West Virginia vs Pitt prediction, game preview, how to watch. Week 1, Thursday, September 1
West Virginia vs Pitt How To Watch
Date: Thursday, September 1
Game Time: 7:00 ET
Venue: Acrisure Stadium, Pittsburgh, PA
How To Watch: ESPN
Record: West Virginia (0-0), Pitt (0-0)
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West Virginia vs Pitt Game Preview
Why West Virginia Will Win
In the battle of USC quarterbacks, West Virginia might have landed the best of the bunch.
It’s not like the Mountaineer offense was all that bad last year, but it wasn’t consistent. Now it’s about to crank things up a few notches with former USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell getting to coach up JT Daniels, the former Trojan super-recruit who got hurt, went to Georgia, got hurt, and landed in Morgantown with the upside to put up a massive season if he can stay healthy.
The West Virginia front five is loaded with all-star veterans and should be the best yet in the Neal Brown era. There’s going to be a big problem for the home team if the secondary – that’s always feast-or-famine under Pat Narduzzi, giving up 264 yards per game last season – doesn’t get enough help from the line.
When he’s in a groove, Daniels is a special talent, the Mountaineer defense should be every bit as strong as last year’s bunch that allowed just 350 yards per game, but …
Why Pitt Will Win
The West Virginia offensive line has to prove it.
It might be experienced, and it might be better, but it also didn’t do much of anything last year for the running game and was the worst in the Big 12 in sacks and tackles for loss allowed.
There’s no time to gear up – the Pitt defensive front lives rent free in opposing backfields.
The Panthers were No. 1 in the ACC against the run – granted, that’s because everyone was busy throwing on the questionable secondary – was second in the nation behind Oklahoma State in sacks, and was fifth in the country in tackles for loss.
Start with Habakkuk Baldonado on the outside, Calijah Kancey on the inside, and a linebacking corps that gets all over the field, and Daniels and the rest of the backfield are going to be under a whole bunch of pressure all game long.
And on the other side …
What’s Going To Happen
That Kedon Slovis guy is pretty good.
The Panthers might not have Kenny Pickett around anymore, and Jordan Addison might be off catching passes on the coast at USC, but Trojan transfer Slovis can carry the workload. He’s not going to have to do it all alone – there will be a bit more balance to keep everything moving.
The return of the Backyard Brawl will be worth the wait.
These two rivals haven’t played since 2011 – 21-20 West Virginia win. This time around, 21-20 might be the first half.
Daniels will take his share of shots both down the field and from the Pitt defensive front on the way to a huge passing day, but it won’t be quite enough to overcome a solid day from Slovis that will be a back-and-forth fight that goes down to the final drive.
West Virginia vs Pitt Prediction, Line
Pitt 34, West Virginia 30
Line: Pitt -6.5, o/u: 51.5
ATS Confidence out of 5: 2.5
West Virginia vs Pitt Must See Rating: 4
5: ‘Billie Jean’
1: Aidan Hutchinson’s rendition of ‘Billie Jean’