners are preferred, but I think that's where we are now. The early start keeps the intensity down, and that's good for WVU. The Mountaineers hang around and hold Baylor to a lot of FGs, but are eventually worn down. It's a 47-27 loss that feels closer than the final score indicates. More importantly the Mountaineers survive and prepare for a trip to Ft. Worth to face a TCU team just begging for someone to catch them.
Mountaineer Chuck (66)
WVU gets back on track offensively, but visions of Waco, 2013 dance in our heads as Baylor scores early and often.
Desperate teams can accomplish major feats. WVU takes down Baylor is a shootout and the WVU defense does just enough for the Mountaineers to come away with a huge victory. Both offenses combine for over 1200 yards of offense.
John Radcliff (63)
My only real hope is that Dana will wake up 20 minutes before the game and deliver his best Bill Murray type Stripes speech and rub Kyle Rose's nose for good luck before sending the team out on the field. I have no knowledge of the magical properties of Kyle Rose's nose. I just know we need to try something different to avoid another slow start on offense. And if it works, I'm for it.
Baylor still hasn't faced a defense like ours, and our defense hasn't faced an offense like theirs. Which gives? I feel like our offense may give up some points and field position putting us in a hole. It's closer than most think, but Baylor prevails
Despite all the negative energy reverberating through our blog the last two weeks, I don't believe it has infected the team. Yes, we have lost the last two, but a real argument could be made that but for a few turnovers and penalites, they could just as easily have gone the other way. This may come as a shock, but West Virginia is still ranked 8th in the Football Outsiders S & P Overall Rankings, which rates teams on the five vital factors in football: efficiency, explosiveness, field position, finishing drives, and turnovers. Perhaps we should start a #FireDana trend, because #FireCharlieStrong seemed to work wonders for Texas last week. Regardless, I think our offense keeps pace with Baylor this week, while our Defense makes a couple of plays that make the difference.
Angry Art Briles is the worst version of Art Briles when it comes to visiting Waco. In the Tuesday press conference, Dana Holgorsen suggested to Baylor Bears not to remember past results because he knows the #2 team in the nation has been waiting for this one and practiced all week with moonshine and vinegar running through their veins. This won't be fun.
DE White (53)
The Mountaineers are wounded right now, and Baylor very well could be the best team in America. It's going to be a long afternoon in Waco.
While I've been largely critical of Skyler Howard and his ball security, he rides the momentum from the second half of last week's game and does just enough to beat a good Baylor team. The defense holds strong in key areas and isn't repeatedly put behind the 8 ball due to increased control over turnovers by the offense.
West Virginia is in a slump and the Bears, despite what their head coach says, are looking for revenge. Baylor is currently a 3 touchdown favorite over the Mountaineers. It may not get that out of hand, but it won't be a pretty game. Penalty flags will fly. Get out of Waco without any injuries and into the bye week to regroup, and I'll consider it a wash. I want to be proven wrong here though. PROVE ME WRONG! PLEASE!
West Virginia 28
Matt Kirchner (34)
Let's all keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.
A desperate WVU team with its back against the wall v. a Baylor team looking for revenge. Despite two difficult losses the Mountaineers are battle tested and Baylor is not (SMU, Lamar, Rice, Kansas, TTU). For the second year in a row WVU's defense carries the day and the Mountaineers knock off Baylor.
Like WVU in 2013 this team has RAW talent on the offensive side of the ball. Thad enough to beat teams like Liberty, and Maryland but in Big12 play that will land you at 6-6. The defense is spirited and experienced but with no pass rush options and Karl Joseph sidelined Seth Russell handles WVU. Oh and this is a revenge game...it won't be nice in Waco.
Patrick Southern (9)
Baylor is untested, but West Virginia doesn't appear to be in form to provide the Bears much of a test either. For the Mountaineers to even keep things interesting for a quarter, the offense will have to play at a level it has not yet reached this season.
And here's the prediction widget for you to make and track your own prediction: