When: Saturday, 12p, ABC
Line: Cincy -3.5
West Virginia Players to Watch:
Geno Smith, QB: 3,125 yards, 23 TD, 5 INT
Dustin Garrison, RB: 581 yards, 6.1 ypc, 5 TD
Tavon Austin, WR: 63 rec, 1715 all-purpose yards, 6 total TD
Stedman Bailey, WR: 51 rec, 933 yards, 9 TD
Cincinnati Players to Watch:
Zach Collaros, QB: 2035 total yards, 26 total TD, 8 INT
Isaiah Pead, RB: 821 total yards, 6.0 ypc, 10 total TD
Derek Wolfe, DL: 37 total tackles, 12 TFL, 7 sacks, 2 FF
J.K. Schaffer, LB: 67 total tackles, 6 TFL, 2 sacks, 3 INT, 1 FF
Can West Virginia find balance? Not offensive balance, but team balance. Too much inconsistency defensivley and on special teams is killing this team. It's hard to put it on the offense, when Geno Smith and company are putting up plenty of points. Sure, there are mistakes that you would love to see disappear, but defensive playmakers need to be found. And, some new kickers wouldn't hurt either.
Will the Bearcats fall victim to the Big East jinx? Every team that has been at the top has slipped so far, but Cincy did manage to hold on at Pitt. In fact, the Bearcats have done an excellent job in closing out close games. There's no doubt that Cincy will score, the big question will be can they slow down the WVU offense? A shootout could certainly go either way.
Yes, WVU still has a chance to play in the BCS. How? Well...first things first...win out. That is a tall task at this point, but not out of the question. The Mountaineers are probably the best team in the conference when they act like it, just not sure they can. Second step is for Cincy to drop at least two games, starting this weekend to the Mountaineers. And, lastly, Louisville needs to lose. The Cardinals may be the hottest team in the league right now, so that may not be happening.
It's fun to watch Stedman Bailey play. While only 5'10", the speedy wideout plays about 6'8". His versatility and athleticism continue to make him one of the most underrated wideouts in the country. Bailey is going to shatter the single-season yardage record, and is only a redshirt sophomore. Just imagine what the future holds for this kid. We should also note that Geno will probably eclipse the passing touchdowns and passing yards records, and Tavon Austin could grab the receptions record. Where is Jeff Mullen when you need him?