Top 25 teams and games — No. 15 Virginia Tech

Published: Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 7:40 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, June 15, 2008 at 7:40 p.m.

Team No. 15 Virginia Tech

The buzz: Virginia Tech is rebuilding this year, blah, blah, blah. You know that Frank Beamer is going to get the most out of his teams and this just in the Hokies will win a game or two on special teams. Beamer knows how to motivate and this team will find a way to overachieve.

Difference-maker: If quarterback Tyrod Taylor can stay healthy, he is as exciting as any quarterback in the ACC. But the question is whether he can beat out Sean Glennon. Even if he doesn't, he'll play. Last year he averaged more than four yards a carry and ran for six touchdowns in part-time duty.

The upside: The Hokies play in a division Coastal for those of you not familiar with the ACC that doesn't scare anybody. And Beamer has been around the block. His line play should be improved and Bud Foster knows how to coach defense.

The downside: The Hokies need to find some playmakers and lose seven starters on defense from a unit that was fourth in the nation a year ago. And just because the O-line is a year older doesn't mean it will be better than last year when it allowed 54 sacks.

Schedule factor: Even if you discount North Carolina, which should be improved, Virginia Tech has to travel to Nebraska, Boston College, FSU and Miami. So the Hokies need to take advantage of a soft early schedule and build momentum toward a difficult middle.

Game No. 15 Alabama at LSU

Where: Tiger Stadium; Baton Rouge, La.

When: Nov. 8.

Why it's sexy: Nick Saban makes his return to Baton Rouge. What more do you need? Saban faced the Tigers, whom he coached to the national championship in 2003, last year but it was at home. LSU fans can't stand Saban and have never been big Alabama fans. And, oh yeah, by the time this game is played it could have major SEC West implications.

Preseason buzz: LSU should have a quarterback by the time this game is played, but the reason the Tigers are low in the preseason polls is the dismissal of Ryan Perrilloux. Still, LSU is loaded at every other position and that could be enough to win the West. Alabama, on the other hand, is probably a year away, but will be a handful for everyone in the SEC.

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