Week 11 - Florida State at Virginia Tech

Posted Nov 7, 2012

Week 11 Fearless Prediction - Florida State at Virginia Tech

Florida State (8-1) at Virginia Tech (4-5) Nov. 8, 7:30, ESPN

Here's The Deal: When 2012 schedules were released, this meeting in Blacksburg had all the markings of an ACC Championship Game prequel. That could still hypothetically be the case, but only because the Coastal Division has been a morgue.

Virginia Tech has been one of the nation's biggest disappointments of 2012, falling below .500 in November for the first time since 1992. That was also the last year that the program didn't play in a bowl game, which is looking increasingly possible as well. When last seen, the Hokies were dumped on national TV by Miami, which now has a clear path to the Coastal crown. If Tech has any pride left, it'll go out and play its best game of the season against the best that the ACC has to offer this fall.

Florida State is two wins away from padlocking the Atlantic, a division it seized control of by beating Clemson back on Sept. 22. The Seminoles are No. 10 in the BCS, but any hopes for winning a national championship disappeared with last month's shocking loss to NC State. They emerge from their bye week well-rested and determined to cap a 13-win season with victories in Charlotte on Dec. 1 and in some undetermined BCS bowl game.

Why Florida State Might Win: The Seminoles have too much defense for a shaky Virginia Tech attack built on an even shakier O-line.

While the Hokies have been stuck in neutral, the ‘Noles continue to lead the country in total D. Clemson hurt the unit when the two met, but Tech isn't Clemson. Florida State dominates opponents at the point of attack with a nasty front seven that includes ends Bjoern Werner and Cornellius Carradine, and linebackers Christian Jones and Telvin Smith. The Hokies can forget about running the ball, which will put QB Logan Thomas in the unenviable position of having to make plays in obvious passing situations.

Why Virginia Tech Might Win: It's Thursday night … at Lane Stadium. You just never know what might happen in this type of atmosphere.

On some levels, the Hokies built their national reputation in Thursday games. Does the program have one big effort left in it for 2012? There's no denying that still has talented players on the roster. QB Logan Thomas is a less polished version of EJ Manuel, an imposing athlete with the strong arm to connect on the long ball. On defense, Tech has the speed and quickness from the likes of DE James Gayle and DT Luther Maddy to get the better of a Florida State O-line that's not without its shaky performances. It's going to take a near-perfect game, but the Hokies are in the right venue to get it done.

What To Watch Out For: It's been only been one game, but Florida State is managing life after Chris Thompson so far. Employing more of a committee—and less overall explosiveness—the ‘Noles have been spreading out touches to James Wilder Jr., Devonta Freeman and even FB Lonnie Pryor. The offense may no longer have its long ball hitter, but it does boast plenty of fresh legs, which is going to present problems to a Hokies defense that's buckled in the face of better running teams.

What Will Happen: The whole Thursday night mystique for Virginia Tech was sort of obliterated at Sun Life Stadium last week.

The Hokies should never be taken lightly, especially in Blacksburg, but these aren't your daddy's Hokies. This edition of Frank Beamer's team is circling the drain, even flailing on special teams. Florida State has too many edges on both sides of the ball to squander its Atlantic Division lead here. The Seminoles will flatten Thomas and the offense, pressuring the pocket and suffocating the ground game. Manuel and his backs will take care of the rest, exploiting an opponent that's been generous and weak in the fundamentals for most of the season.

CFN Prediction: Florida State 34 … Virginia Tech 17
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Florida State -14 O/U: 51.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Skyfall, 1 – Wreck It Ralph): 3