College Football ACC Title Game Clemson @ Virginia Tech Odds, Free Picks and Predictions – ACC Championship Preview

ACC Football Championship College Football Picks and Spreads: Clemson Tigers @ Virginia Tech Hokies 2011 NCAA Football Vegas Odds, Free Picks, and Expert Predictions on ESPN 12/3/11: On October 1, the Clemson Tigers went into Blacksburg and dominated the Virginia Tech Hokies, leaving with a 23-3 victory. At the time, Clemson appeared to be a high-powered scoring machine that was ready to challenge for a national title, while Virginia Tech was searching for an offensive identity. A lot has changed as the two teams prepare to battle again in the ACC title game, and the fifth-ranked Hokies (11-1) are looking like a title contender while three losses in their last four games have left the 20th-ranked Tigers with a 9-3 record and out of the title picture. Even though Clemson knocked of Virginia Tech earlier in the year, the Tigers are seven-point underdogs.

Unfortunately for Tigers’ fans, the late season collapse is something Clemson has become notorious for over the years. If there is a silver lining to the team’s late season slide, it is the fact that it can be tied directly to injuries and not a lack of focus. Star freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins has been hampered by injuries the past month, and the same can be said for running back Andre Ellington. It is no coincidence that the Tigers have scored 17 points or less three times since the two were first injured. The good news is that Ellington is improving and Watkins is healthy, which means the Clemson team on the field Saturday will be a lot closer to the one that beat the Hokies the first time around.

That being said, Virginia Tech is a much better team than it was during the first meeting as well. Quarterback Logan Thomas has gotten better as the year has progressed, making the Hokies’ offense much more dynamic and explosive. The threat of a passing game has opened things up for running back David Wilson. Wilson has emerged as the top running back in the ACC, and he is closing in on 1,600 yards while averaging more than six yards per carry. With Wilson and Thomas both firing on all cylinders, Virginia Tech has scored 30 or more points five times during its seven-game winning since losing to the Tigers.

The X-factor in the game could be the Hokies’ defense. The unit ranks seventh in the nation, giving up just 15.5 points per game. Even in the loss to the Tigers, Virginia Tech gave up just 23 points, which was by far the lowest total for Clemson prior to the injury bug taking hold. With the improved Virginia Tech offense likely to score more points and allow the defense more time to rest, Clemson could once again be held around the 20-point mark. This time around, a low-scoring game favors the Hokies.

Saturday’s title game presents a golden opportunity for redemption for the Tigers. Despite falling apart down the stretch, Clemson could still reach a BCS bowl with a win, and the Tigers have a history of playing their best against the better competition. However, the Hokies have the momentum, while the Tigers are still trying to end their recent skid. In the end, the improved play of Thomas could make the difference. The Hokies defense is always stout, and when the offense is holding up its end of the bargain, this team is tough to beat. Virginia Tech has the edge, but a seven-point spread is too much with a BCS bid up for grabs.

Prediction: Clemson Tigers (+7) Cover the Spread

College Football: Clemson vs Virginia Tech
Date: 12/3/011
Time: 8 PM EST on ESPN
Vegas Odds Favorite: Virginia Tech -6.5Total: Over/Under 53

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