College Football Pick
With this being the week before the NFL season starts, a couple college Games take place on Sunday. West Virginia and Virginia Tech are both coming off solid 10-win seasons and the goal will be trying to match that. For the Game at FedEx Field, the Hokies are a -4 point favorite at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
Considering both teams are working in new quarterbacks without an abundance of returning starters, that line is somewhat interesting. But as it stands, more people have faith in Justin Fuente in his second season with Virginia Tech.
Leading the charge is redshirt freshman quarterback Josh Jackson, who takes over for Jerod Evans (29 TDs, 8 INTs). He has a big load on his shoulder, but at least gets Travon McMillian (671 yards) in the backfield and Cam Phillips (983 yards) out wide. Similar to Evans, Jackson presents dual-threat ability and he’ll rack up rushing yards. Another good aspect is that their line returns three starters, although there is little depth there.
West Virginia’s strong suit has been on the defensive side in recent years, allowing 24 points per Game in the high-flying Big 12, but with only three returning starters, matching that will be tough. The line is the biggest question for Dana Holgorsen’s bunch, while the back end should be fine, which gets back Dravon Askew-Henry from injury. But that defense won’t be able to stop VT completely, meaning new quarterback Will Grier will have to move the ball.
The Florida transfer has been hyped plenty in the offseason, but it’s time for him to show it. The QB had Florida rolling back in 2015 before getting suspended for PEDs. Most notably, he threw Four touchdowns against Ole Miss in a 28-point win. But with new players all around him in the Mountaineers offense, success won’t come easy. Running back Justin Crawford (1,184 yards, 7.3 ypc) should help in the process, while receiver is a bit more fresh with Ka’Raun White (48 receptions) and Gary Jennings the expected top options. The line only returns two starters, but gets back stud left tackle Yodny Cajuste from a torn ACL.
Virginia Tech should once again have a stout defense led by one of the better secondaries around. The defense returns seven starters in all, with every piece returning on the back end. But similar to WVU, the question will be up front where there are a few new faces and some underclassmen in expected starting spots.
Given the look of each squad, it wouldn’t be surprising if both teams found room to run. The winner may come down to what quarterback has the leg up. With Jackson still a freshman, Grier may take that edge given his experience playing in the SEC a couple years ago. Of course, with a new team, that doesn’t mean he’ll provide immediate dividends for the Mountaineers. Still, as a Four-point underdog, it’s hard not to like West Virginia in this spot, as long as you believe in Grier.
Our Pick – Really need to take a wait and see approach with both of these squads. That said, we’ll lean towards West Virgnia getting the points here. West Virginia +4