The Florida State Seminoles are heavy favorites to beat the Virginia Tech Hokies this Thursday night, but the Seminoles have lost many road games in the past when they were expected to win.
Florida State Seminoles @ Virginia Tech Hokies
Odds: Hokies +14.5
How The Seminoles Can Win
They’re the better team. Florida State has been solid this year – not brilliant on most occasions, but certainly one of the two best teams in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The Seminoles have a lot of depth and physicality on defense, especially up front. Their line is a strong run-stopping line. It can force opposing offenses into predictable passing situations, thereby enabling Florida State’s defense to control the pace of play and create very favorable field position for the team’s offense. Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel has wobbled at times this season, but one thing he has done is that he has minimized his mistakes relative to 2011. Florida State doesn’t cough up the ball as much, and for that reason, its defense is able to do more work and carry more of an impact on each game for the Seminoles. This is a program that has made some tangible improvements relative to last season, when the Noles clearly underachieved.
The other thing to realize about this game is that when one says that Florida State is a better team, the statement is true largely because Virginia Tech has regressed so much in 2012. The Hokies, the defending champions of the ACC Coastal Division, have been horrid over the past ten weeks. Head coach Frank Beamer has failed to coax a lot of production out of his players in all three phases of football. Offense, defense and special teams have all struggled; the defense has been the best unit, but the larger theme of Virginia Tech games this year is that when one unit makes a big play, the other two units do something to undo it and render it irrelevant. Florida State should be able to beat the Hokies, who are reeling entering this contest. They should also be able to cover the college football betting spread.
How The Hokies Can Win
They’re going to view this game as their Super Bowl and will put all their emotional eggs into this one basket. Virginia Tech will be playing at home, at night, before a revved-up home crowd. The Hokies have struggled so much in 2012, but they will make one more concerted attempt to fix their problems. There’s a chance that everything could come together for this team, which has to win this game if it wants to feel fully comfortable about making a bowl game in December.
The other thing to realize about this game is that Florida State was expected to win easily against another ACC team on the road this season. The Seminoles were big favorites at North Carolina State, but they blew a 16-0 lead to the Wolfpack. Virginia Tech is not worse than North Carolina State. It can play Florida State on even terms if it can get out of its own way for once.
Outlook And Pick:
Virginia Tech will play hard, and Florida State will not be on top of its game. However, the Hokies regularly find ways to defeat themselves – at least this year. If you’re going to bet college football tonight, expect Virginia Tech will cover the spread but fall short of a true scoreboard victory.
Pick: Virginia Tech +14.5