Sons of Game Picks: Week 10 - Duke vs. Virginia Tech
The end is near!
No one really cares what happens the rest of the way for football, all eyes are focused on when Justin Fuente will be let go, and who will be the new coach. That decision could come at any moment.
This game will be a funeral for Justin Fuente's Virginia Tech coaching tenure, so make sure you wear black. I'm sure there will not be a capacity crowd, and those who are there will be gladly screaming to "Fire Fuente" as a full Lane Stadium participated in that chant just weeks ago... and well things have not turned around.
The only thing that might get the players up for this one after Fuente quit on them last week by punting on a 4th down trailing by two possessions in the 4th quarter is that it is senior day. Hopefully can send the seniors out on a victory.
In terms of the actual football that will be occurring, both of these teams are dreadful. Duke is 0-5 in the conference and Tech is only slightly better than them at 2-3. Both offenses are atrocious. In two out of their last three games, Duke was shutout by UVA and only managed to score 7 against Wake Forest (who just let up 58 to UNC.) If there's one silver lining for this Duke team it's that they have one of the best running backs in the ACC, which presents problems for the Hokies. Mataeo Durant has already rushed for over 1,000 yards and nine TDs with three games still remaining. Regarding their QB play, it's not much better than Tech. Duke's Gunnar Holmberg has thrown for more yards than Braxton Burmeister, but also has more turnovers. Holmberg has thrown six interceptions so far this year, compared to Burmeister's three. However, no one knows Burmeister's status. Will he play? And if so, he's obviously banged up and has been all season, how productive will he be?
Many Hokie fans are begging for Tahj Bullock to get the green light, since with only three games left he can't burn his redshirt. However, based on this Tech coaching staff's unwillingness to do anything different, I wouldn't expect him to play. Knox will probably be getting the start if Burmeister cannot go. I'd expect an extremely limited offense, even more than usual, since Kadum is not the same level of athlete as Burmeister in the run game.
For those still attending this game, it should be a quick game, since both teams are going to run the ball a ton.
At the end of the day, the results don't matter anymore. Whit knows what needs to be done and hopefully he has been making moves behind the scenes...
Here's how we see the game going:
Adam Rothe - Duke - 17-13
If I could have picked a tie I would have done so. Win or lose, who really cares. None of the results for Tech throughout the remainder of the season will change what must happen.
Grant Mitchell - Duke - 14-9
I am going to assume that Braxton Burmeister does not play all of this game, whether that be in its totality or not— obviously, nobody is wishing injuries upon anybody, but BB3 has been beat up all year and does not look like he can keep "warrioring" his way through these setbacks. This leaves Knox Kadum as the chief operator under center, and from what he has put on tape throughout his college career, Tech's offense should be extremely limited. Duke is wildly inconsistent, but if they sense that they have a chance to beat a usual contender, I expect them to go all out for it and come away with a narrow win.
Evan Norris - Virginia Tech - 20-10
If you are a fan expecting a great game out of this one, turn away now. As of right now, it is uncertain if Braxton Burmeister will be starting for any of Saturday's upcoming game. And if he doesn't, this means only one option in the eye's of this staff in that Knox Kadum will be taking snaps. Now if you watched Kadum's performance against Boston College, you might think that we are in for a rough one. However, we are playing a team that would be a stretch to get a "below average" standing. Duke's defense has been allowing teams to score an average of 35.6 points a game. This allows for a running back duo of Raheem Blackshear and Malachi Thomas to have some room to work with in terms of playing level. I think that Virginia Tech struggles throughout this game, but at home and on senior night that they can do enough right to win.
Konnor Kilgore - Duke - 17-7
I am sad.
Justin Cates - Virginia Tech - 10-7
There's not really any compelling reason to pick either team to be honest. Both are a bit like the Titanic. They've hit an iceberg, been told to abandon ship, but even the lifeboats are being launched half full. Very little has gone right for these teams and they’re taking on water fast. I shouldn’t pick the Hokies. No one should. The problem here is that Duke is truly awful, so bad in fact that Tech almost appears competent by comparison. That's certainly the case on defense. Anyway, I expect the ugliest game imaginable with the Hokies electing to run 47 times without really trying to throw because they can’t. Finally, Justin Fuente can enact his long-planned 11 running back rotation.