FedEx Orange Bowl: Cincinnati (11-2) vs. Virginia Tech (9-4)

December, 7, 2008
12/07/08
8:59
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Some people might make this matchup out to be Cincinnati's offense against Virginia Tech's defense, but they would be missing the point.

Yes, the Hokies are as fearsome as ever defensively, ranking seventh in the country in total defense. But the Bearcats have a swift, ball-hawking defense with 10 starting seniors themselves. The two teams feature outstanding secondaries, led by Macho Harris for Virginia Tech and Mike Mickens for Cincinnati, assuming the latter is healthy after late-year knee surgery. And both sides are terrific on special teams.

It's been endlessly documented how Cincinnati overcame all its quarterback issues this season. Virginia Tech had its own issues until Tyrod Taylor stepped up and solidified the position.

The Bearcats have a much better passing attack with quarterback Tony Pike and big-play receivers Dominick Goodman and Mardy Gilyard. But the Hokies are far more effective at running the ball and can use that to control the clock.

The Big East has won three straight BCS games and would like nothing better to defeat one of the three teams (along with Miami and Boston College) that bolted the league for the ACC before the 2005 season. The ACC has lost its last eight BCS games.

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