There is one thing that is certain --- West Virginia is not favored against LSU, and someone apparently needs a new bookie (if you don't get that joke, go back and watch Bill Stewart's news conference from Tuesday). When that moment happened, quite honestly, I didn't know what to think. I've been in many news conferences, and never seen something like that happen -- it was beyond strange.
Anyhow, onto the Q&A, where you can send questions here: http://www.post-gazette.com/sports/wvu/questions/qaform.asp and maybe, just maybe, they will get to me faster than a man running a 3.1-second 40-yard dash.
QUESTION: What happens if Josh Jenkins can't play?
- Tony in Parkersburg, W.Va.
COLIN DUNLAP: Then a line that has been playing just above average, in my estimation, gets weakened. And, it will look like this, left to right: Barclay, Jobe, Madsen, Bowers and Braun. Quite obviously, it looks less stout on the right side than on the left, which is something that isn't a new problem.
QUESTION: Do you think Brandon Hogan will play against LSU?
- Scott in Phoenix, Ariz.
CD: After what Bill Stewart said in his news conference --- Yes.
QUESTION: Patrick Peterson from LSU is a great cornerback, but he is only one player. Which receiver from West Virginia do you think he will cover?
- Nick in Charlotte, N.C.
CD: Wonderful question. This is something a few of us members of the stinkin' media were actually tossing around on Tuesday night. Some think he will move near the hash and cover Jock Sanders, play him head-up. I have a different opinion. I think LSU might be willing to grant Sanders those "Jock Sanders routes" which is to say some stuff in the middle of the field, that goes for anywhere between 3-10 yards. But, what LSU does not want to do is give up the big play up the rail, out on the edge. Because of this, in my opinion, I think Peterson will be matched up with Tavon Austin for much of the night. It is all just a guessing game at this point, and that is my guess.
QUESTION: What do the Mountaineers have to do to beat LSU?
- Tim in Morgantown, W.Va.
CD: While all facets will be important, I think there will be two areas that West Virginia must win, in order to win this game --- which is, quite understandably, no small task. First, WVU has to win the kick game battle. They have to cover kicks and punts well, and must be able to get Patrick Peterson on the ground. If they don't do that, the Mountaineers are in a world of hurt. Second is the turnover tussle. This is easy to see, but if WVU has a few turnovers, and they don't cause any, they are in for a bayou beatdown. West Virginia absolutely has the potential to play a clean game with the football, and it is something they must do if they want to win this one.
QUESTION: A lot of people talk about SEC speed. Where do you think it makes the most difference?
- Lone Ranger in Atlanta
CD: To me, it makes the most difference at the defensive end and outside linebacker positions. When watching an SEC game, it has always struck me that the skill guys are fast --- but the skill guys in the Big East or Big Ten or Big IX can run very fast, too. When you really sit down and study it, really watch an SEC game, it jumps off the screen how those defensive ends and outside backers are able to get upfield and around the edge. And then, when the outside backers run with a tight end (and sometimes a slot guy) across the middle, often times they are not at all overmatched. That is where I have always noticed the speed. Perhaps this is where West Virginia's screen game could serve to keep LSU a bit honest.
QUESTION: Who is the best team in the Big East?
- Mike in Moundsville, W.Va.
CD: I have to watch two games before arriving at a comfortable answer. Let me watch the Pitt/Miami game on Thursday night, then the West Virginia/LSU game on Saturday evening. After those two games have been played, re-submit your question and things should appear much more clear.
QUESTION: Colin, do you have any special plans for the LSU trip?
- Dom in Pittsburgh, Pa.
CD: Nothing all that special, no -- although I am leaving a couple days early to do a story in a different realm and also enjoy New Orleans for a day or so before I go to Baton Rouge. I am leaving at 7 a.m. Wednesday from Pittsburgh, flying to Baton Rouge. Then I am driving to New Orleans for a couple days. Will head from New Orleans back to Baton Rouge on Friday and give friend Mike Casazza* a lift, as we regularly travel together. Will then cover the game and fly back to Pittsburgh at 6 a.m. on Sunday.
* Note - To the man who left two messages on my Post-Gazette voicemail on Tuesday (anonymous, naturally) explaining to me, among other things, that he didn't like Mike Casazza and wishes I would never write his name in my Q&A again, sorry.
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Live chat from New Orleans at 1 p.m. on Thursday.