We get another college football game in primetime before the NFL takes the spotlight on Sunday and Monday nights next week. It’s a battle of the ACC, as the Virginia Tech Hokies and Florida State Seminoles waste no time getting into conference competition. We could be looking at a preview of the ACC Championship later this year in December, but both teams have a team in particular they are going to have to upset.
The Clemson Tigers are the clear favorites to win the ACC Atlantic, while Virginia Tech must deal with a talented Miami Hurricanes team. If there was a runner-up consolation game in the ACC, it’d likely feature Virginia Tech and Florida State. We’ll see if someone can pull an upset, which is probably going to be easier for Virginia Tech to pull off.
Clemson is going to be a heck of a challenge for everyone in the Atlantic. Trevor Lawrence may very well emerge as the best quarterback in the nation. Like Alabama, Clemson have a good problem to have, with two capable QB’s in their arsenal. I expect Lawrence to have a prolific career at Clemson, though, with an early call in the NFL Draft in his future.
Florida State get their starting quarterback, Deondre Francois, back in the lineup to start 2018. Francis injured his knee in the opener against Alabama last season and had to sit out the entire year. He got some pressure for the starting job from James Blackmon. The third QB, Bailey Hockman, has stated he is transferring out of FSU after getting pushed down the depth chart.
Willie Taggart will lean on what will be a strong running game for the Seminoles. Sophomore Cam Akers, who broke a rookie record at FSU with 1,024 yards, is back to provide an impressive 1-2 punch along side senior Jacques Patrick. This offense in Taggart’s system could have a lot of fun in 2018. They go up against a defense that was one of the best in 2017 but going through serious transitions this year. Head below for our free Virginia Tech vs. Florida State pick for Monday night in Tallahassee.
Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Florida State Seminoles Betting Odds:
Virginia Tech +7(-110)
vs. Florida State -7(-110)
Betting odds provided by Sportsbetting.ag
Virginia Tech vs. Florida State Pick:
The Hokies allowed just 14.8 points per game for 4th in the nation in 2018. They had a defense with talent all over the field, from the secondary to up-front on the line. However, Virginia Tech are looking at newcomers to step up and carry the torch this season. A bevy of talent moved on to the NFL, including a safety, linebacker, and defensive lineman. Three starters in the secondary will be new faces for Virginia Tech as well.
They hoped to have Adonis Alexander, but he was ruled ineligible and he decided to jump in the supplemental draft. The Redskins pulled the trigger on Alexander. So, there are a lot of question marks with this defense. They’re not going to be bad, but don’t expect them to allow 14.8 points per game in 2018. I expect them to have issues containing the ground game of Florida State and the escapability of Francois.
It’s going to be interesting to see the Willie Taggart offense at Florida State. It fired on all cylinders at South Florida, and then the transition was fluid at Oregon. Taggart is fortunate to fall into his dream job at FSU with a quarterback capable of running an up-tempo attack. I think Francois is a great fit for this offense. Not only does he have a decent arm, but he has some decent wheels as well. This should benefit Francois more than it did under Jimbo Fisher. Francois and their vaunted running attack led by one of the best in the nation, Cam Akers, should be able to hit a few big plays.
The Hokies are led by sophomore Josh Jackson at quarterback. He was efficient as a freshman in 2017, connecting for 20 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Jackson also galloped for 324 yards and another 6 touchdowns on the ground. He made an immediate impact as a freshman, leading Virginia Tech to a 31-24 win over a talented West Virginia team in the opening week.
Over the course of his first three games, Jackson threw for 8 touchdowns and no interceptions. There wasn’t much of a threat for starting job after that. It would help if he still had Cam Phillips, but a stout offensive line should help him against FSU on Monday evening. Expect a feeling out process to begin this contest, but the offenses likely open things up. Virginia Tech cannot rely on their defense to slow down Francois and Akers. They are an inexperienced group and injuries have already started to hit them. If the Hokies plan to make this a game, they need Jackson to hit some plays. I will side with the OVER in what looks like a 35-27 final score.