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

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The storyline for the Miami game this year will be the renewed running game
of the Hokies led by Brandon Ore going against the best rushing defense in the
country. The Hurricanes have not allowed 100 yards rushing to a team this year
and Ore is coming off consecutive 200+ yard games. If the Hokies can have any
success running the ball against the Canes, then expect a Virginia Tech victory.

If the running attack does not work, then look for Tech to go to the short
passing game to loosen up the defense. First down will be critical for the
Hokies to keep from second-and-long situations and having the Hurricanes pin
their ears back and come after Glennon. Tech must do a much better job picking
up the blitz this year and getting the ball quickly to receivers. Expect to see
Ike Whitaker get some time just to give the Canes a change of pace, particularly
if the Hokies are having trouble moving the ball.

Miami is a dangerous team and much better than their record indicates. The
Hurricanes seem to fade late in games, which have led to some games being closer
than they should and, in the case of Louisville, the Cardinals pulled away in
the fourth quarter in a game that was tight for three quarters. Miami led most
of last week against Georgia Tech, only to let the game get away, so do not
underestimate the Canes. Miami is still a very good team.

Offensive line problems have been the biggest concern for Miami, which has
had trouble generating a consistent running game and protecting Kyle Wright. The
offensive line, combined with some injuries and suspensions to wide receivers,
has led to an inconsistent offense. The defense has been superb for the most
part, but too many times the Canes have turned the ball over or yielded poor
field position. As with most Miami teams, the Hurricanes specialize in bringing
the heat and the Hokies need to have a good plan of attack to counter that
pressure.

I believe that Brandon Ore will be able to have a 100 yard rushing day and
the Hokies will generate enough offense to keep Miami off balance. Turnovers
will be a factor for both teams and hopefully Tech will do no worse than match
the Canes in takeaways. Virginia Tech’s defense will hold down the Miami
offense and the Hokies will put enough pressure on Kyle Wright to keep him from
being effective. Both teams will pick up some points from their defense or
special teams, but in the end the Hokies will prevail.

Virginia Tech wins 20-16.

Around the ACC

Some tough games to predict last week, so I am happy with a 5-2 record only
missing the games involving the Florida schools – Georgia Tech beating Miami
and Maryland knocking off Florida State. For the year I am now 48-16. Here are
the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result

Clemson at Va. Tech

Virginia Tech by 1

Virginia Tech 24, Clemson 7

Miami at Georgia Tech

Miami by 6

Georgia Tech 30, Miami 23

Florida State at Maryland

Florida State by 2

Maryland 27, Florida State 24

N.C. State at Virginia

Virginia by 3

Virginia 14, N.C. State 7

Wake Forest at UNC

Wake Forest by 7

Wake Forest 24, UNC 17

Buffalo at Boston College

BC by 41

Boston College 41, Buffalo 0

Vanderbilt at Duke

Vanderbilt by 8

Vanderbilt 45, Duke 28

Boston College (7-1; 3-1) at Wake Forest (7-1; 3-1)

The most important game in the ACC in terms of the division races finds two
unlikely teams leading the pack with identical records. Last year BC overcame
five turnovers in coming back against the Deacons, but this year’s game should
be much more cleanly played. Wake Forest may be the sentimental favorite, but I
see the Demon Deacons struggling against the Eagles’ size, and BC will play
ball control behind an effective running game. Wake will stay in the game behind
Riley Skinner’s efficient passing, but I believe Boston College has too much
size and overall talent for the Deacs. Boston College by 4 (24-20)

Maryland (6-2; 3-1) at Clemson (7-2; 4-2)

Maryland has won their last three games over UVA, N.C. State, and Florida
State to put themselves in the title chase, but the Terps will have their hands
full with an angry Clemson Tigers squad. Clemson will be looking to redeem
themselves after the loss to the Hokies, and the focus will be on the running
game. Maryland has a solid defense, but I can’t see the Terps handling the
Tigers ground game, and Clemson will win going away. Clemson by 16 (33-17)

Georgia Tech (6-2; 4-1) at N.C. State (3-5; 2-3)

The Rambling Wreck can effectively clinch the Coastal Division title with a
win while the Wolfpack are fighting to become bowl eligible. Last year State
came away with a win when Garland Heath intercepted a pass in the end zone that
went off of Calvin Johnson’s hand. I would expect a similar defensive struggle
between these two schools with Calvin Johnson being the difference. The Pack’s
corners are too small to handle Johnson, and Tech’s defense will keep N.C.
State’s running game under control. Georgia Tech by 6 (16-10)

Virginia (4-5; 3-2) at Florida State (4-4; 2-4)

The Cavaliers are turning their season around behind a stout defense, while
the Seminoles continue to flounder. No one would have ever guessed that FSU
would currently be in the basement of the Atlantic Division, and I believe the
pride of the Noles will come out in this game. The Wahoos will have trouble
moving the ball on FSU, but I wouldn’t expect a lot of offense out of the
Noles either. In a defensive struggle, I’ll go with the Seminoles. Florida
State by 16 (23-7)

North Carolina (1-7) at Notre Dame (7-1)

The Tar Heels have little motivation left, and going against Brady Quinn,
Jeff Samardzija, Darius Walker and company will prove too much for the
beleaguered UNC defense. Look for the Irish to win running away. Notre Dame
by 31 (45-14)

Navy (5-3) at Duke (0-8)

Duke may actually have a chance in this game, as run defense is the strength
of the Blue Devil team and Navy, of course, is almost strictly a running team.
If the Blue Devils can generate some offense they could pull off the win, but I
am still going with the Midshipmen in a close game. Navy by 7 (17-10)

Other Big Games around the Nation

Another fairly predictable week as I finished 13-2, missing only Oregon State’s
upset of USC and Oklahoma State knocking off Nebraska. My record for the season
is now 132-17. The biggest game for this week was Thursday night’s Louisville
win over West Virginia (which I accurately predicted), but I smell another upset
coming from the SEC this weekend. Here are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result

Florida vs. Georgia

Florida by 7

Florida 21, Georgia 14

Oklahoma at Missouri

Oklahoma by 7

Oklahoma 26, Missouri 10

Minnesota at Ohio State

Ohio State by 26

Ohio State 44, Minnesota 0

USC at Oregon State

USC by 21

Oregon State 33, USC 31

Northwestern at Michigan

Michigan by 31

Michigan 17, Northwestern 3

Texas at Texas Tech

Texas by 14

Texas 35, Texas Tech 31

Auburn at Mississippi

Auburn by 18

Auburn 23, Ole Miss 17

Tennessee at South Carolina

Tennessee by 8

Tenn. 31, South Carolina 24

Notre Dame at Navy

Notre Dame by 12

Notre Dame 38, Navy 14

La.-Monroe at Arkansas

Arkansas by 28

Arkansas 44, ULM 10

Connecticut at Rutgers

Rutgers by 14

Rutgers 24, Connecticut 13

Illinois at Wisconsin

Wisconsin by 31

Wisconsin 30, Illinois 24

Nebraska at Oklahoma State

Nebraska by 11

Okl. State 41, Nebraska 29

Texas A&M at Baylor

Texas A&M by 4

Texas A&M 31, Baylor 21

Portland State at Oregon

Oregon by 31

Oregon 55, Portland State 21

LSU (6-2; 2-2) at Tennessee (7-1; 3-1)

The marquis SEC game finds the LSU Tigers traveling to Knoxville to gain
revenge on the Volunteers for last year’s thrilling 30-27 comeback. While most
fans see Tennessee’s defense holding down LSU, I believe Jamarcus Russell will
rise to the occasion and have his best game, and the Tigers will be able to do
enough on the ground to control the ball. LSU is ready for a big game and I’m
going with the upset. LSU by 11 (24-13)

Oklahoma (6-2; 3-1) at Texas A&M (8-1; 4-1)

The Aggies are quietly putting together a very good season, and the nation
would take notice if A&M could knock off the Sooners. Texas A&M has the
largest weapon in the country in Javorski Lane and a solid defense, but Oklahoma’s
defense was impressive against Missouri, and the Sooners also have momentum.
Oklahoma has learned to play without Adrian Peterson, and I see the Sooners
pulling out a close win in a defensive battle. Oklahoma by 3 (16-13)

Other games involving ranked teams:

  • Ohio State over Illinois by 35 (42-7)
  • Michigan over Ball State by 38 (38-0)
  • Texas over Oklahoma State by 29 (42-13)
  • Auburn over Arkansas State by 36 (42-6)
  • Florida over Vanderbilt by 17 (31-14)
  • Southern Cal over Stanford by 35 (49-14)
  • California over UCLA by 19 (35-16)
  • Arkansas over South Carolina by 6 (23-17)
  • Wisconsin over Penn State by 9 (26-17)
  • Oregon over Washington by 18 (31-13)
  • Nebraska over Missouri by 15 (31-16)

1-AA Games Around the State

For the 1-AA schools in the state of Virginia, I got back on track going 5-1
last week only missing Villanova’s upset of William & Mary. I now stand at
40-9 for the season. Here are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result

James Madison at Richmond

JMU by 6

James Madison 27, Richmond 10

Villanova at William & Mary

W&M by 8

Villanova 35, William & Mary 31

Winston-Salem at Hampton

Hampton by 30

Hampton 13, Winston-Salem 3

Liberty at Coastal Carolina

CC by 13

Coastal Carolina 28, Liberty 26

VMI at Gardner-Webb

Gardner-Webb by 3

Gardner-Webb 35, VMI 31

Norfolk State at Howard

Howard by 1

Howard 13, Norfolk State 10

Not a big week for the in-state 1-AA schools this week with the best games
being the three Atlantic 10 contests.

  • James Madison over Delaware by 18 (35-17)
  • Richmond over Villanova by 9 (23-14)
  • William & Mary over Towson by 5 (28-23)
  • Hampton over Bethune-Cookman by 9 (37-28)
  • Western Carolina over Liberty by 7 (24-17)
  • Morgan State over Norfolk State by 3 (20-17)

Have fun watching the games!

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