Virginia Tech took last week off. They watched LSU position themselves for a spot in the National Championship game, beating Alabama 9-6 Saturday Night. They’ve watching the Big 12, Pac 12, and Big 10 tear themselves apart; every team trying to better position themselves for bowl seeding and conference championship games. The Hokies sat home and watched knowing full-well Thursday night they’d be in the spotlight.
Thursday, the 10th ranked Hokies travel to Atlanta to take on the 20th ranked Yellow Jackets from Georgia Tech in a game that will likely decide who represents the ACC Coastal Division in the ACC Championship game.
Since 2005 the winner of this game has won the division. It’s that simple. Yes, UVA has surprised people this year and they are very much in the running for the division crown in their own right, having beaten Georgia Tech; but they still have to play the Hokies.
For all intents and purposes this is the ACC Coastal Championship game. VT has won four of the last six meetings, but they’re coming off a poor performance against Duke where they didn’t score any points in the second half; sneaking by the Dukies 14-10. Georgia Tech has been up and down. They lost to Miami and UVA in back-to-back games, then went home and ended Clemson’s undefeated season 31-17 behind 383 rushing yards and stout defensive play.
Both of these teams have been so up and down, so unpredictable it’s a hard game to call.
GT (7-2, 4-2 in the ACC) lost back-to-back games to Miami and UVA. In those games they had a hard time running the ball. GT runs the triple-option, an offense predicated on ball control, motion, and a power running style. Not surprisingly they’re 109th in the FBS in passing yards per game. Stop the run, you stop GT and that’s exactly what Miami and UVA did.
VT has the tools, defensive style, and talent to match up and stop GT’s running attack. The Hokies are 6th in the nation in rushing defense, yielding just 86.3 yards per game; GT’s rushing offense is 2nd in the nation at 328 yards per game. Simply put: something’s gotta’ give.
All year long the Hokies have improved. They’ve done it the way VT has always done it: running the ball with power and stopping the opposing offense with smothering defense. Georgia Tech’s defense is coming off it’s best performance of the year after holding Clemson to just 17 points.
Whichever offense fairs the best, whichever team runs the ball with consistancy will win this game.
GT’s coach Paul Johnson is 5-0 at home against ranked opponents; that’s pretty telling. The Yellow Jackets have the home feild advantage, more momentum than the Hokies, and be sure they’re sick of losing to the boys from Blacksburg.
To date, Virginia Tech has been hard to predict. Looking at their schedule they haven’t played many quality teams, and when they have it’s been a fight. On the road in a hostile environment look for the Hokie offense to struggle, Georgia Tech to get their ground attack in rhythm early, and the Hokies to fall.
Prediction: VT 20 – GT 27
About the Author
Written by Frank Sullivan
Frank is a graduate of Old Dominion University, sports fan, author, and founder of TheBloosh.com. He's been working with prosportsblogging.com since April 2011, and has covered the Chicago Bulls, Baltimore Ravens, Virginia Tech Hokies Football, and the Washington Wizards. Frank can be reached @franksullivan on twitter.