Wednesday, November 24, 2010
game preview: Virginia Tech
Date/Time: November 27, 12:00
History against the Hokies: 37-49-5
Last matchup: VT 42, UVA 13; 11/28/09
Last week: BC 17, UVA 13; VT 31, Miami 17
Line: VT by 23.5
Opposing blogs: Gobbler Country, The Key Play
VT season preview
Injury report: None yet, it's a day early. But Keith Payne looks like a go. Barring surprises, we should have a full crew minus the IR guys.
Sigh. This is it. After this weekend it's full speed ahead on basketball, and football is behind us. And chances are, after this weekend we'll all think that's a great thing. I'm not going to wax poetic on what a win would mean because the best thing would be to just let all the losses blend into one another like the rain smearing the makeup of a lonely emo kid, until the day they actually end.
HOW WE CAN WIN
- NO PAYNE, NO GAIN! This was a favorite Wahoo mantra upon Keith Payne's over-heralded arrival as a freshman. It's finally time to put it to good use. You had to know Payne wasn't going to miss this game even if whatever lower extremity kept him out of the BC game was a bloody stump. VT's run defense is suspect; as Gobbler Country informed us, VT likes the nickel package out of necessity, on account of poor linebacker play. Their pass defense is all-conference stuff, but they have the league's second-worst run defense after you-know-who. Give the man 40 carries and he'll get his yards. And it'll keep our hapless defense off the field.
- Keep it close. A win would send a huge message to instate recruits; a close loss would be almost as good. VT fans recognize the need to stomp us into the dirt in order to snuff Mike London's message that our time is coming and their time is over. Frank Beamer recognizes it too, and he won't hesitate to be a ruthless asshole. As with Miami - in fact, even more so - this game is more important for its big-picture recruiting implications than for the this-season effects of the actual result.
- Get the Hokies looking ahead. "Dear Virginia Tech. You may have beaten us once this season, but you ain't shit. Looking forward to seeing you in Charlotte and racking up 50. Sincerely, Russell Wilson." VT has already clinched the division, and as with Miami, a win will mean the opponent didn't bring its A game.
HOW WE CAN LOSE
- Allow them to get Ryan Williams one-on-one with anyone. UVA can stop the run - if the line can swarm the ballcarrier behind the line of scrimmage. VT has the two things which kill our defense more than anything, ever: a mobile quarterback and a tackle-breaking running back. Williams on the edge with a linebacker or cornerback attempting to tackle, especially the way we've tackled all season, means a first down no matter what the yardage. The D-line has to beat its blocks and swarm, or VT will rack up 300+ yards on the ground.
- Get behind early. Again with the Miami game, where UVA racked up a 24-point lead before Miami got on the board. The only recipe for a win here is to get ahead and hang on tight. If we're forced to the air in the hope of getting a quick strike, its over.
HOW THE GAME WILL GO
Oh, you know. Michigan plays Ohio State at the same time as our game on Saturday, so by about 2:00, 2:30 at the latest, I fully expect to be wishing football entirely out of existence. The whole sport.
The spread, I think, is going to be blown apart by one team or another. Either VT wins by 45 - and you know they'll run up the score because Beamer doesn't want London to gain an inch of recruiting ground - or things come together beautifully, Payne gets 175 yards, the defense plays inspired ball, and we lose by 4. A win, I'm not even going to consider the possibility before 00:00 of the fourth quarter. Maybe 00:03, if we're up by two scores. Ha. A low-scoring game favors UVA, a high-scoring game favors VT, and the run defenses are so unearthly poor that the odds of a low-scoring game are microscopically slim.
REST OF THE ACC
Boston College @ Syracuse, 12:00
Miami vs. South Florida, 12:00
NC State @ Maryland, 3:30
Florida State vs. Florida, 3:30
North Carolina @ Duke, 3:30
Clemson vs. South Carolina, 7:00
Wake Forest @ Vanderbilt, 7:30
Georgia Tech @ Georgia, 8:00