This year’s Orange Bowl on Monday January 3 (8:30pm ET) will feature the number 12-ranked Hokies of Virginia Tech (11-2) out of the ACC squaring off against the 5th -ranked Stanford Cardinal (11-1) from the Pac 10. This game features two of the nation’s best quarterbacks, Virginia Tech’s Tyrod Taylor and Stanford’s Andrew Luck, and two of the hottest teams in the country. Stanford has won seven straight contests coming into the game with their only loss coming to BCs National Championship Game participant Oregon, including a 38-0 white-washing of Oregon St. in their regular season finale on November 27. The Hokies have won 11 in a row after starting the season 0-2, including a 44-33 win over Florida State in the ACC Championship Game on December 4 to earn the conference’s automatic BCS bowl berth.
Stanford’s quarterback Luck has been outstanding this season earning Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year honors, completing 70.2% of his passes for over 3,000 yards with 28 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. The Cardinal offense ranks 9th in the country in points per game with 40.3, 14th in total yards per game with 468.7 and has been very balanced with 255.8 YPG passing and 212.8 YPG rushing. Sophomore running back Stepfan Taylor ran for over 1,000 yards and ranked second in the conference with 15 rushing touchdowns this season. The defense ranks number 11 in the nation with an average of 17.8 points per game allowed, and 22nd in the country in YPG allowed with 323.4.
Virginia Tech’s defense has been very opportunistic this season, ranking second in the nation with 22 interceptions. The Hokies rank 15th in the nation in scoring defense with 15.1 PPG allowed. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor was also the conference player of the year, taking the honors this season in the ACC. Taylor finished with a school-record 23 touchdown passes and just 4 interceptions, and was a dual-threat running for 823 yards and 5 touchdowns for a Virginia Tech offense that ranked 19th in the country in scoring average with 35.5 points per game. Taylor spreads the ball around to several receivers including Jarrett Boykin (763 yards and 6 TDs), Danny Coale (640 yards and 4 TDs) and Andre Smith (5 TDs).
The Cardinal is seeking its first post-season win since 1996 when they shut out Michigan State in the Sun Bowl. This is Virginia Tech’s third trip to the Orange Bowl in four years, with the Hokies losing 24-21 to Kansas in 2008 and beating Cincinnati 20-7 in 2009. The Hokies are 14-5 AST in their last 19 games as an underdog, and 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games overall. Stanford is 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games on grass and 4-1 ATS in their last 5 non-conference games. The over is 12-5 in Stanford’s last 17 games overall and 9-4 in their last 13 games on grass.
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Virginia Tech vs. Stanford Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Virginia Tech Hokies +3.5
@ Stanford Cardinal -3.5
Over 58.5 (-110)
Under 58.5 (-110)
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Virginia Tech vs. Stanford Prediction for Orange Bowl:
Spread Prediction (Top Play) – The Cardinal look like the superior team in this contest and look poised to win their first bowl game in 15 years. Virginia Tech is probably the hottest team in college football, but the Cardinal look like the better team on both sides of the ball, and Luck is maybe the most talented quarterback in college football overall. He should be the difference in the game and swing the pendulum in favor of the Cardinal.
Over/Under Prediction – Take the under here as both teams will score some points but should be well under their respective averages with the quality of the defenses that they will be seeing on Monday night. The total will be a tough number to hit with defenses that both rank in the top 15 in the country in terms of points allowed. It is hard to see either quarterback posting their typical numbers here; this should be a relatively low-scoring and tight game.