Ok time for my first analysis post this year. I am sure hippos will kick mine but hell what can i say I am bored.
How KU Wins:
Come out to play ball. Sounds so simple but yet it did not happen in the MU game until the 4th quarter. 11 games this year they came out with play calling to take it at people. In other words play to win. Nothing hurt more than watching the tentative play calling at the beginning of the MU game and a total switch from what had worked for KU the other 11 games. The run was getting shut down and we didn't switch to exploiting the weak Methzou secondary. I hope and believe in a much more adaptive play calling in the orange bowl now that the hawks have the monkey of their first big game as a big time team off their back and can learn from their mistakes. Also I would be watching a lot of LSU highlight tapes. True, I think VT has progressed since then but they got utterly owned. 149 TOTAL yards for the hokies that game. More important LSU rushed for 297 yards and averaged a staggering 7.2 per carry. So even though the run got shutdown against MU, KU must keep trying it but hopefully with some more imagination and with white lightning touching the ball as well. This will bring in their good corners (harris and flowers) and hopefully open the passing lanes. Of course the hawks will also need to keep a special eye on the recently healthy Vince Hall when running the ball. Even if the hawks can't move the ball on the ground, BC beat the hokies in their first meeting almost solely in the air. Just shy of 300 yards of it. This was mostly done by going around their corners. VT does have one of the best pass rushes around so todd needs to get out of the pocket more than he did in the MU game (kudos to MU on that though).
What may well decide the game though is the other side of the ball. Though doing better since switching to the two QB system VT still has trouble putting up yards. What is often lost when talking about the hokie defense which is 2nd in points allowed and 4th in yards allowed per game is the hawks solid D. In fact in the same stats the hawks are 5th and 14th respectively and are definitely capable of shutting down an offense ranked 96th in total yards, 79th in passing yards, 82nd in rushing yards, and 52nd in points scored. To do this the first thing they need to do is forget the buffer they gave the MU receivers. The VT receivers are not as athletic as the MU receivers and do not need that treatment (neither did MU but I digress...). I really like all the match ups here and might even throw in a little more pressure to rattle glennon and taylor early. Some early stops and sacks could severely shake their two qb system. Again it all comes down to coming out to win the game and being aggressive. The D was not bad against MU but take away the buffer and maybe give booger a little less time in the pocket with an occasional aggressive blitz and maybe the hawks could have forced some mistakes.
I know most in the nation will not agree with me but I really like this match up and I like it even better actually coming off the MU loss and what I predict will be the todd's one bad game this year.
VT has played a fairly tough schedule this year in conference. They got revenge on BC and beat an over-rated Virginia team. However GT and Miami were down this year though had more solid out of conference wins that KUs big 12 adversaries. However this hokie team is the same team that was ahead of Eastern Carolina (without their first string qb) by 3 until the last quarter of the game (ok this one might be passed off to emotion). Also they were out gained by North Carolina and barely pulled out a one-possession win.
I think this will come down to a defensive battle with the team that can establish their offense first taking it. I think it will be a great game and at the end I take the hawks by 11.
Also I must say I am glad to be playing VT and not OU.
I cannot disagree with Rod Gilmore of ESPN more when he states
"This certainly isn't one of the strongest matchups of the BCS bowls -- in fact, there are non-BCS games that are more compelling than this game (the Holiday Bowl's Arizona State-Texas matchup comes to mind)."