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.
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...
Playing a top-25 team is always tough, but to make matter worse I think Texas felt pretty disrespected at the conclusion of last year’s game. Even with that in mind, before the season started I had this game picked out as my big upset for the year and I’m sticking with that. I think it will be a close, low scoring game, and the West Virginia defense will keep the Mountaineers in the game. I also think the crowd will play a huge factor and WVU will come away with a big upset win.
West Virginia 24 - Texas 14
I expect Saturday to be right up there with 2003 Tech and 2011 LSU as one of the best atmospheres Mountaineer Field has seen this century. 3:30 kickoff, striped stadium, homecoming - it just has the chance to be a really special day.
As for the game - Texas comes in as the prohibitive favorite but is certainly not a team without flaws, especially defensively where an already young unit has been bitten by the injury bug. Ehlinger’s legs have been the Longhorns’ tone setters offensively since he’s been there, but the concern for me is big plays through the air to Duvernay and Johnson. If we can limit those, I expect us to be right there with a chance to win it going into the 4th quarter. And if we are, I expect Mountaineer Nation to get us over the finish line.
West Virginia 28 - Texas 27
West Virginia is a lot better than I thought they were. I think we have a well coached team that has been able to scheme away some deficiencies on offense. I just don’t think it’s enough against Texas.
Texas 38 - West Virginia 24
Texas does a lot of things WVU has struggled to stop this year. Specifically, they have a mobile quarterback. Ehlinger is the key to UT’s victory, as he runs for 40 yards and passes for 300.
WVU will fins some big plays finally, but Kendall will miss two sure-fire touchdowns. The run game is weak again, but a long run or three helps things. Ultimately, Texas just does too many things better than WVU and comes away with a win.
Texas 34 - West Virginia 24
I think Texas has had this game circled on their calendar ever since Will crossed the goal line. Sometimes all that anger can help and sometimes you psych yourself out. I’m betting on the latter. Texas is going to kill themselves with penalties and turnovers, allowing WVU squeek one out.
West Virginia 27 - Texas 20
WVU shows continued improvement but Texas has too much talent, especially at WR.
Texas 31 - West Virginia 23
The Mounties keep it close, but they never quite get over the hump. A late Texas Td finally closes the deal on a back and forth affair that encourages the WVU faithful, but ultimately lets them down. Neal Brown outwits Tom Herman a couple of times- but it doesn’t prove to be enough.
Texas 37 - West Virginia 28
The Mountaineers trail going into the fourth quarter, but refuse to give up the fight. Texas falls apart late and superior coaching triumphs. We end the night just two wins away from bowl eligibility.
West Virginia 27 - Texas 24
I think the overall game will be closer than the final score, but I do think the Longhorns overall talent will eventually overcome the environment, the homefield and the coaching differential. I expect a close game in the first half but for the Longhorns to slowly build upon their lead in the second half. Can Austin Kendall hit anything more than 15 yards past the line of scrimmage? If he can, the game will remain close. If he can’t, its going to get out of hand, quickly.
Texas 35 - West Virginia 21