West Texas Delusions
By Michael Miller
I’m not quite sure how this happened, but this game has turned into one of the most important games of the season in the span of about two weeks. Chalk it up to not being able to play N.C. State due to Hurricane Florence or Kansas State suddenly becoming complete ass, but here we are. Five weeks in and the West Virginia Mountaineers are about to square off with their first true test of the season - a test that will give us a lot of answers about just how good this team actually is.
Speaking of thinking your team is good, Texas Tech fans suddenly believe they will win the Big 12 championship if they make it through the Mountaineers on Saturday. Now, call me crazy, but that seems like Tech fans are putting a lot of stock into a true freshman quarterback that has three top 20 teams and an enigmatic TCU Horned Frogs team still ahead of him. This seems like a recipe for heartbreak in Lubbock as the season advances.
We’re talking about the same team that went 3-6 in a lackluster Big 12 in 2016 with the quarterback that is currently lighting the NFL on fire. If you couldn’t do it with Patrick Mahomes, you’re not doing it with a true freshman that has never faced the level competition he’s about to go up against. I don’t care how much your defense has allegedly improved.
Now, back to this game on Saturday, we’re going to go ahead and do Texas Tech fans a favor and help them temper those expectations a bit. The Red Raiders are reportedly without TJ Vasher this week, their one weapon that has proven he can do damage to a West Virginia defense. It’s a real shame because Texas Tech’s only hope was for this to turn into a shootout, and it’s hard to go into a duel when your pistol is missing the firing pin.
West Virginia toys around with the Red Raiders for about 15 minutes or so before putting them out of their misery.
West Virginia: 42
Texas Tech: 17
Cast of Characters
One of two Last Chance U stars playing in this game on Saturday. Rose has been very quiet on the defensive line through West Virginia’s first three games this season, only accounting for 2 solo tackles - one of which was a tackle for loss. This game is Rose’s chance to shine by getting after true freshman quarterback Alan Bowman early and often.
We saw last week that Marcus Simms is really, really fast, and can burn you at any given moment. Texas Tech’s defense got burned on a couple 20+ yard passes against Ole Miss, so expect more of the same in Lubbock tomorrow.
Alan Bowman just started shaving last week and only needs to buy a razor once a year. He also hasn’t had to face off against any defense that does anything similar to that of Tony Gibson’s. The 3-3-5 has a history of chewing up freshman quarterbacks, and Bowman may just become its next victim.
The former Last Chance U star will be all smiles as when he meets former teammate Ezekiel Rose before the game. That smile will quickly fade when Will Grier and West Virginia’s offense starts firing on all cylinders.
Elsewhere in the Big 12
#18 Texas Longhorns @ Kansas State Wildcats
TEXAS BACK, Y’ALL.
Unfortunately, the Longhorns have to travel to the Little Apple this weekend, where they will most assuredly lose to a very bad Kansas State team.
For those unaware, the Ron Prince amendment to the Big 12 bylaws dictates that a decent to possibly great Longhorns team must lose to the Wildcats. Texas has not defeated Kansas State in Manhattan since October 2002.
To make things worse for the Longhorns, Bill Snyder just benched Skylar Thompson for Alex Delton, a run-only quarterback.
I’m sorry Texas, but you know the rules.
What to Wear
Presented by 1863 Dry Goods Co
By The Smoking Musket Staff
Every week, the Smoking Musket staff will test out our sure to be less-than-stellar gambling skills, as we make picks in four categories: straight-up, against the spread, over/under, and a special prop bet to be determined each week.
We will each start with $500 in Musket Money™, and each bet will be worth $100.
Best Case/Worst Case
A repeat of 2016 when the Mountaineers absolutely waltzed into Lubbock and walked out with a 48-17 whoopin’ on the Red Raiders. Grier gets hot early and puts pressure on Bowman to match him which results in the Kenny Bigelow/Jabril Robinson show on defense.
Grier, who is a gunslinger, gets caught off guard in Lubbock and throws some early picks. Those give TTU a lead and force WVU to play catchup all game. TTU has a ball-control offense now and is able to sit on the lead and play keep away leading to WVU making mistakes and leaving with their first loss.