I’m Back. After starting a putrid 0-6 on Gameday picks for you all, I am now riding a nice 3-0 hot streak into this week’s Virginia Tech matchup at Alumni. I think this could be a great game; let’s get into it.
To me, Virginia Tech is somewhat of an enigma. Like the Eagles, they started their season at 1-3, dropping three straight to Purdue, Rutgers, and Marshall. Since then, they are 3-2 with wins over Pitt, Wake, and Syracuse while only losing to FSU and Louisville (yet another thing Eagles can relate to). Sitting at 4-5 and 3-2 in the ACC, the Hokies appear…average? Yet some of the underlying stats say otherwise. Defensively, VT is very solid, especially up front. Their pass rush is perhaps the best in the ACC, led by Antwan Powell-Ryland’s nine (!). The secondary is pretty good too, allowing less than 170 air yards per game. They don’t pick the ball off too much (4 interceptions on the season) but they have recovered 5 fumbles.
Offensively, VT has found its QB1 of the future in Kyron Drones. It took over for Grant Wells after Week 2, and has not looked back. He’s a big athlete at 6’2, mobile in the pocket, and not afraid to take a deep shot. His favorite target is senior Jaylin Lane, who has 426 yards and five TDs on the season. While the Hokies are dangerous through the air, the run game is their bread and butter. Between Drones (406 yards, 4 TDs) and transfer Bhayshul Tuten (535 yards, 4 TDs) the Hokies have a nice 1-2 punch on the ground. That Tuten was committed to BC before flipping adds an interesting wrinkle to the matchup. Their rushing prowess comes in spite of a bad offensive line that has really hamstrung their offense at times.
Yet, despite all these playmakers and stats, the Hokies are 4-5. Their best win is what? WakeForest? They were annihilated by Louisville last week, and did not put up much of a fight against FSU either.
There are a couple of key matchups to watch here, and I think it all starts in the trenches. BC’s O-line has been dominant all year long, and after one of their more average showings against Syracuse next week, how they handle VT’s pass rush will be huge. Conversely, with the way the Hokies run the ball and the way BC’s secondary will be playing, I expect VT to try and attack on the ground. If BC’s D-line can get going and prevent the home run plays on the ground, I like our chances. BC, after opening as a couple-point favorites, are now +2. Hafley and Co. have been talking all week about how much it means to the team to be playing in meaningful games in November — and make no mistake, this is a meaningful game. With both these teams at 3-2 in ACC play, the winner is right there praying on a Louisville slip-up. With BC at home, the guys fired up, and The Path still alive, give me the Eagles.
Picks: BC +2, O 49