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November 17, 2012

Staff Picks: VT at BC

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The must-win streak begins tomorrow at Boston College, which could come in front of a cold, less than half-empty stadium. Has Virginia Tech put its losing woes behind it? It will have to to keep its bowl hopes alive.

We take our shots at calling what will happen at today's 12:30 pm ET kickoff.

Jason Stamm, publisher

There's been plenty at stake for a while now, but it ramps up even more this weekend as a loss officially eliminates Virginia Tech from the post-season. As bad as this season has been at times, a win also miraculously keeps the Hokies alive or a coastal division championship and a spot in the ACC championship game. Of course, Miami will have to forfeit its spot if it keeps winning, but it's still a possibility.

This season has been a strange one for Virginia Tech on the road. The Hokies have looked like a different, weaker team away from home, which has led to some ugly defeats, like North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

Granted, Boston College isn't even close to as talented as those two. But the Eagles did play Notre Dame tough last week, falling just 21-6 and Virginia Tech hasn't proven it can win anywhere on the road.

It's a tough one for the Hokies to get jacked up for, an early start, dismal crowd expected and cold weather, but again, a bowl is on the line.

I'd expect the defense to again be the star of the day for the Hokies. The line especially, with Dadi Nicolas, James Gayle and Luther Maddy should really have its way.

It's still not clear how the running game will go. Will J.C. Coleman get the majority of the carries? Will junior quarterback Logan Thomas run the ball 20-plus times? Either way, it should be enough for Virginia Tech.

I'd expect a few mistakes, since they've happened consistently all season, but that still shouldn't be enough to keep the Hokies from keeping the post-season hopes alive. The negatives working against Virginia Tech above should keep the game close, but the Hokies have too much riding on the game to fold this time.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 27-17

Doug Bowman, senior writer

The only way the Hokies will lose this game is if they come out completely unfocused and fall victim to the early kick in what will probably be a half-full stadium. As long as they avoid that, the big-time advantages they have at the line of scrimmage should be enough to give them a comfortable win.

As poor as this season has been, Virginia Tech should be able to run in some form against the nation's 116th ranked rush defense to establish some sort of consistent ground threat and then beat them through the air with senior wide receiver Corey Fuller. The defense, provided they aren't asleep still, should handle Boston College's running game and put lots of pressure on senior quarterback Chase Rettig; the only real concern is if he gets just enough time on certain plays to make it hurt against a banged up and fragile Virginia Tech secondary.

I don't think any of that happens as I see the Hokies coming out and taking care of business fairly easily Saturday afternoon.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 30 - Boston College 17

Mike Stancik, staff writer

In a must-win scenario in order to stay bowl-eligible, senses tell me Saturday will be the first road win of the season for Virginia Tech. Las Vegas is currently listing the Hokies as a 9.5-point favorite (wouldn't surprise me if it gets bigger), and I believe that will be about right.

Though the Eagles played Notre Dame to a 21-6 battle, this is the same team that was beaten 51-7 by Florida State and by 20 against Georgia Tech. Granted, both of those battles were on the road, which is why this game could remain interesting for a while. However, I believe this will be the first time the Hokies play consecutive weeks of good football since Georgia Tech and Austin Peay.

Defensive coordinator Bud Foster's defense comes ready to play again against another pro-style offense, and will force Rettig to beat them through the air. As long as wide receiver Alex Amidon doesn't go all 2005-Calvin Johnson on Virginia Tech, I forsee a few turnovers from the unit in a solid victory. Coleman gets going on some runs to the outside thanks to some new personnel (hello, wide receivers Fuller and Demitri Knowles) and the Hokies secure a two-score win late.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 31 Boston College 20


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