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

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Virginia Tech faces the classic MAC trap game as Kent State comes to
Blacksburg with nothing to lose. The coaching staff has preached about Ball
State giving Michigan a scare last week and Akron knocking off N.C. State, but
the test will be the players’ focus coming out of the tunnel on Saturday. On
paper Virginia Tech should win this game easily, but the Hokies could experience
a let down after the big win against Miami last weekend in the Orange Bowl.
Hopefully, Tech will be able to maintain the momentum gained in the last three
weeks.

In looking at Kent State’s statistics for the year, two stats jumped out at
me. The Golden Flashes have lost all four games this year in which the opponent
rushed for more than 170 yards. Also, Kent State has won all five games that
quarterback Julian Edelman (#11, 6-0 195, r-So.) has had a pass efficiency
rating above 105, and the Golden Flashes have lost every game that he has had a
pass efficiency rating below 105 (his overall rating is 126, but was above 132
in four of the wins). Obviously, Edelman’s performance will be critical for
Kent State to have a shot at the Hokies.

Needless to say, look for Virginia Tech to try to establish the running game
early in this contest. Tech will probably play conservatively on offense and
aggressively on defense to pressure Edelman and the ultra-quick running back
Eugene Jarvis (#6, 5-5 158, r-Fr.). The Hokie defense should be able to force
some turnovers, and look for a big day on special teams from Virginia Tech. Kent
State starts two true freshmen kickers, so Frank Beamer will likely bring the
house on punting situations.

The Hokies could use an “easy” game, but the team needs to stay focused
and play with the same consistency that we have seen in the last three games.
Look for Branden Ore to have a big first half and the subs to get significant
playing time in the second half. The Hokies win going away. Virginia Tech 44,
Kent State 7

Around the ACC

Some good games in the ACC last weekend with four tight contests. I missed
Wake Forest holding off Boston College and Maryland upsetting Clemson, giving me
a 5-2 record for the week. For the year I am now 53-18. Here are the results
from last week:

Game Prediction Result

Virginia Tech at Miami

Virginia Tech by 4

Virginia Tech 17, Miami 10

BC at Wake Forest

BC by 4

Wake Forest 21, BC 14

Maryland at Clemson

Clemson by 16

Maryland 13, Clemson 12

Georgia Tech at N.C. State

Georgia Tech by 6

GT 31, N.C. State 23

Virginia at Florida State

Florida State by 16

Florida State 33, Virginia 0

North Carolina at Notre Dame

Notre Dame by 31

Notre Dame 45, UNC 26

Navy at Duke

Navy by 7

Navy 38, Duke 13

Wake Forest (8-1; 4-1) at Florida State (5-4; 3-4)

The Seminoles’ defensive speed always gives the Demon Deacons trouble and I
don’t see this game being any different. The question is whether Florida State
can move the ball on a vastly underrated Wake defense. I expect this game to be
a defensive struggle with the team that can create the big play coming out on
top. I like FSU at home and I believe one of the two quick running backs –
Lorenzo Booker or Antone Smith – will break loose at some point. Florida
State by 11 (21-10)

Miami (5-4; 2-3) at Maryland (7-2; 4-1)

The Hurricanes will have an emotional game following the tragic death of
Bryan Pata, but Miami will need to stay focused and execute against an improved
Maryland squad that is still very much in the running for the Atlantic Division
title. On top of the tragedy, Miami is also dealing with a rash of injuries that
has QB Kyle Wright listed as doubtful, RB Javarris James and TE Greg Olsen are
questionable, and star safety Kenny Phillips is out. Sam Hollenbach might be the
most improved player in the ACC and the Terp defense is playing sound football.
Anything could happen in this game but, I am going with the emotional edge to
Miami on a last minute field goal. Miami by 2 (16-14)

N.C. State (3-6; 2-4) at Clemson (7-3; 4-3)

The Tigers still have a slim hope in the Atlantic Division race if a
three-way tie occurs for the division title. Potentially Clemson is as good as
any team in the ACC and I expect the Tigers to rebound from last week’s
disappointing loss to Maryland. Look for a battle of the two ground attacks,
with Clemson having the edge. Clemson by 15 (31-16)

Georgia Tech (8-2; 5-1) at North Carolina (1-8; 0-5)

The Rambling Wreck can clinch the Coastal Division championship in this game,
so I would expect that Georgia Tech will come ready to play. UNC is playing on
pride alone, but their secondary has no answer for Calvin Johnson and their run
defense will struggle with Tashard Choice. Look for a surprising effort by the
Heels, but Tech takes this one on the road. Georgia Tech by 10 (27-17)

Duke (0-9; 0-5) at Boston College (7-2; 3-2)

Look for the Eagles to be fired up after losing a critical game against Wake
Forest last week. Boston College is simply too big and strong for the Blue
Devils, who will struggle to get anything going on offense. I see the potential
for a rout in this one. Boston College by 31 (31-0)

Other Big Games around the Nation

Some scares for a couple of the top teams, but all of my top 25 picks won
last week. After a 13-0 week, I now stand at 145-17 for the season. Some very
good games across the top 25 this week, so I am expecting a few upsets with my
picks this week. Here are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result

LSU at Tennessee

LSU by 11

LSU 28, Tennessee 24

Oklahoma at Texas A&M

Oklahoma by 3

Oklahoma 17, Texas A&M 16

Ohio State at Illinois

Ohio State by 35

Ohio State 17, Illinois 10

Ball State at Michigan

Michigan by 38

Michigan 34, Ball State 26

Oklahoma State at Texas

Texas by 29

Texas 36, Oklahoma State 10

Arkansas State at Auburn

Auburn by 36

Auburn 27, Arkansas State 0

Florida at Vanderbilt

Florida by 17

Florida 25, Vanderbilt 19

USC at Stanford

USC by 35

USC 42, Stanford 0

UCLA at California

California by 19

California 38, UCLA 24

Arkansas at South Carlina

Arkansas by 6

Arkansas 26, South Carolina 20

Penn State at Wisconsin

Wisconsin by 9

Wisconsin 13, Penn State 3

Washington at Oregon

Oregon by 18

Oregon 34, Washington 14

Missouri at Nebraska

Nebraska by 15

Nebraska 34, Missouri 20

Oregon (7-2; 4-2) at Southern California (7-1; 5-1)

A big Pac-10 showdown has the Oregon Ducks traveling to Los Angeles to face
USC. The test for the Trojans will be stopping Oregon’s running game behind
Jonathan Stewart, while USC tries to mount a consistent offense and make some of
the big plays that have been missing this season. Oregon’s run defense has
been inconsistent, so look for Chauncey Washington to have a big day as USC gets
a big conference victory. Southern California by 13 (34-21)

Tennessee (7-2; 3-2) at Arkansas (8-1; 5-0)

While Georgia at Auburn, South Carolina at Florida and Alabama at LSU may get
more notoriety, the biggest game in the SEC is the Tennessee Vols traveling to
Fayetteville to meet the Arkansas Razorbacks. Erik Ainge is listed as doubtful
for this game, and the Vols need the passing game against an underrated Arkansas
defense. Tennessee will stifle the Razorbacks’ ground game and Mitch Mustain
will have to make some plays for Arkansas to win. I see a tight game with
special teams playing a key role. Because of Ainge’s injury, I am going with
Arkansas at home in a nail-biter. Arkansas by 1 (17-16)

Nebraska (7-3; 4-2) at Texas A&M (8-2; 4-2)

The best game in the Big 12 has the Huskers on the road against the Aggies.
The key to this game will be Nebraska’s ability to slow down Javorski Lane and
the A&M running attack. The Cornhuskers will put some points on the board,
but I don’t see the defense being able to contain the Aggie attack. In one of
the better games for the weekend, A&M holds on for the victory. Texas
A&M by 3 (27-24)

Other games involving ranked teams:

  • Ohio State over Northwestern by 22 (36-14)
  • Michigan over Indiana by 22 (29-7)
  • Texas over Kansas State by 27 (34-7)
  • Auburn over Georgia by 8 (21-13)
  • Florida over South Carolina by 21 (31-10)
  • Notre Dame over Air Force by 18 (28-10)
  • California over Arizona by 13 (27-14)
  • West Virginia over Cincinnati by 20 (34-14)
  • LSU over Alabama by 18 (24-6)
  • Boise State over San Jose State by 16 (37-21)
  • Wisconsin over Iowa by 8 (21-13)
  • Oklahoma over Texas Tech by 14 (24-10)

1-AA Games Around the State

For the 1-AA schools in the state of Virginia, I had a so-so week going 4-2,
missing Villanova’s win over Richmond and Liberty knocking off Western
Carolina. I now stand at 44-11 for the season. Here are the results from last
week:

Game Prediction Result

Delaware at James Madison

JMU by 18

James Madison 44, Delaware 24

Richmond at Villanova

Richmond by 9

Villanova 31, Richmond 21

William & Mary at Towson

W&M by 5

William & Mary 29, Towson 28

Bethune-Cookman at Hampton

Hampton by 9

Hampton 34, B-C 17

Western Carolina at Liberty

WC by 7

Liberty 21, Western Carolina 0

Morgan State at Norfolk State

Morgan State by 3

Morgan State 29, Norfolk State 20

Some interesting 1-AA games this week in Virginia. I have missed Villanova
against Richmond and William & Mary in the last two weeks, so hopefully the
Dukes will get them this week. Delaware against William & Mary should be a
good game. In an upset I have Liberty knocking off unbeaten Charleston Southern.
Should be a fun week!

  • James Madison over Villanova by 12 (35-23)
  • Richmond over Towson by 13 (23-10)
  • Delaware over William & Mary by 2 (30-28)
  • Hampton over Florida A&M by 12 (35-23)
  • Liberty over Charleston Southern by 8 (28-20)
  • Citadel over VMI by 12 (26-14)
  • Delaware State over Norfolk State by 10 (24-14)

Be safe driving to and from the game!

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