Live Free Picks
Home Of 500 Handicappers
Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Virginia
An important Atlantic Coast Conference contest caps the first week of the college football season when No. 20 Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech. The winner of this duel has won the Coastal Division title in all seven seasons since the ACC split into divisions. Virginia Tech has won five of those contests. The defensive-minded Hokies have won 10 or more games in eight consecutive seasons (the longest current streak among FBS teams) and possess the nation’s third-longest bowl game streak with 19 straight appearances. Run-oriented Georgia Tech has made 15 consecutive bowl appearances, which ties for the fourth-longest active streak. Virginia Tech won last year’s meeting 37-26 as quarterback Logan Thomas passed for three touchdowns and rushed for two.
ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (2011: 8-5, 5-3 ACC): The Yellow Jackets will rely on a potent running game that averaged 316.5 yards per game last season, second-best nationally. Senior quarterback Tevin Washington is a shaky thrower (49.3 percent in 2011) but a terrific runner who had 987 yards and 14 touchdowns. Senior running back David Sims (698 yards) is solid and junior running back Orwin Smith (10.1 average, 11 touchdowns on 61 carries) is a true gamebreaker. Junior outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu (six sacks) and junior safety Isaiah Johnson (78 tackles) are the top players on an average defense.
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (11-3, 7-1 ACC): Thomas is a junior who passed for 3,013 yards and 19 touchdowns last season while adding 11 scores on the ground. Redshirt freshman Michael Holmes won the running back job as the Hokies attempt to replace ACC Player of the Year David Wilson. Virginia Tech was 10th nationally in total defense last season and has a strong nucleus of returners that includes junior defensive ends James Gayle (seven sacks) and J.R. Collins (six sacks), and junior cornerbacks Kyle Fuller (14.5 tackles for losses) and Antone Exum (team-high 89 tackles). Junior inside linebacker Tariq Edwards (11.5 tackles for losses) is out with a knee injury.
1. Virginia Tech has won four of the past five meetings and leads the series 6-3.
2. Georgia Tech led the nation with seven touchdown drives of 90 or more yards last season. The Yellow Jackets had 20 TD drives of 80 or more yards.