No. 2 Clemson Tigers (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS) vs. No. 12 Virginia Tech Hokies (4-0 SU, 3-1 ATS)
College Football Week 5
Date/Time: Saturday September 30th, 2017. 8:00PM (EST)
Where: Lane Stadium Blacksburg, V.A.
by Jay, NCAA Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CLEM -7/VT +7
Over/Under Total: TBA
The biggest game of the weekend will take place in Blacksburg, Virginia when the no. 12 Virginia Tech Hokies host the no. 2 Clemson Tigers inside Lane Stadium. College GameDay will be on hand and all eyes will be watching to see if Clemsons reign atop the ACC can be sustained. Just two weeks ago, the Tigers dismantled Lamar Jackson and the no. 14 Louisville Cardinals in a game where they showed the nation they still should be given some respect following last years National Championship run. However, the Hokies have quickly emerged as a potential contender thanks to a few dominating performances against inferior opponents. On Saturday with the nation watching, perhaps we will see just how good this Virginia Tech team truly is.
The Hokies blew away Old Dominion last week 38-0 to pitch their 2nd shutout of the season. Now respected defensive coordinator Bud Fosters defense will get the luxury of trying to shut down one of the nations better offenses in Clemson. So far this year, the Tigers have amassed the same production that they did in 2016 despite the losses of their starting quarterback, running back, and two leading receivers from last season. Going into the season, most people thought Clemson would regress because of the loss of talent. However, quarterback Kelly Bryant has proved to be an exceptional talent and has sustained production for the Tigers offense. Meanwhile, the Clemson defense has been one of the best units in all of college football.
Still, last week we saw Clemson struggle for the first time all season in their 34-7 victory over Boston College. For 3 quarters, the Tigers amassed just 7 points and were tied with the Eagles despite being favored 33 points. Quarterback Kelly Bryant struggled to throw the football which has been the case for most of the year. Bryant is most effective as a runner and Clemson needs him to develop as a passer for their offense to fulfill their potential. Still even with the struggles, freshman running back Travis Etienne provided the highlights on the afternoon. Etienne turned 9 carries into a 113 yards and 2 touchdowns creating a spark for the rest of the offense. Bryant would also finish the afternoon with more than 100 yards and another 2 scores on the ground. Needless to say, it may not have been the most appeasing offensive effort but the Tigers still exuded big play potential with their young talent.
The question this week becomes can Clemson sustain their success without having much production throwing the football? Bryant is an undeniable threat with his feet and perhaps Etienne can continue to produce big plays. However, the problem with that line of thinking is that Virginia Techs defense is designed to play well against the run. The Hokies have allowed just 108 yards per game (24th in FBS) this season and I believe Bud Foster will keep the front 7 close to the box in effort to stop the run. Add in the home crowd advantage and this could be a tough scenario for Clemson to overcome.
The good news for Clemson is they still have one of the best defenses in the country to lean on. The Tigers have racked up 16 sacks (3rd in FBS) in their first 4 games this season and rank 3rd overall in scoring yielding enemy opponents to just 9.3 points per game. Therefore the true test will be for Virginia Techs offense. Can they make enough plays to win the game. Personally, I believe Virginia Tech has the personnel to attack Clemson in an upside matchup. Quarterback Josh Jackson is a really solid passer who has completed 65% passing with 11 scores and just 1 pick on the year. Furthermore, WR Cam Phillips is a big play threat and reliable guy in clutch situations. Phillips has already brought in 34 catches for 523 yards and 5 touchdowns this season. I know Virginia Tech typically favors running the football and that is something they do fairly well. However if they are going to beat Clemson, it will be because passes are completed down the field.
Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I think the setting and matchup is positive for Virginia Tech. If they limit big plays and Jackson plays well, they can win this football game. It is going to be a difficult challenge but I like Virginia Tech getting the points. Take VT +7. – Not all sportsbooks are created equal! Many are fly by night, poorly run and your loot is actually at risk. End that problem today by signing up at one of the web’s oldest and most trusted sportsbooks! Online for over 15 years, your credit card will work and you’ll also receive a 50% bonus up to $250 FREE at Bovada Sportsbook!