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Posted at 9:41 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Pick 'em: Virginia Tech at Miami

By Mark Giannotto

Aren't these the best types of football games, the ones where so much is on the line? Both Virginia Tech and Miami have much to play for Saturday, with a spot in the ACC championship game and a Coastal Division title up for grabs. If the Hokies win, they reserve a spot in Charlotte in two weeks. If Miami emerges victorious, it puts even more pressure on next week's rivalry game with Virginia.

Regardless of what happens, the formula for a Virginia Tech win is simple to me. Though the strength of this Miami team is its defense, which ranks 19th in the country and second in the ACC, the multitude of weapons at Virginia Tech's disposal should be enough to move the ball.

This game will come down to whether Virginia Tech can stop Miami's run game. The Hurricanes, and especially quarterback Jacory Harris, have been prone to interceptions in all three of their losses. In six wins this year, they have 10 turnovers. In three defeats, they have 11 turnovers.

Harris is listed as questionable on Miami's official injury report, but it appears freshman Stephen Morris will get his third consecutive start. If the Hurricanes follow the template that worked in their past two wins with Morris behind center, it means Virginia Tech will see a run-heavy attack featuring three, and sometimes four running backs. Miami has gained more than 200 yards on the ground in four of its past five games.

The Hokies' defense, meanwhile, has been hit or miss against the run this season, and they're giving up more than 155 yards per game. The key matchup will be Miami's massive offensive line against Virginia Tech's defensive line. The stat to pay attention to is time of possession. The longer the Hokies' defense is on the field, the more likely it is to be exposed.

One thing in the Hokies favor as they go after their ninth straight win is that they're starting to get healthy again. Running back David Wilson (mono), defensive end Chris Drager (head) and wide receiver D.J. Coles (knee) are all listed as probable and should play.

No matter what, though, I think this one comes down to the wire and frankly, I have no clue which team will come out on top. I'll give a guess, though.

My prediction: Virginia Tech 30, Miami 27

What do you think? Does Virginia Tech clinch the ACC's Coastal Division this week. Or will next week's game against Virginia become a must-win if the Hokies want a spot in the conference's championship game?

By Mark Giannotto  | November 19, 2010; 9:41 AM ET
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Next: RB Ryan Williams finally breaks loose, and some more notes


First, as they say.

Here's an interesting, but not surprising stat, in every year since 1998, the Redskins have failed to win more games than the Hokies. (And the Redskins play 16 games a year!)


Posted by: dcnationals1 | November 19, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

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