Week 13 - Virginia at Virginia Tech

Posted Nov 21, 2012

Week 13 Fearless Prediction – Virginia at Virginia Tech

Virginia (4-7) at Virginia Tech (5-6) Nov. 24, 12:00, ESPNU

Here's The Deal: Virginia Tech has slipped badly in 2012, but is it about to reach a new level of ineptitude on Saturday?

The Hokies have dominated in-state rival Virginia, winning the last eight in a series that began in 1895. However, this has not been a typical Frank Beamer squad. Hardly. In fact, Virginia Tech will need to maintain its superiority in the rivalry just to extend its streak of consecutive years with a bowl game to 20. Beating the Cavaliers and earning a bonus game would put a positive face on an otherwise terrible year in Blacksburg. A loss, however, would mean a new low this fall for the school.

Eminently erratic Virginia lost its shot at the postseason with last week's 37-13 loss to North Carolina on national TV. After showing life with back-to-back wins over NC State and Miami, the Cavs reverted back to being the team that lost six straight between September and October. Head coach Mike London will spend the long offseason trying to prove his eight-win team in 2011 was no fluke.

Why Virginia Might Win: The Cavaliers will arrive at Lane Stadium with a chip on their shoulders.

Forget the records and the statistics—Virginia will play with a level of passion that comes from being beaten eight straight times by the same rival. Prior to last Thursday night, the offense had a pulse, producing 74 points in the consecutive upset wins. Kevin Parks and Perry Jones were running the ball, helping free up QB Michael Rocco to do some damage over the top. The play of Bud Foster's defense has been disappointing at Virginia Tech, which will afford the Cavs an opportunity to recapture the form it enjoyed a couple of weeks ago.

Why Virginia Tech Might Win: The Hokies have a lot of pent-up anger that it intends to vent in the direction of its little brother from Charlottesville.

Tech is ticked off, and who better to take it out on than the Cavaliers? Sure, Virginia will be motivated, but just how much can that help a defense that's been shoved around for the last two weeks? It has no defensive stars and no ability to generate pressure, a concern when facing QB Logan Thomas. The junior, a microcosm for the Hokies' poor year, hopes to finish strong by getting the ball in the hands of receivers Marcus Davis, Dyrell Roberts and Corey Fuller. Davis, in particular, will be a physical mismatch for the Virginia defensive backs.

What To Watch Out For: The best matchup of the day—by far—will occur when Virginia tackles Oday Aboushi and Morgan Moses start sinking in the hips to protect the pocket.

Aboushi and Moses both have NFL futures, but Virginia Tech has been firing up the pass rush lately. In fact, over the last five games, the Hokies have bagged 22 sacks, showcasing tremendous speed and get-off from the first line of defense. They'll attack the Cavaliers front wall from whatever angle is available, meaning Rocco and Phillip Sims will need to keep an eye on linebackers Alonzo Tweedy and Bruce Taylor as well as linemen James Gayle and Derrick Hopkins.

What Will Happen: If Virginia was going to snap Virginia Tech's grip on the rivalry, this would be the time to do it. Too bad for the Cavs that the game is in Blacksburg, and bowl-eligibility hangs in the balance.

The Hokies aren't very good this year. But a visit from a rival provides extra incentive, as does the drive to not become the first team in two decades to miss the postseason. Tech will play with passion throughout, winning the battles at the line of scrimmage, while getting just enough out of Thomas and his receivers to pull away. Against many other opponents, the Hokies might mail in this regular-season finale. Against the ‘Hoos, though, they'll bring it for 60 minutes.

CFN Prediction: Virginia Tech 30 … Virginia 21
ATS Consultants Line (Click for more lines and picks) Virginia Tech -10.5 O/U: 49.5
Must Watch Rating (5 – Beware of Mr. Baker, 1 – Life of Pi): 2.5