Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Auburn-West Virginia Preview and Prediction

Auburn 4-3 at West Virginia 4-2
Thursday 7:30 PM
Line: WV -3

What was thought to be a marquee match up between top 25 teams in the preseason has turned into a game between two of the bigger disappointments in 2008 as Auburn travels to West Virgina on Thursday night. The Auburn Tigers are coming off a bye week after losing at home to Arkansas, their third loss in the last four games. West Virginia also had a bye last week after an uninspiring win over lowly Syracuse.

Auburn Offense vs West Virginia Defense
This will not be the riveting part of this game. Auburn is having an identity crisis on offense having gone to the spread in the off season, then firing that OC, and now going back to their traditional power running. The problem is that Auburn was soundly out gained by equally offensive inept Arkansas in their first game back to a traditional offense. Auburn has been out gained in all three of their losses.

West Virginia’s defense is improved over last year, but still is not likely to win any games for the Mountaineers. Also, they have been prone to the rushing attack giving up nearly 120 ypg on the ground.

West Virginia Offense vs Auburn Defense

The Mountaineers offense has sputtered at times this year, mostly when Pat White is out or not 100%. As White goes, so goes WV’s offense. HC Bill Stewart said he wanted WV to pass this season and they have, but their bread and butter is still Pat White’s ability to run.

Auburn’s defense has never faltered despite shaky ground surrounding the program. DC Paul Rhoads came from Pitt who played WV the best of any team last season. The Tigers are giving up under 170 ypg through the air.

It is hard to know what Auburn is going to bring to Morgantown with all the rumors and controversy surrounding Tommy Tuberville and the program right now. However, in a battle of coaches I take Tubs over Bill Stewart any day of the week. They key for Auburn will be how well they can contain Pat White. DC Paul Rhoads wrote the formula last year and I think he has more talent with this team. I like Auburn in the mild upset as West Virginia’s shaky kicker missed a tying FG late.

Auburn 24 West Virginia 21
Auburn Covers +3


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