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FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, West Virginia's T.J. Simmons runs downfield with the ball during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Simmons is the top returning wide receiver on a unit that lost most of its production from last season. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson, File)
FILE - In this Sept. 29, 2018, file photo, West Virginia's T.J. Simmons runs downfield with the ball during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Texas Tech in Lubbock, Texas. Simmons is the top returning wide receiver on a unit that lost most of its production from last season. (AP Photo/Brad Tollefson, File)|Associated Press
NCAAF

Big12 college football: Eckel picks James Madison vs West Virginia and thinks the Mountaineers may be in for a tough day

Game time is 2 pm EDT.

Mark Eckel

James Madison at West Virginia (-7 1/2), 2 p.m.

You know the old gambling saying that “The line tells you something’’? This one is screaming at you.

West Virginia, generally a contender in the powerful Big 12, hosting a FCS school and the line is only a touchdown and a hook?

They are begging the novice bettors to jump all over the Mountaineers.

Look, before you leap.

West Virginia, under new head coach Neal Brown, will not be a factor in the conference this year. It will be a surprise if the Mountaineers are even bowl eligible. Brown has just three starters back on offense from last year’s high-scoring team. There are six starters back on defense, but that might not be a good thing.

James Madison, always a FCS power, also has a new head coach in Curt Cignetti, who comes over from Elon to replace Mike Houston, who left for East Carolina. The Dukes, however, return 19 starters, including quarterback Ben DiNucci, who began at Pitt before transferring to JMU. They also get back NFL prospect Rashard Robinson, who missed all of last season with a foot injury, at cornerback.

This game is a little personal for me. Some of my new closest friends are WVU grads and die-hard fans. My daughter is a JMU grad.

You know what they say about blood and water, right?

The Pick: James Madison + 7 1/2

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