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...
I predict that the West Virginia defense will find ways to keep the Mountaineers in the game, potentially by holding NC State to field goals on multiple occasions. I also think there will be some improvement on the WVU offense, but it won’t be enough to help the Mountaineers win. I think WVU loses a heartbreaker in this one.
NC State 26 - West Virginia 24
So the narrative coming out of this one is going to be one of two things: either we get run over again and have to deal with the very real possibility of 1-11, or we show signs of life, play them tough, and enter conference play with some momentum.
I’m expecting signs of life. We’re not gonna blow their doors off, but something like 14-10 or 17-13 at half seems reasonable, and that should be enough to ensure an engaged 2nd half crowd. At that point it’s anybody’s game, and I actually think that playing well would be like a snowball rolling downhill for both our team and the fans. I think we limit their big plays, squeak it out, and head to Lawrence on a high.
West Virginia 24 - NC State 21
The Climb continues to show that it’s steeper than any of us imagined. Tony Gibson stirs the first angry yells of the Vocal Minority.
NC State 28 - West Virginia 7
Unlike our head coach, I am discouraged. This team showed regression from week one to week two, and that had little to do with the opponent. WVU needs Austin Kendall to be a better decision-maker in the backfield and a better overall effort in the run game.
N.C. State will surrender its first touchdown of the season, but I don’t expect WVU will score more than two TDs and maybe a couple of field goals. The key for WVU will be to gain more than 13 first downs—the total in each of its first two games. If WVU doesn’t eclipse that mark, N.C. State will reach 30 points and this will be a blowout at home.
I think WVU’s offense will find some improvement on the ground and will be able to control the game a bit better, keeping the score down a bit and leading to a couple more scoring drives.
NC State 27 - West Virginia 17
At some point, the offense is going to have a breakout game. I don’t expect it’s going to be this week, though. My only advice is to throw where the blitz is coming from.
NC State 27 - West Virginia 10
West Virginia finally finds a running game.
West Virginia 23 - NC State 17
I haven’t seen anything to make me think we get the ship righted. I can’t realistically say I believe we can score points. I hope I am wrong.
NC State 34 - West Virginia 7
As much as it pains me to say this, I think NC State wins. They’re a good team, and their defense will be playing fast for Gibby. I expect our running game to be much improved, as I’m sure Neal Brown has prioritized that in practice this week.
NC State 31 - West Virginia 21
Tony Gibson’s N.C. State defense has yet to give up a touchdown this season...and that stat will hold for another week.
I just don’t see the lights coming on for this team any time soon, as much as it hurts to say that. We may see some improvement, but it won’t be anywhere near enough to get the job done. West Virginia’s defense holds steady through the first half, before gassing out in the 3rd and the flood gates open. Darius Stills has another multiple sack game, and that’ll be the highlight for a second straight week.
NC State 35 - West Virginia 6
Maybe I’m drinking kool-aid. Maybe I just really want this to not be the awful season I think it will be but Neal Brown has got me believing he’s going to get maximum effort out of his team. He talked about making changes, Vic Koenning talked about playing with effort and Matt Moore talked about firing off the ball. It all sounds good and coming back home with something to prove has me thinking this is just the game we need.
West Virginia 28 - NC State 24