The regular-season picks are in the books, and I closed it out last week with a 6-2 record, striking out on Miami and Wake Forest, which both lost. That brought the grand total to 72-25 for a winning percentage of .742. It’s respectable, but it’s not the championship-caliber performance I had hoped for. Still, I’m packing my bags for Charlotte. There’s only one prediction to make this week, and it’s the Dr Pepper ACC championship game. They say history repeats itself. I say not this season.
Virginia Tech 35, Clemson 14: The Hokies are soaring and the Tigers are sinking. This prediction isn’t just about momentum and the better defense, which Virginia Tech has – it’s about confidence, which Clemson doesn’t. The staff and the players have both conceded in recent weeks that a lack of confidence has infiltrated the locker room, and that’s tough to regain after back-to-back losses, including to an in-state rival. Clemson has been held to 13 points in each of the past two games, and turnovers have been a trend in the past four.
Based on the way these two teams have been playing lately, Virginia Tech is the smart pick. The Hokies have won seven straight games, and they’ve got more than enough motivation on the line. Virginia Tech has wanted to avenge their regular-season 23-3 loss to the Tigers since that game ended, and now they’ve got their chance. Virginia Tech will come out determined to prove it’s the better team now. Until proven otherwise, the defending ACC champs remain the team to beat.