AUSTIN, Texas — Texas limps back to Austin following a disappointing 38-35 loss to Oklahoma State, essentially ending all hopes for the Longhorns to make the College Football Playoff.
However, a chance to compete for the Big 12 Conference title still remains in the balance. And probably the toughest remaining test -- on paper at least -- comes into Austin: the West Virginia Mountaineers. West Virginia's quarterback, Will Grier, enters the matchup as a candidate for the Heisman trophy. Texas dropped in the rankings after the Oklahoma State loss, but the Longhorns remain undefeated at home this season with a 4-0 record.
ESPN gives Texas a 51.0 percent chance of winning this game, according to its football power index.
UT PICK 'EM STANDINGS
So, after UT fell to Oklahoma State 38-35, let's take a look at the KVUE UT pick 'em standings:
Mike Barnes -- 5-1
Bryan Mays -- 5-1
Shawn Clynch -- 4-2
Paul Livengood -- 4-2
Tim Ryan -- 4-2
Hank Cavagnaro -- 3-3
Jay Wallis -- 3-3
Andrew McKibbin -- 2-3 ***(McKibbin was on vacation for the first pick)***
KVUE STAFF PICKS ITS UT-WEST VIRGINIA WINNER
Now, the KVUE staff members made their picks for the Texas-West Virginia game. This is what they predicted:
Mike Barnes, KVUE Sports Director:
Texas 34, West Virginia 45.
The Texas defense has lost Chris Nelson and Breckyn Hager can’t be 100 percent after being doubtful on Monday. That will give the edge to Will Grier and the West Virginia offense who score early and often. Mountaineers take this one 45-34.
Shawn Clynch, KVUE Sports Reporter:
Texas 27, West Virginia 33.
I believe I feel the pulse of this team. The Longhorns will respond and not fall into a significant hole as they did in Stillwater. Unless, UT is able to execute a similar defensive game plan as Iowa State did and sack Will Grier seven times, this matchup may be high-scoring... especially without starting defensive tackle Chris Nelson due to an ankle injury. I think it will be an electric atmosphere and an entertaining game in the fourth quarter, but West Virginia wins, 33-27.
Paul Livengood, KVUE Digital Sports Producer/Digital Desk Editor:
Texas 31, West Virginia 27.
If there is one thing I have learned this season about the Longhorns, they play to the level of their competition. West Virginia is a good squad, but Texas will be inspired to bounce back with a strong performance on its home turf after essentially blowing the team's slim chances at a playoff berth with an upsetting loss to Oklahoma State. The Mountaineers come to Austin with one blemish on their record: a 30-14 road loss to Iowa State where they allowed 244 yards on the ground. UT needs to run the ball effectively to beat West Virginia and I think the Longhorns do. Here's why: in games played at DKR, UT has averaged 45 rushes per game. UT is 4-0 in these games. In games played either on the road or at neutral sites, UT averages 33 carries per game. The Longhorns are 2-2 in these games. Ipso facto, if UT controls the ground game, they win, and they've proven to be able to do that at home.
Bryan Mays, KVUE Daybreak Anchor:
Texas 31, West Virginia 30.
It’s going to be tough sledding for Texas in this one. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that the Longhorns play to the level of their competition. That means they will play well and should score enough to get it done. The home field advantage will be the difference as Texas gets back on track beating West Virginia, 31-30.
Hank Cavagnaro, KVUE News Reporter:
Texas 28, West Virginia 31
It’s gonna be a close game and UT will play with a little motivation after not doing so hot up in Stillwater. I think that carries them, but West Virginia is hitting their stride right now. I say it comes down to a point. Also I’m so far behind in the rankings -- desperate times call for desperate measures!
Jay Wallis, KVUE News Reporter:
Texas 41, West Virginia 37
There is no doubt this game will be a shootout. But what gives UT the chance to pull this one out is if they will commit to the run game. The one loss West Virginia has came against Iowa State -- a team that kept pounding the ball. The Longhorns have the athletes to do this even though they have mainly been a pass-heavy team this season. This is a chance to change the game and attack West Virginia's weakness. This one will go to the wire and go the Horns' way.
Tim Ryan, KVUE News Director:
Texas 48, West Virginia 47. (OT)
UT threw me for a loop last week. But, I say the Longhorns bounce back at home and win in a shootout, 48-47 in overtime. I have absolutely no idea how that score happens, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!
Andrew McKibbin, KVUE Dayside Executive Producer:
Texas 41, West Virginia 45.
I don’t know what to expect anymore, and I’ve butchered just about every pick thus far… but here it goes! The Longhorns will be coming out angry off the loss at Oklahoma State, but they have a formidable West Virginia offense rolling into DKR this week. I see a high-scoring game forthcoming… close, in the end. Texas falls to West Virginia 45-41.
Kick off for Texas-West Virginia is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. CT on Saturday Nov. 3.