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January 3, 2011

College Football Bowl Picks - Discover Orange Bowl:

Discover Orange Bowl

#4 Stanford (11-1) vs. #13 Virginia Tech (11-2)


8:30 PM, ESPN, Mon. Jan. 3, Miami, FL

Why Watch: It’s a dueling quarterback battle. The Hokies feature one of the more underrated quarterbacks in the country in Tyrod Taylor, while Stanford may have the best quarterback in the country, in Andrew Luck. The Cardinal and Hokies are two balanced, well coached teams who don’t beat themselves. Not many people could have foreseen both at this point to begin the season. The Cardinal, who looked good on paper, didn’t look this good. While Tech lost their first two games to start the year, including one to FCS James Madison.

Who to Watch: The quarterbacks are going to make plays and you’ll be seeing a lot of them. Keep an eye on the players who take the pressure off of their dynamic single-callers, though. For The Hokies, it’s running back Ryan Williams. Williams is finally at full strength and when healthy is regarded as one of the best running back prospects for the draft. For Stanford, it’s the dominating Cardinal offensive line. The entire line garnered All-Pac-10 accolades this season, with center Chase Beeler bringing in All-American honors. The line ranked No. 1 in the nation in sacks given up with five, while ranking No. 17 in rush offense with 211 yards a game.

How it’s Going Down: It could be Stanford Head Coach Jim Harbaugh’s last dance with the Cardinal, but he’s the head coach tonight and that’s that matters. There may not be two hotter teams in the country than the Hokies and Cardinal, both that saw their seasons take off following early season losses. Tech rolled through the ACC with a clean record, but Stanford absolutely crushed opponents down the stretch. The Hokies are decent at stopping the pass (ranked No. 32) but nobody period has been able to slow down Luck this season. If he gets hot, the Stanford defense can do enough to bring in a win on Harbaugh’s last night…maybe. Pick: Stanford 33 – Virginia Tech 28

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