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October 6, 2012

Staff Picks: VT at North Carolina

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The Hokies didn't fare so well in non-conference play and certainly won't be playing for the Big East championship. But none of that matters in the ACC championship race. Up 1-0 in conference play, can Virginia Tech keep rolling in the ACC?

We take our shots at calling what will happen at today's 12:30 p.m. ET kickoff.

Jason Stamm, publisher

It's been said so much it's about worn out. Yes, the Hokies have started out slow in every game this season, on offense and defense. But when Virginia Tech has woken up, they've done well, as it proved Saturday against Cincinnati.

The Hokies have fallen short of pre-season expectations, which included a top 25 ranking. But they've been here before, after some bad non-conference losses. Somehow, each time, Virginia Tech pulls it together in time for ACC play.

The good thing is the Hokies have already pulled off one of their most important games of the season, over Georgia Tech in the opener. Yes, North Carolina has put up some impressive numbers. But look who they've played: a horrible FCS team in Elon, the worst team in the FBS in Idaho and a downtrodden East Carolina team. They're good, but I don't buy that the Tar Heels are as good as the numbers they've put up.

Virginia Tech still has talent. It doesn't disappear, but it's been slow to get going. The Hokies have too much talent to say the season's over. There's plenty of season left, but if we're still talking about mistakes and another loss next week, then it's a different story. But I just think with their backs against the wall, Virginia Tech wakes up enough to finally win one.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 31-27

Doug Bowman, senior writer

In my prognosis preview, I gave Virginia Tech the edge at only one position - linebacker. I don't think the Tar Heels are far and away better than the Hokies talent-wise at all positions, but right now they are clicking at many more spots than Virginia Tech which will make this one extremely tough.

It's a tough 12:30 start on the road with the Heels amped up because of their new uniforms. The Hokies are reeling, but this game will tell you everything you need to know about the rest of the season.

Either the Hokies rise up and find a way to win this one or they falter and fall again and then this season really becomes worrisome. I see this one going very similarly to last week's game against Cincinnati with another slow start, a late surge, and then an even later falter.

PREDICTION: North Carolina 28, Virginia tech 23

Roger Gonzalez, staff writer

It's the Hokies in North Carolina, a state in which they've dominated. I expect to see the Virginia Tech of old, finally, as the Hokies take care of the Tar Heels to move to 2-0 in the ACC.

Expect a few throws deep to speedster Marcus Davis, with redshirt freshman running back Michael Holmes getting plenty of carries. Look for screen passes to freshman running back J.C. Coleman to get the electric freshman into space. It should be a close game, but the defense will be fired up to show what its made of. In the end, junior quarterback Logan Thomas shines late.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 24, North Carolina 20.


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