Game Day Preview: #21 Virginia Tech vs. #22 West Virginia

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 29: Terrell Edmunds
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 29: Terrell Edmunds /

One of college football’s most heated rivalries is brought back from the dead at FedEx Field on Sunday as the Hokies lock up with the Mountaineers.

When and Where: FedEx Field in Landover, MD. Kick off set for 7:30 PM ET.

How to Watch: ESPN

The Spread: Virginia Tech (-4.5) via


About 13 miles outside of our nation’s capital, the Black Diamond Trophy will be up for grabs once again. West Virginia leads the all-time series 28-22-1, but the Hokies have plans to close that gap on Sunday night.

The new faces on Virginia Tech’s offense won’t have a lot of time to get used to full speed college football action. Redshirt freshman Josh Jackson takes the reigns against the ‘Neers, replacing Jerod Evans. The weapons around Jackson are going to look different as well, with Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges off to the NFL.

You can read more about the up and comers at wide receiver here.

The Hokie defense, in my opinion, has a chance to be the best one Bud Foster has fielded in ten years. The secondary is right up there with the best in the country. The linebackers are also strong with Tremaine Edmunds and Motuapuaka returning. Throw in Mook Reynolds as the WHIP spot and you have a damn good back seven. The only question mark is the depth of the defensive line. If some second string d-linemen can step up this defense could be among the top in the country.

That promising defense will get its first test against a West Virginia offense that knows how to put up points. That threat is even higher with transfer Will Grier taking over. Grier has the talent, leading Florida to a 6-0 record in 2015 before getting busted for taking a banned substance, but he hasn’t played in almost 700 days. Grier hasn’t faced a defense of this magnitude in his career.

West Virginia’s defense is a question mark. Highlighted by All-American Rasul Douglas, the 2016 WVU defense was surprisingly good, by BIG12 standards. Now, with him and almost everyone else gone, they are looking to plug in new faces into a previously successful scheme.


This game is a big one for both teams. A win puts you inside the top 20, and a loss most likely leaves you unranked. Both offensive and defensive matchups are strength on strength and weakness on weakness. I happen to think here that the Hokies have the best strength in their defense, and WVU’s strength lies in a mostly untested and possibly rusty QB missing two of his top targets to suspension.

The Hokies defense balls out and the offense does just enough.

Virginia Tech wins 27-20