2005 Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Miami

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All eyes are on Blacksburg as the biggest game in college football thus far takes place on Saturday night. Forget
Texas-Ohio State, USC-Notre Dame, or Penn State-Ohio State, THE game in college football this year is taking place in
Lane Stadium. Miami versus Virginia Tech has become one of college football�s best rivalries, and no game between the
two schools has been bigger than this one.

ESPN GameDay is in town for the second weekend this season, and they are joined by ESPN Radio, ESPN � The Magazine,
ESPNU, and probably ESPN X, Y, and Z. Every major sports media outlet is in Blacksburg (good thing we have an expanded
press box) for the biggest football game to ever occur in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

With all of the media attention, we should expect an exciting, thrill-a-minute game, right? Not likely, since we have
the two best defenses in the nation squaring off. We will get to see a hard-hitting, knockdown, drag-out brawl between
two of the best heavyweights of the college football world. This game will undoubtedly be decided in the trenches and
the team that can win the battle at the line-of-scrimmage should come out on top.

But enough about what I think, let�s see what the computer says about the game:


2005 Projection
Virginia Tech Miami

First Downs
18 13

Rushing Attempts � Yards
46-163 31-96

Passing Completions � Attempts
11-21 12-25

Passing Yards
114 157

Turnovers
1 2

Sacks By
3 2

Precisely what I thought, both teams will try to control the ball on the ground with the Hokies having a significant
edge in rushing yardage. With both defenses being so dominant, the two teams will likely have conservative game plans to
prevent making the big mistakes that could change momentum. In games with two teams as evenly matched as Virginia Tech
and Miami are, the outcome is generally determined by field position, special teams, and big plays. This game should not
be an exception. The Hokies and Canes will both try to pound the ball down the other�s throat, with Virginia Tech
coming out on top.

Here�s my prediction on the scoring:

Miami          0  7  0  3 -- 10
Virginia Tech  3  7  3  3 -- 16

VT � Pace 28 yd FG UM � Moss 2 yd run (Peattie kick) VT � King 13 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick) VT � Pace 41 yd FG UM � Peattie 42 yd FG VT � Pace 39 yd FG

If that score looks familiar, it is identical to last year�s game. Let�s take a look back at the statistics from
last year to see if anything looks different from the statistical projection:


2004
Virginia Tech Miami

First Downs
15 7

Rushing Attempts � Yards
48-149 22-51

Passing Completions � Attempts
11-18 16-31

Passing Yards
148 139

Turnovers
2 2

Sacks By
3 5

The projection is strikingly similar to last year�s game, with Miami improving some on the ground. Generally, the
games look basically the same, which is what I would expect. Tech controlled the ball on the ground last year with a
couple of key passing plays determining the outcome. Tech�s game plan will likely be similar this year, and hopefully
the result will be the same.

So, how reliable is this statistical model? Up until last week, the model had been doing very well, but Tech�s
domination of a very good Boston College team was surprising (at least to the computer model), to say the least. Here�s
how the projections did last week:


Boston College at Virginia Tech
Boston College Virginia Tech
Projected Actual Projected Actual

First Downs
18 10 19 26

Rushing Attempts � Yards
30-111 21-27 40-129 53-212

Passing Completions � Attempts
20-34 15-30 17-24 22-28

Passing Yards
197 156 156 280

Turnovers
3 2 1 1

Sacks By
3 1 2 3

Virginia Tech clearly won the battle in the trenches and the statistics reinforce that point. The Hokies far
surpassed the projections for both rushing and passing yardage and totally shut down BC�s ground game. Virginia Tech
dominated the game in all phases.

On a positive note, at least from the prediction�s standpoint, the scoring projection was almost right on the nose.
Here was last week�s prediction of the scoring:

Boston College   0   3   0   7 -- 10
Virginia Tech   10   7   7   7 -- 31

VT - Pace 32 yd FG VT - King 9 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick) BC - Ohliger 24 yd FG VT - Hamilton 14 yd return of a blocked punt (Pace kick) VT - Morgan 28 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick) BC - Toal 2 yd run (Ohliger kick) VT - Vick 7 yd run (Pace kick)

I only missed the correct score by one point! Here is the actual scoring for the game:

Boston College   0   7   3   0 -- 10
Virginia Tech    6  14   0  10 -- 30

VT - Pace 26 yd FG VT - Pace 32 yd FG BC - Blackmon 29 yd pass from Porter (Troost kick) VT - Royal 15 yd run (Pace kick) VT - Morgan 3 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick) BC - Troost 26 yd FG VT - Pace 31 yd FG VT Hall 13 yd interception return (Pace kick)

Let�s hope this week�s prediction is as accurate as last week�s.

Around the ACC

I was 6-1 last week predicting the games in the ACC, only missing the Clemson-Georgia Tech game, and I had predicted
an overtime game for that one (GT won 10-9). With all of the attention being on the Virginia Tech-Miami game, many
people are overlooking some other key games in the ACC.

N.C. State (3-4) at Florida State (7-1)

Chuck Amato has had quite a bit of success against his mentor, Bobby Bowden, but the Wolfpack program looks to be in
disarray and not likely to be as successful on this trip to Tallahassee. The Pack found a rushing attack last week, but
FSU�s defense won�t give up yardage on the ground that easily. N.C. State�s hopes lie in turning Drew Weatherford
over and capitalizing on mistakes. Even with their track record against FSU, I�m not very optimistic about the Pack�s
chances � Florida State by 14.

Boston College (6-2) at North Carolina (3-4)

A rematch of the Continental Tire Bowl from last year will see if the Eagles can rebound from last week�s
resounding loss to Virginia Tech and if the Tar Heels can recover from their second half collapse against Miami �
maybe this game should be called the Resiliency Bowl. BC should be able to run the ball, but UNC�s ground game showed
some life against the Hurricanes as well. I see the Eagles pulling out a close, hard-fought contest � Boston College
by 3.

Wake Forest (4-5) at Georgia Tech (5-2)

The Demon Deacons ground game will challenge the Yellow Jackets, but Wake won�t be able to contain Calvin Johnson
and P.J. Daniels � Georgia Tech by 9.

Duke (1-8) at Clemson (4-4)

The Duke offense is non-existent and Clemson is playing sound defense, so don�t expect the Blue Devils to score
much. Even if Charlie Whitehurst sits this one out, expect the Tigers to roll � Clemson by 33.

Temple (0-9) at Virginia (4-3)

Just what the doctor ordered for UVA � Temple Owls on a platter. Temple completes their ACC tour of futility with a
trip to Charlottesville � Virginia by 37.

Other Big Games around the Nation

I was 7-0 last week including Florida knocking off previously unbeaten Georgia. Will we have another undefeated team
go down this week? Not likely, but there may be some close calls.

Stanford (4-3) at USC (8-0)

The Cardinal had UCLA on the ropes, but gave up three fourth quarter touchdowns and then lost in overtime, so the
potential for an upset exists. However, USC has too much firepower for the improved Stanford defense and the Cardinal
don�t generate enough offense to win a shoot-out � USC by 37.

Texas (8-0) at Baylor (4-4)

The Bears are one of college football�s most improved teams and Baylor actually has a solid defense, but they don�t
have enough horses to slow down Vince Young and the high-powered Longhorns offense; not to mention that Baylor won�t
generate enough offense to threaten the Longhorns � Texas by 35.

Alabama (8-0) at Mississippi State (2-6)

The Crimson Tide�s offense has been on the decline since Tyrone Prothro�s injury, but the Alabama defense will
still be too much for the Bulldogs � Alabama by 15.

UCLA (8-0) at Arizona (2-6)

Arizona showed some life last week by upsetting Oregon State in Corvallis, but their improved defense still will not
be able to slow down Drew Olsen and the big play Bruin offense � UCLA by 10.

Wisconsin (8-1) at Penn State (8-1)

At the beginning of the season, who would have thought that the Badgers vs. Nittany Lions game would likely determine
the Big 10 champions? Penn State should slow down Brian Calhoun and the Wisconsin offense, but will Mike Robinson and
the Lion offense generate enough points to win? I think Penn State will have enough to hold off Wisconsin � Penn State
by 11.

California (6-2) at Oregon (7-1)

Two high-powered offenses will shoot it out in a key game for bowl positioning. Cal has been riddled with injuries
this season and the Ducks have struggled on defense, but both teams have still managed to win. I wouldn�t be surprised
to see 100 or more total points scored in this game with Kellen Clemens, the best QB that nobody has heard of,
prevailing � Oregon by 5.

Tennessee (3-4) at Notre Dame (5-2)

The slumping Vols hope to find some consistency at quarterback, but their defense is still solid and should slow down
the Fighting Irish attack. This game will likely be closer than many anticipate, but the luck of the Irish will prevail
� Notre Dame by 3.

Colorado State (5-3) at TCU (8-1)

The Horned Frogs are trying to pull a “Virginia Tech” and win the Mountain West in their first year in the
conference. TCU will take on a scrappy Rams team with the winner likely taking the conference title. TCU has a solid
running game and a very good defense which should overcome the erratic QB play of Justin Holland � TCU by 11.

1-AA Games Around the State

I was 2-3 last week, missing Richmond�s close win over James Madison (18-15), Villanova�s upset of William &
Mary (35-21), and Norfolk State getting a rare win with a victory over Howard (26-7). Let�s see if I can do better
this week:

William & Mary over James Madison by 3
Richmond over VMI by 19
Hampton over Bethune-Cookman by 4
Morgan State over Norfolk State by 5

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