Game of the Day Preview: Georgia Tech at No. 16 Virginia Tech
The Yellow Jackets are looking for a chance to return as a prominent football program for the first time since 2009, while Frank Beamer's Hokies continue to vie for a national title appearance.
With Miami (Fla.) and North Carolina expected to be mediocre, this matchup looks to have major implications for the conference championship race: The winner of this game has won the Coastal Division every year since the ACC expanded in 2005.
What to expect with Georgia Tech: The triple-option at its best. Ever since Paul Johnson brought the system to Georgia Tech in 2008, the Jackets have had one of the better running games in the nation. It stalled a bit last season, but should be back to order—and possibly the best they've had—with the extraordinary athletic talent of quarterback Tevin Washington and A-back Orwin Smith.
What to expect with Virginia Tech: A incredibly balanced offense. All eyes are on junior quarterback Logan Thomas, who is one of the better pro prospects for the upcoming draft. Expect him to have a great game against a defense that allowed 30 points or more in each of GT's final games last season. The Yellow Jackets struggled to find a pass rush, and if that's the case again, Thomas will eat them up.
Also, watch out for redshirt freshman running back Michael Holmes. He is going to get the bulk of the carries tonight and should be able to find all the holes, especially if the pass game in on.
Prediction: The big question is whether Georgia Tech's offense can penetrate a defensive front seven that was very reliable against the run last season. Virginia Tech returns nine starters in all on this side of the ball, who allowed 17.6 points (7th in NCAA) and 305.0 yards per game (10th in NCAA).
There's a lot of pressure on this young, inexperienced Hokie offensive line, too. It had to replace four starters along the front and it could show if the Jackets' outstanding linebacker corps is able to find balance through blitzing and pass coverage.
This contest has the potential to go either way, but I'm favoring the stellar play of a defense that has the ability to change the outcome with a turnover at any given moment.
Virginia Tech 27, Georgia Tech 23 -- via Week 1 predictions