Thursday, January 3, 2008

A Very Quick Orange Bowl Preview

VIRGINIA TECH (11-2) vs. KANSAS (11-1) - Jan. 3, 2008, 8pm ET (FOX)
Does the 2007 season have another shocker in store? After the Thursday Night stunner to Boston College in late October, the Hokies kicked things into another gear and rolled over the remainder of their schedule, including a rematch with BC in the ACC Championship Game. But after a month off, can Tech maintain their momentum, or will they come out clunkier than a 1987 Hyundai, much as they did in their first two games of the season against East Carolina and LSU?

With LB Vince Hall now likely out of the game due to an inexplicable injury in pregame bowl activities (something involving a jet-ski, apparently), and with Brandon Ore suspended for the first quarter, it will be up to QB Sean Glennon and the defense to set the tone early. The Jayhawks haven't been on this stage before, so it will be interesting to see if they come out and bellyflop like Hawaii and Illinois two days ago, or play like they're en fuego like West Virginia in the '06 Sugar Bowl and Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl last year.

This one is all on the coaching staffs. The Hokies are clearly more talented. Frank Beamer needs to have his troops watch last night's Fiesta Bowl on a 24-hour loop to show what can happen to teams that take their opponent lightly. Mark Mangino needs to throw in some wrinkles into his offensive scheme in order to catch the Hokie defense off guard, and he needs to throw the kitchen sink at Glennon and the underwhelming Tech OL, even if they get burned a few times.

The Hokies' track record in big games, particularly as favorites, is rather poor. They'll win, but in agonizingly close fashion.

Virginia Tech 28, Kansas 24

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