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Virginia Tech Hokies vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets Preview and Prediction

Frank Beamer

Frank Beamer

Thursday will mark the 13th time in history that Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech have met. This ACC matchup has become must-see television, as only one game since 2008 as been decided by more than a touchdown.

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Georgia Tech enters Thursday’s game 3-6 after coming off a huge win over Florida State two weeks ago. The Yellow Jackets must win out if they are to reach bowl eligibility. With Virginia Tech, Miami, and Georgia left on the schedule, it’s not completely out of reach. The Jackets have to take care of business and forget about the emotional win over Florida State. With two weeks to prepare, Paul Johnson should have his team ready between the ears.

Virginia Tech fans are still trying to digest what life without head coach Frank Beamer will be like. At 4-5, the Hokies need two wins in the next three games against Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Virginia if they want to reach a bowl.

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Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

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Spread: Georgia Tech -3.5

Three Things to Watch

I’m always fascinated when coaches say they are going to retire half way through the season and decide to either continue to coach or walk away. Beamer has elected to coach so I’m intrigued by how his players are going to respond. Will they mail it in or play hard? I haven’t heard any rumblings as to lean either way but it will tell on the field. Beamer has been great for college football and I hope his players understand that. Either way, we will see what the Hokie players decide to do early on Thursday night, on the road with a bowl game on the line. — Written by Justin Nails, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @justinnails.

1. The Frank Beamer farewell show

2. Justin Thomas

Entering 2015, I had high hopes for Thomas. I thought and truly felt like he was going to turn the corner and have a huge impact on this season. And I was right. Thomas has been pedestrian at best and a large part of the reason the Jackets are 3-6. Thomas is completing just 43.6 percent of his passes, down from 51 percent last year, and is rushing for an average of 3.6 yards per carry, down from 5.7 last year. Thomas just hasn’t been the same. With three games left in the 2015 season and a bowl game on the line, Thomas better figure “it” out quickly. 

3. Bobby Dodd Stadium

I’ve been on a stadium kick lately and for good reason. Full or empty stadiums can tell you a lot about how the fan base feels about the team. Georgia Tech is coming off a huge win over Florida State but is staring a losing season in the face if it can’t pull off three wins in a row. Are Yellow Jacket fans still invested in this team? With Frank Beamer coming to town and still a good chance of making a bowl, it will be interesting to see if the Georgia Tech faithful remain just that. 

Final Analysis

Georgia Tech had a long stretch of bad losses before finally getting a win against Florida State. Wins like that can change the outcome of a season quickly. With a week off to settle their emotions, I think this is where the Yellow Jackets turn it on and makes a run at bowl eligibility. With Virginia Tech dealing with longtime head coach Frank Beamer's pending retirement, the team could rally or fold. I’m not willing to bet on those emotions. Georgia Tech wins a close on at home to get that much closer to a bowl.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 24, Virginia Tech 21