Dec. 31, 2009, 7:30 PM EST, Atlanta, on ESPN
The Hokies have to be disappointed. They have been in and out of the top 10 all year, but instead of landing a BCS bid, they get an unranked opponent in the Volunteers.
The Hokies are extremely well-coached, so I do not see them sleepwalking through this contest.
The Vols have been tested against great competition in the SEC and their tough defense can keep them in a game with anybody (see Florida). You never know what Lane Kiffin will say, so this game has a bit of intrigue as well.
The Vols may still be a couple of notches below where they would like to be, but they certainly are interesting. Their coach mixes it up at press conferences and their players are robbing fellow students at the gas station. In between, they have shown toughness and improvement in most areas.
In this contest, they will rely on their stingy D (19th in the country in yards) and the running of Montario Hardesty (what a great name). If QB Jonathan Crompton doesn’t turn it over, this formula may yield a victory.
In case you forgot, Tennessee only lost to Alabama by two, while VT lost by 10 in the opening week. These teams may be closer to each other than they first appear.
Virginia Tech Preview
The Hokies are very good. If they had closed out UNC and GT, we might have heard them clamoring for a rematch with the Crimson Tide. As usual, they are leaning on their defense, which is OK when you give up only 16 PPG.
Frosh running back Ryan Williams has been amazing replacing Darren Evans, and Tyrod Taylor is dangerous at QB. Unfortunately, some of the danger he creates is for his own team. He has definitely improved and, if he can outplay his counterpart, the Hokies will win. They rarely beat themselves in other facets of the game.
My gut says Taylor outplays Crompton in this one. He can make plays with his feet, which will be important, while the Hokies will be able to rattle the Vols' QB. If VT can get up early, Tennessee just might pack it in.
Not sure why this line is heading up…I guess the rest of the world is thinking like I am. As long as it stays under seven I feel good about the Hokies. You might want to buy a point to be sure.
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