By Brad Carroll
The best part of the opening week of the college football season is the games keep coming and coming. It started on Thursday and has continued right on through a huge Saturday. But we’re not done yet, as three more big games are on tap for Sunday and Monday nights.
Our college football experts have been working overtime in bringing you previews and picking the best games of the week against the point spread, but nobody is complaining. Below are breakdowns of the two big matchups on Sunday and the other on Monday. Check out our Thursday and Friday previews and picks here and our Saturday previews and picks here.
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No. 22 West Virginia vs. No. 21 Virginia Tech, at Landover, Maryland, 7:30, ABC
The Spread: Virginia Tech -4.5
Matt's Breakdown: Will Grier tries to get his career back on track as the new quarterback of the Mountaineers, and will look to make a big first impression after his suspension and transfer from Florida. The question, as usual, will be whether or not West Virginia can stop anyone. Fortunately for the Mountaineers, they open the year against a Hokies' squad with lots of questions on offense. On most days, Virginia Tech's defense will be able to make up for the offense's struggles. Not against a Big 12 contender, however. WVU should roll in this one.
Brad’s Final: West Virginia 38, Virginia Tech 31 (West Virginia)
Craig’s Final: West Virginia 24, Virginia Tech 21 (West Virginia)
Glenn’s Final: West Virginia 38, Virginia Tech 21 (West Virginia)
Matt's Final: West Virginia 34, Virginia Tech 14 (West Virginia)
Texas A&M at UCLA, 7:30, FOX
The Spread: UCLA -4
Brad’s Breakdown: Both storied programs lost four of their last five games to end last season, and that has put both Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin and UCLA’s Jim Mora on the hot seat. One of those seats will be scorching come Sunday night, while the other may have just saved his job altogether. If you’re an NFL fan of a team in need of a potential franchise quarterback (hello, Jets fans), this game is must watch, as UCLA’s Josh Rosen could be the best of the bunch in next year’s draft. Rosen could light up an Aggies secondary that was terrible last year. For Texas A&M, it did beat UCLA in last year’s season opener, 31-24, in overtime. Christian Kirk is back at quarterback and the Aggies have a pair of running backs to lean on. But this night should belong to Rosen and the Bruins.
Brad’s Final: UCLA 34, Texas A&M 28 (UCLA)
Craig’s Final: UCLA 35, Texas A&M 27 (UCLA)
Glenn’s Final: UCLA 37, Texas A&M 27 (UCLA)
Matt’s Final: Texas A&M 30, UCLA 28 (Texas A&M)
No. 25 Tennessee vs. Georgia Tech, at Atlanta, 8, ESPN
The Spread: Tennessee -4
Brad’s Breakdown: Georgia Tech’s option-based offense gets the national stage Monday night, but it might not be as sharp as it will be in a couple weeks, as the Yellowjackets have a new quarterback and have to get by without last year’s top running back Dedrick Miles, who was dismissed for violating athletic department rules. He had 12 touchdowns last year, so that turn of events from less than two weeks ago will hurt. Tennessee is coming into the season needing a big win, and lots of them, for head coach Butch Jones to not only push the Volunteers into the contenders group, but to save his job as well. Tennessee is breaking in a new quarterback, in Quinten Dormady, but should have more than enough offense overall to get the opening win at the Atlanta Falcons’ new stadium.
Brad’s Final: Tennessee 28, Georgia Tech 20 (Tennessee)
Craig’s Final: Tennessee 27, Georgia Tech 14 (Tennessee)
Glenn’s Final: Tennessee 42, Georgia Tech 20 (Tennessee)
Matt’s Final: Tennessee 31, Georgia Tech 20 (Tennessee)