Presto’s Picks: To be announced…

WASHINGTON — If you picked up a schedule at the beginning of the season, no doubt you read a handful of kickoff times and a slew of “TBA” or “TBD”. For instance, we didn’t know Maryland’s kickoff time with Rutgers until 12 days before the game (we also learned it wouldn’t be where they originally scheduled the game, but that’s another matter). Virginia Tech-Miami? Not until this past Sunday.

While I understand the networks want to have the top matchups on in front of the largest possible audiences, don’t we kind of realize that Maryland-Indiana might not be a ready-for-primetime game? Even the NFL already has game times in place during its flex scheduling. College hoops is a lot more random and their tipoff times for the most part are set in stone (with the exception of the final weekend). I’m sure the uncertainty of the kickoff times can’t help with attendance at some stadiums. One isn’t saying that the schedule should be locked in from day one…but it would be nice if the networks and conferences would exercise a little common sense and at least set the kickoff times. And then infuriate us by changing them 12 days out.

Virginia (5-3, 2-2 ACC) vs. Georgia Tech (4-3, 2-2), 3 p.m. (ACC Network)

The Cavaliers make their third attempt at reaching six wins and the bowl eligibility that comes with it. Losses to Boston College and Pitt have tempered the Scott Stadium faithful, and this week they’ll have to deal with the fourth best running game (347.9 yards per game) in the country. If there’s one thing UVa doesn’t do well it’s contain the run (10th in the ACC). Tech is also somewhat soft against the pass. Can Kurt Benkert regain his September form (66% completion rate with a 10-to-1 TD to INT ratio) after an underwhelming October (55% and 7-to-4)? Kippy & Buffy return home to tailgate with another wine from the Commonwealth, a 2014 King Family Vineyards Petit Verdot. “On the nose, dark notes of tar, licorice, and blueberry are accented with aromas of mushroom, leather, and eucalyptus.” Mushroom and leather are a rare tandem, but with Stilton Blue on Wheat Thins, it works somehow.

Presto’s Pick: Cavaliers come up short, 36-20

Maryland (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) at Rutgers (3-5, 2-3), 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network)

How long will the Terps and Scarlet Knights be the “new kids in town” of the Big Ten? Rutgers is fresh from coughing up 334 yards rushing to Michigan. Now I know why Maryland running backs Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison have been salivating all week. This game was originally supposed to take place at Yankee Stadium, but the Yanks playoff run moved the venue back to Piscataway. Whatever happened to the sanctity that was the Pinstripe Bowl? You just cheapen it by having random regular season games in the Bronx.

Presto’s Pick: Terrapins Triumph, 31-17

#13 Virginia Tech (7-1, 3-1) at #9 Miami (7-0, 4-0), 8 p.m. (ABC)

Every year I prepare my “Hurricane Downgrade” column…because for the last decade the U has followed up solid Septembers with awful Octobers (although in 2012 and 2013 they waited until November to implode). This year’s edition played four straight one-possession games and prevailed each time, while the Hokies have been in just one game decided by eight points or fewer (and that was opening weekend against West Virginia). If Miami has an Achilles heel it’s moving the chains on third down (second worst in the ACC at 30.7%) — and the Hokies are second best in the league at getting off of the field.

Presto’s Pick: Hokies hold on, 20-16

Howard falls at Florida A&M, Georgetown loses to Lafayette,  Richmond is victorious at Villanova, William & Mary slips to New Hampshire, Towson tumbles to Elon, James Madison mauls Rhode Island.

Last Week: 5-3

Overall: 53-17

Dave Preston

Dave has been in the D.C. area for 10 years and in addition to working at WTOP since 2002 has also been on the air at Westwood One/CBS Radio as well as Red Zebra Broadcasting (Redskins Network).

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