Staff picks: Mountaineers should handle Vols

Allan Taylor

West Virginia 38-20 —Barring a three-INT day by Will Grier or a couple fumbled punts, West Virginia will exit Charlotte 1-0 and Jeremy Pruitt will start his head coaching career 0-1. Tennessee boasts an assortment of talents but needs time to enact its culture change and restore swagger. For this week at least, it doesn’t matter whether it’s Pruitt, Greg Schiano or Robert Neyland on the sidelines. The Mountaineers take care of business.

Other predictions

  • Auburn 26, Washington 17
  • Florida State 31, VaTech 24
  • Notre Dame 22, Michigan 20
  • Miami 28, LSU 23
  • Alabama 34, Louisville 17
  • Oklahoma 38, FAU 24
  • Marshall 24, Miami, Ohio 23
Randy Gyorko

West Virginia 36-20 — The eyes of the nation will be fixated on Will Grier, David Sills, Gary Jennings and WVU’s potent offense. The eyes of West Virginians will be focused on Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson and his “Dawgs” on defense. If they hold up their end of the bargain, the preseason hype will be justified. Luckily for them, Peyton Manning isn’t walking through that door. Heck, Casey Clausen isn’t walking through that door.

Other predictions

  • Washington 31, Auburn 27
  • Florida State 27, VaTech 23
  • Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20
  • Miami 27, LSU 13
  • Alabama 35, Louisville 10
  • Oklahoma 47, FAU 17
  • Marshall 34, Miami, Ohio 28
Brad Howe

West Virginia 42-27 — I think this is a big situational advantage for West Virginia. Tennessee is trying to rebuild after a disastrous 2017 season. The Vols have a first-time head coach and will be implementing a new scheme on each side of the ball. West Virginia counters with perhaps the best quarterback in the nation and a loaded group of receivers. The offensive firepower from West Virginia is the difference in this one.

Other predictions

  • Washington 27, Auburn 24
  • Florida State 35, VaTech 27
  • Michigan 24, Notre Dame 23
  • Miami 24, LSU 20
  • Alabama 45, Louisville 20
  • Oklahoma 48, FAU 24
  • Miami, Ohio 28, Marshall 24
Hoppy Kercheval

West Virginia 41-24 — We saw last year how good the WVU offense can be under Will Grier, and now Grier, OC Jake Spavital and the rest of the offense have had more time to prepare. Rocky Top has renewed optimism because of the coaching change, but it’s a long way back for a team that won just four games last year and has only one player (offensive lineman Trey Smith) among the SEC’s preseason first, second and third teams.

Other predictions

  • Auburn 21, Washington 17
  • Florida State 34, Va Tech 24
  • Michigan 28, Notre Dame 13
  • Miami 24, LSU 17
  • Alabama 34, Louisville 14
  • Oklahoma 42, FAU 31
  • Marshall 34, Miami, Ohio 31
Kyle Wiggs

West Virginia 35-21 — Tennessee will be good again  — eventually. But Game 1 is too soon to expect much from a young Volunteers team that has 11 freshman and newcomers in its two-deep. Will Grier should feast upon a secondary that will play two freshman cornerbacks. Blessed with top-shelf receivers and a nice offensive line, expect Grier to deliver an exceptional performance that gets his Heisman Trophy campaign jump-started.

Other predictions

  • Auburn 28, Washington 24
  • Florida State 23, VaTech 20
  • Michigan 24, Notre Dame 21
  • Miami 24, LSU 20
  • Alabama 40, Louisville 20
  • Oklahoma 42, FAU 22
  • Marshall 30, Miami, Ohio 24
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