Predictions for This Weekend’s Games

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Virginia Tech has a much-needed bye this week, but a number of games should
have the Hokies’ attention. Everyone will be watching the USC-Notre Dame
clash, but Hokie fans should also be paying attention to the Texas-Colorado game
for a possible upset. The ACC has a couple of big games, the foremost being the
FSU-UVA battle, which the Wahoos desperately need to win to salvage the season.
I’ll give my predictions and also take a quick look back at the Marshall game
from last week.

An e-mail snafu prevented the Projections article from being published last
week, but I’ll give you a look at how the projections came out:


Virginia Tech at Marshall

Virginia Tech

Marshall

Projected

Actual

Projected

Actual
First Downs 18 25 13 20
Rushing Attempts – Yards 42-137 42-233 25-57 44-164
Passing Completions – Attempts 14-24 12-18 19-34 14-28
Passing Yards 201 176 170 117
Turnovers 1 1 2 2
Sacks By 3 3 3 2

Projected scoring:



Marshall          0    3    0    0  —  3
Virginia Tech 14 10 13 7 — 44

VT – Humes 16 yd run (Pace kick)
VT – Morgan 18 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick)
MU – O’Connor 33 yd FG
VT – King 4 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick)
VT – Pace 34 yd FG
VT – Pace 29 yd FG
VT – Ore 3 yd run (Pace kick)
VT – Pace 42 yd FG
VT – Gilchrist 31 yd pass from Holt (Pace kick)

Actual scoring:


Marshall        0    7    0    7 —  14
Virginia Tech 7 7 20 7 — 41

VT – Humes 11 yd run (Pace kick)
MU – Bradshaw 13 yd run (O’Connor kick)
VT – Ore 14 yd run (Pace kick)
VT – Pace 19 yd FG
VT – Hall 15 yd fumble recovery (Pace kick)
VT – Clowney 48 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick)
VT – Pace 23 yd FG
VT – Bell 2 yd run (Pace kick)
MU – Small 17 yd pass from Morris (O’Connor kick)

The statistical projections were off by a fair amount last week; mostly
because the difference in schedule difficulty between the two teams distorts the
comparative statistical model that I use. Also, Marshall surprised everyone by
coming out running the ball with surprising success. The Thundering Herd had an
interesting game plan by using delayed runs, which took advantage of Tech’s
linebackers dropping to anticipate the pass and double-teaming our nose tackle
(generally Jonathan Lewis) to open up the middle. Tech adjusted at half-time by
blitzing and attacking more which put more pressure up the middle and
effectively stopped the run. On offense, Tech was able to establish the run
behind Brandon Ore, who saw even more action than anticipated because of the
broken arm suffered by Cedric Humes. Ore and George Bell ran well behind an

improving offensive line and Tech came close to reaching the predicted score,
minus the late meaningless score by Marshall.

Since Tech has a bye this week, Hokie fans will get the chance to check out a
number of games on TV this week, several that will potentially have a big impact
on Tech’s future.

Around the ACC

I actually picked all of the ACC games correctly last week (Really – I have
witnesses!).

The game of the week pits the talented Seminoles against a beat-up Virginia
squad that desperately needs a big win to save the season. UVA will likely
struggle moving the ball consistently with a young, make-shift offensive line
going against one of the better defensive fronts in college football. Marques
Hagans will need to have a huge day and the UVA receivers need to make plays for
the Cavaliers to put some points on the board. UVA’s hope is to neutralize FSU’s
talented backs and force Drew Weatherford into making mistakes in the passing
game. I believe this game will be much closer than most project, but Florida
State will pull out the game late – FSU by 4.

Wake Forest (2-4) at Boston College (5-1)

The Demon Deacons knocked off the Eagles last year, but BC’s talented
linebackers should be able to hold down Wake’s running game this year and
Boston College should be able to pound the ball on the ground against the much
smaller Wake Forest defensive line. I see BC winning running away – BC by 20.

Georgia Tech (3-2) at Duke (1-5)

The Rambling Wreck need to rebound from the disappointing loss last week
against N.C. State, and what better team to face than the ACC’s doormat, Duke.
Georgia Tech will start slowly, but has too much talent for the Blue Devils –
GT by 18.

Miami (4-1) at Temple (0-6)

One of the best teams in college football plays one of the worst, so this
game has all the makings of a total rout – Miami by 47.

Other Big Games around the Nation

I didn’t fare well last week in my picks for the other big games around the
nation, going 3-4, with misses on the Ohio State-Penn State, Georgia-Tennessee,
Michigan-Minnesota, and Oregon-Arizona State games. I called the Texas-Oklahoma,
Texas Tech-Nebraska, and UCLA-California games correctly, but overall this was
not one of my better weeks. This week has a number of headliners that should
have a lot of Hokie fans’ interest, the foremost being critical battles by the
two teams ranked ahead of Tech right now – USC and Texas.

USC (5-0) at Notre Dame (4-1)

The key to this game appears to be the Fighting Irish secondary’s ability
to hold down the high-powered Trojan passing game and I just don’t see that
happening. USC will run up some big numbers and, despite the Notre Dame offense
generating considerable yardage on offense, the Trojans will register a
relatively easy win in a high-scoring battle – USC by 16.

Colorado (4-1) at. Texas (5-0)

While most football analysts see more potential in a Notre Dame upset of USC,
I believe that Colorado may have a better chance of knocking off Texas. The
Longhorns are coming off a big emotional win over Oklahoma and are more primed
for a let down than USC, in my opinion. Colorado is a much-improved team that
just demolished Texas A&M, so they are coming into the game with increased
confidence. I see this game being close until the fourth quarter when Vince
Young takes over and leads the Longhorns to a come-from-behind win, though I
certainly wouldn’t count out an upset in a match-up that will likely be
repeated in the Big 12 championship game.

Florida (5-1) at LSU (3-1)

The Gators have their second tough road contest in the past three weeks and
will meet a fired-up LSU squad returning home. Florida should play a much better
game than two weeks ago against Alabama, but the Tigers will have too much
emotion, not to mention talent, for the Gators – LSU by 10.

Michigan State (4-1) at Ohio State (3-2)

In a key Big 10 match-up, the Spartans high-powered passing attack invades
Columbus. I see Ohio State’s talented defense holding down Michigan State and
the Buckeyes will generate just enough offense to win – Ohio State by 10.

Wisconsin (5-1) at Minnesota (5-1)

Another critical game in the highly-competitive Big 10 pits two of the best
runners in the country against one another – Brian Calhoun for Wisconsin and
Laurence Maroney for Minnesota. I see the Golden Gophers coming out on top by
about a touchdown in a good contest.

Penn State (6-0) at Michigan (3-3)

The Nittany Lions remain the only undefeated team in the Big 10 after the big
win over Ohio State, but they have to travel to Ann Arbor this weekend. Michigan
has their “backs to the wall” and should come out inspired and I have to
believe that Penn State could suffer a let down after the big win last week;
thus, I see Michigan coming out on top by 13, further confusing the Big 10 race.

Louisville (4-1) over West Virginia (5-1)

While Virginia Tech fans will surely want West Virginia to win (to improve
our strength of schedule), I can’t see the Mountaineers pass defense holding
down Brian Brohm and the Cardinals’ passing attack. In potentially the
game-of-the-year in the Big East, I see Louisville winning by 11 in a
high-scoring battle.

James Madison (4-1) at Massachusetts (4-1)

In a big 1-AA match-up, the Dukes travel to Amherst to take on the Minutemen
in an important Atlantic 10 contest. James Madison looks strong again this year
and Massachusetts has been impressive to date, but I see the Dukes coming out on
top by 2 in a very good game. In other 1-AA games involving teams from the
Commonwealth, I have William & Mary as 7 point favorites over Northeastern;
Richmond will fall to Delaware by 9; and VMI will lose to Wofford by 15.

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