Game previews for LSU-Miami and Virginia Tech-FSU

The first weekend of college football is wrapping up

Tim Grattan
September 02, 2018 - 4:20 pm

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

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CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – So yesterday, we had an outstanding start to the first Saturday of college football. 

Even though there was no major upsets, we as fans had great action all Saturday long.  

What is great about Labor Day weekend – which everyone, Happy Labor Day! – is they’re more games going on tonight and Monday.

Let’s get to my preview of the final two big matchup’s of Week One of the college football season. 

No. 8 Miami vs. No. 25 LSU (AT&T Stadium, Dallas, Texas), 7:30 p.m., ABC (Ch. 5 in Cleveland)

Jerry World in Dallas should be getting a treat with this primetime SEC vs. ACC game.

Let’s start with LSU and its brand new quarterback Joe Borrow. Borrow, the Ohio State graduate transfer  will step into the starting quarterback role for the Tigers. During his time with the Buckeyes, Borrow played in 10 games completed 29-of-39 passes for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns. LSU does lack experiences at wide receiver and has two unproven running backs with Nick Brosette and Clyde Edwards-Helaire splitting carries. 

If the Tigers have a chance in the game, they’ll need to lean on their defense, which is led by All-American linebacker Devin White. White, who led the SEC with 133 tackles and the rest of LSU defense, will need to come up with stops and keep Miami off the scoreboard for its unproven offense. Head coach Ed Orgeron seems to be on the hot seat and he’ll need to get wins this year, so the rabid LSU fan bases won’t be calling for a coaching change. 

Speaking of Miami … I believe this team is the second best team in the ACC besides Clemson. The Hurricanes return fifth-year starter Malik Rosier (26 TDs, 14 INTs) as he looks to guide the offense for head coach Mark Richt. The biggest consideration for Rosier is his throwing accuracy. During the ‘Canes three-game losing streak to end the season Rosier’s completion percentage was 44.9. If he can’t throw the ball, Miami will look to one of three quarterbacks on its roster: N’Kosi Perry, Cade Weldon or Jarren Williams (true freshman). Ahmmon Richards is the top playmaker for the Hurricanes’ offense as he broke Michael Irvin ’s record for receiving yards for a freshman in 2016 with 934 yards. 

Miami captured the nation’s attention with its Turnover Chain. The defense forced 16 interceptions during the first 9 games of the season – until things went downhill during the three-game losing streak.  Miami does return the best linebacker units in the ACC (juniors Shaq Quarterman, Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud) and top cornerback Malek Young. 

I think Miami’s veteran defense will be too much for LSU’s young offense to handle in Dallas. 

LINE: Miami -3.5, O/U 46.5

PREDICTION: Miami 27, LSU 17

No. 20 Virginia Tech at No. 19 Florida State, 8 p.m., ESPN

Now it’s time for the main event of the opening week of college football – an ACC showdown between two ranked foes. 

Florida State starts the 2018 season with new head coach Willie Taggart as former coach Jimbo Fisher left to become the head man at Texas A&M.  Taggart returns to the state of Florida after spending only one season at Oregon as the head coach after spending three years at South Florida. At Oregon, Taggart went 7-5 with the Ducks and lost to Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl (Taggart did not coach in the bowl game). Quarterback Deondre Francois is 100 percent healthy after tearing his ACL in the 2017 season-opener against Alabama.  If Francois can figure out how to run the spread-up tempo offense that Taggert runs, the Seminoles should battle Clemson for the ACC’s Atlantic Division.

Defense line should be the strength for Florida State. Demarcus Christmas returns for his senior season and will be joined by former five-star recruit Marvin Wilson. Linebackers will be the question mark for FSU. The Seminoles will be replacing all three starting linebackers, but FSU will have Levonta Taylor to run its secondary. 

For Virginia Tech this could be rebuilt on the defensive side of the ball. The Hokies lost six starters, including a pair of that wound up as first-round NFL draft picks. Legendary defensive coordinator Bud Foster but Virginia Tech might struggle at first to get offenses off the field. 

Head coach Justin Fuente does return quarterback Josh Jackson to run the offense. In 13 games as a freshman, Jackson threw for 2,991 yards with 20 touchdowns and nine interceptions. The real question on offense for the Hokies … who’s going to catch the football for Virginia Tech? Sean Savoy and Eric Kumah will look to be the top two wideouts for Virginia Tech this season. 

I think its game is going to go down to the wire and I think Virginia Tech goes into FSU and ruins the start of the Willie Taggart era. 

LINE: FSU -7, O/U 55

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 31, Florida State 27