Hey everybody, I am new to Pregame and have been enjoying the site very much. I'm a West Virginia fan who enjoys betting sports. Here are my thoughts on their first game. Keep in mind there exists the distinct possibility I am completely wrong.
This is going to be an interesting game. West Virginia (WV) has a new head coach, Dana Holgorson. Holgorson was previously an offensive coordinator at Texas Tech, Houston, and Oklahoma St. Wherever he has been his offenses have flourished and have ranked very high nationally. Geno Smith returns at QB for WV, he had a very good season last year and I expect him to put up monster numbers this year. He will probably receive some Heisman votes. WV has skilled WR’s including Tavon Austin, who is capable of taking it to the house every time he touches the ball. The RB situation is unsettled but all there will be plenty of speed at the position. This offense will be explosive; there is no doubt about that. The only question is how long it will take to click. I remember reading it only took Holgorson 2 days to install the new system and the players were picking it up easily but nothing is ever as easy as it seems....
Jeff Casteel returns as defensive coordinator for WV although there will be 7 new starters on defense. Casteel’s defense was terrific last year. It relies heavily on speed and the new starters all seem to possess that quality. Keith Tandy is an excellent DB and Bruce Irvin is possibly the best pass rusher in the country. Irvin led the Big East in sacks last year with 14 while only playing on third down. This year he will be a full time player. But once again the issue is how fast they will gel as a unit.
Marshall has a solid defense but more importantly they have a couple other factors working in their favor. Their head coach Doc Holliday has a long history as an assistant coach at WV and was even WV's recruiting coordinator as recently as 2009, before leaving to become the HC at Marshall. He will be very familiar with WV’s roster and extra motivated to have his team play well. Motivation is extremely important in this game. Marshall, for those who don’t know, is located in southern West Virginia. Marshall and its fans feel like the little brother to West Virginia University's program which is larger and more successful. It means more for Marshall to beat West Virginia than vice versa. West Virginia considers Pitt its biggest rival, not Marshall. You have to be careful when betting WVU-Marshall games. I remember a few years ago WV’s basketball team had an amazing season under coach Beilein and made it to the Elite 8. Did they cover the spread when they played Marshall (not a good basketball team) that season? Nope, they lost outright. Here is a football example that might be more relevant: last year WV beat Marshall by 3….in OT.
I think WV will win this game but the spread of 21 points seems too high. I believe part of the reason for this is the public perception that WV will have such a high powered offense combined with the fact that Marshall is not well respected by the betting public. In my opinion there are too many unknowns and uncertainties to lay 21 points week 1 against an in state rival with a chip on its shoulder coached by a former WV staff member.
Nice writeup and well written; who says hillbillies are unedumecated? (pun on me as well)
Welcome to PG - DubV.
I personally stayed away from this game for reasons you stated and d/t the fact that mtn'ears have pissed on my leg many times before when laying chalk. Seems to be a new energy on campus though w/ installment of new HC and maybe more in focus. LY memba WVa goofing on the sidelines after several turnovers - irk.
All joking aside; my review of this game indicated a big mismatch in talent in favor of west and really felt like 'neers could drive hard here and cover the line. Wasn't sure if heaping in on to instate foe would serve purpose, and (as you stated) Marshall will be highly motivated here to "give it there all." Ultimately I felt like the breakaway speed (you mentioned) for 'neers would start to pile on, and felt like this line was adequate; 18-21 pts. Marshall looks to have difficulty moving the ball as well; so felt like things may get outta hand if 'neers pump up the jam 1st quarter. So in essence, I stayed away from this game; as I could state a case either way.
The line seems to moving in WVa favor (no surprise) and may be a touch inflated. I would not be surprised to see a 17 pt. winner by the 'neers here and Thundering Herd get the cover. Always a little dicey w/ said changes coming out of the gate in how an offense will perform; esp. in a "tune up" game. Adversely, the 'neers could have damaged part of their "overinflated spread value" LY when they kept tripping over themselves. As you stated WVa/Marshall overtime and one year later chalking 21? But 'neers at home w/ much more talent and speed should not be in same position this year. FWIW, I had this game at WVA (-18).
GL w/ your wager and once again, welcome to pregame.com. - rbf
If I would bet this game I would do the same. This is one of those I leave alone.
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Norfolk St. at West Virginia 9/10/11
I can't find a line anywhere on this game but I will still share some thoughts on the matchup. Dana Holgorson has said the area that W.V. needs to improve on the most from the Marshall game is blocking. He was not happy with how the team blocked as a whole, specifically the WR's and RB's. Look for W.V. to run the ball more than they normally do to try and improve this aspect before next week’s game at Maryland and the following week vs LSU.
What is most interesting about this week’s game is that Norfolk St. runs similar schemes to W.V. Defensively they run the same scheme that WV's defense does. Norfolk State's defensive coordinator Mark DeBastiani and W.V.'s defensive coordinator Jeff Casteel are buddies. Casteel coached him at Shepherd, and so schematically they are going to be extremely similar. Also former Mountaineer defensive end Mark Thurston oversees the Norfolk St. defensive linemen. Norfolk St. won’t be surprising W.V. with anything it does on either side of the ball. Norfolk St. has a very accurate QB but he is not used to facing defenses with as much speed as W.V.
On offense Norfolk St. uses a passing system very similar to what Holgorson uses with W.V. They spread it, use motion, and run the ball with a motion guy just like W.V. does. I believe this translates into a great advantage for W.V.'s defense as they are used to going up against the W.V. offense in practice. They should have no problems shutting down a lesser talented opponent with a similar style on offense.
With games coming up against Maryland and LSU I doubt Holgorson will open up the offensive playbook just yet. Combine that with the fact that W.V. will want to fix its running game and the W.V. defense will likely dominate and the under would seem to be a good play. If there was a line of course.
West Virginia at Maryland, Sat. Sept 17th
Line: Maryland -1
This is WV’s first true test of the season. The line is moving in Maryland’s (MD) favor despite a slightly higher ticket count on WV. The reason for this I believe is because WV has been unable to run the ball with any success in its first 2 games. WV is currently ranked 109th in CFB in the running game. The thinking is that WV won’t be able to keep teams honest and opposing defenses will solely focus on shutting down the passing game. This is what Norfolk St. was able to do in the 1st half last week against WV with great success. Combine this with the fact that MD beat a talented, though somewhat depleted Miami team and you can see why money is coming in on MD at home.
However, I think the smart play in this game is on WV. Back in June this line opened up with WV as 4 point favorites and I believe that number is closer to a true line than is MD -1. WV installed an entirely new offense and it needs time to click. Each day of practice that goes by WV becomes more cohesive and effective as an offensive unit. Also, a very key factor that is being overlooked is the fact that MD defensive coordinator Todd Bradford was the linebackers coach at Oklahoma St. from 2005 to 2007, while Dana Holgorsen was the offensive coordinator at Texas Tech. In 2007 Holgorsen’s offense put up 49 points against Bradford and Okl St. The point being that Holgorsen is going up against a defensive coordinator he is familiar with, which is an advantage for the Mountaineers.
WV has yet to give up a defensive touchdown this season so look for MD to have a hard time putting it in the end zone. This is WV’s first road game of the season but I actually think that will be an advantage for them. Holgerson has said he feels that the expectations for the offense were so high that some of the players were probably overreaching in an effort to live up to them. I get the sense that there will actually be less pressure for them on the road where they won’t be trying to over perform in front of the home crowd. While MD is an experienced team I think the fact that they have had so much time off since the Miami game works against them. I should note I am somewhat concerned about Tavon Austin’s hand, which may or may not be 100 percent as Holgerson refused to discuss the injury at his press conference. Nonetheless, look for WV to win this game.
The Pick: West Virginia +1
Hey brother, info that hasnt been released and I'm not sure how they get away with it. T. Austin has a broken thumb which is going to hurt their value a little bit. That kid makes a big difference in the overall scheme. Thought you should know.
The Pick: West Virginia +1
I thought this was the fishiest line of the week. Was dumbfounded that vegas had the balls to chalk Mary here, as I felt neers were overall the better team. Terps had convincing win over canes; but lots of bad press in cuba prior to that event; and I guess Miami is just going to be a habitual dumpster fire.
WVa w/ new HC 'son always has a fuse lit and can turn it on once on a roll. I thought the run game was fair against Marsh and didn't watch the other game; but had to figure motivation was rather low. They let the folk hang round; but buried by game's end. Their defense seems middle of the pack; but schedule should bode well. Don't they have LSU on deck? Not impotent really, as I see full focus in this contest.
Mary appeared scattered brained; and really felt like the canes just handed them the keys in that one. Just sit back and let cuba north f-it-up and cash in on their eggnorance. There defense looked more impressive than I imagined - but still middle of the pack as well. Actually, the most impressive or repressive thing I noticed about the turtles; was their uniform change. It looked exciting and flashy; and maybe distracted 'cane showboaters. Don't think it fools coal tho', and scheme for 'son's offense in full swing now.
In short: I agree, but felt hesitant backing miners on first road game under new regime. Do feel like they are the better team; didn't see a blowout per say, but wouldn't be suprised to see a 10 pt win. I'm going to wait and see how hillbillies handle the hard top here; and travel to nat cap outskirts. Good luck to you!!
Nice writeup brother, keep it coming...........luv the inside take on the 'neers.
agree w/both you guys...taking WV all day
LSU (-5) at West Virginia, Sat. Sept 24th
This will be West Virginia's biggest game of the season. It has been announced that ESPN College Gameday will be on campus and that kickoff will be at 8 p.m. on ABC. While WV has skill players such as Geno Smith, Ivan McCartney, and Tavon Austin who are just as talented as anyone on LSU's roster, the overall talent disparity in my opinion is too great to justify the line on this game.
The bottom line is that LSU will be too much for WVU to handle on both sides of the ball. The atmosphere in Morgantown for this game will be intense, and while this could probably rattle lesser teams, it won't be anything LSU isn't used to and can't handle. I wanted to get this pick posted as soon as possible as I was surprised when I saw the opening number as my true line for this game is closer to LSU -10. Also, in case anyone is interested I am hearing that WV has submitted its paper work to join the SEC.
The Pick: LSU -5