Week 9 BDN Staff Football Picks

BDN once again picks the nation's ten toughest contests as Bob clings to a one game lead for the season.

1. Bob
2. Andrew -1
3. Patrick -3
4. Guest -5
5. Mark -6

Mark Watson - Duke is banged up and will face a Virginia Tech team just hitting their stride. It will not be an easy task for the Blue Devils to get it going after a heart-breaking loss to Wake, and there is reason to think the Hokies will run right at the Blue Devils front. The Blue Devils are 3 points from a 5-2 record where the excitement would be fever pitch. I think they'll give a good effort but in the end Tech will prove to be too much. Virginia Tech 37, Duke 17.

Bob Green - The Blue Devils' defense better be prepared to stop the run on Saturday when Virginia Tech and the ACC's leading rusher David Wilson (129.8 ypg) arrive at Wallace Wade Stadium. The Hokies will certainly run the ball repeatedly in order to make Duke prove they can stop the run. Once Duke is focused on the run, Virginia Tech will take a shot over the top to try and burn Duke's secondary deep.
The key to this game will be how Duke responds after last week’s disappointing loss to Wake Forest. If the Blue Devils come out focused and intent upon playing a full 60 minutes of football, they have the talent to win this game. Unfortunately, my gut feeling is Virginia Tech will prove to be the better team as they squeak out a victory on the road in Durham. Virginia Tech 21, Duke 19

Patrick Cacchio - Duke comes into this game off two disappointing performances against Florida State and Wake Forest. Simply put, the Blue Devils will have to put forth a much better effort against division leader Virginia Tech. Despite their injuries on defense, the Hokies are 7-1 behind strong play from David Wilson and Logan Thomas, two players likely to give the Duke defense fits. The Blue Devils will try to keep this close, but explosive plays will continue to be their Achilles' heel.
Virginia Tech 35, Duke 17

Andrew Slater - Virginia Tech looks to extend its nation's leading ten-game road streak this weekend as they travel to Durham to take on the Blue Devils. The Hokies feature one of the best running backs in the nation in blazing fast David Wilson. Wilson has already accumulated over 1,000 yards on the ground and helped his team control the time of possession, which the Hokies have the second highest in the country (averaging 34:34 per game). Defensively, the Hokies are stout once again, getting a very good pass rush and averaging in the top ten in scoring defense (16.1 ppg). Duke QB Sean Renfree has been highly accurate this season, but I expect that the Hokies pass defense will be able to pressure him and throw off his timing. The Devils will also have plenty of difficulty running the ball against one of the best rushing defense units in the country. Virginia Tech, 34 Duke 17.

Gobbler Country - I think this is a good match-up for Tech. The potential loss of Alonzo Tweedy at whip doesn't hurt as much against a team like Duke that likes to throw. Duke's going to do all it can to take away the run game, but I think the Hokies will find ways to move the ball through the air. Virginia Tech 35, Duke 10.