College Football Picks: ACC Championship Game Predictions for Florida State vs. Virginia Tech
by Trevor Whenham - 12/3/2010
This game features clearly the two best teams in the ACC. That’s not really a complement to this conference. These two teams are fine, but neither one is anywhere close to an elite program right now. On the plus side, whoever wins this game will be dramatically better than the Big East champion.
If Virginia Tech was Superman, then Florida State would be kryptonite. The Hokies have been totally dominated by the Seminoles - they have lost 13 of the last 14 meetings. The only thing that has allowed Virginia Tech to succeed recently is that the two teams don’t play that often. The last time they met was in 2008. In that game Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor was hurt on the first play of the game, and Florida State cruised to a win.
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Taylor is a senior now, so this is his last shot to make up for that disappointment. He’s not the most impressive QB in the world, but he’s put together a pretty nice year. He has completed 60 percent of his passes for 20 TDs, and he has thrown just four interceptions along the way. He has also run for 613 yards and four scores. That was good enough for Taylor to be named ACC Player of the Year this week.
If Virginia Tech goes on to lose this game it won’t be because of Taylor. Taylor also has a shot at history on his mind - with a win here and in the BCS his senior class would become the winningest in the history of the program at 44-12.
Florida State has no slouch at quarterback themselves. Senior Christian Ponder has struggled with injuries this year, but he still passed for 20 touchdowns and just more than 2,000 yards. Ponder hasn’t lived up to the preseason hype that had him pegged as a serious Heisman Trophy contender and potential top quarterback in the NFL Draft, but he’s still a serious factor here.
Ponder is going to have less to worry about in terms of a pass rush than Taylor will. Florida State’s pass rush is potent - their 43 sacks is the best in the country. The amount of success that the Hokies will have will depend on Taylor’s ability to handle the pressure and stay on task.
The best game we can use as an example of how Virginia Tech might handle that challenge is their win against Miami two games back. The Hurricanes sacked Taylor five times and even knocked him out of action for a while after a particularly bruising hit. The Hokies were rattled early, but they adjusted well and ended up cruising to a nice win.
Florida State vs. Virginia Tech ACC Championship Game Betting Odds and Line Movement
Virginia Tech opened as 4.5-point favorites, according to college football odds, and the line has since dropped to four - with 3.5 starting to pop up in some places. That line movement is eye-catching because it’s not what you expect given the action - 65 percent of bets have been on the Hokies. That would suggest that smart money is favoring the Seminoles. The total is inching upwards. It opened at 51, and is now widely available at 52.5.
Florida State vs. Virginia Tech Betting Trends
Florida State thrives in neutral site games - they are 8-0-1 ATS in their last nine. In five of those games they have been underdogs.
The last 12 times Florida State has been an underdog of between 3.5 and 10 points they are 8-3-1 ATS. They are just 1-4 ATS in their last five conference games.
The Hokies are 14-3 ATS in their last 17 games overall, and 12-2 ATS in their last 14 on grass.
The Seminoles have gone ‘under’ in five of their last six games overall. The Hokies have gone ‘under’ in their last five.
Florida State vs. Virginia Tech College Football Picks for the ACC Championship Game
One big thing stands out when you look at what Virginia Tech has done this year. After losing two games in a row to start the season a lot of teams would have quit. This team got tough instead. They have won 10 games in a row, and all wins have been by at least a touchdown - much more in most cases.
They haven’t played the toughest schedule in the country, but they have certainly taken care of business. Their success has been marked by very solid play on both sides of the ball. They aren’t playing a particularly daunting opponent here, so I expect the Hokies to be well prepared for this game, and more than up to the challenge of getting the win. If they do win then I expect them to win by daylight, so I’ll definitely take them to cover this spread.
These teams have gone ‘under’ in nine of their last 10 combined games, so it’s hard not to take the ‘under’ - especially since the total is creeping upwards.
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