Pac-10 Preview: Orange Bowl Edition
Virginia Tech (11-2) vs. Stanford (11-1)
Monday, January 3 at 5:30 p.m. PT
Stanford players to watch:
QB Andrew Luck, RSo. - This phenom and future top NFL Draft pick is worth the price of admission alone.
C Chase Beeler, Sr. - This first team All-American shows outstanding athletic ability for an offensive lineman.
WR Chris Owusu, Jr. - The explosive return man is one of the fastest players in college football. Blazing speed in the open.
LB Chase Thomas, Jr. - This all out effort player will have to pressure the QB big time in this contest. Leads the Cardinal with 8 sacks.
S Delano Howell, Jr. - Will be a pivotal player in this game with his ball skills and blitz ability off the edge.
Virginia Tech players to watch:
QB Tyrod Taylor, Sr. - Gifted athlete has an outstanding arm. His athletic skill makes him difficult to contain.
SE Jarrett Boykin, Jr. - Nine catches from becoming the Hokies all-time leader in receptions. Size/strength type who excels in traffic.
TB Ryan Williams, So. - Has been slowed lately by hamstring injury but is one of the top overall runners in college football. Natural runner with both speed and explosion in the open.
CB Rashad Carmichael, Sr. - Excellent defender, outstanding in man coverage. Also a solid tackler.
CB Jayron Hosley, So. - Impressive 8 INTs on the season. Outstanding athlete and cover guy.
DT John Graves, Sr. - This high-round future NFL Draft pick is very disruptive in the middle of the Hokie defense.
This is the first-ever meeting between these two schools and shapes up as maybe the best bowl game match up of the season. Virginia Tech comes in on a 10-game win streak after two early losses to start the season. Stanford's All-World QB Andrew Luck will be facing by far the best and most athletic defense he has seen all season. The Hokie secondary is filled with ball-hawking athletes who are also physical in the run game. The Stanford offensive line has to give Luck time to deliver balls with pinpoint accuracy to avoid costly turnovers. Virginia Tech has one of the most under rated passers in the nation in Tyrod Taylor, and his offensive line usually allows him ample time to complete passes to some big and impressive receivers in Boykin and Marcus Davis. Stanford will have to be very creative and active in its blitz packages and not allow Taylor to sit in the pocket with all day to throw. These teams will both have to run the ball with effectiveness to have a chance at the end. I feel like this game will come down to the return game as field position will be crucial in the late stages. The game should feature a lot of highlight type plays and likely come down to a field goal at the end.
Dave Razzano is a former NFL scout with more than 22 years of professional scouting experience with the San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams and Arizona Cardinals under NFL coaches Bill Walsh, George Seifert, Chuck Knox and Dick Vermeil. He's been a part of five Super Bowls with three Super Bowl wins (49ers, 1989, 1990; Rams, 2000).