Virginia Tech vs. Florida State Football: Tech Will Win 4th ACC Title in 7 Years
Virginia Tech entered the ACC in 2004 and won it the same year. There was no championship game that year, but they made it to the first conference championship game in 2005 against Florida State. The fifth-ranked Hokies lost to the unranked Seminoles.
The Hokies made it back in 2007 and 2008, winning both against Boston College. They're 1-2 against the Seminoles since joining the ACC, and Beamer is 1-8 against Florida State during his tenure in Blacksburg, including a national championship loss in 2000.
But, that's all in the past. The 2010 Hokies have won 10 straight and have their sights set on the Orange Bowl. The Seminoles are 9-3. Virginia Tech is the first ACC team to go undefeated in regular season conference play since Florida State in 1999.
The two teams don't play that often, even though they're both in the ACC, but they do have somewhat of a storied past that's dominated by the Seminoles. Here are five reasons why Virginia Tech gets over the hump this weekend and beats FSU for the ACC title.
Virginia Tech leads the nation in turnover margin for two reasons. The first is sophomore cornerback Jayron Hosley. The first team All-ACC player leads the nation with eight interceptions. The second reason is Tyrod Taylor who doesn't turn the ball over very often.
The Hokies defense has been suspect at times, but they do know how to force turnovers, which will be the difference in the game. The Hokies only forced one turnover, an interception, against UVA, but intercepted three passes against Miami and four against North Carolina.
Christian Ponder will have to be sure to limit his bad throws or else the Hokies secondary, led by Hosley will make him and the 'Noles pay.
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The Hokies haven't run the ball like everyone thought they would this year, but it's tough to give everyone carries when you have three guys that could be feature backs on any other team in the conference, arguably the country.
Ryan Williams has been injured for a good majority of the season, but appears to be fully healed after hurting his hamstring. Darren Evans is the team's leading rusher, but that's largely because Williams was out.
Taylor led the team in rushing for a while, and David Wilson is also a huge threat in the backfield. The Hokies have too much depth in their backfield, and their ability to run the ball will give them the edge over the 'Noles.
Frank Beamer vs. Jimbo Fisher
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Beamer has struggled with Florida State in the past, but that was with Bobby Bowden-coached teams. It's hard to say if that was the main reason he's 1-8 against the Seminoles at Virginia Tech, but this will be the first time he's gone up against Jimbo Fisher.
The reason Beamer has the edge is because he's been here four times before. The Hokies struggle to win big games, but this team has senior leadership in key areas. Taylor has two ACC titles under his belt, opposed to Ponder who has never played in an ACC title game.
Beamer has a number of coaching advantages coming into the game because he's been here before, which gives him the edge over Fisher.
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This game is being played in Charlotte, North Carolina for the first time. The last two years the game has been in Tampa Bay, and before that it was held in Jacksonville, FL. Of course, no Florida teams won their respective divisions when the game was held in the Sunshine State, and attendance was low.
The Hokies always have fans no matter where the game is held, but other schools like Boston College don't have a lot of alumni and don't travel well. Plus, lets face it; Chestnut Hill is a long way from Florida.
With the game in Charlotte, the Hokies will have a lot of fans in attendance—more so than usual. Ticket sales are up for the game opposed to years prior and it should be a great atmosphere. Florida State fans will be there, but won't be as many as the Hokies.
So, the Hokies have the advantage, but here's a fact that doesn't work in their favor: The Hokies are 0-3 in games played in Charlotte, NC.
ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor
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Taylor is the reason the Hokies rebounded from their embarrassing 0-2 start. His leadership and determination to make sure the season wasn't completely wasted has been seen week after week.
The Hokies have been down in a number of games, but Taylor has led the surge to bring the Hokies back. Tech looked like they were beat against N.C. State, but a fourth-quarter surge led by the senior quarterback ended with the Hokies on top.
Taylor has dominated games for the Hokies this year on a number of occasions, and led the Hokies in rushing for much of the year. He's one of the nation's most efficient passers, the school's all-time leading passer, has the most wins in school history by a quarterback and he's the 2010 ACC Player of the Year.
He's won two ACC championships and one Orange Bowl in his career and he's looking to add to both. Taylor is the No. 1 reason the Hokies have won 10 straight games, and he's the reason they will beat Florida State on Saturday.