What’s one of the great things about the first week of college football? The NFL regular season hasn’t begun yet and the exhibition games are over. Thus we get a couple of NCAA games on Sunday. One features West Virginia taking on Virginia Tech. Both likely will be ranked in the lower half of the preseason Top 25 polls. The betting odds for their College Football Week 1 encounter favors the Mountaineers over the Hokies.
How to Bet Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia in College Football Week 1WatchESPN Radio: WZST-FM 100.9 (West Virginia) / ESPN-FM 101.3 FM (Virginia Tech) Opening College Football Week 1 Lines: Virginia Tech -4.5
Series HistoryYou have to schedule these big non-conference games years ahead of time, and these schools announced back on 2014 that they would open 2017 against one another at the home of the Washington Redskins. The former Big East rivals have faced one another 51 times, including every year between 1973 and 2005 when they competed annually for the Black Diamond Trophy, a reference to the region’s history with the coal industry. The rivalry came to an end temporarily, in part, because of fan-safety concerns and the Hokies’ move to the ACC. Tech owns a two-game winning streak in the series that dates back to 1912. The Hokies claimed a 34-17 victory in the most recent game in Morgantown in 2005 and also won a 19-13 decision against then-No. 6 West Virginia at Lane Stadium in 2004. Perhaps the most memorable contest in the series for Tech fans was a 22-20 victory in Morgantown on Nov. 6, 1999 when QB Michael Vick led a last-minute Hokies’ comeback that Shayne Graham capped with a 44-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. This will be Virginia Tech’s fourth game at FedEx Field. The Hokies are 0-3 in their previous visits, with losses to Southern California (2004), Boise State (2010) and Cincinnati (2012). West Virginia beat James Madison at FedEx Field in 2012 and then beat BYU there 35-32 last year.
- Total Meetings: 51
- First Meeting: November 16, 1912
- Last Meeting: October 1, 2005
- Trophy: Black Diamond Trophy
- All-Time Series: West Virginia leads, 28–22–1
- Largest Margin of Victory: Virginia Tech 41-0 (1912)
- Longest Win Streak: 7 (WVU)
- Current Win Streak: Virginia Tech with 2 (2004-2005)
Moved To SundayThis was originally to be played on Saturday, Sept. 2 but was moved to Sunday night for TV reasons. Smart decision rather than competing with a crowded Saturday slate that will feature prime-time matchups between Alabama-Florida State and Michigan-Florida. The only other game that Sunday is Texas A&M and UCLA. It’s the fourth time since 2010 that the Hokies will play a non-Saturday prime-time opener, although the first during that stretch on a Sunday. Last year’s lone College Football Week 1 Sunday game was a thriller, as Texas beat No. 10 Notre Dame 50-47 in double overtime.
Need To KnowThe Hokies are led by head coach Justin Fuente, who earned consensus ACC Coach of the Year honors in 2016, guiding the Hokies to a 10-4 record and the ACC Coastal Division title in his initial season in Blacksburg. Dating to the 1999 season — when Frank Beamer coached Virginia Tech to its first 11-win season and a berth in the national championship game — only Oklahoma (14) has registered more seasons with double-digit victories than Virginia Tech (12) among Power Five programs over that span. WVU is led by Coach Dana Holgorsen and finished 10-3 last year, losing to Miami in the Russell Athletic Bowl 31-14. There’s some real talent returning on the outside in senior receivers Ka’Run White and Shelton Gibson (22.1 yards per catch in 2016), not to mention a loaded offensive backfield: Justin Crawford (1,184 yards) returns, along with sophomores Martell Pettaway and Kennedy McKoy. The Mountaineers’ new starting quarterback will have weapons at his disposal.
Who Are The QBs?Will Grier is likely to replace the departed Skyler Howard as WVU’s starting quarterback. Grier was recently ruled eligible to play College Football Week 1. Grier transferred to West Virginia from Florida after being slapped with a one-year suspension by the NCAA for a positive PED test midway through his freshman season in 2015. Since he sat out all of last year, WVU pursued a waiver with the NCAA allowing Grier to play in Week 1 instead of Week 7 and the NCAA approved it. By the time West Virginia plays Virginia Tech, it will be nearly two years since Grier has played a down in a football game that counts. In the first game of his redshirt freshman year in 2015, Grier threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns. He was named the starter afterward. In his fourth start, Grier led Florida to a 28-27 win against rival Tennessee in a game the Gators trailed 27-14 with five minutes to play. He completed 23-of- 43 passes for 283 yards and two touchdowns. UF started 6-0 but then came the suspension. Tech lost Jerod Evans to the NFL. Josh Jackson, AJ Bush and Hendon Hooker are competing for the job. Jackson, a 6-foot- 1, 211-pound redshirt freshman, has a presumed leg up, simply based on being in Fuente’s system for a full year. Jackson didn’t play last year, but he dressed for every game while redshirting. Bush, a 6-foot- 4, 219-pound junior college transfer, isn’t new to college football, but is to Virginia Tech. The one-time Nebraska backup spent last fall at Iowa Western Community College. Hooker, a 6-foot- 4, 196-pound early enrollee from Greensboro, North Carolina, is new to college.
- Mountaineers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games.
- Mountaineers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
- Mountaineers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 neutral site games.
- Hokies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 Sunday games.
- Hokies are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall.