VT Beat: ‘Canes Now the Target for Hokies

Back in week one of the season, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech squared off in a Labor Day night clash that was generally regarded as an early Coastal Division championship game.

At the time, that thinking made sense. VT and GT have passed the Coastal title back and forth since the ACC went to divisional play in 2005, and the media picked them 1-2 in the Coastal, this preseason. The number three pick, UNC, isn’t eligible for the crown, and the other Coastal teams didn’t look like contenders. Duke has a long way to go before being a Coastal threat, Miami is extremely young and has gone just 13-12 in the last two seasons, and Virginia was expected to level off a bit after going 8-5 last year.

The Hokies knocked off the Jackets, and though that gave Virginia Tech a leg up in the division, it’s still a season-long battle. VT has to play both Clemson and Florida State, which appear to be head and shoulders above the rest of the league this year, while Georgia Tech only has to play one of them (Clemson). The Jackets were down after Labor Day, but not out, especially after Virginia Tech produced a lackluster showing against Austin Peay and got shellacked by Pittsburgh.

Logan Thomas in action against Miami in 2011.

But a funny thing happened last weekend: Miami unexpectedly beat what looked like a very strong Georgia Tech team. The Jackets were up 36-19 at one point, then folded and lost 42-36 in overtime.

Suddenly, all eyes are on the ‘Canes, who are 2-0 in the conference, host the Hokies later this year, and have a generally favorable ACC schedule. Miami plays Florida State at home, just like the Hokies do, but the ‘Canes don’t have to battle the Clemson Tigers. Tech must face Clemson on the road.

If you look at the schedules, you’ve got to like the position the Hurricanes are in, versus the Hokies:

  • Miami’s remaining ACC schedule: NC State, UNC, FSU, VT, @Virginia, @Duke
  • VT’s remaining ACC schedule: @UNC, Duke, @Clemson, @Miami, FSU, @BC, Virginia

Miami’s home game atmosphere isn’t exactly a house of horrors, and their October 20th home game against Florida State might have more Seminoles fans than Hurricanes fans. But the ‘Canes already have two road ACC wins, and the four toughest opponents in their remaining six ACC games are all at home.

Virginia Tech, meanwhile, has to travel to UNC, Clemson, and Miami, and as noted also plays FSU at home.

If you look at the ACC Coastal Division standings, 1-0 Virginia Tech is not at the top — Miami is, at 2-0. The same Hurricanes that were picked to finish fifth in the Coastal are in the driver’s seat.

The good news for Hokie fans is that Virginia Tech, like no other team, has Miami’s number. The two teams have played every season since 1992, and since 1995, the Hokies are 12-5 against Miami, including winning the last three.

Will Stewart is the founder and General Manager of TechSideline.com, covering Virginia Tech athletics since 1996, when the Interwebs was still just a baby sucking on a paci. Will believes college football is the greatest sport known to Man, even better than women’s beach volleyball and lingerie football. Will occasionally tweets at @WillStewartTSL, but he mostly keeps his tweeter shut and his eyes and ears open.

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