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October 20, 2012

Staff Picks: VT at Clemson

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The Hokies are coming off a big win over Duke in which they made the biggest comeback in the Frank Beamer era. But with its toughest opponent to date this season, can Virginia Tech exact revenge for last season's two losses and upset Clemson?

We take our shots at calling what will happen at today's Noon ET kickoff.

Jason Stamm, publisher

Just when you'd given up on the season for Virginia Tech, how even a bowl wouldn't happen, the Hokies show you what you've been waiting to see all season and roar from behind to defeat Duke in a win that seemingly has revitalized the team. For now, at least.

Clemson is no Duke, no disrespect to the Blue Devils, who will finally get to a bowl this season. The Tigers put it to Virginia Tech twice last season, the latter being a humiliating loss for the Hokies in the ACC championship game.

After last week, we've seen what Virginia Tech CAN do. But will it happen again? A slow start against the Tigers can't happen if the Hokies have any chance. Junior quarterback Logan Thomas also has to get the Hokies moving with his arm and his leg. That's one weapon that most teams can't stop, a big, mobile quarterback who can keep defenses honest with his ability to throw deep, as he's done to senior wide receiver Marcus Davis.

Virginia Tech's defense looked better against Duke outside of the first quarter, but the Blue Devils were still able to move the ball. That suspect defense will be tested mightily against Clemson.

The Hokies have the offense to put up some points and numbers and hang with the Tigers. But it's not looking good that Virginia Tech's defense will make enough stops to matter.

PREDICTION: Clemson 37-27

Doug Bowman, senior writer

The silver lining for any Virginia Tech hopes this week has to be the Clemson defense. It's not nearly as strong as anticipated and the Hokies can take advantage of it, provided they avoid a slow and turnover prone start.

The first 15 minutes will be huge in keeping Virginia Tech in the game, because a turnover or two could make this one get ugly quick. Clemson's offense is going to put up points on the board and it almost seems like a foregone conclusion that wide receiver Sammy Watkins has his breakout game of 2012 this weekend, so the Hokies are going to have to put points up as well.

The only way I can see Virginia Tech winning this one is if it's a straight offensive shootout, maybe similar to the VT/Miami game last year, and the Hokies entice quarterback Tajh Boyd into one crucial late turnover. However, I don't see that happening. This one will be close for a half and then the Tigers will use a quick spurt to take a large and decisive lead.

PREDICTION: Clemson 37, Virginia Tech 20

Roger Gonzalez, staff writer

I've picked Virginia Tech in every game this year. Well, not this week. Clemson's defense doesn't scare me, nor should it scare the Hokies. But, we thought the same last year.

Will the Tigers have the recipe to take out Tech again? I expect another big game from running back J.C. Coleman but for the Hokies to fall just short against an electric team.

PREDICTION: Clemson 31, Virginia Tech 27 .


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