By Brad Carroll
The weekend might be over, but that doesn't mean we have to wait another week for a big dose of college football. The college version of Monday Night Football wraps up Week 1 with a matchup featuring the No. 1 team in the nation, Ohio State, going against the only team to defeat it during last year's national title run, Virginia Tech. So, it should be one heck of a finish to the opening week of college football.
As we will with every big game this season, every single week, we preview and our four college football experts pick winners against the spread. Check out our Thursday, Friday and Saturday college football picks columns at the links, and make sure to bookmark our site so you never miss our college football coverage.
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But without further delay, here's our preview and picks for Monday night's Ohio State at Virginia Tech game.
No. 1 Ohio State at Virginia Tech, 8 p.m., ESPN
The Spread: Ohio State -14; Virginia Tech +14
Brad's Analysis: Ohio State looked anything but national championship caliber when it was blown out of its own building by Virginia Tech in the second game of the season, losing 35-21. After that loss, no one could have predicted the Buckeyes would go on to win the national title, let alone qualify for the College Football Playoff. But that's exactly what happened, as the Buckeyes caught fire late, winning 59-0 over Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game, upsetting Alabama by a touchdown in the playoff tournament, before beating Oregon in the title game 42-20. The crazy part of Ohio State's run is it came one year ahead of schedule, as this was supposed to be the year the Buckeyes contended for a title, not last. That's scary for the rest of the country. Ohio State has two Heisman candidates on offense, including running back Ezekiel Elliott, who became an unstoppable star late in the year, and quarterback J.T. Barrett, who held off challenges from Braxton Miller and Cardale Jones, who started the team's games in the playoff, to start. Whoever is in at quarterback, Virginia Tech is going to have a tough time stopping the Buckeyes. Barrett did throw three interceptions last year against the Hokies, however. He likely won't get the chance to throw three picks again, as Jones would likely be off the bench in a hurry to lead the team if Barrett struggles. Virginia Tech went just 7-6 last year and has been mediocre the past several years. It's got so bad with the Hokies that coach Frank Beamer became the butt of jokes when he celebrated after last year's game against Wake Forest headed to overtime tied 0-0. It ended with a 6-3 loss in double overtime. Virginia Tech winning last year's game will give Ohio State all the motivation it needs to blow out the host team and send a message to the rest of the nation.
Brad's Score: Ohio State 45, Virginia Tech 24
Craig's Score: Ohio State 24, Virginia Tech 20
Glenn's Score: Ohio State 56, Virginia Tech 21
Matt's Score: Ohio State 45, Virginia Tech 20