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Mike Handzelek's 8 Star CFB Opening Play


By: Point Shaver Handzelek
Date: Sep 1, 2022
   
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Let's remember that it's a "tread lightly" approach early on in the CFB season until teams solidify their lineups. Hopefully, COVID-19 protocols won't radically jumble rosters like it did the past 2 seasons. Nevertheless, this renewal of the "Backyard Brawl" is BACK (for the 105th time) with these 2 tangling for the first time since 2011 (WV @ -7 winning by 1, 21-20). In fact, the dog has covered 4 of the last 5 meetings and in 4 of the last 5, the game has been decided by 4 or less. For this one, the Mountaineers return 11 starters while the Panthers bring back 15. IN CFB, QB'ing is HUGE! I'm not a big believer in either starter but I have to give a slight nod to ex-Georgia/USC signal-caller J.T. Daniels (after Jarret Doege went into the transfer portal landing in Troy via Western Kentucky) over the more-sporadic ex-USC QB Kedon Slovis. What I DO like here is the re-uniting of ex-USC OC Graham Harrell with Daniels who was under his tutelage there. Daniels has 2 excellent wideouts back in Bryce Ford-Wheaton & Sam James who should combine for at least 1,500 yards this season. I'm looking for HC Neal Brown (4th season @ WV since coming over from SBC entry Troy) to rally his troops with full focus having just home games with Kansas & Towson immediately on deck. On the flip side, HC Pat Narduzzi (8th season with a 12-18-2 ATS record as a home favorite) & Pittsburgh has the 2nd edition of the Johnny Majors classic (Pitt won 41-34 @ Neyland Stadium LY) on deck @ Heinz Field when they meet Tennessee (their biggest game of the 1st 7 weeks of the season). My bottom line says West Virginia has had that knack for covering early (10-3 ATS in September). The new-look Panthers' offense is a work in progress with talented QB Kenny Pickett off to the Steelers & with WR Jordan Addison transferring to Southern Cal). I feel getting points in that double-digit range should be enough to get you back to the window with a winning ticket. Let's go to that Kentucky Blue Grass of Heinz Field to play the visiting WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS (buying to + 10 1/2) as my 8 Star CFB Opening Play! (WIN)
 


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