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West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Free Pick 9/28/13

Oklahoma State Cowboys (3-0) at West Virginia Mountaineers (2-2)

NCAAF Football: Saturday, September 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm (Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium)

The Line: West Virginia Mountaineers 19.5 -- Over/Under: 57 See the Latest Odds

TV: ESPN

#11 Oklahoma State at West Virginia

Storyline:  If the allegations of impropriety swirling around the Oklahoma State football program are having any lasting effects, head coach Mike Gundy is doing a good job keeping it under wraps. The Cowboys were idle last week, but shot up to #11 this week, becoming the highest ranking Big 12 team as well as the conference’s favorite to bring home the title. Their spotless record, however, is not without its detractors. An underwhelming 21-3 win against Mississippi State in its season-opener, along with blowout wins against UTSA in week two and Lamar in week three, are hardly evidence the quarterback carousel that's beginning to resurface will meet with any success against Big 12 heavyweights. Who’s under center for the Cowboys will be of minor importance this week, though, when they travel to Morgantown to take on a floundering West Virginia Mountaineers side, who could manage a mere 62-passing yards and 175 total yards in suffering a 37-0 steamrolling against Maryland Saturday.

West Virginia Mountaineers vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys Free Pick 9/28/13

Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

The Breakdown: Soph. QB J.W. Walsh leads Ok State in passing with 642 yards and 5 touchdowns on 59-of-84 passing, and in rushing with 182 yards and 2 touchdowns on 25 carries. Outside of the UTSA game, where he posted a near perfect 326 yards and 4 touchdowns on 24-of-27 passing, Walsh has been just average through the air. But the added dimension he brings with his speed and athleticism may warrant his getting the start over Sr. Clint Chelf, who’s slid into the backup role after starting the season-opener. Sr. RB Jeremy Smith, who opened the season with a promising 102 yard, 2 touchdown performance against Miss State, has dropped off in his last two games, rushing for just 34 yards on 12 carries against UTSA and 40 yards on 10 attempts against Lamar. All Big 12 Jr. WR Josh Stewart leads the team with 12 receptions for 185 yards and 1 touchdown. Through three games, the Cowboys rank 10th nationally in scoring offense at 45.3 points per contest and 17th in scoring defense at 13.7 points allowed per game. OK State has outscored its first three opponents 108-13 in the first three quarters this year, essentially putting games away by the last frame.

West Virginia, meanwhile, is at the opposite end of the Big 12 spectrum and the freefall, particularly after Saturday’s misery, seems to have begun. Dana Holgorson ought to be thanking William & Mary and Georgia State for the gifts because 2-2 doesn’t paint an accurate enough portrait of how mightily the Mountaineers are struggling right now. Making his second start after a good-looking debut against Georgia State, Redshirt freshman QB Ford Childress looked as if he’d been reminded that this was his first against a real defense. He completed 11-of-22 for 62 yards and 2 interceptions. Sr. RB Charles Sims, the team’s leading rusher with 328 yards and 2 touchdowns, carried 8 times for 35 yards. In the Mountaineers only offensive highlight, Jr. RB Dreamius Smith busted loose around the left end for 51 yards. Smith carried 12 times for 74yards. Defensively, WVU held Maryland’s dual threat Sr. QB C.J. Brown somewhat in check at 210 yards and 1 touchdown passing, and 26 yards and one touchdown rushing. But the Mountaineer six turnovers, one pick six, coupled with their inability to move the ball proved to be their undoing.

Betting Trends: Oklahoma State is 6-2 ATS in its last 8 games, 4-1 SU in its last 5 games, and 1-6 ATS in its last 7 road games. West Virginia is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games, 4-8 SU in its last 12 games, and 2-6 ATS in its last 8 home games.

Rick’s Pick: The line in this one opened at -21 for Ok State with a little bit of movement before settling at -19.5, an easy cover by any stretch. This game will likely go over 57 points as well, with handicapping models projecting a 52-21 Cowboys victory. Not that the Mountaineers need any light shed on their recent offensive misfortunes, but to have any chance against a team like Ok State, who can really light it up, you need some offense. WVU’s offense ranks 109th in the FBS at 18 ppg. 

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Ok State -19.5

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