ESPN Picks Miami Hurricanes over Virginia Tech

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 21: Malik Rosier /

The Miami Hurricanes game against Virginia Tech at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday night is one of the highest profile November games in Miami in many years.

The Hokies visit to Miami Gardens for all intents and purposes is an ACC semifinal game or the ACC Coastal Division Championship. A Miami win coupled with a Virginia loss to Georgia Tech would clinch the Coastal Division title and a ticket to Miami’s first ACC Championship game.

Virginia Tech would seize control of the division with a win over Miami. They would then control their own destiny the rest of the way in the Coastal.

Miami-Virginia Tech is a game the experts are talking about nationally. Every major pundit from ESPN and other national outlets that cover college football are breaking the game down.

A sizeable portion of the Miami fanbase seems to think that the national media and particularly ESPN has a vendetta against the Hurricanes. These experts pick games as they see them. This week’s picks might be surprising to those that cannot see things objectively beyond being a Hurricanes fan.

No. 13 Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1) at No. 10 Miami (7-0, 5-0), 8 p.m., ABC

"David Hale: Do I like this pick? No. Do I have a good explanation for it? No. Have you seen my picks record? I’m awful. So chalk this up to a gut feeling. Miami will hit a few big plays downfield and the Canes’ D will force a key turnover. Or, I’m way off again. Miami 24, Virginia Tech 20Andrea Adelson: Miami has not looked great, and many are questioning its legitimacy. That’s all fair, given how the Hurricanes have played the past few weeks. But Miami will rise to the occasion in a prime-time home game with an inspired defensive effort that really gets after Josh Jackson and shuts down the run game.This is shaping up to be a defensive struggle, because Virginia Tech’s defense will create its own problems for Malik Rosier and Miami. But Miami is a team that finds ways to win, and it will do it again. Miami 21, Virginia Tech 17"

Adelson makes some valid points. The game should come down to the ability to run and stop the run for both teams. Miami struggled to run the ball well against the Hokies last season. That was with a much deeper offensive backfield.

Rosier will be able to lend a hand to starting running back Travis Homer. Beyond the two of them, there isn’t much depth in the Miami ground game.

The Hurricanes also struggled on the ground against North Carolina last week. North Carolina entered last week’s game with the ACC’s worst rushing defense. They held the Hurricanes to 59 yards on 32 carries. A 1.8-yard rushing average will doom the Hurricanes against Virginia Tech.

Mark Richt is going to have to establish the run early. A few deep shots to suddenly hot Freshman Jeff Thomas or Ahmmon Richards might help open up the running game.

Look for Freshman running back, wide receiver, flex DeeJay Dallas to be more involved in the offense this week. He had a 39-yard catch and run that was key in the second half last week.

Miami might have to establish their offense inside-out. With the running game struggling at times Miami might have to have their passing game take command first. If they can do that it will force Virginia Tech to have to spread their defense out. That would take them out of the box and give Miami more running room.

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The running game should be the key against Virginia Tech. Being able to get room to run and shut down the Hokies running game could be the difference in the game.