Kickoff time for the 2011 Orange Bowl featuring Stanford and Virginia Tech is a little under five hours away. Stanford enters the game on the verge of completing arguably the most successful season in program history. For Virginia Tech, while this might not match their Michael Vick national title game appearance, the Hokies made a strong rebound from their awful start. After losing to Boise State and James Madison University, the Hokies have run off 11 straight wins including the ACC title game.
I spoke with our Stanford and Virginia Tech bloggers to get some final predictions heading into tonight’s game. They both see Stanford winning this game, although maybe Gobbler Country is thinking more in terms of the reverse jinx. Both are expecting an offensive shootout.
Gobbler Country: Stanford 35, Virginia Tech 31. The Hokies have to put pressure on Andrew Luck, but I’m not sure they’re going to be able to do that. Tech will have its own success on offense, but I don’t think they’ll be able to out-score the Cardinal.
Rule of Tree: Stanford 38, Virginia Tech 24. Offensively, I’m fairly confident Stanford will be able to do what it’s done all season and establish the run early to set up the pass against a good, but not great, Virginia Tech defense. I think Stepfan Taylor will have a big night and Andrew Luck will have an efficient and interception-free game. The game will hinge on the Stanford defense’s ability to contain Tyrod Taylor. With a month to prepare for the Hokies’ scary-good quarterback, I predict Vic Fangio will have his much-improved defense ready. If Stanford can’t get off the field on third down and Taylor is able to continually make things happen outside the pocket with his arm and legs, the game will turn into a shootout like the Cardinal’s win against USC. If that happens, Stanford just has to hope it has the ball last.