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November 8, 2012

Staff Picks: VT vs FSU

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Another game with plenty on the line still didn't do enough to end Virginia Tech's road woes in a 30-12 loss at Miami Thursday. The Hokies are now simply playing for a bowl, needing to win two of their final three games. They're facing their toughest opponent of the season in Florida State, but Virginia Tech is back home, where it's undefeated this season. Will the cold confines of Lane Stadium be enough for a big upset?

We take our shots at calling what will happen at tonight's 7:30 ET kickoff.

Jason Stamm, publisher

For one reason or another, the little mistakes come up and bit Virginia Tech on the road. The Hokies have lost all five of their games away from home and have looked like a fledgling FBS team, not the team that's been synonymous with success at Virginia Tech.

But for some reason, the mistakes are less prevalent inside Lane Stadium. Yes, the Hokies had their share in the first half against Duke, but then more closely resembled the team many thought they would be after the first quarter of that game.

Virginia Tech still has its perfect record at home intact at 4-0. Granted, Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Georgia Tech and Duke are not nearly as talented as the No. 10-ranked Seminoles. But whether it's the crowd rallying behind the Hokies, or just coincidence, they play better at home.

But unlike against the Blue Devils, Virginia Tech can't have early miscues and still expect to win against a talented team like Florida State.

The Hokies have been so tough to predict all season. Of late, it's been a guarantee that junior quarterback Logan Thomas will run the ball at least 20 times. But other than that, who will be the primary runner? There has to be some consistency for Virginia Tech to spring an upset.

The talent for the Hokies is there, but it has to consistently come together in every facet of the game, with minimal mistakes to spring an upset.

Back home, Virginia Tech hangs tough and makes it a game that comes down to the end. But Florida State has too much talent and doesn't make the mistakes the Hokies do.

PREDICTION: Florida State 35-24

Doug Bowman, senior writer

This season has been historically bad for the Hokies, making the lead up to this Thursday night much less exciting than years past. Virginia Tech is 4-5 and literally fighting and clawing trying to earn a low-level bowl berth.

The Hokies have lost four of their last five games and haven't won away from Lane Stadium this year. Unfortunately, I don't think the low point has been hit yet. I think it hits this week in the same way it hit for Texas back in 2010 during their 5-7 season when they lost 39-14 at Kansas State.

I don't see this one being close at all as the 'Noles have too many playmakers defensively and Tech is making too many mistakes offensively right now to get out of this one unscathed. I'm predicting this to be the worst home loss Virginia Tech has suffered since 1989, when Florida State came in and won 41-7.

PREDICTION: Florida State 41 - Virginia Tech 13

Mike Stancik, staff writer

While the Hokies enter the game as a double-digit underdogs, it's important to remember that Virginia Tech is 4-0 at Lane Stadium and will be fueled by a crazed Thursday night crowd. Even though the Hokies have lost four of their past five games, each defeat hasn't been decided until the final quarter.

I expect defensive coordinator Bud Foster's defense to play stellar against mainly a pro-style offense, but the question will be if the offense can put up enough points. Although the Seminole defense is highly touted, the group only has six interceptions on the season. Thomas ends a seven-game interception streak (12 total) and carries the Hokies to a thrilling victory that comes down to the final seconds.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 24, Florida State 23.


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