#13 Virginia Tech at #10 Miami Picks

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Nov 04, 2017
For the first time this decade, Virginia Tech and Miami face off in a game that means a lot not only in the ACC, but also nationally. The Hokies and Hurricanes are both among a group of 13 teams that still have a realistic path to the College Football Playoff. However, this game could turn out to be an elimination game for the playoff, especially if the Hokies lose. Miami has the chance to clinch the ACC Coastal title Saturday with a win and a Virginia loss. Meanwhile, VT can take control of the Coastal if they can take down the Hurricanes. However, VT would still have no margin for error within the Coastal. With that said, here are our picks for the biggest VT-Miami game in a long time.

Tim Thomas

When Virginia Tech and Miami joined the ACC in 2004, the conference imagined the two former Big East powers facing off in big games like this. Since then, that's rarely happened with Virginia Tech being dominant for their first eight years in the conference while Miami struggled to be relevant. However, the Hokies and Hurricanes are both at their highest levels in years thanks to great leadership by Justin Fuente and Mark Richt. Thirteen years after their first seasons in the ACC, Virginia Tech and Miami are facing off in a game that means a lot nationally. While both offenses have proven to be fairly reliable, the defenses are the storyline in this game. Bud Foster's VT defense is one of the best in the America while Manny Diaz's Miami defense hasn't been great in limiting yards, but they have been great at forcing turnovers. Josh Jackson will face his toughest test since the Hokies played Clemson while Malik Rosier will face the biggest challenge of his career so far against VT's elite defense. Both teams will need to establish their running games to give their quarterbacks some more space to work with in the passing game. However, that could be a challenge for both teams. Virginia Tech's running game has improved but is still an offensive weakness while Miami's running game hasn't been the same without Mark Walton. Miami is also facing a VT defense that has shut down a notable list of running backs including Clemson's Travis Etienne and Tavien Feaster, Boston College's AJ Dillon, and Duke's Shaun Wilson. Miami's rush defense hasn't been great, ranking 82nd nationally in rushing yards allowed per game (VT is 12th), presenting the Hokies with a great opportunity. Turnovers will make a difference as both teams are among the best in the nation in protecting the football while Miami has been very good at forcing turnovers. Any turnover in this game will have a big impact on the outcome of this game. Miami enters this game untested with lots of talk of them being overrated while the Hokies enter with their backs against the wall knowing their season is on the line. Both these teams will come out ready to fight in what will be a low-scoring affair. However, the Hokies have an elite defense that will be the difference and not give up touchdowns in the red zone. Virginia Tech will put themselves in the driver's seat in the Coastal with a 21-13 win over Miami.

Prediction: #13 Virginia Tech 21, #10 Miami 13

Evan Hughes

The Hokies and Hurricanes meet in South Beach tonight for the first meaningful game in the series in quite some time. This could be viewed as an ACC semifinal, with the winner likely to play the winner of the other ACC semifinal between Clemson and NC State in the ACC Championship in December. Despite the close wins, Miami deserves more credit then they're getting. Mark Richt is breathing new life into a program that has loads of talent. Their defense has been impressive to say the least, and Rosier is putting up solid numbers at the quarterback position. For the Hokies, they're flying into this game under the radar. Following the Clemson loss, the national media has turned their attention away from the team and is putting more of an emphasis on Miami and other teams. I think that the Hokies are enjoying being the underdogs here and are hungry to make a statement that they can still win the ACC and make a run at a College Football Playoff berth. Due to the recent success of the Bud Foster-led defense, I like Virginia Tech to upset Miami by a score of 34-27. Somebody on the VT defense will make a play late in the game to secure the victory for the Hokies. Expect this to be a back and forth game for all four quarters.

Prediction: #13 Virginia Tech 34, #10 Miami 27

Dwight Lester

Well folks, this is a big one. The Hokies travel to South Beach to take on the undefeated Miami Hurricanes. The Hurricanes are the main roadblock standing in the way of a return trip to the ACC Championship. Miami may be undefeated but they have been winning very ugly games of late, most recently beating a 1-8 UNC team by 5, a team the Hokies throttled by 52 the week before. Make no mistake fans this game will not be a cake walk. Miami is still trying to recover the swagger they once had in the 80’s, 90’s and early 2000's. The Hurricanes have their turnover chain gimmick which I believe is just silly. The players seem to care more about the chain than they do about the turnover helping their team. Miami will find out what the lunch pail defense is about this season. The Hokies' lunch pail isn’t a gimmick, it’s a way of life. Look for Bud Foster’s already stingy defense to be fired up and ready to play. Miami’s signal caller Malik Rosier is supposedly banged up. If he is, it could be the blood in the water the Hokies' defense looks for every game. The Hurricanes don’t really turn the ball over all that much so look for the defense to try to force the Miami players into some mistakes to give the offense good field position. The special teams is going to be the key for the Hokies. The field goal kicking has been suspect this season. Joey Slye will have to be a big weapon on Saturday as I think this game could be very close. On the punting side, Greg Stroman has been a huge weapon for Justin Fuente. Stroman, at any time, could take one to the house. The Hokies will need to get into good field position to help the offense create some scoring opportunities. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Hokies go after some punts on Saturday to try to get an easy score. This game has the possibility to be a classic. One can only hope there is a call as iconic as the “give it to me Roscoe, give it to me”, as coined by Bill Roth. As I said before, this will be a close game. I believe Joey Slye makes Hokie Nation forget all the misses so far and hits a kick to propel Virginia Tech to a victory 24-21. LETS GO HOKIES!!!!

Prediction: #13 Virginia Tech 24, #10 Miami 21

David Cunningham

The Hokies travel to Miami to face the Hurricanes today in arguably the most important game for both teams this regular season. Miami has the turnover chain, Tech has the Lunch Pail defense. Two great teams, and it will be fun to watch.
For Tech on offense: I think the Hokies will be need to get the running game going so they can open up the passing game. McMillian, Peoples, and McClease will be key in this game to move the football, as well as jet sweeps with Sean Savoy. I think once the Hokies get the run game going, they can break through the man coverage of the Hurricanes and Josh Jackson will be able to find his receivers, as well as finding running room down the field. I think the offense can do it’s part, as long as they do not turn the ball over.
On defense for the Hokies: the Hurricanes have been playing well on offense and have been getting it done when they need to. Miami will have to attack this Hokie defense and run the ball, but I think the Hokies will stop the running game and force them to pass. Miami will then have to pass around the Tech defense and I don’t think they will be able to. Tech’s defense will give up some yards and some big plays but I think they will stop the Hurricanes for most of the game.
This game will be very close, and it could possibly come down to a field goal. The Hokies have proved themselves but need to prove once again that they are “for real”, while Miami will come out with firepower and energy and show Tech that they can play. I think it will be a low scoring game, with Tech barely pulling away.

Prediction: #13 Virginia Tech 27, #10 Miami 21

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