#14 Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina Picks

By: Tim Thomas | @TimThomasTLP | Oct 21, 2017
Virginia Tech is back in action on Saturday against the 1-6 North Carolina Tar Heels in one of the ACC's biggest mismatches of 2017. The Tar Heels enter this game in the midst of their worst season in over a decade at 1-6 while the Hokies are on the rise, and at their second-highest point in the rankings this season. While the Hokies are rightfully heavy favorites, they can't afford to take UNC lightly. With that said, here are our picks for the Hokies and Tar Heels.

Tim Thomas

Since the last time Virginia Tech and North Carolina faced off in Lane Stadium, both programs have gone in opposite directions. The Tar Heels have gone from Coastal champs in 2015 to their worst season in over a decade this year with a 1-6 start. Meanwhile, the Hokies have been revitalized under Justin Fuente with a Coastal title in 2016, and a 5-1 start this season that has them ranked 14th in the country. UNC has some talent on their team including senior CB MJ Stewart and freshman RB Michael Carter, but it's hard seeing the Tar Heels have any shot to pull off the upset. This is a significant mismatch on offense and defense that will make this game ugly early and end this game by halftime. The Hokies, whether they publicly confirm it or not, have definitely heard all of the trash talk from the UNC fan base about the hurricane being the reason why the Hokies beat the Tar Heels last year (P.S. when you lose by 31 at home, you're not the better team). UNC's defense has struggled and you can expect a complete offensive attack led by Josh Jackson and Travon McMillian who will both have big games against the Tar Heels. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech's defense has to have a sense of there being "blood in the water" facing a pair of UNC quarterbacks who have been mediocre at best. The Hokies' secondary seems poised for a field day and it shouldn't be surprising at all if the Hokies hold UNC to under a 40% completion rate. The one offensive weapon UNC does have is freshman RB Michael Carter. However, the Hokies have been great at stopping opposing running backs since their week 1 win over West Virginia, and should limit Carter's ability to make a difference. This is a significant mismatch with the Hokies looking to make a statement with all the inaccurate trash talk that has come from the UNC fan base. The Hokies are one of the top 20 teams in the nation while UNC is arguably the ACC's worst with a roster that is loaded with players who are either out this week or for the season. This will be a long afternoon for the Tar Heels as the Hokies make a statement in a blowout victory over UNC.

Pick: #14 Virginia Tech 48, North Carolina 7

Evan Hughes

For this weekend's game against North Carolina, I expect to see a refreshed Virginia Tech team coming off of their bye week. This game might not have the implications it has had in past years with the ACC Coastal race, but there is one common thing both teams will be fighting for: recruiting. Most of the time, UNC and VT tend to recruit the same players and the same type of players. The Hokies have a ton of talent on campus for visits, including highly coveted five-star DE KJ Henry. Henry is one of Virginia Tech's top recruiting targets still on the board. They'll also bring in four-star LB Dax Hollifield and four-star DT Rick Sandidge. With all of this in mind, expect Virginia Tech to try to roll out the red carpet for these recruits. Expect junior RB Travon McMillan to have a great game running the football after being tabbed during the bye week as someone who will be in for a bigger role the rest of the season. For my prediction, I like Virginia Tech to win 35-21. I think North Carolina keeps it close in the first half as the team will be fighting for their bowl lives, sitting 1-6 on the season. In the 2nd half, I see the Hokies pulling away and moving to 6-1 on the year.

Pick: #14 Virginia Tech 35, North Carolina 21

Robert Irby

After a much-needed week off, the #14 Virginia Tech Hokies host the struggling North Carolina Tar Heels on Saturday. UNC comes into this game limping with a 1-6 record in what has perhaps been the most disappointing season in school history. The Hokies will look to add a little more salt to the wound on Saturday by giving the Tar Heels their 7th loss and most likely making them ineligible for a bowl bid. Meanwhile, the Hokies are 5-1 and are looking to become bowl eligible with a win on Saturday. I believe they will do so. UNC’s biggest struggle this season has been with their defense, and I expect the VT offense to capitalize and put up a lot of points. With Cam Phillips and Steven Peoples fully healthy, and Travon McMillian and Sean Savoy emerging as potent offensive threats, I expect the Hokies’ offense to wipe the floor with the weaker UNC defense. I also expect the VT defense to get after UNC QB’s Chazz Surratt and Brandon Harris and limit the Tar Heels offensively. Expect a big game from Tremaine Edmunds. Ultimately, I expect the Hokies to have their way against the Tar Heels, and Larry Fedora will coach his final game against Virginia Tech, as his job is likely in jeopardy after this disappointing season.

Pick: #14 Virginia Tech 49, North Carolina 10

Dwight Lester

Well the bye week has come and gone for the Hokies. Honestly I’m glad our bye week fell when it did because of all the top teams losing last week and also for the chance to get some players healthy The Hokies are expected to have the services of two offensive weapons back in Steven Peoples and Cam Phillips. Both have proved to be important players for the offensive unit with Phillips being the biggest receiving threat for the Hokies. Look for both to have big games as the Hokies are taking on a depleted UNC team. I thought having a couple of key Hokies in the injury report was bad, try having enough to field a full team. The injury bug has ravaged the Tar Heels. Look for the Hokies to take advantage of all these injuries on both sides of the ball. Bud Foster and the defense will be looking to make another statement at home, especially at Homecoming. All we heard as Hokie fans was the excuse of having to play in the rain last season. I think the team will come out more fired up than usual and look to make the game not even a contest. Expect the offense to dominate and score a ton of points while the defense shuts down the injury plagued UNC offense. Final score on Homecoming, Hokies 54 Tar Heels 10. LETS GO HOKIES!!!!

Pick: #14 Virginia Tech 54, North Carolina 10

David Cunningham

The Hokies come into this game at 5-1 sitting 14th in the polls while North Carolina has struggled this season. The Tar Heels are 1-6 and need to win out to be bowl eligible.
The Hokies will come prepared to Lane Stadium, and Josh Jackson will lead the proficient offense to an onslaught over the Tar Heels. I think Jackson will throw for over 300 yards and a few touchdowns, no turnovers, and the play action pass will open up the run game for the Hokies. Travon McMillian will have a great game in the backfield, and the offense will put up a ton of points on Carolina.
The Lunch Pail Defense will hold the Heels to very little offensively, but I do think North Carolina will score a few points. Brandon Harris, who played his last 3 seasons at LSU, will help the offense rack up some yards, but the Tar Heels have too many injuries and won’t be able to keep up with the Hokies. The Hokies’ defense will hold the Heels to under two touchdowns in this game.
I think the Hokies will score early and often and will defeat the Tar Heels 41-10. Virginia Tech will become bowl eligible and they will be 6-1 going into their game against Duke next weekend.

Pick: #14 Virginia Tech 41, North Carolina 10

Matthew Atkins

A year after getting blown out 34-3 at home, UNC travels to Blacksburg for a showdown with the 14th-ranked Hokies. Since this year’s game is likely to be played in clear weather and not in a hurricane as last year’s game was, it’s a little harder to make any predictions. However, with the Tar Heels at 1-6 overall and 0-4 in ACC play, a decision is still not too difficult. VT freshman quarterback Josh Jackson is on pace to break Michael Vick’s freshman record of 1,840 passing yards at Virginia Tech. Jackson comes into Saturday’s game with 1,700 passing yards, the most of any freshman QB in FBS. The tandem of Jackson to Cam Phillips will be hard for the Tar Heels to stop, as Phillips leads the Hokies with 608 yards and 5 touchdowns. With UNC giving up 460.9 yards per game this season and a powerful Hokies offense, I expect this to be a lopsided game in which the Hokies score big. On the defensive side of the ball, expect the Hokies to dominate. Tech’s scoring defense ranks 7th in the nation, giving up just 13.7 points per game. The Hokies have also only allowed 90 first downs this season, which ranks 10th in the country. It will be interesting to see how the Hokies start out, given their slow starts to games so far this season, but by the end of the game, Virginia Tech should walk away with a big conference win.

Pick: #14 Virginia Tech 35, UNC 10

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