BUCKHANNON – Some random thoughts this week:
- The Heisman race is a dud this year. Almost all of the preseason nominees have flamed out. Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler went from the preseason favorite to a backup. Pitt quarterback Kenny Picket is getting some love, but for goodness sake the Panthers lost to Western Michigan. Nobody should ever win the Heisman losing to a MAC team. I guess the front runners at the moment are Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. The Heisman Trophy has lost a lot of its luster in recent years in my eyes.
- Marshall is now in the same boat that WVU was in earlier this football season in an unstable home conference. WVU, for now, will stay in the Big XII as the conference added the top G5 teams out there in Cincinnati, BYU, Houston and UCF. Conference USA lost six school last week when UAB, Florida Atlantic, Rice, North Texas, UTSA and Charlotte had their applications for membership into the American Athletic Conference approved. That left the conference with eight schools including Marshall, Old Dominion, Southern Miss, Western Kentucky, Middle Tennessee, FIU, UTEP, and Louisiana Tech. Marshall, ODU, Southern Miss and James Madison appear to be heading to the Sun Belt, which may be the death kneel for C-USA.
- While we still have two more weeks of the regular season in high school football, I will give you my predictions right now for each classes championship game. I like Martinsburg over Cabell Midland in Class AAA, Herbert Hoover over Poca in Class AA and Cameron over Doddridge County in Class A. I will bring this back up in a month and see how close I was.
Let’s focus on our Crunch Time standings and games this week. Brian caught me this week as I has a rough 2-3 week, leaving us tied heading into the final stretch of the season.
Duane 22-13 (2-3 last week)
Brian 22-13 (3-2 last week)
Preston (0-6) at Buckhannon-Upshur (2-6) — I think the Bucs will rebound after their performance in Grafton last week. Preston is the only winless team in Class AAA. The Bucs get win number three Friday night. My pick: Buckhannon-Upshur 28-13; Brian’s pick: Buckhannon-Upshur, 21-6.
Morgantown (4-4) at University (8-0) — The Mohawk Bowl will once again have important play-off ramifications. The Mohigans are on the play-off bubble at No. 14 while the Hawks are trying to secure more than just one home playoff game as they are ranked fifth this week. We all know the Hawks can put up points. Don’t let Morgantown’s record fool you. Three of their four losses are to teams in the top 16 in Class AAA. Ultimately, I think the Hawks have too much firepower for the Mohigans. My pick: University, 44-29; Brian’s picks: University 35-21.
Wesleyan (0-8) at Charleston (5-2) — Depending on when you read this, the final might already be in as they were to play Thursday night. The Bobcats probably let their best chance to win a game slip past them last Saturday when they hosted winless Alderson Broaddus and that turned into a 49-20 loss after the game was tied at 14-14 half. The ‘Cats did rack up 310 yards of offense last week which was their second-best effort of the season. My pick: Charleston, 45-17; Brian’s pick: Charleston, 42-13.
Florida International (1-6) at Marshall (4-3) — This is the fourth straight game where the Herd have played a team with a losing record. Marshall is coming off a bye week and shouldn’t have any issues with Florida International. FIU head coach Butch Davis had the Panthers trending in the right direction as he went 17-9 in his first two seasons in 2017-18 but is just 7-18 in his last 25 games. Marshall wins this game going away. My pick: Marshall, 49-21; Brian’s pick: Marshall 24-7.
Iowa State (5-2) at WVU (3-4) — I give Neal Brown and the Mountaineers all the credit in the world after beating TCU on the road last week. While the Horned Frogs aren’t world beaters this year, it was still an impressive road win for the Mountaineers. I really only saw maybe one more win on WVU’s schedule, but last week gave me a renewed hope for the Mountaineers. I think somehow they pull off the upset of No. 22 ISU on Saturday. My pick: West Virginia, 28-24; Brian’s pick: Iowa State 30-24.