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September 3, 2012

Staff Picks: VT vs GT

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If you're heading to Lane Stadium for tonight's 8 pm ET kickoff, you'd better bundle up and bring a poncho. No unmbrellas are allowed in the stadium, but it will be a wet one.

How much of a factor will the weather have? Our staff takes their picks at trying to figure out who will win tonight's season-opener.

Jason Stamm, publisher

In what should be a wet and soggy game tonight, the margin of victory won't be much. While Lane Stadium's excellent drainage system will help players keep their footing on the field, the rain will still affect the players' ability to hold on to the football.

This will especially be interesting for Georgia Tech, which uses a number of pitches in its option attack. Will running backs be able to make those catches on the move?

For Virginia Tech, the Hokies defense has seen this a few times before and had good success. The biggest key will be offensively. Can Michael Holmes continue his big fall? I'm eager to see if J.C. Coleman can get the ball in open space. If so, watch out. He has the speed and instincts to make a big play, which could be the difference.

I see this one coming down to the end, which by that time, forecasts show the rain could be heavier. Quarterback Logan Thomas is a smart quarterback, who will make a few plays with his feet, which I see as the difference.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 20-17

Doug Bowman, senior writer

This game is going to be close and in line with just about all the other games in this series. Look for the game to start off with a big moment or two as the teams ring in the new season before settling down as the adjustments begin to be made.

The time each spent preparing for each other this offseason will make this a particularly interesting chess match between coaches, but VT's success against Al Groh over the past several seasons makes me think the Hokies would have an edge there.

If there were one guy I would pick as the guy to be named player of the game for the Yellow Jackets, it would be Orwin Smith. He could be tough to deal with on those toss sweeps and option pitches.

For the Hokies, some points could be put up in a big way if, and only if, Holmes and the rest of the tailbacks are able to take enough pressure off of Thomas. Allowing him to be able to hand it off and know that every play for four quarters isn't his sole responsibility will add a much-needed dimension for the Hokies.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 32 - Georgia Tech 22

Roger Gonzalez, staff writer

With one of its best defense in years, Virginia Tech should have enough to contain the always difficult triple option to secure its third straight win against the Coastal Division rivals.

On offense, while their are questions, expect a big game from Holmes and Coleman, with Thomas connecting on a couple of touchdowns through the air. How well defensive coordinator Bud Foster's boys tackle will go a long way in determining how competitive of a game this is. On paper, the Hokies should get the job done. I mean, it's Monday night at Lane Stadium.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech handles its business 31-20


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