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September 15, 2012

Staff Picks: VT at Pittsburgh

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Pittsburgh will be joining the ACC next year, giving us a preview of what to expect for years to come. But the Panthers have struggled mightily this season. Will that continue or can they knock off Virginia Tech on its first road trip this season?

We take our shots at calling what will happen at today's noon ET kickoff.

Jason Stamm, publisher

The Pittsburgh has had trouble stopping much the past two weeks. First, FCS team Youngstown State put up 31 points. Conference foe Cincinnati one-upped the Penguins last week, with 34.

The Panthers' offense hasn't done much better, scoring just 17 and 10 points. Now, the offense has some weapons, namely running back Ray Graham, who, when healthy is one of the best rushers in the country.

Virginia Tech has had its issues, especially on offense where the Hokies had trouble getting going against both Georgia Tech and Austin Peay. But the way Pittsburgh is playing, that might change as the running backs, like Michael Holmes and J.C. Coleman, or at least one of them, should bust out any time.

The Panthers aren't bad offensively and will get going eventually. My guess is they'll make progress on both sides, getting up for a top 25 opponent like Virginia Tech, but it still won't be enough.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 31-17

Doug Bowman, senior writer

This has the potential to be a bit of a snoozer given the noon start in what will be a less than full NFL sized stadium.

The Panthers have been beaten up and left for dead already this season, so they will be coming out one of two ways. They will either already be folded up and take another beating or ready to rumble and turn this season around.

As Graham gets healthier, the offense will get better, but they have no shot until they figure out what is wrong with the defense. I believe Tech will make a strong commitment to Holmes and the running game this week and the Hokies will grind out a victory with a strong second half.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 31 - Pittsburgh 13

Roger Gonzalez, staff writer

Pittsburgh has gotten off to a horrific start to the 2012 campaign, but this team has loads of talent. Virginia Tech is not taking the Panthers lightly, so expect a typical, physical game by the Hokies.

It will be important to establish the run in this one, but expect junior quarterback Logan Thomas to take a few shots deep. What it comes down to is, Tech's defense is superb and Pitt's offensive has been far from solid.

In this one, the visitors improve to 3-0 behind an all-around performance. Expect a big game, again, from senior wide receiver Corey Fuller in this one.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 38, Pittsburgh 20.


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