Fearless Picks: W&M

Week One's picks don't bring any surprises, so the focus is on our revamped panel as they begin the 2013 season.

PICKIN' AND GRINNIN'

Just like the Mountaineers, our panel is in rebuild mode, and full of questions. Will Chris continue his metronomic domination of the competition? Will newcomers Jon and Michael show the same hit-the-ground-running excellence in their picks that they have shown in their writing? Will the veterans respond, or will some of them be bypassed by the newcomers, just as some WVU football veterans did?


NOSE PICKING

Four panelists have WVU scoring 38 points. Two others peg the Mountaineers at 42. Keep your eyes on your own work next week, class!


Michael Carvelli Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
The Mountaineer offense will come out and perform well in the first game, even with rotating between Millard and Trickett throughout the game at quarterback. The defense will look much-improved and will do a good job of getting off the field. Everything will come together for a pretty comfortable win for the Mountaineers, but the real test won't come until next week vs. Oklahoma.
Pick: West Virginia 38-13
 
Tony Dobies Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
West Virginia's puzzle isn't all figured out yet - quarterback, receiver, etc. - and for that reason, it might be a battle for a half. WVU can't lose this, though, right?
Pick: West Virginia 38-20
 
Jane Donovan Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
This WVU football team is surrounded by so many questions and so many concerns that the opening of the season feels more like a soap opera than it does game time. Trickett or Millard? (I'm guessing Trickett.) Will there be a defensive secondary? Will there be a kicking game? Will John Raese continue to keep all the attorneys in northern West Virginia on retainer? Tune in Saturday at noon for "As the Blue and Gold Turn."

But, honestly: could we please just get this party started? As much as I love watching Tavon, Steadman, Geno, and the one-and-only Pat White in the NFL, I'm ready for some Mountaineer football. WVU gets the win over William, Mary, Prince George, and the entire British royal family.

Pick: West Virginia 38-12
 
Andy Easton Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
The Tribe is coming off its worst season since Head coach Jimmye Laycock's first season in 1980 (2-9). Upsets happen every week in college football, but I don't see a possibility where William & Mary pulls the shocker.

Coach Dana Holgorsen will be able to play plenty of players and possibly finally decide on a starting QB.

Pick: West Virginia 38-10
 
Bill Gleason Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
The Mountaineers prove to be inefficient in the victory, but the offense will still be very potent and the defense is up to the task against a rebuilding W&M offense. The Tribe scores 10 points late to make the score look closer than it was.

Head coach Dana Holgorsen finds a potent combination at quarterback and tailback, which could lead to much bigger things this season.

Pick: West Virginia 42-20
 
Greg Hunter Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
An opener against an FCS opponent won't tell us if the Mountaineers are going to be good this season, though obviously if WVU struggles against William & Mary, that's certainly a bad sign.I don't think West Virginia is bad, and I think it will win convincingly against The Tribe. But the true indication about how good this rebuilt Mountaineer squad can be won't really be known until next Saturday in Norman.
Pick: West Virginia 42-14
 
Brian Jolliff Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
Football is back. That is about all I have to say. Thank goodness WVU football is here, finally. No controversies, no expansion news, no autograph non-sense; just Mountaineer game day and football. This new squad has many question marks still hovering over its collective head, but the game this weekend against William & Mary is a great opportunity to get to the bottom of some of those issues. With two mostly untested quarterbacks in the mix, a seemingly deep backfield, potential in the receivers, a rebuilt offensive line and not to mention, a revamped defense, I'm more than ready to see how this game plays out. I don't expect too much flash this weekend, but enough of it to take care of the first win of the season.
Pick: West Virginia 48-20
 
Matt Keller Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
The Tribe struggled with quarterback consistency and any vertical passing game last season. Similar problems are projected under center this year, as Brent Caprio and Michael Graham battle for the starting spot. Tre McBride and Keith McBride - no relation - provide receiving and rushing options, respectively, behind an improved line. The defense should be able to slow most Colonial Athletic Association running games, but will have difficulty with West Virginia's size, strength and speed. Keep an eye on the battle between William and Mary's George Beerhalter and sophomore WVU center Tyler Orlosky; it stacks up as the most competitive along both lines.

This is an improved Tribe team, and one that figures to perhaps triple its win total from last season's 2-9 mark. But it isn't elite, and anything less makes upsetting even an average BCS program difficult. This game is about WVU against itself.

Pick: West Virginia 48-20
 
Jon Martin Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
The truth is -- I'm supposed to predict a game here. But I'm not sure I can even tell you who will win the starting quarterback job. That's how unpredictable this season could be. So, I'll have to rely on history to get me past week one.

Though West Virginia enters the 2013 season with a wide range of questions still left to be answered, they believe they'll have them figured out in due time. William & Mary, on the other hand, will also be learning on the go. After going 2-9 last season, they'll begin with a quarterback who only started three of those games last season.

Over the past five seasons, West Virginia has won its opening contest by an average of 25 points. Conversely, William & Mary has lost four out of its five season openers by almost two touchdowns.

So while WVU will be breaking in all new offensive weapons, and hoping to improve on last years dismal defense, the Mountaineers should prove to be more than capable of getting the job done.

Pick: West Virginia 34-17
 
Chris Richardson Last Week: W Season: 0-0 Pt Diff:
We could really link WVU and the College of William & Mary together through six degrees of separation. Three Presidents (Jefferson, Monroe, Tyler) are among the many notable alumni of W&M. All three are also namesakes of West Virginia counties. Steelers coach Mike Tomlin once suited up for the Tribe, then got his first coaching job on the staff of a former W&M assistant by the name of Bill Stewart at VMI. John Marshall, another alum, is the namesake for West Virginia's other Division I-FBS school (which is 0-12 all-time against the Mountaineers by the way.)

On Saturday, of course, none of that matters. I have no idea what to expect from these Mountaineers. They could be really good. They could be really bad. They'll probably be somewhere in between. Just about the only expectation I have to start the season is that they're good enough to take care of the Tribe. I'm looking forward to watching Houston transfer Charles Sims for the first time. Pay close attention to where he lines up, who else is on the field with him, and the different manners in which West Virginia tries to get him touches.

Pick: West Virginia 45-17

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