Orange Bowl Free Pick: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Stanford Cardinal



Virginia Tech Hokies
(11-2, 10-3 ATS)

Stanford Cardinal
(11-1, 7-4-1 ATS)

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The 2011 Orange Bowl features one of the most interesting NCAA football betting matchups of the entire season. The Virginia Tech Hokies, the champions of the ACC, will be taking on the Stanford Cardinal, who might have been the runners up in the Pac-10, but they legitimately have a chance to finish in the Top 5 in the nation as well.

Who would have ever thought that the Hokies would be here at the Orange Bowl almost four months after getting booed off the field in their loss to the James Madison Dukes? Virginia Tech won 11 straight games to end the season, and all of a sudden, from a team that was bounced out of the Top 25 just two games into the year after starting in the Top 5 in the country, the Hokies do have a chance to finish in the Top 10 with a victory in the Orange Bowl. QB Tyrod Taylor has one last chance to impress the NFL scouts in this game. He threw for 2,521 yards and rushed for 637 more, accounting for 28 TDs against just four picks on the campaign. The ground game is key though, as RB Darren Evans is pacing a well rounded crew that averages 210.7 yards per game, No. 18 in the country. The defense was fantastic this year as well, allowing just 19.1 points per game in the rough and tumble ACC. Don’t forget about Beamer Ball either, as you won’t find a team more disciplined on defense and on special teams than V-Tech, coached by Head Coach Frank Beamer.

Head Coach John Harbaugh might be in his last game down on “The Farm” with the Cardinal, as there might be bigger and better jobs calling in the future. In all likelihood, this is the last game for the team’s leader as well, QB Andrew Luck. Luck is only a junior, but by all accounts, he is probably on his way to the NFL, and most likely to the Carolina Panthers as the team with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft. He threw for 3,045 yards this year, and he really looked like he just picked the Pac-10 apart all year long, accounting for 3,045 passing yards and 438 rushing yards, totaling 31 TDs against seven INTs. RB Stepfan Taylor rushed for 1,023 yards and 15 TDs this year, and he also had 26 receptions for 259 yards and another score. WR Ryan Whalen was the team’s top target a year ago, but thanks to some injuries, he only had 33 receptions for 336 yards for the year. WR Doug Baldwin took over, and he had an amazing year, grabbing 56 passes for 824 yards and nine TDs.

It’s really, really difficult to go against the Hokies in this one. Though it’s really hard to pick against Stanford as well, we have seen the flaws in the Cardinal and know that they are beatable. V-Tech played the significantly tougher schedule and was truly flawless over the last three months of the year, and it should claim the Orange Bowl with a mild upset on Monday.

Orange Bowl Pick: Virginia Tech Hokies +3.5

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