Hale Pegs the Hokies for 7 Wins in 2018

I've always found David Hale's analysis to be insightful, measured, and respectable. He predicted how the ACC would play out in 2018, and he has the Hokies at 7-5.

That's losses at Florida State, at Duke, vs Notre Dame, at Pitt, and vs Miami. He's quite bearish on Virginia Tech this season.

Comments

emphasis on that last tweet

Ask me no questions, and I'll tell you no lies

"And guess what, you've wandered into our school of tuna and we now have a taste of lion." -Allen Gamble, The Other Guys
@Doooougie07

Love how he has the Wahoos at a whopping 3 wins. I personally think 7-5 is the worst we can do this year given the talent we have. Offense should take step forward and defense a step back but if we end up less than 8-4 count me surprised.

Not to be a glass-mostly-empty guy, but other than Ricky Walker who are the talented players we have?

I'm hoping some of the young guys step up and become stars, but most of our returning players are just guys.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

I actually agree with you to an extent. I would add Trevon Hill. You could argue Hunter, Farley, Turner, Dax, Rivers, the redshirt D-Ends but none of them really played. Most of the guys who played last year who are still on the team weren't anything special.

I'm with you on Hill, I admit I was forgetting him. After taking a quick glance at last year's roster, I guess I'd also add Yosuah Nijman and Deshawn McClease - not necessarily All-Americans, but talented players for sure.

For that matter, objectively I 'd have to say most teams are probably not returning as solid a QB as Josh Jackson.

The doll's trying to kill me and the toaster's been laughing at me.

Mihota, Mook

Recruit Prosim

Is Rivers good? I'm excited to see him play but kind of disappointed we didn't redshirt him last year, why waste that talent on a year of special teams. Oh well in Fu I trust

That's been my take for a while. The only difference would be that I think we lose to GT instead of Pitt.

Agreed. I personally don't see Pitt as a much improved team from last year. Same with Duke. I get that we've lost a lot of talent on defense and a couple big pieces on offense, but I don't see such a drop that would make people think Pitt is a better team.

But that's just my biased and relatively uninformed opinion.

I wouldn't sleep on PITT. They are going to be a tough out for everyone on their schedule.

We put the K in Kwality

Think so? I was thinking the opposite with Duke being that team. Remember 2015 and 2016 when they raided the shit out of VA and got a bunch of high 3 and a few 4 stars? I think they get back to their level of 7-5/8-4 seasons this year

Duke has been there for a while, now, and Pitt has always seemed to have our number.

Can't sleep on either one. The ACC, top to bottom has improved.

Bacon strips &
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If he had rationalized Duke beating us by saying we would be looking past them at ND, then I could understand his pick a little better.

But saying that Duke just got done playing Central as a reason that they could beat us? I don't buy that.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

TBH, back to back losses to Dook and ND is the only part of this that the unbiased side of me can agree with (I picked this scenario in my schedule prediction). I can see us looking past them a bit to ND and ending up dropping both; however, I think we beat Miami late in the season at home, and I don't think we lose to Pitt.

Bacon strips &
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Just to make Hale's tweet a little easier to read in terms of what it means for us:

@ FSU: L
W&M: W
ECU: W
@ ODU: W
@ Duke: L
ND: L
@ UNC: W
GT: W
BC: W
@ Pitt: L
Miami: L
UVA: W

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Looking at it this way makes it a little easier to stomach. Change the Duke L to a W and the GT W to an L based on recent history, and it's not that unreasonable of a prediction. (Full disclaimer, I still think we're better than 7 wins, i'm just trying to take off the orange and maroon shades)

That team sure did suck last night. They just plain sucked! I've seen teams suck before, but they were the suckiest bunch of sucks that ever sucked.

We actually have a pretty easy schedule in terms of timing, our toughest games (FSU, ND, Miami) are spread out, our road schedule is quite easy outside of FSU, and we get 12 days to prep for GT.

That being said, I'd probably take the under on 7.5 too. Too many new faces in important positions for me to be too bullish.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

...12 days to prep for GT.

I'm not sure we can overstate the importance of this.

If you're not sure if my comment warrants a "/s", it probably does.

We beat Duke, we beat Pitt...and we win one of the games between ND, Miami and FSU. 10 regular season wins....and then a bowl game win. Hale no!!

via GIPHY

JP

I had L's to FSU, ND, GT, BC, and Miami. I feel like Pitt could go either way.

I really feel like everybody's greatly underestimating the personnel losses on D. And I'm not expecting the offense to progress enough this year to cover for it. This is the bottom-out year, before things start looking up in 2019.

I agree with you about the defense. This will be a season of learning for most of the projected starters. Shouldn't be that notable of a unit this year unless Bud can work a miracle...but 2019/20 should be a fearsome bunch.

I really REALLY hope that Fuente will lean on the running the game early in the season so we can protect the defense. It appears that we have some depth at OL now so let's use it to our advantage.

and a shiny new 5* running back from Virginia!

Chem PhD '16

Maybe I'm a bit out of the loop, but... who is this shiny new 5* running back from Virginia who is going to make an impact in 2018?

oh yeah, 2019*

Chem PhD '16

Who's the 5-star running back that's going to make an impact in 2019?

it was a devyn ford joke

Chem PhD '16

Boo this Man!

"Hey Bud, you wont have to hold the opponent to 17 points anymore."

There's a lot of "In Bud We Trust" that sort of blind some fans to just how little he's going to have to work with this year in terms of depth/experience.

Bud is undoubtedly a phenomenal coach but "it's not about the X's and O's, it's about the Jimmies and Joes" applies here.

And I'm in agreement about the Offense, it would have to be *much* better than I'm expecting it to be to make up for the defense's growing pains.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

Until proven otherwise, I'm going to say the floor for a Bud defense is a ~40th rank nationally. If the offense can rise to roughly the same level, we're likely a top 25 team, which should be good for at least 9 wins in the Coastal. Of course if the offense doesn't improve we'll be in trouble, but it's June so I'm optimistic.

Aaron McFarling said in one of the latest RT podcasts he thinks this will be Bud's worst defense in over a decade. Worse than the 2010 defense (52nd in total defense). It'll definitely be interesting to see if the talent we've stockpiled on that side of the ball the past couple years can keep things steady while those guys gain experience.

I'm standing by my pre-JJ-Drama prediction. 3 losses - to FSU, ND, and Duke. I think we beat Pitt AND Miami. Miami has GT on the road the week before us - back to back road games, the first of which is a triple option team? That's tough.

Twitter me

Yeesh... I don't want to see the angst throughout the fanbase if we drop 5 games this year.

If we're 3-3 after ND and effectively out of the Coastal race, attendance could be fairly sparse for those GT and BC games.

"Some days you’re a horse and some days you’re a horse’s ass. I’ve been a horse’s ass for a little while." - Roy Halladay

It's...plausible.

Granted, I don't think we lose to Duke. But who knows.

We just need someone to dangle a bag of Werthers in front of Cutcliffe. He'll get distracted and we can win.

I 7 wins is worst case scenario. I think we have the talent (albeit unproven) to win against teams we are supposed, like Duke and Pitt, that we are supposed to beat this year.

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

Well, I think one of the questions that has to be asked is how much prep time do we get for Dook & how much prep time does ND have for us?
EDIT: Also, how much prep time does Dook get for us.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

Everyone has a normal week before both games.

how much prep time

Batman always wins!!

...wait

I was going to say "He must not have heard the latest on JJ", but he beat me to it. I thought the over/under was about right with JJ starting, and if I thought he might be gone or out I'd have gone under. Maybe not the same game tho.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Pffff I can see an argument for the others but losing to Duke I don't think so guy

21st century QBs Undefeated vs UVA:
MV7, MV5, LT3, Jerod Evans, Michael Brewer, Tyrod Taylor, Sean Glennon, and Grant Noel. That's right, UVA. You couldn't beat Grant Noel.

I don't think so guy

Well, he's not your guy, budday.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

He's not your pal, friend!

And he's not your fwend, guy!

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I will be at the Duke game and I will be positioning myself to be as obnoxious and distracting to the bad guys as humanly possible. It seems I have my work cut out for me.

Solid Verbal just did an episode on "secret fears", teams you know you should beat but scare you Anyways. Mine is absolutely Duke this year. Pretty sure they've got a veteran qb, and cut cliffs is too good a coach to have them rolling over. Add in the look-ahead aspect, and it's a major concern imo

That veteran QB was mediocre last year. Daniel Jones completed 56.7% of his passes with 14 TDs to 11 INTs.

It's Time to go to Work

I'm more concerned about Duke QB's running all over us than passing.
Jones ran all over us in 2016 (2 TDs). He was their leading rusher last year. Granted, they haven't beaten us either time. But I'm not viewing him as a a passing threat as much as I am a rushing threat.

Mediocre is being very kind.

When it came to QB rating, and players that qualified (14 attempts per game) - he was 11 out of 12 ACC QBs.

With 3 minutes left in the UVA game - Jones was 9-35.

It is also worth mentioning that David Hale predicted him to throw more TDs than any other player in the ACC. He finished 10th.

I originally had abysmal there but changed it to mediocre because I thought I was being too harsh.

It's Time to go to Work

Still taking the over.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I see Hale's prediction as the worst case scenario.

In my opinion, he took the under overall. 7-5 being the worst case scenario isn't terrible, but I could see VT picking up a win at Duke or Pitt or both.

Also, I hate the pessimism vs FSU. I may be a homer, but if JJ plays, I could see that one go either way. I'd like to see VT pick up at least one of the high-end games.

Of course maybe Hale does too, since he admits he wrote this when JJ's future was being threatened by an unspecified academic issue...

I agree with this. I haven't read anything positive about our game vs FSU. No idea why, who knows what they're going to come out with. They've got a new coach, he's had a while to implement his system with new players but we're the first game test against it. I'd be hesitant to say that they're going to beat up on us.

I think its more of along the line that we are replacing a ton of talent on defense, especially on the back end.

I think offensively we are going to be much better, with JJ having a year under his belt.

FSU always has better athletes in general.

What's
Important
Now

I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them!

Let's see... We've lost two coaches and both presumptive starting CB's in addition to losing two 1st round draft pics, a 3 year starter at LB and both starting CB's on D, our best OL and a VERY reliable Sr WR. I anticipate 8-9 W's for the season, but I also can't argue that predicting 7 is wrong.

2 coaches?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

The fact that most of that list falls on the defensive side takes the edge off for me. Bud Foster has worked magic with an inexperienced roster before, no reason to doubt he could do it again.

I do think they'll take some lumps early in the season but should come into their own by the midpoint of the season.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

BV which two coaches have been lost?

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

I think we might lose to Duke or Pitt. But not both.

I agree, and I really hope we don't drop both of those.

Crazy Hale.
I've always looked at the season as "cupcakes" and "competitive games". VT is one of the best historically against cupcakes, so it's worked out pretty well. We've got 6 cupcakes (counting BC and LOLUVA) so that's 6 wins.
Then we've got 6 other regular season "competitive games". If we go 3-3 in those, I can see a 9-3 season with a possible 10th win in a bowl game.
If we happen to drop one to a cupcake, we often make up for it with a renewed focus, so it often balances out.
I think the floor is 8-4, and the ceiling is ... the roof!

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

I absolutely wouldn't count BC as a "cupcake" this year. They finally got it going last year, and everybody on that team is back.

Everybody except Harold Landry, thank god

Three reasons why we beat BC this year.
1. Game is at home. When we have trouble with BC, its nooners on the road.
2. First year Fuente has had a QB return from previous year. The offense will be better than last year.
3. Scott Loeffler is still there. Bud has him figured out.

"When you're green, you're growing. When you're ripe, you rot." -Ray Kroc

One reason we should be scared: their QB can run his ass off

VT is one of the best historically against cupcakes

I'm not doubting you, but between JMU, Temple, and ECU, it hasn't felt like we're one of the best.

Yeah, what we did in the 2000s has little to no influence on what happens this season. REcently I don't really trust us against anyone honestly. Well expect for UVA.

I dunno. Since Fuente, Delaware is the only 'cupcake' game where I feel we didn't step on the throat.

At the end of Beamer's tenure, absolutely. But I don't fear it quite as much anymore.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

I think not trusting us "against anyone" is taking it too far, honestly. I hope there is a bit of /s there, because we certainly have the talent and coaching prowess to dispatch our "cupcakes" this year.

Bacon strips &
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Anyone dig and find out how he did with his predictions across the board from last year?

Honestly... With the JJ situation up in the air, I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the potential of the bowl streak ending. All 5 of the losses he picked are reasonable, Paul Johnson has been a thorn in Fuente's side for a couple years now, and it's dangerous to sleep on BC in case their offense actually becomes competent.

Not saying I thought we would lose all 7 without JJ, but the possibility certainly exists. That combined with all of our other losses this off-season would have made for a bumpy ride. Honestly right now, 7-5 sounds about right. 8-4 and I'll be happy. 9-3 and I'll remember this season more fondly than any since 2010.

9-3 and I'll remember this season more fondly than any since 2010.

Pretty sure at least 50% of TKP said that during last year's preseason... And then everyone changed their mind before the season ended.

Twitter me

My brain may be pulling some revisionist history, but I remember being pretty high on last year's team, expecting a rematch with Clemson in the ACCCG. Pretty sure I was expecting something in the neighborhood of 10-2, since in my mind if Fuente could reach his offense to a bunch of kids in one year to turn 6-6 into 9-3, he could hand the same offense to a second group that spent that same year learning the offense while riding the bench.

Now, if you mean 2016, you might be right. And while I was pleasantly surprised by that team, 2016 was a bad year for me overall for reasons far bigger than football, somewhat tainting the fond memories I have from that season.

I see people saying this is worst case scenario, but honestly I don't think it is. We could go 6 wins for sure. We went 9-3 last season and it seems like the consensus is that we will have most likely a worse defense and worse offense. In that case, 7 wins seems well within the realm of possibility.

Not gonna lie, I'm a bit nervous for this season. Most of my hope relies on biased faith in the staff and simply hope that unknown players will turn up.

If we get stomped by FSU, this could be a rough season.

I don't see how the offense is thought to be worse by consensus. Maybe if JJ was gone.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

We lost our only proven playmaker. There may be improvement from the backs and receivers, but as of right now, they're all big question marks.

I still think it's not a stretch to be optimistic about the young guys having a year under their belt and a returning quarterback offsetting that loss.

We'll only know when the games are actually played, but I didn't think Cam was a one man offense by any means last year.

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

The biggest offensive dropoff came when Yosh went down

-Stick it in

While it certainly hurts to lose a player like Cam, he was dealing with injuries from the BC game onward and it forced many of the young guys to take their lumps on the field last season. Cam averaged 8.2 catches and 119.4 yards per game through the first 5 games but that dropped to 4.3 catches and 52.4 yards per game in the final 7 games. He still had very good games against Miami and Pitt but his health likely contributed to the offense's diminishing performance over the course of the season. That said, I feel like the bowl game represented an opportunity for the offense to regroup and prepare without Cam and that overall they responded pretty well.

Joffrey, Cersei, Ilyn Payne, the Hound, Jeff Jagodzinski, Paul Johnson, Pat Narduzzi.

Ya, hokiebones is right. ALMOST everyone on offense has a year of experience and moves from frosh to experienced veteran this fall.

Edit: clutch edit

Chem PhD '16

Hey I didn't mind!

VT Class of '12 (MSE), MVBone, Go Hokies!

Case of mistaken identity.

Honestly after some rewatching of some of the games, I am a bit higher on our WRs. I kinda forgot how promising Savoy was as well as Kumah.

I thought we had a consensus that offense would be improving this year. Cam is the only major loss (Wyatt and Gallo were quality players, but I think o-line depth is great atm), but I think that will be more than offset by experience in the receiving corps. Last year everyone but Cam was a first time starter, this year every one of them will have had some time under their belt, and an entire offseason of development at a point in their career where improvements are most dramatic (ie, fresh->soph/soph->junior is when players typically step up). And that's on top of a returning QB, even if you don't think JJ has all-acc potential, there's no reason to think he won't improve by at least some amount. All that said, I'd be shocked if the offense regresses and think an improvement into the top 40 is totally realistic. Not a lock by any means, but I like our potential.

Agree with this. Another year for most of these guys in Fuente's system will be huge. Not to mention, another year in ACC play for Fuente himself will make a difference in approaching and managing games. Looking at some games last year *cough, GT, cough* it was pretty clear that CJF still has some learning to do on calling games at the P5 level, and I think that he'll do better at that this year. Bud's just gonna have to be creative as hell because there's no way that we replace two 1st round talents and other missing pieces without some regression... and it should be fully expected.

Bacon strips &
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Cam may be the "only major loss" but he was also the only major skill player on that side of the ball, period. Everybody else was mediocre at best, bad at worst.

There's a lot of assumptions that JJ is going to magically improve. It's not unreasonable to think QB's improve with experience but the fact that he just got worse and worse as the season went on last year is not encouraging at all.

I guess you could argue there's nowhere to go but up or that newcomers like Hazelton or Turner will be the big improvements but I'm not expecting much.

This isn't terrible analysis. Think about it...

The Defense is most likely going to be taking a significant step back, at least early in the season. No way to replace everyone that left and still keep up.

The offense?? I don't know. JJ might be mentally better, but physically he is who he is (meaning that the read option part of the game and deep throws aren't going to be a strong point of his), . How well will the skill players be? I don't think anyone knows. On paper there is a lot of talent around JJ with a fairly high ceiling, but how long will it take for things to mesh?

Personally, I would be thrilled with 9 wins. But I wouldn't be devastated if we ended up with 7, so long as the trend on the back end of things was positive.

Is it football season yet?

I can say with total certainty, in addition to GT, if the team browns the pants against BC, Duke & Pitt, there will be (justifiable) vent threads.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I don't quibble with him picking us to lose @Duke or @Pitt. I could see either or both.

What I quibble with is losing all three of our big games. FSU isn't much, if any, better than we are and have a new coach. ND and Miami are coming to Lane. I do not see us going 0-3 in those games and I lean towards 2-1.

Done quibbling.

This all day.

We could shit the bed against Duke, Pitt, and/or BC and it still wouldn't surprise me if we went 2-1 against ND, Miami, and F$U.

Interesting that this prediction not only two games that we should win (Duke and Pitt), but that we don't surprise and win a game that we maybe shouldn't (FSU, ND, Miami). I think we drop one we shouldn't and steal one of the three. Take the over.

10 wins. At the least. 2018 is going to be magical.

Leonard. Duh.

Finally, a refreshingly more optimistic perspective.

#FUENTEenFUEGO
Waho's suck
Uva swallows

I want to believe this, but can't climb on board the hype train until after we beat FSU.

But after we beat FSU, hooooo buddy.

Old sigline: I've been cutting back on the drinking.

New Sigline: lol it's football season.

Yeah, when that happens...

At this point maybe I only speak for myself, but....

"What are you going to do, stab me? - Quote from Man Stabbed

We're gonna have to update the players on this train.

No, I *don't* want to go to the SEC. Why do you ask?

We don't love dem Hoos.

Thank you Leonard!

JP

*This is not a reverse jinx*

I actually think Hale is dead on. I'm not exactly sure why we're ranked in the preseason top 25 in a lot of media outlets (Link Here). I'm not sold on Josh Jackson. We lost a ton of key players on both sides of the ball. I don't think we're going to suck but I think this year is a rebuilding year for us that will set up an ACC title run 2 seasons from now.

7-5 seems fair. I would be ecstatic if we go 9-3.

USA Today apparently had us #11 at the end of the season... what alternate universe are they living in?

EDIT: I now see that they had us #11 in their "projected preseason rankings" as of January 9

I'll take 12/1 odds gladly.

Bacon strips &
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bacon strips &
bacon strips

Yeah based off the odds this puts us in 20th, which I think is an appropriate ranking for us comparative to other teams issues as well. The top tier, from Bama, to the 6/1 folks, aside from ahead-scratcher in Michigan looks about right and then we are in the tier 2 of teams that whoever when the head to head matchups between the them (for us its Notre Dame, Miami, and FSU) will be in the playoff convo late into the year.

aside from ahead-scratcher in Michigan

Just remember that odds are about money and not likelihood and 3/1 is probably about right for books to balance their risk with the amount of money and irrationality surrounding that program

Chem PhD '16

Precisely. Odds are generally set in an attempt to guarantee that the house makes money regardless of who wins. The goal is to set the odds at the point where the total payout for each individual team is roughly the same.

This tells me that they expect about 6 times as much money put on Bama at 5/11 than on Michigan at 3/1.

whoever when the head to head matchups between the them

I, uh, hmm... yep, I think I agree.

(Note: I actually think I understand what you're saying, and that is that if we end up going on a hot streak and end up 12-1 we'll get in the Playoff over any of those 3 teams that we beat)

Why you gotta put us at 20th? LSU has the same 12:1 odds....so they're 19th and we're 20th? Come on guys...

via GIPHY

JP

I think that Tech is going to go 15-0

I feed off of nightmares

Paging the Fifth Fuller....

I really, really like Hale, he's a good follow. However, unrelated to this, over the last 2-3 years it really feels like he has become a not-so-subtle closeted Clemson fan. I am not a fan of it. I also think he bangs the ACC drum a little too hard sometimes. He comes off as petty as the anti-SEC fans who embarrass themselves with their ironically equal (and often worse) bias against them.

As the ACC blogger, all of that is his job. He's supposed to talk up "his" conference, especially its best teams (Clemson).

It's all about what teams each writer gets assigned to and he gets Clemson

It's Time to go to Work

Ironically equal (and often worse) bias against them.

But it's the people who have disproportionate hate towards the anti-SEC fans, in an effort to overcompensate, that are truly the worst.

/s kinda

The O line I think will be key, we return Nijman, Pfaff and that's it? Receivers and tight ends *should* be really good, we only lost one guy. RB we know we have two guys that can get yards. QB solid game manager.

On defense I am optimistic as well, our D Line starters are great. The linebackers are super young but the talent in that group is off the chain. We also have bodies at DB it'll just up to whether they can ball or not. In the past, experienced backups have played great in the secondary (Der wonne Greene, Desmond Frye, Shegog, etc)

We're starting this season out with mostly young guys with moderate experience but after winning and losing a few games together I think this team can become really special. I think we beat Florida State and get a bit overconfident, then we get bit in the ass at Duke, at home to ND and GT part three. But by the end of the season this team gets it together and starts balling out. Overall: 9-3 with some new names on All ACC and All American watchlists for next year.

While the ceiling appears to be high, I see us winning 7 games. FSU, Miami, GT, ND will be very tough games for an inexperienced team. I expect to lose the usual conference game that makes the coastal a five team possibility to either Pitt, Duke, BC. 7 wins, maybe 8 tops if we surprise one of the big teams we play.

When you break it down there's a ton of talent on this team, but it's extremely young and unproven. I think this is a team that takes some lumps early in the season and finds it's groove late in the season, ultimately getting what will be a favorable bowl matchup.

This was a topic of discussion last night. I was kicking around the idea of training up for a marathon in December, but I had to make sure the one I'm considering isn't on the weekend of the ACCCG. You know, just in case. Better to be safe than sorry.

Hale's prediction has us finishing fourth in the coastal