Alabama Crimson Tide (0-0) at West Virginia Mountaineers (0-0)
|Date & Time||Saturday August 30, 2014, 3:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: West Virginia Mountaineers +27 -- Over/Under: 54
The West Virginia Mountaineers and the Alabama Crimson Tide face off on Saturday in Atlanta as they kick off their 2014 college football seasons.
The West Virginia Mountaineers are simply used to being a better program than they showed last season and anything resembling the 4-8 record they put together should mean an exit for Head Coach Dan Holgorsen. The WVU offense didn’t get it done last season but when we look back they beat Oklahoma State and TCU but lost in OT to Texas and Iowa State and wins in those two would have made them bowl eligible. Clint Trickett, the Florida State transfer, is back at QB but he may be on a short leash as WVU has several other capable QB’s on the roster. We should see more running for West Virginia this season as RB is a strength with Wendell Smallwood and Rushel Shell among others. Dakiel Shorts and Kevin White are back at WR but WVU struggled to find the endzone last season. The Guards are the strength of the OL and as Mark Glowinski and Quinton Spain are the returning starters. Defensively West Virginia should be greatly improved in the secondary that gave up yards easily last season as Karl Joseph is back and athletes surround him. West Virginia has never been short on athletes and I expect this team to be much better this season, as they just need to take advantage of their chances.
The expectations for the Alabama Crimson Tide are always high and this year is no different for Nick Saban’s team. With A.J. McCarron gone the QB spot is still unsettled between Florida State transfer Jacob Coker and dual threat Blake Sims who has waited three years for his turn behind McCarron. Both have looked sharp in camp but there is no leader meaning we may see both this season. T.J. Yeldon is back in the Alabama backfield and as usual the Tide will have a stable of running backs with Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. At WR Amari Cooper is a preseason All American and DeAndrew White is NFL ready. Austin Shepherd and Ryan Kelly are the returning starters on the OL but Bama has been strong up front for quite some time. Speaking of beef up front Brandon Ivory is on the nose for an Alabama defense that lost plenty and has a ton of talent on the roster while A’Shawn Robinson returns to bring the heat on opposing QB’s. Trey DePriest retrns on the inside at LB and the Tide have serval options for the other spots and we should see several different names. Landon Collins is the only returning starter in the Alabama secondary but he is a good one and will have to help with the rest of the inexperienced group. Alabama has plenty of talent and a top notch coaching staff but will it be enough against a brutal schedule with road games at LSU and Ole Miss.
West Virginia is 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games, 1-6 against the spread in their alst seven neutral site games, and 0-6 against the spread in their last six non-conference games. Alabama is 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 neutral site games, 5-2 against the Big 12, and 0-3-1 against the spread in their last four games.
To me this line just looks to big as West Virginia should be a lot better, Alabama will probably be taking a small step back, at least early in the season, and nearly four touchdowns is a lot of points. WVU lost plenty last year but for the most part, all of the losses were within reasonable numbers with the exception of the Baylor game and Alabama ended their season losing by 14 to Oklahoma who beat West Virginia by 9, but really this is a different year. I don’t love this one but with the public likely to be overwhelmingly on an Alabama team that has excelled in games they have had a long time to prepare for, I am willing to take a chance on the other side with the boatload of points and the Mountaineers.
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