2006 Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Duke (and Others)

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Separation Saturday is upon us, with no less than seven games between ranked
opponents. Virginia Tech will be looking to get some separation in the ACC
Coastal Division race as well, as the Hokies will be hosting the hapless Duke
Blue Devils. However, the Dukies should have beaten Wake Forest on the road last
weekend and their defense could provide a good test for Tech’s young offense.

Duke’s attacking defense held the potent Wake Forest rushing attack to 57
yards on 24 carries, and their strategy in this game will be to stop Virginia
Tech’s running game and force Sean Glennon to beat them with his arm. The Blue
Devils’ defense is led by Rush End Patrick Bailey (#84, 6-4 230, Jr.) who
plays a hybrid defensive end/linebacker in the Duke scheme. Duke also has a
massive blue-chip defensive tackle in Vince Oghobaase (#3, 6-6 310, r-Fr.) and
run-stuffing middle linebacker Michael Tauiliili (#34, 5-11 235, So.). In
addition, the secondary is solid, led by first-team All-ACC Cornerback John
Talley (#11, 5-11 180, Sr.). Overall, Duke has a very good defense and will
provide a challenge for the Hokie offense.

Duke’s offense, on the other hand, has struggled, having been shut out by
Richmond and only scoring 13 points against Wake Forest. However, the Blue
Devils received a glimmer of hope in the play of true freshman quarterback
Thaddeus Lewis (#9, 6-2 190) who passed for over 300 yards in his first
collegiate start. But Lewis has never experienced an environment like Lane
Stadium on a Saturday and the pressure that Tech’s defensive front will bring.
He has been remarkably poised for a true freshman QB, but Saturday will be his
true baptism into college football. To help Lewis out, he has a pair of quality
receivers in Jomar Wright (#81, 6-1 200, Jr.) and Eron Riley (#15, 6-3 200,

Duke may give the Hokies some trouble with their blitzing defense, but in the
end Beamerball will establish field position and the Hokies will make enough big
plays to pull away from the Blue Devils. I can’t see the Duke offense moving
the ball on the stingy Tech defense, and eventually the Blue Devils will wear
down. I see the Hokie wide receivers having a big day, making several big plays,
and Brandon Ore will get in the open field and do his thing. Look for Virginia
Tech to pull away in the second half and the defense to have another big day as
the Hokies play their best game of the season. Virginia Tech wins 37-0.

Around the ACC

I went 7-2 in the second week of the ACC season, only missing the Boston
College-Clemson overtime thriller and the Akron upset of N.C. State. That puts
me at 15-4 for the year in predicting ACC games. Here are the results from last

Game Prediction Result

Virginia Tech at UNC

Virginia Tech by 15

Virginia Tech 35, UNC 10

Clemson at Boston College

Clemson by 4

Boston College 34, Clemson 33

Duke at Wake Forest

Wake Forest by 15

Wake Forest 14, Duke 13

Wyoming at Virginia

Virginia by 15

Virginia 13, Wyoming 12

Akron at N.C. State

N.C. State by 15

Akron 20, N.C. State 17

Troy at Florida State

Florida State by 32

Florida State 24, Troy 17

Middle Tennessee at Maryland

Maryland by 18

Maryland 24, MTSU 10

Florida A&M at Miami

Miami by 59

Miami 51, FAMU 10

Samford at Georgia Tech

Georgia Tech by 49

Georgia Tech 38, Samford 6

Clemson (1-1) at Florida State (2-0)

The Bowden Bowl sees Tommy needing a win to stay in the race with his father,
Bobby. FSU would take a commanding two-game lead over their strongest
competition in the Atlantic Division with a win, so Clemson is basically in a
must-win situation. However, the Tigers have been decimated by injuries on
defense, with star linebackers Anthony Waters and Tramaine Billie out, as well
as safety Michael Hamlin. On top of that, star defensive end Gaines Adams is
questionable, so the previously strong Tiger defense may struggle against the
Seminoles. Florida State’s offensive line play is questionable, but FSU has
enough skill players to put some points on the board on Clemson, and the
Seminole defense should slow down the Tigers’ potent running attack. I see
Florida State winning a tough, hard-fought battle. Florida State by 6 (20-14)

Miami (1-1) at Louisville (2-0)

A huge Big East-ACC match-up sees the #15 Miami Hurricanes traveling to
Louisville to face the #12 Cardinals. The storyline in this game will be whether
the stout Hurricane defense can stop Brian Brohm and the potent Louisville
offense. The Cards lost running back Michael Bush for the season, but they have
capable back-ups and Louisville’s passing game will challenge Miami’s
cornerbacks. The game may come down to Miami’s ability to put points on the
scoreboard behind a shaky offensive line that has not given Kyle Wright time to
pass or opened up holes in the running game. I see Louisville winning an
exciting game. Louisville by 7 (27-20)

Brigham Young (1-1) at Boston College (2-0)

An interesting match-up as the Cougars air attack travels to Boston. Last
year BYU threw the ball 60 times in their game with BC, so expect Brigham Young
to challenge the Eagles secondary. Matt Ryan should have a good day against BYU,
and the Boston College running game should have some success. I predict BC wins
an exciting offensive game. Boston College by 6 (34-28)

N.C. State (1-1) at Southern Miss (1-1)

Chuck Amato desperately needs a win to quiet the rumors and secure his job,
but he faces a tough task in traveling to Hattiesburg. Southern Miss is one of
the Conference USA favorites, and the Golden Eagles gave State all they could
handle last year in Raleigh. The Wolfpack’s ground game emerged in the game
last year with Andre Brown taking over as the main running back, so the key to
this game will likely be N.C. State’s ability to establish the run again. With
all of the pressure on N.C. State right now, I see Marcus Stone forcing some
passes and Southern Miss capitalizing. This game should go down to the wire and
I like the Golden Eagles in a close game. Southern Miss by 2 (23-21)

Wake Forest (2-0) at Connecticut (1-0)

Two similar teams square off in Storrs in a critical game for both teams with
post-season ambitions. The Huskies have a solid defense and they should be able
to slow down the Demon Deacon running game, but will Connecticut be able to put
enough points on the board to win? I see a low-scoring game in which turnovers
and field position will be critical. All things being even, I’ll go with the
home team. Connecticut by 4 (17-13)

Troy (1-1) at Georgia Tech (1-1)

Troy gave Florida State a scare last weekend and the Trojans get to play
against another strong ACC defense this week. The Yellow Jackets have struggled
offensively out of the gate, but their defense looks extremely strong and should
slow down Troy. Calvin Johnson will make enough plays to put the Rambling Wreck
over the top. Georgia Tech by 18 (21-3)

Western Michigan (1-1) at Virginia (1-1)

The Broncos lost their opener to Indiana, but came back last week to soundly
whip Toledo 31-10, so the Wahoos will get a good test from Western Michigan. UVA
has struggled offensively behind inconsistent quarterback play and no running
game. The offensive line play has to improve for Virginia to be effective, and I
anticipate improvements running the ball this week. UVA’s defense will slow
down the Broncos and the Hoos will get a much needed win. Virginia by 15

Furman (2-0) at North Carolina (0-2)

The Tar Heels desperately need a win this week against the Paladins, with
road games coming up against Clemson and Miami. Furman is a solid 1-AA program,
but UNC should be able to overpower them. Look for Ronnie McGill to have a big
day, but the game will likely be closer than most Heel fans would like. North
Carolina by 11 (21-10)

Other Big Games around the Nation

I had another good week picking the non-ACC ranked games, going 17-1, which
makes me 35-2 on the season. The one loss, of course, was the biggest game of
the week (and possibly year) with Ohio State knocking off Texas. This week will
be much tougher, with the seven games between ranked teams. Here are the results
from last week:

Game Prediction Result

Ohio State at Texas

Texas by 14

Ohio State 24, Texas 7

Penn State at Notre Dame

Notre Dame by 9

Notre Dame 41, Penn State 17

Georgia at South Carolina

Georgia by 10

Georgia 18, South Carolina 0

Oregon at Fresno State

Oregon by 2

Oregon 31, Fresno State 24

Auburn at Mississippi State

Auburn by 23

Auburn 34, Mississippi State 0

Eastern Washington at WVU

West Virginia by 33

WVU 52, Eastern Washington 3

Central Florida at Florida

Florida by 31

Florida 42, Central Florida 0

Arizona at LSU

LSU by 26

LSU 45, Arizona 3

Washington at Oklahoma

Oklahoma by 26

Oklahoma 37, Washington 20

Louisville at Temple

Louisville by 42

Louisville 62, Temple 0

Central Michigan at Michigan

Michigan by 36

Michigan 41, Central Michigan 17

Iowa at Syracuse

Iowa by 17

Iowa 20, Syracuse 13

Air Force at Tennessee

Tennessee by 25

Tennessee 31, Air Force 30

Nicholls State at Nebraska

Nebraska by 35

Nebraska 56, Nicholls State 7

Cal-Davis at TCU

TCU by 34

TCU 46, Cal-Davis 13

Minnesota at California

California by 8

California 42, Minnesota 17

Texas Tech at Texas-El Paso

Texas Tech by 13

Texas Tech 38, UTEP 35

Vanderbilt at Alabama

Alabama by 18

Alabama 13, Vanderbilt 10

LSU (2-0) at Auburn (2-0)

The best game of the day may be the SEC West match-up between #4 Auburn and
#7 LSU. Last year’s game was an overtime thriller and this game looks to be
just as close. If either team can establish a running game, then they would be
in a good position to win, but I have my doubts that either ground attack will
be effective. The game will likely come down to the play of the two
quarterbacks, and I like they heady play of Brandon Cox for Auburn in a close
game. Auburn by 3 (20-17) with the same score as last year, but with the
winner reversed.

Michigan (2-0) at Notre Dame (2-0)

The #3 Fighting Irish travel to the Big House to face #13 Michigan in a huge
game for both teams. Brady Quinn and the high-powered Notre Dame offense must
face an experienced, but sometimes underachieving Wolverine defense. The key to
this game will likely be Chad Henne’s ability to exploit Notre Dame’s
questionable secondary, which has played well thus far. I see the Irish pulling
this one out, with big plays being the determining factor. Notre Dame by 2

Nebraska (2-0) at USC (1-0)

Bill Callahan’s #19 Nebraska Cornhuskers travel to LA to face #2 Southern
California in the biggest game of his regime, but Pete Carroll’s squad has too
much talent for the outmanned Huskers. Nebraska’s only chance is to win a
shoot-out, and I don’t see the Huskers offense putting up enough points to
outplay the skilled Trojans. Even without Matt Leinert and Reggie Bush, USC is
still one of the most talented teams in the nation and I see Southern California
winning this game going away. USC by 36 (49-13)

Florida (2-0) at Tennessee (2-0)

The other huge SEC battle has the #6 Gators traveling to Knoxville to face
the #17 Volunteers. The erratic Vols need a big performance after last week’s
let-down against Air Force. Urban Meyer’s spread offense will likely give
Tennessee trouble, but the key to the game will likely be Erik Ainge’s ability
to make big plays in the passing game. Look for a high-scoring game with both
secondaries being tested. I like Florida in a shoot-out. Florida by 2 (37-35)

Oklahoma (2-0) at Oregon (2-0)

In a rematch of last year’s Holiday Bowl game in which the Sooners won
17-14, Oklahoma travels to Eugene this year. Two of the best running backs in
the nation, Adrian Peterson for Oklahoma and Jonathan Stewart for Oregon, will
be featured in this game, and the team that can establish the run will have a
big advantage. However, quarterback play, as is the case in most big games, will
be a major factor and I have to go with Oregon in this case. Oregon by 5

Texas Tech (2-0) at TCU (2-0)

The last game between ranked teams pits the stout defense of the #20 Horned
Frogs against the wide-open offense of the #22 Red Raiders. Texas Tech won a
thriller against UTEP last week and now face another top non-BCS team from
Texas. TCU needs to keep this game as a defensive battle, but I like Graham
Harrell and the Red Raider offense to put up some points. Texas Tech by 1

Other games involving ranked teams:

Ohio State over Cincinnati by 42 (45-3)

Texas over Rice by 45 (45-0)

Georgia over Alabama-Birmingham by 29 (35-6)

Iowa over Iowa State by 20 (34-14)

California over Portland State by 31 (41-10)

Arizona State over Colorado by 5 (19-14)

Alabama over Louisiana-Monroe by 28 (35-7)

1-AA Games Around the State

For the 1-AA schools in the state of Virginia, I was 3-1 in my predictions
for last week which makes me 8-2 for the season. The only loss was Appalachian
State defeating James Madison in a game between the last two 1-AA champions.
Here are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result

James Madison at App. State

James Madison by 2

Appalachian St. 21, JMU 10

Howard at Hampton

Hampton by 22

Hampton 46, Howard 7

VMI at Norfolk State

Norfolk State by 3

Norfolk State 32, VMI 19

Glenville State at Liberty

Liberty by 3

Liberty 31, Glenville State 7

The best 1-AA game in-state this week will have William & Mary hosting
the Black Bears from Maine in an Atlantic 10 match-up.

William & Mary over Maine by 13 (34-21)

Richmond over VMI by 32 (35-3)

Hampton over North Carolina A&T by 29 (35-6)

Towson over Liberty by 14 (27-13)

Have fun watching all of the games this weekend and be safe traveling!

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