Monday Thoughts: Some Good, Some Bad in a Blah Win

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Phil Patterson Virginia Tech
Phil Patterson’s 13-yard TD catch was the capper on Virginia Tech’s 31-17 win over ODU. (Ivan Morozov)

For the second year in a row, Virginia Tech was favored to beat Old Dominion by 28 points, and for the second year in a row, the on-field performance fell well short of the point spread.

I know it’s just a betting line, designed to get those who wager to put their money down equally on both sides. It’s not really an analysis of the projected final margin of victory for the favored team. But it does tell you something about how the pros see the competitiveness of the game.

Last year was a disaster of course. The swing between the betting line and the actual game was 42 points for the Hokies, who were favored by 28 but lost by 14. This year’s swing was much less drastic, but significant nonetheless: Virginia Tech won by 14 instead of 28, and early in the fourth quarter, they only led by seven.

The outcome left an unsatisfied feeling for many Hokie fans, and for yours truly. At one point, Virginia Tech had the game well in hand. With 6:40 left to go in the third quarter, the Hokies led 24-3 and had outgained ODU 331-74. Not every moment of the game had passed the eye test, but the Hokies were dominating, and one of the hallmarks of young teams is inconsistency,