Fearless Picks: West Virginia - GSU

It's a clean slate for our panel at, as the members, like the Mountaineer football team, eye a championship performance. First up, the Eagles of Georgia Southern, who have the respect of many of our prognosticators.

Greg Hunter Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
Georgia Southern may not be familiar to the average college football fan, but those who follow things closely realize how dangerous WVU’s season opening opponent can be. The Eagles, who went into the Swamp and beat Florida two years ago, lost by just one at N.C. State last season and Georgia Tech needed a TD with 24 seconds left to escape with a 42-38 win over GSU, which finished the year 9-3. Georgia Southern returns many of the offensive pieces from last year’s club that led the FBS in rushing (381.1 ypg), so even West Virginia’s experienced defense won’t shut down the GSU triple-option attack. But the Mountaineer offense should be able to put up plenty of points against a good but great Eagle defense that is very young at a couple key spots, especially corner.
  West Virginia 38-24  
Andy Easton Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
The Eagles of Georgia Southern soar into Morgantown on Saturday evening looking for a program- defining win against the retooled Mountaineers.  An FCS power for years, the Eagles have acclimated well to the FBS division with a Sun Belt Conference Championship last season.
Georgia Southern's triple option attack is difficult to prepare for on short notice, but the Mountaineers have had plenty of time to formulate a game plan to ground the Eagles.
Georgia Southern is slowly building its talent from the high school ranks and by snagging transfers over the last few years.  Transfers from schools like Pitt, Florida St and Tennessee are sprinkled throughout the Eagle roster.The Mountaineers will have a solid defense this season and hold the edge in talent over Georgia Southern.
  West Virginia 35-17  
Brian Jolliff Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
Well, it's back to the gridiron this Saturday for the Mountaineers and back to Morgantown via I68 West from Martinsburg for this fan. Most "experts" have WVU as much as a 20-point favorite this weekend, but I never feel comfortable going into opening games with so many unknowns. There are too many upsets and embarrassments of other teams over the last several years to make any sane college football fan just a bit nervous. I do like that this is an evening game, although there are some concerns with how the Mountaineers will handle the option attack from Georgia Southern. The seasoned defense has many WVU fans optimistic, but it will be put to the test Saturday.
  West Virginia 42-27  
Chris Richardson Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
This isn't your average home opener for the Mountaineers. This isn't Towson, any number of MAC schools that littered the schedule in the 90's and 2000's, or some pushover. Georgia Southern is a good football team. In the words of Don Nehlen, "There's not a player on that team that can't run like the devil." The Eagles are coming off last season's Sun Belt championship in which they ran the table in conference play, and look to be in position to compete once again for the league title.
The Mountaineers better have their game clocks turned on from the jump on Saturday night. This will be a good football game. In the end, I think WVU's defense is the difference.
  West Virginia 31-21  
Matt Keller
Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
I like West Virginia to win solidly in this one. The match-ups and defensive experience favor the Mountaineers, as does the ability to play in space with speed on both sides. As long as the defense tackles well, WVU rolls by double digits.
  West Virginia 34-20  
Roger "C.J." Harvey Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
A stout West Virginia defense should stop any triple threat attack Georgia Southern has planned, but Eagle quarterback Favian Upshaw has great mobility in the open field. West Virginia will need to take the lead early, and force Upshaw to make plays with his arm. WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen said that the communication between he and quarterback Skylar Howard is flawless. I have no doubt that points will be scored if Holgorsen’s relationship with Howard is as good as promised. Since Holgorsen’s arrival he’s averaged almost 35 points per game. I see no reason why things would change.
  West Virginia 37-17  
Jonathan Martin Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
It's a new year for West Virginia football!
Though it's not Alabama, one could argue this season's opener could be more difficult. The Mountaineers hand over offensive duties to many newcomers and un-tested returnees. And while the defensive unit appears to be the shining light of the squad, it's a question of will they be overworked.
All indications are West Virginia had an excellent camp and is ready for the opener. A blowout would surprise me -- so we'll call this one closer than the experts think.
  West Virginia 37-24  
Jane Donovan
Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
Sing with me, now: It's the most wonderful time of the year! Well, if Staples can sing that about back-to-school sales, I can certainly sing it about football season. Good grief, it's a long time from January to September. Enough of ESPN talking heads. Enough speculating about the new Mountaineer offense and the returning big boys of the Mountaineer defense. Enough, enough, enough. It's finally time to fire up the grill for tailgating and snap the ball.
  West Virginia 35-14  
Connor Murray
Last Week: - Season: 0-0 Point Differential: --
This will not be your run of the mill, cupcake season opener for West Virginia. Overlooking a tough team like Georgia Southern could prove disastrous for the Mountaineers, but I don't think anyone in WVU's locker room will be doing that. West Virginia's coaching staff has been getting its players primed for this matchup for months, so this team should be chomping at the bit for live game action. The Eagles gave two ACC teams, NC State and Georgia Tech, quite the scare in 2014, losing those two games by a combined five points. Head coach Willie Fritz has made sure everyone knows his team is not interested in moral victories on its trip to Morgantown. The Eagles are fully confident in their ability to spring an upset, and they should be. This game will be close throughout, but West Virginia's offense will start to click in the latter stages and its defense will do enough to stop the Eagles' unique offensive set.
  West Virginia 33-20  

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