Orange Bowl Free Picks: Stanford vs. Virginia Tech 1/3/11

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The Virginia Tech Hokies and Stanford Cardinal probably underachieved this year, but they are both going to be playing on Tobacco Road on New Year's Eve for the first of a four pack of NCAA football bowl games at the Orange Car Care Bowl. Which team will beat the college football betting lines? Check out our preview and our Orange Car Care Bowl picks.

Orange Bowl Matchup: Stanford Cardinal vs. Virginia Tech Hokies
Date: Monday, January 3rd, 8:30 ET
Location: Sun Life Stadium, Miami, FL
Orange Bowl Line: Stanford -3.5
Over/Under 58

Cardinal Notes: This could be the end of a tremendous era of Stanford football. QB Andrew Luck is most likely going to end up going to the NFL after this game is over, where he is likely to be the No. 1 pick in the draft and become a member of the Carolina Panthers. Luck, a two year starter down on "The Farm," threw for 3,045 yards and 28 TDs this year, and he also showed his mobility by running for 438 yards and three scores. The other major problem that the Cardinal might have in this one is that Head Coach Jim Harbaugh might be leaving for either another collegiate job or one in the NFL, as he is the most highly sought after coach in the country right now at either the pro or college level. On the ground this year, the Cardinal really did a great job, getting the ball in the hands of RB Stepfan Taylor quite a bit. The frosh really took over, replacing the departed RB Toby Gerhart, and he rushed for 1,023 yards and 15 scores on the campaign. This Stanford offense averaged 468.7 yards per game this year, and though it wasn't as heralded as the offense of the Oregon Ducks, there is no shame in averaging 40.3 points per game. On the other side of the ball, there wasn't a defense in that country that pitched more shutouts than that of the Cardinal, which had three clean sheets. Stanford allowed an average of just 17.8 points per game this year and was really only blown to bits by Oregon's offense.

Hokies Notes: Virginia Tech could have really just run and hid after just two weeks of the season, as the team was 0-2 and had dropped clear out of the Top 25 in the country after getting beaten by the James Madison Dukes in a loss that was absolutely unforgiveable. However, give a lot of credit to Head Coach Frank Beamer and his team, which surged to 11 straight victories and a 10-1 ATS mark over the course of their last 11 games this year to not only win the ACC, but to make it here to the Orange Bowl with a chance to finish ranked in the Top 10 in America. The Hokies have QB Tyrod Taylor, the ACC Player of the Year on their side in this one. He threw for 2,521 yards and rushed for 637 more, accounting for a total of 28 scores against just four turnovers. The offense for the Hokies really did play well this year thanks to the fact that the ground game was just so darn good. Not only did Taylor reach the 600+ yard barrier, but so did RB Darren Evans and RB David Wilson, who rushed for 813 and 616 yards respectively. The man we haven't talked about yet is last year's ACC Freshman of the Year, RB Ryan Williams, who spend a good chunk of the year on the sidelines injured. The defense for VT only allowed 339.7 yards and 19.1 points per game on the campaign.

The Final Word: We know that the Cardinal have an underrated team this year, but there is still a big time question about the schedule that they played. No one is doubting the way that V-Tech just absolutely dominated foe after foe down the stretch, and they played a non-conference schedule that was absolutely legitimate. The Hokies are the right side in this one whether they win it or not, as this should be a close call the whole way. We tend to think that Beamer Ball gets the job done with a narrow 'W'.

Orange Bowl Free Pick: Virginia Tech +3.5
Orange Bowl Prediction: Virginia Tech 31 – Stanford 27

Lou Palumbo is the founder and part owner of the Sports Handicapping Community. He's been writing and posting free picks and sports handicapping strategies on the Cappersinfo forums and website for 15 years now. He enjoys handicapping just as much as he did from the very first day he built the original Cappersinfo website.

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