1. Don't start making plans to the Orange Bowl.
Virginia Tech comes into the innagural ACC Championship Game as two touchdown favorites. Nobody at the beginning of the year would have imagined this would be the case. The Hokies still have to come out and play this game. As long as they stick to what they have done all year...dominate on defense and mix up the playcalling on offense they should be headed to Miami.
2. Dominate Drew Weatherford
After starting of the season racking up passing yards against much lesser opponents, FSU QB Drew Weatherford has really, really struggled as of late. VT has a great pass rush and they must put Weatherford on his seat every opportunity they get.
3. Make FSU work for their points
The Hokies cannot let FSU stay in this game and let the Seminoles build confidence. This means no turnovers in your part of the field and no big plays. If the Hokies do this they make Drew Weatherford and an anemic running game beat them.
What FSU has to do to win
1. Create turnovers
See the Miami game when Vick turned the ball over left and right. FSU's offense is not good enough to drive on this VT defense. They have to get short field opportunities to put up points.
2. Give Weatherford time
This will be a very tall task, but the 'Noles have to block well for Weatherford. He has good receivers to throw to, but he is not very mobile and will need some time to find them.
3. Get up early
FSU's confidence is hurting right now. Not somethign we are used to seeing out of them. By gaining an early lead, they can play more to their gameplan and regain lost confidence.
In the end, Virginia Tech has too much talent and executes too well for a injury-plagued and mentally battered Seminoles squad to overcome. The Hokies will cover the 14 points, but not break the over of 45.
Prediction: VT 31 FSU 13
What Georgia has to do to win
1. Force Turnovers
LSU is minus 0.8 per game in the turnover margin this season; uncharacteristic for a Top 5 team. Georgia is also one of the best teams at creating turnovers. The LSU front four is a very difficult to bunch to move the ball 70-80 yards. Getting short field opportunities is a must.
2. Will throw to the tight end for SEC Championship
Georgia has one of the best tight ends in the country and at 6'7", 260 lbs, Leonard Pope is a mismatch versus most anyone playing college football. The UGA receivers have played subpar this season plagued by numberous drops. Pope will be solid 5-10 yard receiving option who has the ability to gain more by breaking tackles.
3. Contain the pass rush
Georgia has allowed the fewest sacks in the SEC. Part of this is due Shockley's running ability. LSU has maybe the best front four in the country and it starts in the middle with DT's Claude Wrotten and Kyle Williams. If Shockley is consistently forced to run his chance of injury goes through the roof...and Georgia now what happened last time DJ was injured.
What LSU has to do to win
1. Run the ball
Georgia has been exposed a couple of times this season by teams that can run the ball well (Arkansas, Auburn). Russell needs to make sure he doesn't fall in love with the pass even if Georgia shows only four defensive backs covering three wideouts.
2. East and West, not North and South
LSU has one of the fastest defense sideline to sideline, but not a big defense. Kenny Irons showed this by running straight ahead at LSU and amassing the most yards against LSU since Gerry DiNardo coached in the Bayou. The Tigers need a good push from their dominating defensive line and make the running backs run around the ends and not between the tackles.
3. Deep Ball
Russell throws one of the better deep balls in college football. While Georgia's safeties are a hard hitting bunch, they are average in coverage. Getting Greg Blue and Tra Battle covering wideouts one on one will be a dream for the Tigers. Russell must hurt Georgia when these opportunities arise.
In the end, LSU's front four is too much for Georgia. If Georgia had better receivers I could easily see them winning this game with LSU's, at time, pourous secondary. LSU wins its third SEC title in five years. LSU will cover, but not break the over of 41.
Prediction: LSU 20 Georgia 17