Pick 'em: Georgia Tech at Virginia Tech
Looking out my window this morning, the scene is about as dreary as possible here in Blacksburg. It rained all night and, according to the forecast, it's supposed to rain all day. The good news is that it's likely the wet weather will let up by kickoff. The bad news is that the last time I woke up on a Virginia Tech game day and it was raining, the Hokies lost to James Madison.
The question is whether the inclement weather favors Virginia Tech or Georgia Tech. I imagine the effects could be more dramatic for the Hokies, especially on offense. On Tuesday, quarterback Tyrod Taylor mentioned that with the Yellow Jackets' penchant for blitzing, he thought the Hokies could test their corners and connect on some big plays.
Bad weather, though, can cause some apprehension throwing the ball. That was certainly the case seven weeks ago when James Madison pulled off its improbable upset.
"We’ve just got to do what we do. Both teams have to play in the rain," Coach Frank Beamer said. "We probably let it change us a little bit in the James Madison game; we probably didn’t throw the ball as much as we should have when you look back at it."
On the defensive side, a lot has been made of the trip defensive coordinator Bud Foster took to Iowa last spring, but because he has declined to discuss the specifics this week, nobody's quite sure what he learned about stopping Georgia Tech's offense while there. Well, I'll give you a hint. Defensive ends Steven Friday and Chris Drager could play a big role in slowing down quarterback Joshua Nesbitt tonight.
In the Orange Bowl last year, Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn was the game's MVP finishing with nine tackles and two sacks. Two weeks ago, Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers finished with seven tackles, two tackles for loss and a sack facing Georgia Tech. Both of those guys are likely first-round draft picks next spring, but because most option offenses make their initial reads off the defensive ends, the performance of Drager and Friday will be paramount to the success of Virginia Tech's defensive effort.
As for a prediction, I think the messy weather makes this one closer than the 13-point spread. Virginia Tech will get the win, but it won't be easy -- or pretty.
My prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 21
What do you think? Can the Hokies blow out Georgia Tech or will the Yellow Jackets' offense once again cause problems for Foster and the Hokies defense?
| November 4, 2010; 9:59 AM ET
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