In 2015, the Hokies are simply a better team than ECU. Basically, across the board. That was also the case last year but ECU had some weapons in the form of Shane Carden, Justin Hardy and Cam Worthy which evened the playing field a bit. I’m still trying to figure out what happened last year. It was some strange combination of Ohio State hangover, nagging injuries and a sleepy start for a nooner. Either way, ECU earned it last year but I’m not sure they have the horses this year.
On paper, the matchup of ECU’s offense vs VT’s defense appears to favor the Hokies. ECU has a one dimensional offense and their strength (passing) matches up with VT’s strength (secondary). The only caveats to that are health (Fuller & Facyson) and inexperience (Alexander). Otherwise, VT should be able to limit what ECU can do thru the air. On the ground, ECU is a non-factor. The only team they’ve been able to run on is Towson and they’re not exactly a powerhouse. Watch out for their TE Bryce Williams though. He could present some problems for VT’s LBs and secondary.
For the offense and Brenden Motley, this game represents a step up in competition and the atmosphere will be charged. If VT can lean on the run game like they did against Purdue, I think they should be able to move the ball well against this ECU defense. I don’t think they will be asking too much from Brenden Motley in this game. The gameplan should be to methodically move the ball downfield with the run setting up the pass. ECU does not give up many big plays but if VT just takes it one first down at a time, they should be a good shape.
This game is regularly described as ECU’s biggest game on the schedule. ECU will be on national TV in front of a hyped crowd. Expect their best effort. I think the game at Purdue was good preparation for this game. It gave the Hokies some confidence that they could go on the road and win. This game will certainly be more difficult but I think this year’s Hokies are up to the challenge. Key to this game will be the defense forcing a couple of three and outs early and getting the crowd out of the game. If they can do that and avoid a turnover fest on offense, they should be in good shape.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 31, ECU 17
Purdue is the Wake Forest of the Big Ten. It’s true. They went 1-11 in 2013 and 3-9 in 2014. So why should we be worried? Because they need this win really badly. Darrell Hazell is trying to save his job and you know he’s going to pull out all stops to get a big win at home over a name team in Virginia Tech.
Why Purdue will win…
- A good running game against inconsistent linebacker play by the Hokies. Specifically, a running QB which seems to always give VT fits.
- Strong secondary play with two senior cornerbacks against Brenden Motley who will be making his first career road start.
- VT collectively not taking this game seriously and not being ready to play.
Why VT will win…
- Bud Foster can always scheme around a young, inexperienced MLB.
- Austin Appleby is the type of interception-prone QB that Bud Foster’s defenses feast on.
- VT will establish the outside run and will make life easy on Brenden Motley.
This is a really tough game to pick. I think you’ll see some jitters from the Hokies in their first road game of the season. We honestly don’t know who the real Hokies are after a really tough game against the unanimous #1 team in the country and an easy win over an FCS cupcake. I think Saturday is the Hokies first true test. We’ll learn a lot about this team this week. I’m going to go with the Hokies by a narrow margin. If the Hokies come ready to play, they can win by double digits but ultimately I think they make enough mistakes to keep this game close.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Purdue 17
Run. The. Ball. I normally don’t give coaching advice because Frank Beamer has forgotten more football than I’ll ever know. But in this game, the Hokies need to line up and pound the rock. I don’t care who is behind center but they aren’t going to be able to move the ball like our RBs have the potential to.
The Hokies interior offensive line has a serious size and strength advantage over Furman’s starters. The Hokies should have a good day running the ball if they can stick to run and get into a rhythm. JC Coleman, Shai McKenzie and Trey Edmunds should all have big days.
As for the QB situation, Brenden Motley will start but I believe we will see Dwayne Lawson enter the game next followed by Chris Durkin getting some mop up duty. I do not, however, think that the coaches will open up the offense. Expect it to be really conservative with minimal downfield passing. I don’t think the coaches want to take too many chances in the passing game.
So about Furman- this is an improving FCS team that won three games last season. Last week, they took FCS #1 Coastal Carolina to the wire eventually falling 38-35. They can definitely pose a challenge for the Hokies coming off four days rest.
Furman has the potential to put up some points, but if the Hokies defense shows up ready to play they should be able to limit the Furman offense to 13 points or less. The Hokies d-line should be able to dominate the undersized Furman offensive line.
The Hokies should be able to win this game in convincing fashion. I still have the JMU game fresh enough in my memory to be slightly concerned. But ultimately, if the Hokies take this game even slightly seriously they should win going away. I’ll start getting nervous if it starts pouring rain and Brenden Motley starts off slowly.
Otherwise, Hokies roll.
Prediction: Virginia Tech 38, Furman 3
This is going to be a very good game. Ohio State has had a year to stew on the one blemish on their otherwise perfect record last year. Virginia Tech is hoping to show the nation that last year was no fluke and they can do it again this year at home.
Ohio State is clearly the more talented team. Urban Meyer has recruited very well in his first three years in Columbus and he has four and five star talent all over the field in addition to very good depth. This is a team not to be taken lightly. It is probably one of the best teams to come to Lane Stadium in the last 20 years.
So why should Hokie fans have hope that VT can win? A couple of reasons. First, we have Bud Foster. He is one of the best minds in college football and the battle between him and Urban Meyer will be worth the price of admission. They will be making adjustments and counter adjustments all night long.
Second, don’t discount the effect that a rowdy night game at Lane Stadium has. I know Lane Stadium hasn’t been quite what it’s been in the past the last three years. But this is a night game on national TV going against the #1 team in the country. There will be no other football on TV Monday night. It doesn’t get any bigger than this and Hokie fans know it.
Third, the VT offense was ill-prepared to pull the upset last season. The offense was very young. They had a new QB that had spent all of four weeks learning the offense. An offensive line that was still working on coming together. And RBs and WRs who were in high school just months before that game. This time the offense has had a year under its belt and it should be a more even match up.
This is a really tough game to pick. First off, week 1 of the college football season is always crazy. You’re never quite sure what’s going to happen in any game. But beyond that, you know that Ohio State has had this game circled since last September and the Hokies know it’s a big opportunity for them to make a statement on a big stage. Ultimately, I think Ohio State just has too much fire power across the board for the Hokies. I think it’ll be a close game going into the 4th quarter with Ohio State pulling away by 10-14 points. Ezekiel Elliott is the difference. The less yards he gets, the more likely it is that the Hokies win this game.
Prediction: Ohio State 27, Virginia Tech 17
These predictions are also featured on allsportsdiscussion.com here, here and here.
Everyone is saying that the division will come down to the Virginia Tech-Georgia Tech game on November 12th. I tend to agree but I could see Virginia Tech winning that game with 12 days to prepare but lose three games in the rest of ACC play to still hand the division to Georgia Tech. Virginia Tech definitely has the easier ACC slate only having to face Boston College and NC State from the Atlantic division. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, has to face Clemson and Florida State (yikes!).
I see Duke keeping the momentum going under David Cutcliffe. I think we will continue to see Duke be a thorn in the side of other Coastal teams for years to come. I call them the Stanford of the east. Miami will have another Miami-like season, not bad but not great. Probably not enough to save Al Golden’s job. North Carolina will continue to put up points like usual but I’m not sure I trust that defense to show up. I’m not really sure what to expect from Pitt under new coach Pat Narduzzi. I could see them being really good but more than likely they’ll have an up and down season.
And finally Virginia. I actually feel bad for Virginia. Seems like most have already jumped ship on Mike London’s future there and then they get handed a murderer’s row non-conference schedule (@UCLA, Notre Dame & Boise State). Not good.
|North Carolina State
Florida State still is one of the most talented teams in the country. They have plenty of talent to choose from and will reload in 2015. They will not, however, go undefeated in 2015. The Atlantic division will be a three team race between Florida State, Clemson and Louisville. Clemson has the best quarterback in the league to go along with an improving defense under Brent Venables.
Louisville’s defense will be good enough to keep them in every game. As long as they can find competent quarterback play, they will be a force to be reckoned with. Boston College will continue to be a tough out for anyone they play but that schedule is brutal. Even with raised expectations, I expect NC State to take a step back. I’m not buying the hype there. Syracuse and Wake Forest are a step below the rest of the division.
Finally, the ACC has more than two good teams! I think the ACC will get some respect this year. Between Florida State, Clemson, Louisville, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Duke, the ACC has six potential top-25 teams. This is the year to expect the unexpected. Both divisions will have razor thin races going into November. You can look as far as the six games between the teams listed above to decide both divisions. I could even see some crazy tiebreakers go into effect in those division races. It’s been awhile since the league had ranked teams battling it out in each division. Should be an exciting season.