2005 Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Florida State

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Virginia Tech won the Coastal Division championship last week with a solid
win over North Carolina and now the Hokies have a chance to win their second
straight conference title in the inaugural ACC Championship Game against Florida
State. Tech hasn’t beaten the Seminoles in 30 years and the loss in the 1999
national championship game still smarts. However, I believe this Tech squad is
even better than the 1999 team and Florida State isn’t close to the same
quality as 1999, so will the Hokies roll over the Seminoles, or will the FSU “jinx”

In the last two games, Virginia Tech has dominated play in the trenches and
will look to do the same against Florida State. Tech struggled offensively in
the first half against North Carolina, but the Hokies went back to basics and
played smash-mouth football in destroying UNC 24-0 in the second half. The
computer model predicted that Tech would control the ball against UNC, but did
the projections accurately reflect the total domination in the second half? Let’s
take a quick look back at last week’s game:

North Carolina at Virginia Tech
Projected Actual Projected Actual
First Downs 13 11 22 22
Rushing Attempts – Yards 30-61 22-36 47-181 53-277
Passing Completions – Attempts 14-28 15-41 14-22 8-15
Passing Yards 164 160 201 61
Turnovers 2 1 1 2

Like last week, the most significant difference from the projections was Tech’s
ability to run the ball. Because of the success on the ground, the Hokies
abandoned the passing game in the second half, thus the statistics became
somewhat distorted. However, the first downs were on the nose and the total
yardage was relatively close, 382-338. North Carolina, on the other hand,
abandoned the running game for the most part, but the results were still very
close to the projections.

The scoring model was close with a predicted score of 38-10 as compared to
the final of 30-3. So, should we expect Tech to continue their fine play at the
end of the year and win easily or will Florida State break out of their slump
and give the Hokies a challenge? The computer model believes that the Hokies
will continue their statistical dominance, but not to the same extent as the
last two weeks:

2005 Projection
First Downs 13 21
Rushing Attempts – Yards 20-51 47-189
Passing Completions – Attempts 20-39 13-19
Passing Yards 221 168
Turnovers 3 1

The statistical model has the Hokies controlling the line of scrimmage,
out-gaining the Seminoles 189-51 on the ground. However, FSU will make some
plays in the passing game after abandoning the ground game. Tech looks to have a
fairly balanced attack, picking up some decent yardage passing. Hopefully, these
projected statistics hold up in the actual game and the predicted score appears
to reflect these statistics.

Here’s my prediction on the scoring:

Florida State   3   7   0   3 -- 13
Virginia Tech   7   6   7   7 -- 27

FSU - Cismesia 37 yd FG
VT  - King 16 yd pass from Vick (Pace kick)
VT  - Pace 20 yd FG
FSU - Carr 22 yd pass from Weatherford (Cismesia kick)
VT  - Pace 32 yd FG
VT  - Humes 3 yd run (Pace kick)
FSU - Cismesia 25 yd FG
VT  - Vick 8 yd run (Pace kick)

Other Big Games around the Nation

I was 7-1 last week overall in my predictions only missing the Florida
demolition of Florida State (what was I thinking?). Only a handful of
championship games this weekend, so here’s my predictions on the outcomes.

LSU (10-1) vs. Georgia (9-2)

The SEC Championship Game pits two great defenses against one another, so don’t
expect a lot of points in this one. The Tigers appear to be slightly more
talented at the skill positions, so I’ll go with LSU in a tight, hard-fought
game – LSU by 3.

Texas (11-0) vs. Colorado (7-4)

The Longhorns destroyed the Buffalos the first time they met, so I wouldn’t
expect the second meeting in the Big 12 Championship Game to be different,
especially after the thrashing that Colorado took from Nebraska last week – Texas
by 25.

UCLA (9-1) at USC (11-0)

While not an officially sanctioned championship game, this Pac 10 rivalry is
for the championship. While the Bruins will likely put some points on the board
against the Trojans, USC has too much talent overall and should win a very high
scoring battle – USC by 25.

Tulsa (7-4) at Central Florida (8-3)

The Conference USA Championship Game pits two of the biggest surprises in
college football against one another. UCF had one of the greatest turnarounds in
college football history (0-11 last year) and the Golden Hurricane rebounded
from a 4-8 season last year. Tulsa has the better defense so I’ll go with
them, though anything could happen in this game – Tulsa by 8.

Army (4-6) vs. Navy (6-4)

Not a championship game, but still a very important contest, and the
Midshipmen have dominated of late. While the Naval Academy has more talent
overall, Bobby Ross has Army playing considerably better, so I expect a good,
competitive game – Navy by 5.

1-AA Playoff Games

The 1-AA playoffs are always hard to predict and I would have been just as
well off flipping a coin last week as I went 4-4, missing all of the close games
that I predicted. I’m sticking with my prediction for New Hampshire winning it
all. Here’s how I see the second round going:

New Hampshire over Northern Iowa by 15
Cal Poly over Texas State by 3
Richmond over Furman by 3
Appalachian State over Southern Illinois by 6

Everyone traveling to the ACC Championship Game have a safe trip and let’s
cheer the Hokies to their second straight conference title!

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