The West Virginia Mountaineers have been quietly playing solid football this season. They are 4-0 and looking to take another this afternoon in Texas against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. I must admit, though, West Virginia has had a brisk schedule thus far. Their wins this season come against Mizzou, Youngstown State, BYU, and Kansas State in a 17-16 nail biter. BYU is better than advertised, so it isn’t like they beat a creampuff there. BYU just beat the Spartans in East Lansing, something you have to keep in mind. And this has been a productive run for West Virginia dating back to last season. The Mountaineers 9-1 in their last ten games, with their only loss coming against Kansas State in December, an equally close 24-23 final.
West Virginia is exiting a bye week, a nice rest and extra preparation for this ultra-dangerous Texas Tech offense. The Red Raiders can pour it on in an instant and can put a quick 14 up on the board before you know it. It definitely isn’t the easiest offense to prepare for, but the Mountaineers have had an extra week to get ready. If they come out looking flat and unprepared that is all on the coaching staff. West Virginia has improved drastically on defense from a few years ago. Improve is an understatement, because they’ve improved tenfold over the garbage they were putting on the field back then.
I’m reading a lot of people say that West Virginia has no defense, and maybe Texas Tech makes them look silly this week, but where are people getting this information from? Things change in college football guys, you have to be on top of things if you want to properly handicap games. The Mountaineers have made massive leaps forward, and other than the bowl game they played in this past winter, they have nullified some good defenses dating back to 2015.
The Red Raiders can be a different breed on offense, and can look some good defenses look back, which could possibly happen to West Virginia today. However, to say the Mountaineers have air for defense is silly and completely off base. If you want to say that Texas Tech has no defense, then okay, that’s much better. The Red Raiders have gotten ripped pretty easily this season and have looked like a team playing with pylons on the field at times. If Texas Tech had any kind of life on defense, they would be a favorite to win the Big-12 without a doubt. Instead, the offense is counted on to score more than 50 points every week. I anticipate they’re going to need similar output this afternoon. Find my first college football pick of the day below.
West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders NCAAF Betting Odds:
West Virginia PK(-110)
vs. Texas Tech PK(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
West Virginia vs. Texas Tech Pick:
West Virginia and Texas Tech danced last year in West Virginia, a game that went the Mountaineers way, 31-26. Pat Mahomes and company were completely nullified on offense, which was a sticking point for this defense, showing that their defense can compete. If you take away the careless effort in their bowl game against Arizona State, West Virginia has surrendered just 17.3 points per game. This season they have given up 20 per game. No I don’t think the Mountaineers have an elite defense or anything, but they do have a good, underrated unit.
The Mountaineers have been good against the pass, allowing only 227.3 yards per game for 15th in the FBS. That’s pretty much what this game comes down to, will the West Virginia secondary be able to slow the Texas Tech air-raid just enough to win this? They’ve already proven they could do it a year ago, and now Pat Mahomes is coming in with a bum shoulder. West Virginia is 42nd stopping the run. A stronger defense against the pass than run plays into their hand here, though. Texas Tech is 125th running the football, nearly last in college football.
Texas Tech has allowed 445 yards per game this season, which ranks back in 99th overall. They also rank near the back in points allowed, with 38.6 points per game allowed per game for 116th. West Virginia should be able to find enough stops in this game to escape with a win at Texas Tech. The extra week off should prove to be big in preparing for this offense. While the Red Raiders were scrapping away in a 44-38 loss to Kansas State, the Mountaineers were examining film. West Virginia gets it on the road.