Hokies are No. 30 in 2019 Preseason S&P+

Virginia Tech landed at No. 30, 4th highest in the ACC, in Bill C's preseason projections. The offense is projected at No. 36, the defense at No. 35. Read the entire explanation of the methodology, but in short three factors comprise the projection: recent history, returning production, and recruiting.

3. Clemson
19. Miami
28. Florida State
30. Virginia Tech
41. Virginia
47. NC State
56. Syracuse
59. Pittsburgh
61. North Carolina
62. Wake Forest
65. Duke
72. Boston College
87. Louisville
89. Georgia Tech

The I-A teams on the Hokies' schedule have an average rank of 59.9 and the only Notre Dame and Miami rank higher than Virginia Tech. (Again, this is a very winnable schedule.)

Comments

Seems fair to me. Even the most O&M Colors glasses homer can see that we are a middle of the pack ACC team lately. Hoping that we can make a run at some respect, 9-3 perhaps.

The Dude Abides

very winnable schedule indeed. really banking on that collective step forward across the defense, though. 35th after what we saw last year is practically laughable.

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

And in the time I took to read that , GT scored twice more.

The Dude Abides

So where should we set the bar for this year? Should we expect 9 wins or bust?

I just sit on my couch and b*tch. - HokieChemE2016

Yes. Our schedule is softer than UVA football. 9 wins is the bar to clear.

Come to Blacksburg and see what the Hokie Pokie is really all about

We probably got some very healthy boosts in S&P for our returning production. We are #1 by his calculation of returning defensive production.

I guess I don't buy it with this defense. Schedule is very friendly, though

... Miami
... Florida State
... Virginia Tech and everyone else but Clemson

It's a shame that Clemson messes up the narrative for the ACC preseason predictions these days.

If you're reading the above post and thinking, "is this guy serious?!?," you can safely assume I'm not.

I am not as down on the defense as some. We had too many injuries and/or and too many young players at all three levels.

For VT's defense to work at all you really need at least two levels to be adequate. That's what we have always relied on because of the fact that VT couldn't recruit exceptional talent at all three levels consistently in the earlier years of Beamer's tenure. Last year we didn't have that. The linebackers were decent but the secondary and dl were riddled with injuries or just too young. The youth factor limits adjustments because you can't adjust a system a player doesn't even understand.

This year the defense will be better. Are they going to be shut-out better? Probably not. Are they going to be "aint' no way hell Pitt scores 52" better? Yes.

I bloody well hope so.

Last year, half the defense didn't look like they knew what they were supposed to be doing.

VT ranked 98th in total defense last year, we returned almost everyone except for the veteran anchor of our defense of line. VT defense for next year is projected #35.

VT ranked 39th in total offense last year. Players that didn't return on offense are being replaced by players that had significantly higher recruiting rankings. VT offense for next year is projected #36??

I think that they are putting to much weight on the performance history of our defense before last year.

"The Cup is going nowhere MIkey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

So I'm not sure I follow. Instead of using information about Foster's defenses over the years (including ones that we thin) we should base next year's performance on this year's exceptionally young and depleted defense? I would consider last year to be an outlier and just go with an average Foster defense.

If the defense was complete trash and it's all the same players next season, why would you expect it to not be trash again?

Improved trash by default because it's hard to be WORSE than what we saw last year which seemed pretty close to rock bottom, but still trash.

It can't be that players get better with more experience and coaching, could it? I mean it isn't like player development is a thing and that Foster and Wiles have historically been really good at it. Nah, that couldn't be what people are thinking.

There are plenty of valid reasons to be pessimistic about the defense next year, but if your reasoning is that

"we were bad last year, and now all of those same players are a year older, with a season's worth of experience, an entire off-season of practicing, conditioning, and lifting, all at a point in their development where young players typically make the biggest jump in abilities in their careers....so we'll definitely be bad this year"

You should start over and try again.

And if your reasoning is "all these players that were bad will magically be good a year later because experience" you should probably start over and try again as well.

Expecting one player that struggled to improve is one thing. Expecting an entire unit of 11 guys that really sucked almost universally across the board to improve is ludicrous.

I think the defense will look more different than you are expecting. The young players who I expect to improve like Garbutt, Dax, Farley, will be the ones who return to their starting roles better than the previous year. Perhaps some of the underperformers see their spots taken.

I fully expect to use a much healthier rotation of DT's that features Cunningham, maybe Fuga, and particularly Crawford in important roles. We might still see some Porcher and Hewitt if they continue to improve, but at the very least I expect those guys to be spelled far more often, even if they win the jobs.

Well it ain't magic, it's what all those coaches get paid for and it's a process we've seen work out countless times. I think I can see where you're coming from though. Not every player is going to develop as expected, which means it's unlikely that all 11 will get substantially better from a year ago. It's one thing to count on a handful of guys to progress, if you're counting on an entire team to do that you're bound to get some disappointments, which can quickly sink any hope for substantial improvements.

I don't know if I agree with that, because the flip side to that coin is that there is a lot of easily attainable progress to be made. By that I mean that doing your job consistently is the quickest path towards competence, and it's a skill that is tied directly to number of reps, of which they are getting a lot. So even if it's not done across the board, there should be enough to see a substantial increase from the bottoming out we witnessed. I get where you're coming from though, and maybe we should be a little more cautious about expecting every player to improve linearly.

I take it you haven't been paying close attention to Bud Foster's defense over the years. If there's one thing Bud does better than anyone else in the business, it is player development. There are dozens of examples of players who looked awful when they first stepped on the field but were considered irreplaceable by the time they left. Stroman and Settle are the two best recent examples of this. Stroman couldn't cover a wet paper bag his sophomore year (first season as a part-time starter), and Settle was good for only a play or two his freshman season before needing a 10-minute breather on the sideline, but both left their mark in Blacksburg and are playing in the NFL now.

We might not have an elite defense in 2019, but I am certain that we will be much improved over last year.

So much this.

I'd expect a lot of mental improvement out there. And hopefully some improved tackling ability. They have plenty of work to do, and much of it is understanding what the hell went wrong last year.

I think it's funny how people forget that at one point Ricky Walker was looked at as a recruiting miss and he didn't really start to blossom until 2017.

Players get better. Especially players in the 18-22-year-old range.

Didn't you get better at something you did over time? Probably.

EDIT: I must be getting walker confused for someone else. Was it maybe Woody Baron? The point is you can't tell how good a defensive player is when they are freshman.

I dont' think Slick was ever really looked at as a miss. We were as deep at DT as we've ever been when he signed and was young. That drove his RS more than him not being prepared to play.

I don't think anyone saw him as a recruiting miss. He played very limited snaps as a true freshman and then redshirted his sophomore year when he broke his arm. He then had a productive year in a reserve role as a rSo behind two seasoned and productive vets. I think there's some revisionist history in your statement there.

Well Greg Stromam was definitely a player that drastically improved during his time at tech. The first couple seasons he was god awful

But that is the exception, not the rule. We can't build a roster just hoping for Stroman-like improvement across the board. We've got a lot of positions where we need to improve fairly drastically.

I don't think it's a huge exception. Stroman, Detrick Bonner, Exum, Motu, all come to mind as players who were at best unreliable their freshman year, and became nearly irreplaceable when they graduated.

My key concern is that it took most of these guys 2 seasons before they seemed comfortable with the defense, and those players had a ton of experience around them - guys on our current roster will not have that luxury. I think best case, this defense looks like 2010, with a lot holes, but a lot of athleticism too. Looking at 2020 for a true return to form.

Twitter me

I think you're trying to argue with me, but I'm not saying that the defense won't improve. I was just talking about Walker's career progression specifically.

I think the defense improves enough to be middle of the pack. There is a laundry list of players, both highly rated and not, that have started their careers out poorly only to blossom into very good players late in their careers under Bud. And it's not like these guys aren't talented. With some improvements in spots, it's relatively possible there are 7 or so 4* starting on defense in 2019.

Our defense has to be better than last year's version, just based on the added experience of the returning players. Plus, don't forget Webb should be returning, and he was projected as a starter last year, so I would expect him to see the field and make an impact on our D, and in the very least, help with our depth in the secondary. Hopefully, he'll make a full recovery from his leg injury.

"That man was violating a city ordinance, and I was just doing my duty to enforce it." - Mike Curtis

"You boys in there smokin' rope?"-Johnny Unitas (circa 1973) to his San Diego Chargers teammates

Hunter too. Maybe not starter, but huge talent at depth if not

I basically agree with Selhini. I am hopeful that our defense will improve to average next year. Out of 129 teams average is about #60. Which would be a significant improvement.

I am hopeful that the offense will be good. Around #20.

"The Cup is going nowhere MIkey!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

We're losing essentially a decent portion of our entire running game and multiple high-achievers on the O-line, which hurts us a decent bit. And while we are bringing in a few 4* recruits at those positions, the O-line will likely need some time to gel, and RB rankings seem to be some of the biggest crapshoots in recruiting. Yes, we're returning the QB we used for most of the year as well as most of our receiving production, but our initial QB starter is transferring and our QB room is almost empty (we're two injuries away from starting a LB or something at QB).

If we finish with a top-35 offense next year, I will both consider us lucky and be extremely pleased with their performance.

EDIT to fix factual errors. Leg for everyone that respectfully pointed them out.

RB rankings seem to be some of the biggest crapshoots in recruiting

No RB rankings are actually on the easier side of predictive rankings. OL and QB are on the harder side.

Maybe you're right. I just looked through our list of RB recruits over 20 years (from 247), and it seems our 4* and 5* RBs have either had elite careers in Blacksburg, or were plagued by injuries or ineligibility.

In any case, I'll believe any prediction of Virginia Tech having a top-30 offense when I actually see it on the field. The last 127 years of evidence tells me it takes either a generational talent like Mike Vick or a roster full of stars like 2009-10, when we had TT5 at QB, Coale, Roberts, and Boykin at WR, and RMFW, Darren Evans, and David Wilson at RB. We have some talent on offense, but not anything close to that level.

High-performers on OL might be a bit of a stretch. I appreciate what Pfaff and Chung gave to the program, but they were both pretty physically limited. Not to mention that Nijman now has a fraction of the athletic ability that he had earlier in his career. I do agree that it will take some time to gel, but the new group will probably be a clear upgrade in talent from the previous group, which will hopefully make up for the initial lack of experience. Whatever combination of Hoffman and one of Harris/Culver/Nester will be a step up from Hoyt and Pfaff, and I really don't see much, if any, drop from Nijman to Silas.

Nijman now has a fraction of the athletic ability that he had earlier in his career.

What does this mean? Did he get an injury I didn't notice or start slacking off? Or something else?

Injury that required surgery after the Miami game in 2017 and was never really the same. Also played through an injury at the end of 2018 until he couldn't go for the bowl game.

Peoples is the only significant contributor lost from last year's running game. He accounted for about 33% of the carries and about 38% of the rushing yards. While not insignificant, far from "losing essentially our entire running game." Peoples was a hard runner, but he's replaceable.

Yup. Willis and Clease will basically be the same guys as last year, and I think Holston will fill a similar role to Peoples (although slightly less productive). Throw in King and I think we'll be able to at least keep pace with last year.

I think tre turner will be better though giving us that playmaker that we really craved early last year on the edge

A stud wideout can do wonders in the college game and I think we have one

Taylor, looking desperately throws it deep..HAS A MAN OPEN DANNY COALE WITH A CATCH ALL THE WAY DOWN TO THE FIVE!!!!....hes still open

Agreed. Kumah was a good player for us, but I'll take this year's group in a heartbeat. Tre will be Big Play Tre for a full slate this year, Hazelton will hopefully be slightly more polished as a pass catcher, and Grimz will be healthy. We will miss Kumah's blocking on the outside though.

Sorry, for some reason I forgot that McClease isn't transferring.

Wait what? I thought he was ghost mode.

Yeah... he put his name into the portal after the rumors had been flying around for a week, and then it was fairly quietly reported that he'd removed his name from the portal. Hence why I had forgotten, until I was reminded here.

Oh that's good news. I never heard about it. I just bailed on the transfer portal discussions when they went south.

Looking beyond our own schedule, it's looking like the next few year's worth of college football has already been decided at the top. There is a clear top-tier there with Alabama, Georgia, and Clemson, followed by a steep drop. And there's another clear break outside of the top 7 or so. Throw in Texas, Oregon, and Penn State (accomplished teams that have recruited top 5 recently) to round out a top 10, and it's hard to imagine anyone outside that tier competing for anything more than a New Year's Six bowl and a chance at a huge upset in a conference championship game.

The I-A teams on the Hokies' schedule have an average rank of 59.9 and the only Notre Dame and Miami rank higher than Virginia Tech. (Again, this is a very winnable schedule.)

With our schedule, anything less than 8-4 is a colossal failure.

IMHO, this is what should be expected:

Wins: ODU, Furman, URI, UNC, Wake, Pitt, Duke (Friday Night)
Tossups: @GT, @BC, @UVa
Losses: @Miami, @ND

I don't see why UNC and Pitt would be considered a step below any of the toss up games. Obviously ODU, Furman, and URI should be wins. I think every single ACC game is in the 30-70% chance for a win with rough rankings from easiest to hardest as Wake, Duke, @BC, @GT, Pitt, UNC, @UVA, @Miami.

I think we are much improved this season, compete for four quarters in every game, and don't see the blowouts of last season. However, we consistently dropped a head scratching game or two even in the Beamer glory days and I won't be shocked if we lose a home game that most expect us to win.

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

I don't get why the general consensus is that Pitt is a guaranteed win. Am I the only one that watched our entire 52-22 self-destruction in November? No way are we 30-points better in 2019. Not saying it's a guaranteed loss, but to call it a guaranteed win seems short-sighted.

I'll give you UNC, despite needing a ton of luck to scrape past them last year, and ODU, since there was no excuse for even letting them hang around with us for 60 minutes, much less beating us.

New OC, lost two good RB's (both had 1k seasons in career), new RT, new RG AND LG, lost that FB who was a stud, lost all three starting LB's and some other starters on D. This will be an all new Pitt team.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

On the other hand, Pitt always has a good run game, and our games are always close...unless they are blowing us out. Pitt should never be assumed as a win.

I do think there should be a noticeable step back though. Even though their identity is committed to the power run, it is no small task to replace an almost entirely senior OL who played together for years and two very good senior backs. They should be a markedly worse version of the already mediocre at best team they were last season.

They can be "markedly worse" and still not give up their entire 30-point gap on us. And that "already mediocre at best team" was probably the best in the Coastal, so...

They went 7-5 and had multiple 30 and 40 point losses themselves. The Coastal was absolutely awful, and they still got beat by 21 by Miami. They won the Coastal, but difficult to say they were better than a team that beat them 24-3.

I don't see how anyone could describe that Pitt team as anything but Mediocre. 7-7, multiple blowout losses, solid win over Syracuse (who had a HORRIBLE run defense), but still managed to win arguably the worst division in the country. We need to be winning the Coastal every year unless Miami has a great year. We shouldn't be playing equals with programs like Pitt and GT.

I watched the Miami-Pitt game and got the distinct impression that Pitt was mailing it in because they had the coastal in the bag. I'm not sure the better team won that game, just the one that actually came to play instead of the one that wanted to avoid injuries heading into the ACCCG.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Man, the ACC is baaaad.

Do we know the Avg. S&P+ for each conference as a whole? I konw it's not the most accurate judge because of high and low outliers (i.e., Clemson, Bama, Kansas, Oregon St., etc), but I'm still curious.

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

I was so curious, I ran the numbers myself. The results confirmed my statement; THE ACC IS BAD.

SEC: 19.7
B1G: 42.4
Big 12: 44.3
Pac 12: 45.5
ACC: 51.4

"Go Hokies!" - Thomas Jefferson
@HaydenDubya

Hopefully FSU gets their sh*t together as they play the only other threats to the coastal crown next year (UM & UVa). We drew easy with the cross-divisional games.

Big wildcard at FSU is QB, where all they have is hasn't shown much Blackman. Barring a transfer, they are hurting and if he were to get hurt, that #28 ranking would plummet to who knows where. In fact given their sketchiness at QB, I am mystified that they could be ranked above us. And the wildcard for us is really the running game that we have lacked for years, and the improved OL (how much?) plus the RBs who hopefully are King, Holston, Wheatley and McClease in that order, and what that gets us is quite the unknown right now. I for one am hoping that for our running game #Itstartsnow

The LewDew, Professional Golf Bum

FSU might be trotting JJ out there this year

Kid hasn't lost a game at their stadium so there is that.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

This team has the potential to take a giant step forward next year. The defense has tremendous room to grow in a positive direction. If the D improves to top 40 and the O stays the same or better, that is enough to dominate a weak schedule. If the D surprises us and gets closer to top 25 and the qb and O can get back to running the actual Fuente game plan, the team could be a real second tier contender. Fingers crossed that we can stay healthy though.

"with all due respect, and remember I’m sayin’ it with all due respect, that idea ain’t worth a velvet painting of a whale and a dolphin gettin’ it on" - Ricky Bobby

If Willis starts making the correct read, Holston looks like the guy in the bowl game, Hazelton blocks, we just need a couple of guards to step up for the offense to take a large step. (and the dicispline to execute the play)

Defense needs more work but Hewitt looked good after getting some rest, hopefully the JUCOs can help the rotation and Hewitt can get more endurance, Rivers/Dax or whomever needs to learn the backer role like the back of their hand. Caleb needs to tackle some one every day and learn to not over run the play. Deablo needs to stay healthy. House too.

Well, hopefully, other than personal development, team development hits big in the off-season. When the defensive scheme (and to some extent offensive scheme) rely on you to do your particular job and not worry about whether someone else will do their job, teamwork and trust are big things.

I'll tell you that when there is trouble in the locker room, the on the field product suffers. So, it's not just more experience, but perhaps a more cohesive group with some of the problems in the locker room gone (hopefully). I think you'll see an improved defense next year, more than you might expect.

Until I see the defensive ends actually put consistent pressure on passing downs, the interior D-line stop the run and Farley play corner like all the talk says he does I have little faith that the defense will be that much improved.

Until you see the defense be as improved as people are projecting it could be, you won't believe that it's as as improved as its projections? isn't this how most of the world works?

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

Yep, very winnable. Really not sure how much the defense is going to improve, too many ifs for me to feel super confident about that. Excited for the young talent we're getting in the door, though

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

Who else looked at the list of couple of times after checking the bottom and not seeing UVa there? Never thought to look up in the list for them....Bronco is doing one hell of a job. Wonder what gimmick he'll come up for spring practice this year...

Ice cream cone squishies for pancakes.

This is going to be great for the ACC.

This year they're gonna use a sledgehammer to break an actual rock

"Why gobble gobble chumps asks such good questions, I will never know." - TheFifthFuller

This year they're gonna try to use a sledgehammer to break an actual rock but Perkins will drop it twice in the redzone and come up just short.

FTFY

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..