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

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Virginia Tech travels to Winston-Salem to face the surprising Demon Deacons,
who are looking to win the Atlantic Division and a possible ACC championship.
Wake Forest has proven to be a tough matchup for every opponent this year, and
the Hokies will surely be challenged by the misdirection and deception of the
Deacon offense. Defensively Wake Forest is a very good team with an exceptional
group of linebackers and safeties. The Hokies will have a big test against the
ACC’s most surprising team this year.

Bud Foster’s defense may have their biggest challenge of the season this week
in handling the different looks and motion of the Wake Forest offense. The Demon
Deacons use a multitude of reverses, counter plays, options, and various trick
plays to generate offense. Individually Wake Forest is not that talented on
offense, but the scheme is designed to fit the existing talent so the Deacons
can be a dangerous team. The Hokies need to be disciplined to not be fooled by
the deception.

Defensively Wake Forest is a very underrated team with some excellent talent
in linebackers Jon Abbate (#5, 5-11 245, r-Jr.) and Aaron Curry (#59, 6-3 240,
r-So.) and safeties Josh Gattis (#22, 6-2 212, r-Sr.) and Patrick Ghee (#30, 6-1
211, r-Sr.). The Demon Deacons’ defensive front is vastly improved, making Wake
much tougher to run on this year. Wake Forest will blitz a lot and the linemen
will stunt a good deal of the time, so Tech’s offensive line will have another
challenge in protecting Sean Glennon.

Wake Forest is an experienced team with 18 starters returning from last
season. The Demon Deacons do not make many mistakes and lead the ACC in turnover
margin, so the Hokies need to take care of the ball. Wake also has an
exceptional kicker in Sam Swank (#38, 6-1 206, r-So.) who handles both the place
kicking and punting. He has a tremendous leg and can easily hit field goals over
50 yards. The kicking game may be the most critical aspect of this game, so
Brandon Pace and Nic Schmitt need to have very good days.

Wake Forest has proven to be a tough opponent for every team that they have
faced this year. The individual talent is better than many fans realize and Jim
Grobe has the Demon Deacons playing opportunistic football. Sean Glennon has
done a good job taking care of the ball for the most part, and if the Hokies can
limit their miscues, then the overall talent of the Tech squad should prevail in
this game. I like the Hokies in a tight game that could easily go either way. Virginia
Tech 19, Wake Forest 13

Around the ACC

Most of the ACC games went as expected, except for Wake Forest’s thrashing of
Florida State. I missed Maryland holding off Miami, leaving me 4-2 for the week
and 57-20 for the year. This week’s big match-up has Maryland traveling to
Chestnut Hill to face Boston College. Here are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result
Kent State at Virginia Tech Virginia Tech by 37 Virginia Tech 23, Kent St. 0
Wake Forest at Florida State Florida State by 11 Wake Forest 30, FSU 0
Miami at Maryland Miami by 2 Maryland 14, Miami 13
N.C. State at Clemson Clemson by 15 Clemson 20, N.C. State 14
Georgia Tech at UNC Georgia Tech by 10 Georgia Tech 7, UNC 0
Duke at Boston College BC by 31 Boston College 28, Duke 7

Maryland (8-2; 5-1) at Boston College (8-2; 4-2)

Boston College hangs on to a slim chance for the Atlantic Division title, as
the Eagles host the resurgent Terps. BC needs to beat Maryland, and Miami next
week, and hope that Tech beats Wake Forest and then Maryland defeats the Demon
Deacons. Both teams have underrated defenses and should be able to stop the
other team’s running game. Ultimately this game comes down to the quarterbacks:
Matt Ryan vs. Sam Hollenbach. I’ll take the Eagles at home in a good game. Boston
College by 6 (20-14)

Miami (5-5; 2-4) at Virginia (4-6; 3-3)

Both teams have inconsistent offenses and tough defenses, so this game will
likely come down to turnovers and field position. The Wahoos should be able to
slow down the Canes’ running game, but Kirby Freeman should be able to do just
enough to pull off the win. Don’t look for a lot of points in this one. Miami
by 1 (14-13)

Duke (0-10; 0-6) at Georgia Tech (8-2; 6-1)

Georgia Tech’s defense will be too much for the Blue Devils’ inept offense.
The only question in this game is whether Duke will score. I say no. Georgia
Tech by 24 (24-0)

N.C. State (3-7; 2-5) at North Carolina (1-9; 0-6)

These two rivals will play for pride in a game that has no relevance outside
of the state of North Carolina. The Wolfpack are looking for revenge for last
year’s upset, which may be enough motivation for State. UNC’s defense is still
playing hard, but the offense is just too inconsistent. N.C. State by 10
(20-10)

Western Michigan (7-3) at Florida State (5-5)

The Seminoles need a win to gain bowl eligibility, so FSU should have some
motivation. Quarterback play has been a problem, but the real issue is with the
offensive line. Florida State’s defense is still talented, but the Noles are
starting too many youngsters for any consistency. However, the Broncos still do
not have enough talent to hang with Florida State. Florida State by 22
(35-13)

Other Big Games around the Nation

Lots of top teams on the road last week and a couple of huge upsets occurred.
Kansas State knocked Texas out of national championship contention and Arizona
upset California. Georgia finally played up to their potential and defeated
Auburn, and Nebraska beat Texas A&M in a nail-biter. After an 11-4 week, I
now stand at 156-21 for the season. Rivalry week hits now and, of course, we
have the biggest game of the year in #2 Michigan at #1 Ohio State. Here are the
results from last week:

Game Prediction Result
Oregon at USC USC by 13 USC 35, Oregon 10
Tennessee at Arkansas Arkansas by 1 Arkansas 31, Tennessee 14
Nebraska at Texas A&M Texas A&M by 3 Nebraska 28, Texas A&M 27
Ohio State at Northwestern Ohio State by 22 Ohio State 54, Northwestern 10
Michigan at Indiana Michigan by 22 Michigan 34, Indiana 3
Texas at Kansas State Texas by 27 Kansas State 45, Texas 42
Georgia at Auburn Auburn by 8 Georgia 37, Auburn 15
South Carolina at Florida Florida by 21 Florida 17, South Carolina 16
Notre Dame at Air Force Notre Dame by 18 Notre Dame 39, Air Force 17
California at Arizona California by 13 Arizona 24, California 20
Cincinnati at West Virginia WVU by 20 West Virginia 42, Cincinnati 24
Alabama at LSU LSU by 18 LSU 28, Alabama 14
Boise State at San Jose State Boise State by 16 Boise State 23, San Jose St. 20
Wisconsin at Iowa Wisconsin by 8 Wisconsin 24, Iowa 21
Texas Tech at Oklahoma Oklahoma by 14 Oklahoma 34, Texas Tech 24

Michigan (11-0; 7-0) at Ohio State (11-0; 7-0)

The biggest game of the year and the biggest in-conference match-up in some
time matches the two best teams in the nation against one another in Columbus.
Both defenses are strong with Michigan’s impressive defensive front probably the
best in the nation. However, Ohio State will likely shut down the Wolverines’
rushing attack as well, so this game will likely come down to the passing game.
I like Troy Smith with his two quality receivers, Ted Ginn and Anthony Gonzalez,
over Chad Henne and Mario Manningham. Let’s hope the game lives up to the hype. Ohio
State by 12 (26-14)

California (8-2; 6-1) at Southern California (8-1; 6-1)

A few weeks ago this game looked huge, but after Oregon State knocked off USC
and Arizona upset Cal last weekend, the game has lost some luster. Both teams
have tons of skill players, but this game will likely be decided by the
defenses. Look for USC to stay away from Daymeion Hughes and exploit the other
corner. The Trojans’ defense will keep the Cal running game and Marshawn Lynch
in check, forcing Nate Longshore to win the game with his arm. USC controls the
ball and ultimately the game. USC by 13 (34-21)

Auburn (9-2; 5-2) at Alabama (6-5; 2-5)

The Crimson Tide has been disappointing this year, and Auburn has experienced
two stunning losses at home. Even with the disappointments, fans in the state of
Alabama will be focused on this game. Ultimately this game comes down to Kenneth
Darby vs. Kenny Irons. Neither team has thrown the ball consistently, so the
team that establishes the running game will likely win. Auburn’s run defense has
been suspect against better teams, so I am going with the Tide in a minor upset.
Alabama by 3 (20-17)

Other games involving ranked teams:

  • Florida over Western Carolina by 53 (56-3)
  • Notre Dame over Army by 40 (47-7)
  • Arkansas over Mississippi State by 12 (19-7)
  • Rutgers over Cincinnati by 3 (16-13)
  • LSU over Mississippi by 31 (38-7)
  • Wisconsin over Buffalo by 41 (41-0)
  • Louisville over South Florida by 25 (42-17)
  • Boise State over Utah State by 39 (42-3)
  • Oklahoma over Baylor by 20 (27-7)
  • Tennessee over Vanderbilt by 17 (27-10)
  • Brigham Young over New Mexico by 22 (42-20)

1-AA Games Around the State

I missed Villanova for the third straight week as they knocked off yet
another 1-AA team from Virginia. Overall, I had a decent week going 6-2, also
missing Towson’s win over Richmond. I now stand at 50-13 for the season. Here
are the results from last week:

Game Prediction Result
James Madison at Villanova JMU by 12 Villanova 21, James Madison 20
Towson at Richmond Richmond by 13 Towson 31, Richmond 7
William & Mary at Delaware Delaware by 2 Delaware 28, William & Mary 14
Hampton at Florida A&M Hampton by 12 Hampton 59, Florida A&M 7
Charleston Southern at Liberty Liberty by 8 Liberty 34, Charleston Southern 20
VMI at Citadel Citadel by 12 Citadel 48, VMI 21
Delaware State at Norfolk State Del. St. by 10 Delaware St. 33, Norfolk State 10

This week I have James Madison getting revenge for the Commonwealth of
Virginia by knocking of Towson. I also have Richmond over William & Mary in
a great game, and Liberty over VMI.

  • James Madison over Towson by 14 (31-17)
  • Richmond over William & Mary by 1 (24-23)
  • Liberty over VMI by 10 (24-14)
  • Winston-Salem over Norfolk State by 4

I hope to see lots of Hokies in Winston-Salem! Be safe driving to and from
the game if you are going

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