Virginia Tech Hokies vs. LSU Tigers Preview and Pick

Virginia Tech Hokies (1-0) +12 , o/u 38 at LSU Tigers (1-0), 9:15 pm Eastern Saturday, ESPN
by Zman of

The first real big game of the new college football season takes place Saturday night in Baton Rouge when the Virginia Tech Hokies of the Atlantic Coast Conference run into the Louisiana State Tigers of the Southeastern Conference.

Virginia Tech enters the game ranked ninth in both the Associated Press and USA Today/Coaches polls, while LSU is perched in the number two slot in both. Also, the Tigers are ranked second in the Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at 97.4, while the Hokies come in at #33 at 80.3.

And in Phil Steele’s pre-season Power Poll, LSU was ranked #2, V Tech #13.

The Hokies are coming off an emotional 17-7 season-opening victory last Saturday over East Carolina. But Virginia Tech got outrushed by the Pirates 142-52 (excluding sacks) and never threatened to cover the spread as 27-point home favorites. The game also stayed well below the o/u of 41.

The Tigers won at Mississippi State last Thursday night 45-0 as 19-point road chalk, pushing the total of 45 by themselves. LSU simply outclassed the hapless Bulldogs, outrushing them by nearly 200 yards and forcing seven MSU turnovers.

Virginia Tech returns 16 starters, eight on each side of the ball, from last season’s team that won 11 games but lost to Georgia in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. And the Hokies ranked first in 1-A football last year in total defense.

The Tigers return 14 starters from last season’s Sugar Bowl champion team, eight on a defense that might rank as the best in college football this season.

Junior Sean Glennon, V Tech’s starting QB, has started 14 games for the Hokies in his collegiate career, and VT has won 11 of those. Meanwhile, Matt Flynn, the fifth-year senior starting QB for LSU, has started two games in his career, including last week’s win.

The Hokies went 3-1 both straight up and against the spread on the road last year. On the other side, the Tigers were a purr-fect 8-0 straight up in the bayou last season, but only 4-4 against the spread, mainly because they were favored by at least 16 points in every game.

These two teams have only met once before; V Tech beat LSU 26-8 back in September of 2002 in Blacksburg.

Many football
sportsbooks opened this game up with the Tigers as 12-point home chalk,
with a total of 38. LSU has since been bet up just a bit, to 12, at many
places, while the total has held steady (through Thursday). Also, the Tigers
are listed at anywhere from -440 to -500 on the moneyline, with the Hokies
getting around +375.

The Pick: We like LSU to get the upper hand on a good V.T. team, but not a good enough team to stay within 2 touchdowns at LSU.