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2021 Commonwealth Cup: Virginia Tech vs Virginia Picks

Tre Turner 1 VT GT 2021 From VT

The road may have felt long, but the Saturday after Thanksgiving is finally here as Virginia Tech looks to redeem a tough regular season by protecting the Commonwealth Cup and getting a valuable sixth win to earn a bowl game in a season where we saw an in-season coaching change. Meanwhile, Virginia senses an opportunity at home against a struggling VT team to win the Cup for only the third time in the past 21 years.

So will the Hokies defend the Cup? Here are our picks for Virginia Tech against Virginia.

Tim Thomas

This UVA team that Tech is facing feels similar in some ways to the 2019 UVA team that took down Tech led by Bryce Perkins who was a complete dual-threat star like Brennan Armstrong. Unlike that year, Tech's offense and UVA's defense both aren't nearly as good while Tech's defense is better than it was then, but still not as good as UVA's offense on paper.

Virginia Tech will have to get back to their identity of running the football and getting guys like Raheem Blackshear and Malachi Thomas lots of touches especially after the 2 combined for only 9 carries against Miami. That's regardless of whether it's Braxton Burmeister or Connor Blumrick at QB for the Hokies which is another question out there to figure out.

If Tech is going to win this game, they are going to need some special teams and defensive magic in this one which feels more than possible especially with Tayvion Robinson returning punts as the 757 native has made a strong case to be an All-American punt returner in 2021.

In the end, I think this should be a four quarter game as the battle for the Cup inspires the Hokies, but UVA's offense is the best unit on the field in Charlottesville today and Brennan Armstrong will lead the Cavaliers to only their third win victory over Tech in the past 21 years.

Pick: Virginia 27, Virginia Tech 21

Andy Loce

When it comes to the Hokies and the Cavaliers, all roads lead to the Commonwealth Cup. And in 2021, there is more on the line than a typical showdown between these programs.

For Virginia Tech, a win would secure their sixth victory on the season, the pivotal mark that determines whether or not they will play football in the month of December.

Meanwhile for Virginia, it’s all about getting the cup back in Charlottesville.

That hasn’t been the easiest task for the Cavaliers in the Bronco Mendenhall era as the six-year head coach only boasts a 1-4 overall record against the Hokies.

For Virginia, they have a player who can flip the script on Saturday afternoon, and his name is quarterback Brennan Armstrong. The junior ranks first in the ACC with 4044 passing yards and 297 completions while sitting fourth in the conference with 30 touchdown passes.

Thanks to his talents, he has led one of the best offenses in the ACC and stands as a true threat to any opposing defense, which will give the Hokies’ strength, their defense, a test on Saturday.

The veteran unit has been strong in 2021 allowing 22.8 points per game, which is the fourth-best mark in the ACC on the year. For the big playmakers like Nasir Peoples and Jermaine Waller, they must be able to contain the passing game and the speed of the Cavaliers wide outs to remain in control of the matchup.

For J.C. Price’s side, it has been a bumpy road throughout the 2021 campaign. After a promising start, the Hokies ran into some difficulties in the month of October that spelled the end of Justin Fuente’s tenure at school.

With a victory over an in-state rival to retain the Commonwealth Cup and grant bowl eligibility, it will give the players a bright spot to close out the regular season.

But this game will come down to who wants it more and both sides will lay it all out on the line to prove themselves as the best team in the commonwealth once again. And for me, I believe it being more of a must-win situation for the Hokies will empower their side past the Cavaliers to make it back-to-back years of holding the Commonwealth Cup.

Pick: Virginia Tech 24, Virginia 21

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