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Virginia Tech vs. Virginia ACC Football Pick

11/26/11

The Virginia Cavaliers are quietly having one of their best years in college football. No one expected them to do anything, but going into the final game of the year they have a chance to play for the ACC Title if they can eke out a win. The only thing standing is their way is big brother; Virginia Tech. Tech is favored by anywhere from -4.5 to -5.5 currently. Monitor the lines here.

The perennial powerhouse Hokies are 10-1 and ranked 5th in the nation. Frank Beamer's team is used to being in this position. They have been to a BCS Bowl in 3 of the past 4 years.

RB David Wilson powers the offense. He's rushed 231 times for 1,442 yards and 7 TDs in 2011. He's rushed for 100+ yards in all but 2 games this year. Sophomore Logan Thomas is doing well in his first year at the helm of the offense and his past two games are especially impressive. He passed for a combined 404 yards and 5 TDs against Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

Virginia enters this game after defeating Florida State on the road. Now they get the Hokies at home. The offense will rely on Sophomore Michael Rocco. He had a rocky start to 2011, but his past few games have been great. He tossed 2 TDs against Miami and had 226 yards in the air. He completed 22 of 31 against FSU for a TD. Facing Frank Beamers defense will be a special challenge, but the young 'fella might be ready for it playing at home.

Against common opponents, Tech is 4-0 and Virginia is 3-1, with the one loss coming to North Carolina, 28-17. The other three games were all similar scores to those of Virginia Tech against the same opponents. In fact, the Virginia defense allowed fewer points than Tech's in 2 out of the 3 games giving up just 21 points to Georgia Tech, Miami and Duke.

Defense is where this one will be won. If you look at the numbers season to date, you'd have to give Tech the edge defensively, but again, a look at common opponents tells us these two are closer than the season to date numbers suggest defensively. Note that Virginia held Florida State scoreless longer than any other Florida State opponent this year and that was on the road in last weeks 14-13 win.

Opportunities like this come just about every year for Virginia Tech, a program that wins 10+ games every year. Opportunities like this are rare for Virginia, a team that has won 5, 3 and 4 games in each of the past 3 seasons. Sometimes in sports, you've got to give destiny a chance. This will be the biggest football game in many years for the University of Virginia, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson is 1819 (had to throw that in there).

But we don't have to rely on destiny alone. The numbers also suggest Virginia is the right side. The yards per point numbers favor Virginia by 4 on a neutral field and our score prediction model calls for a 20-18 Virginia Tech win. In either case, a Virginia cover. We'd love to get +6 or more but would still play this all the way down to +3.

With a total of 45.5, we also think the under is worth a look. Virginia's best chance for success, we feel, is a repeat performance of the Florida State game. Both of these teams can play some defense. So, two recommendations here. Virginia +5.5 and Under 45.5

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