No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners (7-2 SU, 5-4 ATS) vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (5-4 SU, 2-7 ATS)
College Football Week 12
Date/Time: Saturday November 17th, 2012. 7:00PM Eastern
Where: Mountaineer Field Morgantown, W.V.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: Okl -11/WVU +11
Over/Under Total: 74
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Big 12 foes collide in Morgantown this Saturday night when the West Virginia Mountaineers attempt to end their 4 game losing streak against the no. 12 Oklahoma Sooners. Earlier this year West Virginia was one of the hottest teams in the country with an even hotter offense led by QB Geno Smith. However, the Mountaineers have been stonewalled in recent weeks and gave up another double digit loss last week to Oklahoma State 55-34. This week West Virginia looks to end their drought as they attempt to upset Bob Stoops’ visiting Oklahoma Sooners.
Oklahoma improved to 7-2 SU with a 42-34 victory over Baylor last week despite some growing concerns on the defensive side of the football. The Sooners defense gave up 424 yards and 25 first downs to Baylor’s number 2 ranked offense. This week the defense will meet another high profiled offense in West Virginia and they will need to play better to avoid any type of upset. The Mountaineers offense sports the 5th best passing attack in the country averaging 347 yards through the air. QB Geno Smith has become a household name this season for posting PlayStation type numbers completing 71% passing for 3,041 yards with 31 touchdowns and just 3 interceptions.
Not only is Smith a great quarterback, but West Virginia houses two extremely talented wide receivers in their passing arsenal. WR Stedman Bailey is 2nd in the Big 12 with 1,055 receiving yards and also leads the nation with 16 receiving touchdowns. While Bailey leads the team in receiving, senior wide receiver Tavon Austin may be the most talented player on the Mountaineers offense. Austin has caught 96 passes this season for 968 yards and 11 touchdowns to add to the Mountaineers explosive passing attack. Collectively, these 3 guys make up one of the most dangerous passing trios in the country and they will get a tough challenge against Oklahoma’s 8th best passing defense allowing just 170 yards per game.
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Still the biggest problem West Virginia has had this season resides on the defensive side of the football. The Mountaineers defense has been pathetic giving up 478 yards (110th in FBS) per game. West Virginia has allowed at least 39 points in each of their last 6 games and ranks dead last in scoring defense giving up 41 points on average. Even with a high powered offense, you simply cannot win football games giving up those types of numbers on defense. Therefore, West Virginia’s defense has to come up with a way to play big this Saturday.
Luckily for Oklahoma, West Virginia’s defense has not shown any type of capability all season. Therefore the Sooners’ balanced spread offense should be able to keep the football moving. QB Landry Jones has hit 65% of his passes this season for 2,691 yards with 18 scores and 7 picks. Oklahoma has tremendous talents in WR Kenny Stills (54rec, 682yds, and 6TDs) and running back Damien Williams (687yds, 6.1ypc, and 9TDs) to worry the Mountaineers defense. From a match-up and talent standpoint, West Virginia’s defense cannot compete with the Oklahoma offense. However, the Sooners have to be extremely careful to avoid turning over the football. Turnovers have been key in Oklahoma’s losses this season and they simply cannot afford to give West Virginia’s offense any free chances. If the Sooners can avoid the turnovers, they have a shot of covering the spread.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: West Virginia got off track there for a couple weeks but seems to be playing better football over the past couple weeks. Oklahoma’s defense is vulnerable and there’s no way that I’d consider laying the points with them. It’s either WVU or pass. I’m betting that the Mountaineers will cover this spread.
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