Sons of Game Picks: Week 11 - Miami vs. Virginia Tech
A new era of Virginia Tech football is on the horizon.
As expected, Justin Fuente has been relieved of his duties, as him and Whit Babcock agreed to "mutually part ways" in a breaking news announcement that dropped this past Tuesday around 7:45am.
This was a long time coming. Most fans were asking for Fuente to get the ax since about 2018. And now that it has finally happened, there is a brand new resurgence of energy from the fanbase simply based on the potential of whatever comes next. The fans badly needed this to happen to stay engaged.
All that being said, there are still two games to play this year with the opportunity to play in a bowl staring the Hokies in the face. Long-time Hokie and, as we learned yesterday, legendary press conference speaker, J.C. Price, steps in as the Interim Head Coach. While Price doesn't expect to be the head coach next year, he is relishing this opportunity to lead his team.
Price and this team will fly down, and if you're Tre Turner, drive down, to Miami to take on the U this Saturday. The game will be at 7:30pm in primetime on the ACC Network.
The Hurricanes just suffered a heartbreaking defeat against Florida State last weekend and their own embattled head coach, Manny Diaz, remains on the hot seat. Meanwhile, the Hokies blew the doors of a horrible Duke team last weekend, but who knows what the psyche of the players and staff is currently.
The U is an 8 point favorite at the time of this being written. This game is really tough to predict. Which Miami team will show up? The one that lights up the scoreboard under impressive QB Tyler Van Dyke? Or the one that loses to Florida State? Will the Hokies check out now that Fuente has been fired? There are so many variables in this game that makes it so hard to judge which kind of team on either side will show up.
Here's how we see the game going.
Adam Rothe - Miami - 31-21
The elephant in the room is finally gone, but the next question is how will the kids and the remaining staff react? I predict it to be mixed. I'm sure there will be a large chunk of players who are still all in, but I'm sure on the other side it's going to be tough to stay focused and invested when your coach just got fired with two games remaining. Also, how will the coaches react? I'm sure most of them are concerned about their job security right now, that could play a factor in the mental aspect of having to lead a team.
On paper Miami is the better team. They have the better QB, which in college football is the most important thing. As of right now Miami is favored by 8 points, so I think they cover and get the win by 10 points. This is an extremely hard game to judge, just because you don't know how the Hokie players and staff are feeling mentally right now. If most of them are checked out, it could be a blowout, however Miami is wildly inconsistent so I don't think that will happen. If you're in Miami you may just want to stay on South Beach for this one...
Evan Norris - Miami - 34-28
This game is going to mean a lot for not only the Hokies, but also for the Hurricanes. The winner will go on to become bowl eligible for the 2021-2022 post season. I see the both teams coming into this game with a chip on their shoulder and with big time moves being made on their respective fronts. The Hokies move on from Head Coach Justin Fuente and the Hurricanes move on from their Athletic Director. However, when it comes to the game, the Hurricanes have a substantial passing attack. And with the Hokies struggling a bit as of lately with pass coverage, I see the Hurricanes cruising to some points earlier. I think the Virginia Tech offense can keep the team in the game, but the defense will struggle to stop an air attack from Van Dyke and the Hurricanes.
Grant Mitchell - Virginia Tech - 42-35
I think that we are in for a barnstormer in Coral Gables this weekend; even though the team seemed to almost always gear up to play for Fuente, and he is now gone, I think that Interim Coach Price's infectious energy will have the team believing they will secure their Bowl Game rights this weekend and keep a hope at an ACC title alive. Could I be wrong? Absolutely. Do I care? No!
Justin Cates - Virginia Tech - 28-20
This has been a wild week and it's not going to calm down any time soon. I find the choice of J.C. Price to lead the Hokies down the stretch to be inspired. He’ll certainly get the gang fired up, but as long as Brad Cornelsen is still involved the offense will be severely limited. Miami has its own problems with a fired AD and a head coach of their own on the ropes. It’s a crap shoot of the highest order and should be a good time. (Edit: After watching Coach Price's press conference I have kept my original score and flipped my pick. That's how good it was).
Konnor Kilgore - Virginia Tech - 31-27
Justin Fuente is now unemployed. Manny Diaz could be joining him. I think Tech is more likely to fight for interim head coach J.C. Price than Miami will for Diaz. It will be interesting to see if Virginia Tech's offensive outburst will be sustained or if that was just a product of Duke being terrible. Miami has been inconsistent and underwhelming this year, but they are still a capable team when things are clicking right for them. I'm on the fence with this one, but my gut feeling is leaning towards a close Tech victory-partnered with Manny Diaz's seat heating up even more.
Robert Irby - Virginia Tech - 24-20
Do you believe in miracles? Yes! It may seem crazy given Tuesday's news, but I believe the coaching change may bring a renewed energy to this team. Price will be the ultimate rah-rah guy. As I look at these two programs - both 5-5 and riddled with inconsistency and apathy - Price's intensity may be what carries the Hokies over the top. Ultimately, I believe the Hokies will have more to play for, and they will earn bowl eligibility against one of their biggest rivals.
Pat Finn - Virginia Tech - 27-24
We've got 2 programs with massive personnel shifts over the last week. The Hokies have absolutely nothing to lose and a nice bowl berth to gain, coming off a game with an offensive explosion AND a defensive touchdown. Three questions we cannot answer right now: Which team will be more prepared? Which team will avoid the quit factor? And why do I have a good feeling about this?
Billy Ray Mitchell - Virginia Tech - 21-17
Neither fanbase really has any idea what is going on right now. Miami parted ways with AD Blake James and no one knows what's happening with the HC. Tech announced Fuente is out. To me this comes down to who actually cares more. This tech team has its faults, but effort has never been an issue. Tech by one score Saturday night.