Well, it’s the final game of what has been a great weekend. We are treated to a matchup between two perennial top 25 teams. The Virginia Tech Hokies are looking to ride into Tallahassee, home of the Florida State Seminoles, and leave town with a major conference victory in a game between inter-divisional ACC foes.
Virginia Tech comes in following two straight campaigns of at least 9 wins, one of which got them to the conference champioinship. This is Head Coach Justin Fuente’s third season in Blacksburg, Va where he has strengthened the Hokie defense each season with improved play under long-time Defensive Coordinator Bud Foster. Last season the VT defense held opponents to 14.8 points per game and were complimented by a potent and balanced offense. The offense took a dip in average points, down to 28.2 from 35.0 the previous year, but were also replacing the team’s leading passer, rusher, and receiver from 2016. Even though the point average dropped by a TD, the yardage was comparable and more likely, inexperience at the QB position was the culprit.
FSU has a new head man in town after Jimbo Fisher bolted for greener pastures. About $75 million worth of “greener” pastures. Jimbo didn’t leave the cupboard empty though and new coach Willie Taggart will have plenty of firepower to work with. Coach Taggart comes in after a one-year run in Oregon which netted the Ducks a 7-6 record as they adjusted to his play calling. Now he is the head coach for his favorite childhood team and hopes to keep them in the national conversation for years to come. Winning this game will go a long way towards doing that as the Seminoles will be playing in front of a national audience with Deondre Francois back at QB after only playing 3 quarters last year before injuring his knee. The return of Francois coupled with 8 returning starters on offense is promising for the new coach and the defense always plays fast.
The current vegas lines have FSU as 7.5-pt favorites over the visiting Hokies with an over/under of 55. Both of those numbers are up after the lines opened at FSU -5.5 and the o/u at 50 which means the betting public is leaning heavily towards the home-town Seminoles. In the famous words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friends”. Virginia Tech is going to come in and and play their blue-collar style of football and win this game, according to the formula, 29-15. The 8 returning starters for FSU will not mean much as they are installing a new offense and that combined with Bud Foster’s defense will enable Virginia Tech to win time of possession, stay within the spread, and keep this well under the over/under.