BUCKHANNON – A melancholy start to the column this week as Tommy “Franco” Thomas passed away a few days ago.
As a kid, Thomas was larger than life for me. My memory is a bit foggy on this but I was able to get his autograph at a boxing card at the old armory in town. I swear there was a youth boxing card in town and he was there fighting in the main event or was just there to promote youth boxing. If anyone has any memories of this event, please contact me about it. Not to name drop, but it seems like Terry “Joe” Cutright of Ralph’s Furniture was on the card boxing as a youth. Someone tell me I am not imagining all of this.
For those interested in WVU’s bowl outlook, they still have to get two more wins to get to six victories on the season, which they should. It looks like their most likely landing spot at the moment could be the Guaranteed Rated Bowl in Phoenix.
WVU certainly could enhance their bowl chances if they win out, but here is a breakdown of where prominent talking heads and websites believe the Mountaineers could land this first week of November:
24/7 Sports – No bowl game for WVU
CBS Sports – No bowl game for WVU
College Football News — vs. Rutgers in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl
ESPN (Kyle Bonagura) – vs. Maryland in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl
ESPN (Mark Schlabach) – vs. Maryland in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl
Sporting News – vs. Mississippi State in Liberty Bowl
USA Today – vs. Central Michigan in First Responders Bowl
I have to admit a rematch with Maryland in a bowl game isn’t exactly something I would look forward to, but after a 2-4 start to the season, WVU in any bowl with any opponent will be just fine with me at this point.
Now let’s turn our attention to the Crunch Time contest.
Duane 26-14 (4-1 last week)
Brian 25-15 (3-2 last week)
Buckhannon-Upshur (2-7) at Elkins (0-9) — I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the Bucs have went backwards the last six quarters. I was surprised by the Preston result last week. The Bucs buried themselves early and were never able to dig out of that hole. The Bucs have another winless team on the schedule this Friday. Elkins has really struggled this year, but so had the Knights before last Friday. That said, I think the Bucs should take care of business Friday. My pick: Buckhannon-Upshur, 34-14; Brian’s pick: Buckhannon-Upshur, 28-7.
Bridgeport (9-0) at Lincoln (8-1) — A huge game as teams from Class AAA and Class AA meet. Both teams are trying to secure at least two postseason home games as Bridgeport is third in Class AAA and Lincoln is fourth in Class AA. Nobody is going to argue that the Indians aren’t one of the top teams in the state, but only two of their nine victories have come against teams with winning records. It will be interesting to see how they will matchup with some of the top teams in Class AAA come playoff time. My pick: Bridgeport, 38-19; Brian’s pick: Bridgeport, 35-21.
West Virginia Wesleyan (0-9) at Frostburg State (8-1) — It’s sad that WVWC head football coach Dwayne Martin is trying to compete at a level when he isn’t given the resources (scholarships and money) that the people he is competing against have. It’s a no-win situation for him and his team and they certainly deserve better. My pick: Frostburg State, 38-13; Brian’s pick: Frostburg State, 30-14.
Marshall (5-3) at Florida Atlantic (5-3) — This will be a battle for first place in the conference USA East Division as the two teams, along with Western Kentucky, are all 3-1. Marshall hasn’t played anyone with a pulse for a month, so it will be interesting to see how the Herd does with a team with a winning record. Whoever wins the East will likely playing UTSA Roadrunners in the C-USA title game as they are cruising along at 4-0 in the West and a perfect 8-0 overall. My pick: Florida Atlantic, 28-24; Brian’s pick: Marshall, 42-28.
Oklahoma State (7–1) at WVU (4-4) — How amazing would it be for WVU to knock off another Big 12 ranked opponent. I give Neal Brown and the team all the credit in the world for bouncing back after that 2-4 start. That said, I think the luck runs out for WVU on Saturday. I hope I am wrong but the Cowboys present a lot of bad matchups for the Mountaineers. My pick: Oklahoma State, 28-21; Brian’s pick: Oklahoma State, 45-28.