Half of the field in Saturday night’s ACC Championship Game was expected as Clemson was picked to repeat as Atlantic Division champs.
Virginia Tech, on the other hand, was picked to finish 4th in their division by the media as many called this a rebuilding year for first year head coach Justin Fuente.
No one told Coach Fuente that as the Hokies only losses on the season came against a ranked Tennessee squad, Syracuse, and Georgia Tech. They have now positioned themselves to take on a highly ranked Clemson squad looking to get back to the NCAA Championship Game.
How will the Hokies prepare for such a hyped match-up that most experts don’t see as being very competitive?
Looking at the numbers and the roller coaster season that Clemson put together it appears that Virginia Tech may have a bigger chance to pull the upset than most people think.
Clemson seems to follow up blowout wins with closer-than-expected victories the following week. They blew out South Carolina State 59-0 in Week 3 then followed that with a 26-7 win over Georgia Tech.
Not a tight game, by any means, but closer than it probably should have been.
In their sixth game the Tigers topped Boston College 56-10 only to barely get by NC State 24-17 in OT on a game that the Wolfpack could have won if their late FG attempt by Kyle Bambard didn’t sail to the right at the end of regulation. And the week following that Florida State almost got the better of Clemson in a close 37-34 win for the Tigers.
After FSU the Tigers rolled over Syracuse 54-0 before finally falling to their opponent when Pitt pulled the 43-42 upset.
So will the Hokies be able to get the Tigers lulled into a false sense of confidence following their 56-7 romp of in-state rival South Carolina last weekend?
The Hokies have definitely scratched and clawed their way to a 9-3 record (6-2 ACC). Three of their nine wins came by 3pts. They have had their share of high scoring wins as well, including a 49-0 romp of Boston College and a 52-10 beating of in-state rival Virginia last weekend.
Can Bud Foster’s defense slow down the aerial tandum of Deshaun Watson and Mike Williams? Can Jerod Evans outperform his Atlantic Division counterpart?
We’re torn on who we want to win this contest. We love the underdog and it would be great to see the Hokies pull off the upset. But on the flip side if Clemson loses then FSU will lose any chance at playing in the Orange Bowl this year as the Hokies get that invite.
So we’re officially pulling for a “closer than the experts think” game on Saturday night with Clemson using it’s final possession for a game winning/sealing drive to top the Hokies.
Prediction: Clemson 42, VaTech 36
Last Week: 8-1 (88.889%)
Overall Record: 80-32 (71.429%)
I’ve pulled within one game of ESPN’s David Hale after the dust settled in last week’s games. But with only one game on the slate this weekend there won’t be any change in that order since Clemson was a picked in a clean sweep to win Saturday night.
- Shanker: 85-27
- Adelson: 83-29
- Hale: 81-31
- Fortuna: 77-35
Don’t forget to sign-up for our weekly ESPN Pick ‘Em challenge. Top entry at the end of the season will get a cash prize!
And be on the lookout for our Bowl Mania challenge next week. It’s sure to be an epic bowl season!