Consider this post the open thread for today's game. You're invited to leave your thoughts in the comments below. Most of us have been working on a holiday schedule, so after the jump are a bunch tidbits and reads found elsewhere on the Interwebs that you might have missed while on vacation. Before proceeding, Box 'shopped another masterpiece.
Now then, let's continue.
Tech visited the Give Kids the World Village. Also, it should be noted that Martin Scales knows the Macarena.
So you're saying we should win the turnover battle...
Bowl fact: Va. Tech and Rutgers combined to go 12-0 when they finished w/ a positive turnover margin, and 0-8 when they finished in the red.— Matt Hinton (@MattRHinton) December 28, 2012
SI.com's Andy Staples picked Tech to lose.
• Final analysis: Thomas has had to do everything for Virginia Tech's offense this season. He leads the Hokies in both rushing and passing. If freshman tailback J.C. Coleman can't gain some yards to lighten Thomas' workload, Virginia Tech could struggle. Meanwhile, the Hokies' defense will have to slow Jamison. This is the same unit that gave up 157 yards to Pittsburgh's Rushel Shell and 262 yards to North Carolina's Giovani Bernard. If they bottle up Jamison, then the Hokies have a better chance to force Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova -- who threw five interceptions in the Scarlet Knights' final three games -- into making a mistake. If Jamison is picking up consistent yardage, Nova should be able to take advantage of one-on-one matchups on the outside.
• The pick: Rutgers 24, Virginia Tech 20
Busts in man coverage have been our downfall a few times this season.
SBNation.com's Bill Connelly wrote an in-depth preview. One pick had Tech winning, the other losing, either way it's projected as a close game that could be decided by a big play.
Virginia Tech won two games scoring 24 points or fewer and played in 10 games that saw 55 or fewer total points scored. For Rutgers, those numbers are six and 10, respectively. In fact, there haven't been more than 37 points scored in a Rutgers game since October. A single long pass to Brandon Coleman, Marcus Davis or Corey Fuller ... a single defensive breakdown in a run by Jawan Jamison, Logan Thomas or Random Tech running back ... that could make the difference in the game.
He's harped on it all season long, but Bud Foster again mentioned Tech needed to limit big plays.
"We've got to stop the run. We've got to eliminate their big plays," Foster said before the Hokies practice Tuesday at the Citrus Bowl. "Short pass plays, they can turn them into big plays. The run game and passing game complement each other."
Chris Brown of Smart Football detailed Rutgers outside zone play, and discussed how important it is to Rutgers' offensive game plan.
Watch the press conference (if you like coach speak).