Cincinnati-Virginia Tech Football: Mitch Picks the Orange Bowl

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Cincinnati-Virginia Tech Football: Mitch Picks the Orange Bowl

While this is my last picks article written in conjunction with the Bleacher Report college football writers for this bowl season, you can always find all of my free picks against the spread for all of the bowl games at my site, The College Football Place.

Thanks to Trey Bradley for putting this all together and to everyone who participated. Like I always say, even though we don't always agree, college football is a lot better with you guys around.

Visit me any time and leave a comment or a post in the forum or stop by an in-game chat. Here's the writeup:


The FedEx Orange Bowl; Dolphin Stadium, Miami, FL

Cincinnati (11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (9-4)

January 1, 2009, 8 p.m. EST; The Line: Virginia Tech +2 1/2


Overview

While this may be one of the the least attractive matchups of the BCS bowl games, it may produce one of the closer and more exciting games of any we see this bowl season. Both of these teams are similar in so many ways, and that usually makes for a great chess match.

Virginia Tech opened the season with Sean Glennon as its starting quarterback and with all intentions of red shirting sophomore Tyrod Taylor; that idea was abandoned after an upset loss in their opener against East Carolina in which Glennon looked ineffective and predictable.

While this was considered a rebuilding year for the Hokies, Frank Beamer once again proved that he is one of the bet coaches in the country and really one of the best of all-time, as he does more with less than just about any coach in history.

While Beamer deserves much of the kudos, his sidekick, defensive coordinator Bud Foster, and his lunch-pail crew defense have been a big part of all of the success VT has had over the years. The special teams play, aka "Beamer Ball," has defined Virginia Tech football throughout the years and will be Beamer's legacy.

If Beamer Ball is going to have any success in this one, it will be against the country's best punter in Cinicnnati's Kevin Huber. The Bearcats special teams has been outstanding this year and, while it is one of the most overlooked parts of a football team, it is usually one of the quickest routes to making a mid-level team a top contender, and this has been proven over and over again.

Of course, Brian Kelly's Bearcats have a lot more than special teams working for them. The Bearcats started the season with quarterback problems of their own, as NCAA rulings and injuries forced them into situations in which they didn't know who was going to be steering the ship from one week to the next.

All along, the Bearcats just played hard-nosed defense and the offensive players just made plays. While many don't see the Bearcats to be a team with a lot of household names, they are loaded with players who will become household names playing on Sundays. This is a senior-laden and experienced Cincinnati team.


Some Stats

Virginia Tech

Offensive Averages

Points
22.2
(89th/8th)
Overall Yds
296.2
(107th/12th)
Passing Yds
128.2
(112th/11th)
Rushing Yds
167.9
(41st/3rd)

Defensive Averages

Points
17.5
(13th/2nd)
Overall Yds
277.1
(7th/2nd)
Passing Yds
170.1
(13th/4th)
Rushing Yds
107.0
(17th/2nd)

* In parenthesis are National and Conference Rank, respectively


Cincinnati

Offensive Averages

Points
27.3
(48th/3rd)
Overall Yds
375.3
(49th/4th)
Passing Yds
254.1
(25th/2nd)
Rushing Yds
121.2
(94th/8th)

Defensive Averages

Points
20.2
(26th/5th)
Overall Yds
316.1
(26th/3rd)
Passing Yds
212.1
(66th/6th)
Rushing Yds
104.0
(12th/2nd)

* In parenthesis are National and Conference Rank, respectively

*from statsheet.com


The Trends

ATS Trends

Virginia Tech
  • Hokies are 14-4 ATS in their last 18 Thursday games.
  • Hokies are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games as an underdog.
  • Hokies are 39-15-1 ATS in their last 55 games after accumulating less than 275 total yards in their previous game.
  • Hokies are 5-2 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Hokies are 21-10 ATS in their last 31 games after accumulating less than 170 yards passing in their previous game.
  • Hokies are 23-11 ATS in their last 34 games following a ATS win.
  • Hokies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Bowl games.
  • Hokies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 bowl games.
  • Hokies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • Hokies are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 non-conference games.
Cincinnati
  • Bearcats are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 Thursday games.
  • Bearcats are 4-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
  • Bearcats are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games on grass.
  • Bearcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Bowl games.
  • Bearcats are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 bowl games.
  • Bearcats are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games after allowing less than 100 yards rushing in their previous game.
  • Bearcats are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 Bowl games as a favorite.


The Picks

Bleacher Writer Picks

Virginia Tech: Brian Scott, David Wunderlich, and GeorgiaDawg

Cincinnati: Trey Bradley, Michael Cline, Lisa Horne, and Justin Goar

This is the last of my bowl game picks for the year I am writing in conjunction with the other Bleacher Report writers as this was the last game I was assigned. I look forward to doing this again next year as I always enjoy interacting with some of the best writers anywhere. Of course, I will continue to write up and pick the rest of the games as I have done all season and all bowl season.

This shapes up to be a close game and while I think a lot of people will criticize these teams and the BCS system for giving us this game, it's tough to dispute that these teams both earned their way to this game. While these are successful teams, that aren't as popular and maybe that why I am hearing a lot of the indifference.

Anyone tuning into this game expecting fireworks will probably be disappointed, as there probably won't be many. If you are a fan of defense, hard hitting, and textbook blocking and tackling, you have found a dream matchup. As just about everyone knows, I'll take good defense over offense any day of the week, so this one is just right for me.

I think this will come down to a battle of field position and when you have a punter like Kevin Huber he may be the MVP of this game. I look for Cincinnati to win this one and cover in a game between two teams who have had very little success recently in bowl games.

 

MITCH'S PICK: CINCINNATI -2 1/2

 

Visit Mitch anytime and see all of his picks against the spread at The College Football Place.

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