Sunday, December 31, 2006

Gator Bowl Preview: Ga Tech-West Virginia

Gator Bowl Jacksonville, FL Jan1 1:00PM CBS
Georgia Tech vs West Virginia
Line: WV-11, 47
1:00 PM ETW/LATSHAAFAAO/U
Georgia Tech 9-4-06-5-16-23-224.216.86-6-0
West Virginia 10-2-05-5-16-14-138.920.68-3-0

Quick Hits:
GT Under 3 of last 4
GT as Dog: 2-1-1 ATS, 1-3 SU, 1-3 O/U
GT largest Dog @Va Tech(+8.5) W38-27, Over

WV Over 4 of last 5
WV 1-3-1 ATS last 5
WV as Fav: 5-4-1 ATS, 8-1-1 SU, 8-3 O/U
WV as Double Digit Fav: 5-3-1 ATS, 7-1-1 SU, 7-3 O/U

Season Recap Georgia Tech
Big Wins: @VaTech 38-27
Bad Losses: @Clem 7-31
Record vs Bowl Teams: 3-4
Common Opp: vMyld 27-23

Season Recap West Virginia
Big Wins: vMyld 45-24
Bad Losses: vSo Fla 19-24
Record vs Bowl Teams: 4-2
Common Opp: vMyld 45-24

Georgia Tech Offense vs West Virgina Defense
78th in Total Yards vs 52nd in Total Yards
100th in Passing Yards vs 100th in Passing Yards
35th in Rushing Yards vs 9th in Rushing Yards
57th in Points Per Game vs 48th in Points Per Game

Georgia Tech's Taylor Bennett will be making just his second career start after Reggie Ball was declared academically ineligible. Expect WVU defense to see a heavy dose of Tashard Choice, the leading rusher in the ACC this season. Bennett has more pocket presence than Ball, but is not near as mobile. Turnovers will be at premium as always for an underdog against a high powered offense. West Virginia will likely stack the box and test the inexperienced Bennett's arm.

West Virginia Offense vs Georgia Tech Defense
4th in Total Yards vs 20th in Total Yards
98th in Passing Yards vs 62nd in Passing Yards
2nd in Rushing Yards vs 11th in Rushing Yards
4th in Points Per Game vs 48th in Points Per Game

This is a match of strength vs strength as West Virginia possesses two of the best runners in the nation. The Yellow Jackets allowed under 90ypg on the ground and just 69 ypg outside of the Clemson game. Jon Tenuta's defense possesses as much speed any defense the Mountaineers have seen, but the blitz scheme Tech uses was exploited by Clemson's rushing attack. Georgia Tech's defense will need to generate some turnovers in this game and keep White and Slaton off the field as much as possible.

Prediction:
Georgia Tech has nothing going for them coming into this game. They lost their last two games in heartbreaking fashion, they will play back to back games in Jacksonville, their starting QB and best CB are out... and bettors have noticed moving West Virginia from a 7 pt fav to 11 pt fav - the biggest spread of all the bowl games. However, Georgia Tech has thrived as a big underdog, especially on the road under Chan Gailey. I think Bennett shows a lot of poise, but Slaton and White will break some big runs late after being bottled up most of the first half.

West Virginia Wins, Georgia Tech Covers, Under


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