As hard as it is to fathom, the University of Miami has yet to win the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division since arriving from the Big East. Certainly no one expected the Canes to change things this season as they were generally picked to finish fifth in the six-team division ahead of only Duke. Yet there Miami (4-4, 3-2) is tied atop the division with the Blue Devils and North Carolina – the Heels, who beat Miami, are ineligible for postseason play. So should the Hurricanes beat Virginia Tech on Thursday, all they would need to do to reach the conference title game is win at Virginia on Nov. 10 and at Duke to close the regular season. That’s certainly not an impossible chore.
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Virginia Tech (4-4, 2-2) has won the Coastal the past two seasons and in five of its seven years. The Hokies were big favorites to do so again this year but have been a major disappointment as they have four losses before the end of October for the first time since 1992. Virginia Tech has won at least 10 games for eight straight seasons, the longest streak in college football. But the only way that streak continues is if Virginia Tech runs the table in the regular season and then wins the ACC title game and its bowl game. The Hokies do control their own destiny in the division (beat Duke already) but have to face Florida State next Thursday.
The school did get some good news this week in that star QB Logan Thomas announced he would return for his senior season. That would be a wise choice because Thomas has regressed this year. His completion percentage is just 53.6 percent and he already has as many picks (ACC-leading 10) as all of 2011. He is still a threat on the ground with 298 yards rushing yards and five scores.
Virginia Tech at Miami Betting Storylines
Both teams were off this past Saturday so are as healthy as can be expected this time of year. Canes QB Stephen Morris was considered doubtful for UM’s last game vs. Florida State with a sprained ankle but did start. Morris has been off in Miami’s three-game losing streak as he has just one touchdown and three picks. He hasn’t passed for more than 223 yards or completed better than 58.1 percent in any game during that stretch. In the two games previous, he threw for a combined 1,002 yards with seven scores as Miami beat Georgia Tech and NC State. He leads led the ACC in completions (179), passing attempts (311) and passing yards (2,219), while ranking second with 277.4 yards per game. The Hokies rank second in the conference in passing yards allowed per game (203.4).
Meanwhile, expect a different look in Virginia Tech’s backfield as coach Frank Beamer has said he will pare the running back rotation down to two from four. Tech has split carries among Michael Holmes, J.C. Coleman, Tony Gregory and Martin Scales this season. Coleman is the leading rusher of the backs, with 338 yards and two touchdowns on 56 carries. Earlier this week, Beamer wouldn’t say which two he has picked but that the team is “practicing with an idea” about how the rotation will look going forward. Expect plenty of running Thursday as Miami is allowing the second-most rushing yards in the country this year (249.25 yards) and is last in the ACC in scoring defense as well at 32.4 points per game (No. 98 nationally). Coleman has been the only Tech player to get 100-plus yards rushing in the last 10 games, so expect him to be the primary guy.
The Hokies historically are one of the best ACC road teams, going 27-7 in conference road games since joining the league. But Tech has dropped both conference road games this season and is on a six-game road losing streak overall. It matches Tech’s longest losing streak in road games (set in 1990-91). The Hokies are a Thursday night powerhouse, however. They are 11-4 in ESPN Thursday night games since joining the ACC and 8-2 overall in Thursday night road games. Virginia Tech was 2-0 on Thursday nights last season.
Virginia Tech has won three straight over Miami and is an incredible 25-2 in ACC play during the month of November. The Canes have dropped four of their past five at home in the series.
Virginia Tech at Miami Betting Odds and Trends
On BookMaker, Tech is a two-point favorite with the total at 57. The Hokies and “over” are taking the early leans. Virginia Tech is 2-6 ATS this season and 4-3 “over/under”. Miami is 5-3 ATS and 4-3 over/under.
Virginia Tech is 0-5 ATS in its past five road games. Miami is 5-0 ATS in its past five ACC games. Canes are 5-1 ATS in their past six after a loss. UM is 0-5 ATS in its past five games following a double-digit loss at home. The over is 5-2 in Hokies’ past seven games following a loss. The under is 7-0 in Miami’s past seven games following a double-digit loss at home. The Hokies are 5-1 in the past six meetings. The under is 4-0 in the past four in Miami.
College Football Picks: Virginia Tech at Miami Predictions
I truly don’t have a clue which Miami team shows up. The Canes were destroyed in road games vs. Kansas State and Notre Dame, but those almost look understandable now with how good the Wildcats and Irish are. UM had chances to beat North Carolina and FSU, but its youth showed in both. Tech, meanwhile, has lost its three true road games this season each by at least two touchdowns. When it looks 50-50, you have to lean to the home team. So Miami it is, and the under.
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