Staff predictions: West Virginia vs. Texas

Texas 48, West Virginia 45

We always hear about how one side of the ball comes into a game and they are the best that the other team has seen. That is the case in this game and a strong case for Texas. QB Geno Smith has been able to pick apart the meager schedule West Virginia has played, while its defense has struggled against any offense with a pulse. Texas will get pressure with its front four, and that will cause enough pressure to slow the WVU attack. The Mountaineers' defense will not be so lucky. It will go to the last five minutes, but Texas pulls out its biggest win since 2009.

- Sean Adams

Texas 38, West Virginia 27

The more I try to convince myself West Virginia wins 41-38, the more I start to think I'm dead wrong. This might not be a good time for Texas to play West Virginia, not with its linebackers and secondary stuck in a mistake-filled rut when facing high-tempo passing attacks. Plus, Texas is at a significant disadvantage if this game comes down to field goals.

But West Virginia comes into Austin with a tad too much hype and hot air. Its defense was a mess against Baylor. Its offense, while statistically unbelievable, isn’t flawless. An exceedingly average Maryland team forced WVU to punt seven times, and this game is on the road. The Longhorns will get the stops they need in the red zone and swing this one by picking off Geno Smith more than once. No turnovers, no win.

- Max Olson

Texas 45, West Virginia 42

The Mountaineers might be rolling up the points but they have yet to play anyone -- James Madison, Marshall, Maryland and Baylor -- with the athletes and speed that Texas possesses on the defensive side of the ball. Still, Geno Smith is going to get his points. But the Longhorns have proven they can stop teams in the red zone in crucial moments. Texas once again will have to do that if it wants to stay unbeaten.

- Carter Strickland

Texas 42, West Virginia 38

Baylor didn't have to run the ball against West Virginia because it was having so much success through the air, but the Bears might have been wise to try and slow things down a bit. Though I think Texas can go tit for tat with WVU offensively, I think it will try to win the game on the ground in a big way and have success doing it. Time management is going to come into play in this one, some way, some how.

I think Geno Smith will put up his usual gaudy numbers, but I also think he'll be pressured into a mistake or two. Not necessarily meaning he'll throw his first interception of the season (don't think that happens) but he'll rush a couple of throws in crucial situations. He'll get the Mountaineers into the red zone his fair share of times, but Texas will win the game because of the bend-but-don't-break mantra they lived by in the red zone against OSU when it held the Cowboys to field goals on three of five trips inside the 20.

- William Wilkerson