No. 9 Miami (FL) and Virginia Tech are ready to be in the spotlight for the next chapter of a bitter rivalry that has lived on across multiple conferences and frequently plays a role in the race for the ACC Championship. That will be the case once again Saturday as the Hurricanes look to maintain their one-loss conference record against a Hokies team needing a bounce back after a crushing, last second-loss to Liberty.
Miami and Virginia Tech have played 37 times with with Miami holding a 22-15 advantage in the all-time series, though the Hokies have a 9-7 edge since the two programs moved to the ACC from the Big East together in 2004. There have been some classic showdowns between these two programs, including a 42-35 thriller win for Virginia Tech last October in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Since the Hurricanes only have one loss on the year, they are still in the mix for the ACC Championship but have a razor-thin margin to stay in the race. If the season ended today, Miami would be in a tie with Clemson for the second spot in the ACC Championship Game and lose out on the head-to-head tiebreaker. The best chance to make it to Charlotte is either for Notre Dame to lose twice or Clemson to lose again, but in both cases Miami must win out. Fans can run all the different scenarios for tiebreakers in the 15-team, one-division standings, but the only thing that Miami can control is its effort to win out.
Miami: When D'Eriq King committed to Miami, the expectations for the offense were raised. Last Friday's win at NC State was about the perfect realization of what King could do for the Hurricanes passing attack, throwing for 430 yards and five touchdowns on 31-of-41 passing while also adding the dual-threat element that we saw at Houston with a team-high 105 rushing yards on 15 attempts. NC State put together a great effort to try and knock off the visitors on a Friday night, and King put the team on his back to carry them to victory. While King's performance was worth national player of the week honors, it should be concerning that it was necessary in order to leave Raleigh with a win. Miami was down several players because of COVID-19 protocol, but it was not the kind of dominant defensive performance that we saw in wins against Pitt and Virginia and that side of the ball will need to be better against Virginia Tech.
Virginia Tech: While the frustration of the moment is the lingering storyline, Virginia Tech fans are holding their hopes on the fact that the Hokies have bounced back with a win after their last six regular season losses. Still, it stings to lose as a double-digit favorite for the second time this season and it seems the only remedy would be a win against their longtime conference foe. While the Hokies were able to score against Liberty in the loss, it should be noted that star running back Khalil Herbert left the game early with an injury and is expected to be available for Saturday's game against the Hurricanes. Herbert ranks fifth in the nation in rushing among players with five or more games played, averaging 114.7 yards per game and he's doing it at an absurd 8.36 yards per carry. Virginia Tech has one of the best offenses in the country -- only Alabama, North Carolina and Florida are better on a per-play basis among teams that have played five or more games -- so having that side carry the weight will be a key to securing a top-10 win that will go a long way to subdue the frustration from last week's loss.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 14 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Lane Stadium -- Blacksburg, Virginia
TV: ESPN2 | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Miami at Virginia Tech prediction, picks
When you see the top-10 team on the road as an underdog, that's not a typo. It's a signal to trust the oddsmakers because either they know something we don't or they have gotten ahead of what will become obvious in terms of a matchup advantage. D'Eriq King was phenomenal against NC State, but the Hurricanes defense was not. I'll take the angry Hokies in a bounce-back spot. Pick: Virginia Tech -2
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