Virginia Tech vs. North Carolina
Betting Line: Va. Tech -3.5 o/u 52
Nothing like a late season Conference match up with huge implications to get the blood flowing, right? Virginia Tech is in excellent position to win the Coastal division of the ACC. A win on the road against North Carolina would make them virtually unbeatable for the top spot. The Tar Heels find themselves with two losses in Conference play. They could win the Coastal division, but things would have to fall into place perfectly for them. That starts with a home win against the Hokies. After a 37-35 win against Florida State they appear ready to meet this challenge. They have won 4 of the last 5, but Virginia Tech has won 7 straight after dropping their first two Games of the year.
The Tar Heels won last years meeting 20-17 as a 14.5 point underdog. That victory was due in large part to a monumental effort by the defense. Historically, Virginia Tech has won 5 of the last 7 meetings. Most of the wins were emphatically by huge spread. RB Ryan Houston will return after serving a suspension for the Tar Heels. His 2010 debut is much anticipated as he scored 9 Tds in 2009. The Hokies come into this Game without any significant injuries. The Tar Heels were banged up a bit against Florida State, but should be unhampered for the most part.
Senior QB TJ Yates has helped his Tar Heels tremendously in 2010. The senior QB had 3 TD passes last week and 439 yards to go with that. On the year 2,312 yards and 15 Tds. When playing his best football, Yates is as good as any QB around. His most reliable target is junior WR Dwight Jones who has caught 40 passes for 716 yards and 4 Tds this year.
Yates isn’t the only senior propelling the offense towards victories. RB Johnny White has carried the rock 130 times for 720 yards and 7 Tds this year. He had 2 Tds in a close 21-16 win over Clemson. White can catch a few passes too. against Clemson he caught 6 passes for 90 yards. Fellow senior Shaun Draugn has 386 yards and 4 Tds. Combine these two stellar Rbs with Yates, and Jones and this offense shouldn’t have a problem scoring on a solid Virginia Tech defense.
As strong as the Tar Heels have been on offense, the Hokies have been even better. They have countless weapons on the offense, iNCluding QB Tyrod Taylor. The senior won the Orange Bowl as a sophomore and has only gotten better since then. In 2010 he has passed for 1,729 yards and 16 Tds. Combine that with 584 yard and 3 Tds on the ground, and Taylor is quite the duel threat. The loss of Ryan Williams at RB hasn’t hurt this team too bad, as Darren Evans has done a good job picking up the slack. He owns 515 yards and 9 Tds this year. Ranking 16th in the nation in Points For at 36 PPG, it’s hard to see the Hokies having a hard time getting points on the board this week.
Just as the offense is solid for the Hokies, the defense is too. They are giving up a mere 20 PPG. They held Georgia Tech to 20 points last week. The secondary is very good, and could pose a problem for the Tar Heels TJ Yates. North Carolina isn’t too far behind at 22.3 PPG, but they have lost several playmakers to early season suspensions. They can only hope to contain Virginia Tech’s potent offense, so its up to Yates and co to go Scorefor Scorewith Virginia Tech.
This Games opened Virginia Tech -5.5 and despite fairly balanced betting action, which if anything is slanted towards Tech, the line as moved to -3.5. This is a good indication that the money that matters is on North Carolina.
We’d agree. We don’t have an edge in the line here, as we’d make Tech a 3-4 point favorite as well. However, there are other reasons to take a shot with the Tar Heels. Tech won this Game by large margins in 2005 and 2006. Butch Davis took over NC in 2006 and we saw NC lose by scores of 17-10 and 20-17 before finally getting over the hump last season with a 20-17 win on the road at Virginia Tech.
The talent is there. After such a tumultuous season, with the suspensions and everything else, after such high hopes coming in, there’s still plenty to play for in North Carolina. They likely won’t be able to earn the top spot in the ACC Coastal, but stranger things have happened and Virginia Tech and Miami play each other next week. Also, every win from here forward earns them a higher profile Bowl Game. Winning now, is the differeNCe between playing in a mid December Bowl Game and playing in a Game closer to January 1st.
We’ll side with the Tar Heels here in a Game they can win straight up and in a Game that will likely come down to the closing minutes. North Carolina +3.5