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STAFF PICKS: West Virginia vs. Iowa State

We couldn’t round out our pre-game content without giving you our staff predictions.

Poker Table Shoot Photo by Jesse Wild/Digital Camera Magazine/Future via Getty Images

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.

Note: I am very bad at betting.

In addition to the degenerate gambling, we’ll be giving our straight up, detailed predictions as to how we think that week’s game will go. So, without further ado...

Nick Shoemaker

I think this will be another tough game for West Virginia. I doubt the Mountaineers will face the same turnover issues this week against Iowa State, but I could see the running game continuing to struggle. I think this game will be close until the fourth quarter, but excessive time on the field will wear down the WVU defense, allowing Iowa State to pull away at the end.

Iowa State 34 - West Virginia 24

Jordan Pinto

Iowa State will remind us of Texas both aesthetically and strategically. Purdy does all of the same things that Ehlinger does, and they’ll also try to attack us down the field in the passing game. I think if we’re able to mitigate those types of plays and get off the field on 3rd downs, we’ll be right there with a chance to win it in the 2nd half again this week.

West Virginia 34 - Iowa State 30

Matt Kirchner

You know what? I’m going to go ahead and call my shot. West Virginia’s path to a bowl is Kansas State, TCU, and one of the remaining home games. I’ll say that WVU gets it on Saturday? Do I have rationale for this? No.

West Virginia 27 - Iowa State 20


WVU needs at least one upset to make a bowl game this year, so why not pick that up this weekend in the Riot Bowl at home? The Mountaineers have vastly improved on offense the past three games; even though Kendall threw four INTs against Texas, WVU still gained 367 yards in the air—the highest total of the season.

Iowa State’s defense has been good this season but their offense has two real stinkers so far. For WVU to pull off the upset, they’ll have to stop the run game. In their two losses, the Cyclones failed to gain more than 100 yards rushing. If WVU can keep Purdy and Johnnie Lang from breaking big plays, the Mountaineers will prevail.

But I don’t think that will happen. WVU’s offense struggles to move the ball early on ISU and spends the second half trying to pull off an epic comeback, only to fail late in the game.

Iowa State 31 - West Virginia 27

John Radcliff

In going with my heart here. I have no rational reason why we should win this game (other than I really like our defensive line and they give me hope when I shouldn’t have any). We may only have a Lloyd Christmas chance, but I’ll take it.

West Virginia 24 - Iowa State 21


WVU continues to show improvement over an Iowa State squad that has been inconsistent, especially on the road.

West Virginia 34 - Iowa State 23

Robert Hurst

First game since JMU that I’ve picked the good guys. I think Neal out thinks them and manufactures some points. I think the defense is disruptive enough to limit the Cyclones, generate turnovers, and create short field opportunities for our limited offense.

West Virginia 38 - Iowa State 31

Michael Miller

Austin Kendall had a rough afternoon against the Longhorns last Saturday, but I think he bounces back today and turns in his best performance of the season. The Can returns to it’s rightful home in Morgantown.

West Virginia 37 - Iowa State 31


I dont have a good feeling about this game. Purdy is a better QB than Ehlinger and the Mountaineers will be without Sam James and Sean Ryan. I think Austin will play better than he did against Texas, but now the offensive line needs to hold up against O’Rien Vance and his 6.5 sacks. I think the Mountaineers are playing catchup all game.

Iowa State 38 - West Virginia 24