The path to the ACC Championship Game will become more defined after the week 7 Pitt at Virginia Tech matchup. Wake Forest and NC State are battling it out in the Atlantic division, while the Panthers and Hokies are in the driver’s seat of the Coastal even though they’ve each played just one conference game.
Pittsburgh has the #1 scoring offense not just in the ACC but the entire country, putting up 52.4 ppg. Va. Tech only allows 18.6 ppg though so this is your classic offense vs. defense matchup. Oddsmakers are impressed by the Panthers offense, making them -6.5 road favorites in Saturday’s matchup.
Pickett Has Been Impressive
Pittsburgh QB Kenny Pickett has worked his way into Heisman candidacy, currently sitting at 40:1 which is the 9th best odds in the country. Through just five games the 5th year SR. has already set a career high in TD passes (19) and so far has the best completion percentage (72%) and yards/attempt (10.3), while only throwing 1 INT so far.
Pickett has gone for 380+ passing yards in three straight games, with 15 TD over that span. Even with all that success though it doesn’t guarantee a win, as the Panthers fell 44-41 at home to Western Michigan in week 3 as -14 point favorites. Jordan Addison is a nearly unstoppable WR (29 catches, 524 yards, 9 TD) but once again it doesn’t mean anything if the Pitt defense can’t get right.
The Panthers defense looks like they’ll be alright heading into the week 7 Pitt at Virginia Tech meeting. First off the Hokies have the 2nd worst offense in the ACC, but also Pitt’s 44 points allowed to Western Michigan looks like an anomaly. The Panthers had three turnovers vs. WMU and had a 19:45 to 40:15 time of possession disadvantage. You’re going to give up some points being on the field that long.
Big Game for Virginia Tech
The Hokies come into this game 3-2, but their losses have come by a combined 9 points. That includes a 27-21 loss in West Virginia when VT couldn’t score from the 4-yard line in the final minute and a 32-29 loss to Notre Dame last week when the Irish scored 11 points in the final 2:26.
Facing Pickett is a tough challenge for the VT defense that is giving up just 196.4 ypg. The Hokies also faced a former Heisman candidate Sam Howell of North Carolina in the season opener, and held him to just 208 yards passing with 3 INT. That was when the Tar Heels were ranked #10 in the country.
Odds are Virginia Tech is probably going to have to get theirs to keep pace in Saturday afternoon’s meeting. That’s where this team could run into trouble as VT has the 2nd worst rushing offense and 4th worst passing yardage in the ACC. Hokies QB Braxton Burmeister has just 5 TD passes on the season and is the leading rusher with only 189 yards. Pickett is averaging 5 TD passes over the past three games.
Week 7 Pitt at Virginia Tech Pick
VT is easily the toughest defense that Pitt has faced this season but we’re also not talking about Georgia here. Pickett is an experienced QB that doesn’t make mistakes and the Hokies offense is so bad with unsustainable drives that Pickett is going to get chance after chance after chance before Pitt will finally break through.
Pitt 36 – VT 20
Free Pick: Pittsburgh -6.5