@ Virginia Tech (2008: 9-4)
Player to Watch: Junior QB Tyrod Taylor
Last season, plans to redshirt Taylor to save a year of eligibility were thrown out of the window by the second game of the season and as a result, Taylor had a terrible season, throwing just two touchdowns to seven interceptions. However, that is not the Tyrod Taylor that made recruitniks drool watching his tape. The dual threat quarterback has a world of potential and still could harness it. His ability to tuck and run make him a threat and a player to key on every play.
The Hokies are high on everyone's list to win the ACC, especially considering they took the ACC a year earlier than expected. However, they will have to develop on offense, especially Taylor, who will be required to make that next step if he is going to lead the Hokies to another ACC crown. In the backfield is a potential All-ACC player in sophomore Darren Evans. Evans, as a freshman, ran for over 1200 yards while scoring 11 touchdowns. In last year's meeting, the Hurricanes held Evans to under 50 yards rushing in one of his lower outputs on the season (EDITOR'S NOTE: SINCE ORIGINAL PUBLICATION, EVANS SUFFERED AN INJURY LEAVING HIM OUT FOR THE SEASON) The 35th ranked rushing attacks look to increase that number dramatically if they are to push to an ACC Championship and potential National Championship run.
The defense will be strong, as always and will be predicated on turning the ball over. The defense will need to replace some of their top players, but they do return a lot of depth and playmakers. The secondary is of the best in the country, led by Kam Chancellor. Cam Martin will lead the linebackers. The nation's seventh best defense will be back and hungry, however, they need to stop allowing teams to score so many points.
What to Expect:
An upset? Despite a brutal first four games of the season for the Hurricanes, there are a few of them that are overly winnable…Virginia Tech being one of them, despite Virginia Tech being one of the favorites to win the ACC. Why? The Hurricanes beat a similar Hokies team last season 16-14 at home. Virginia Tech will get better, but so will the young Hurricanes. Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech set the tone for what could be a long or dominant year in the ACC for Miami.