Staff Predictions for the 2018 Virginia Tech Football Season

The TKP staff weighs in on how they think the 2018 season will unfold.

[Mark Umansky]

Debut seasons often fly under the radar. The successful ones garnering critical praise later in the run as viewers begin to discover the magic that elevated them into the public's consciousness. Strong second seasons continue to build on the off-season accolades, hitting their stride after ironing out character backgrounds and solidifying the show's identity. Third seasons are when shows are supposed to peak. Unless, of course, your name is Jose Mourinho.

I would use the word, "program" in lieu of "show" to tighten up this analogy, except I'm not 75 years old and I missed the first few seasons of "Matlock" and "Murder, She Wrote."

This is where things get tricky. Viewers have been treated to 20+ episodes of new storylines, character arcs and relationships that keep things fresh. Season 3 is where the novelty wears off. It's where showrunners are faced with the question of how to keep things innovative without losing what made them great. It's the point where good shows plateau and great shows set themselves up for extended runs of success. Which brings us to Justin Fuente's Hokies.

The talented group of Beamer-era holdovers who helped propel the Hokies to 19 wins in Fuente's first two seasons are almost entirely gone, leaving a bevy of unproven — albeit talented — players in their wake. How do the Hokies integrate so many fresh faces at key positions and avoid the pitfalls of widespread inexperience?

Unexpected NFL departures, offseason injuries, and dismissals left the Hokies with a tricky hand to play. Expecting them to match or surpass their previous win totals is a difficult ask. Despite the challenges, can they successfully introduce new characters and preserve their identity? Can they continue the positive trajectory without the bottom dropping out?

The Key Play staff is back to take a crack at these questions and more. Join us as we look ahead to another season of Hokies football, and let us know your predictions for the upcoming season.

Joe Lanza

Season Prediction: Beyond the final record, we're going to learn how adept Tech's staff really is at talent development. More than anything, talent development is what catapulted Justin Fuente on the hot list of coaches during his Memphis tenure. Bud Foster has a history of molding capable players. The mass exodus of experience this offseason provides Fuente & Co. an opportunity to flaunt their skills in that area. Don't get it twisted, though; the Hokies are young, but the front lines of the roster have potential playmakers. Depth is another issue, and one injury to a razor-thin position (e.g. defensive tackle), has the potential to derail the season. The ACC is packed tight in the middle this season. The margin between success and failure will be miniscule.

Outside of the opener at Florida State, Tech's conference schedule is favorable. Should the season be written in maroon and orange ink — Josh Jackson progresses, injuries are avoided, talented young players step up — the Hokies stand a chance to face Clemson in Charlotte. On the flip side, if the wheels comes off, it's not unthinkable come November Tech's scratching for bowl eligibility.

Final Regular Season Record: 8–4

Key Matchup: It's the Miami game, and anyone who says otherwise is wrong. Bold takes! For real though, the Hokies want to hold serve at home against the 'Canes in the Fuente and Mark Richt eras. Miami is seemingly Tech's largest blocker to a Coastal crown.

Breakout Player: There. Are. So. Many. Options. Dax Hollifield, Caleb Farley, Dalton Keene, Silas Dzansi, etc... but I'll go with Damon Hazelton. He has actual on the field experience, time in the strength and conditioning program, and coaches and players alike scream about his potential.

Alex Koma

Season Prediction: At some points during this offseason horror show, I've entered a full state of panic about this season's prospects. At others, I find myself wondering if the Hokies couldn't sneak into the ACC title game.

There are lots of promising, highly rated recruits on defense, but barely any experience. Conversely, there's a bit more experience on offense, but still not many proven playmakers.

I see a couple of key factors to consider, and perhaps the most important is Josh Jackson's continued development. He looked like a star in the making after the West Virginia game; by the bowl loss to Oklahoma State, he looked like an offensive liability.

With an improved offensive line, a more stable running back rotation and some more experience at wide receiver, perhaps he's better set up for success. The coaches certainly haven't given any indication that he's been challenged in any meaningful way by the other QBs on the roster just yet. But, in my darkest moments, I can envision his performance dropping off a cliff by the time November rolls around once more, and the calls for Quincy Patterson getting really loud.

The Hokies do get quite lucky with this schedule, however. Opening at Florida State is tough, but even if the Seminoles have too much talent for Tech to handle, a comfortable three-game stretch in September could help this young team find its footing.

What happens next, however, will be a reflection of just how Jackson and the new-look defense develops.

Final Regular Season Record: 8–4

Key Matchup: I'm half-tempted to pick Florida State, just because a surprise win there could make quite the statement, but c'mon, it's Miami. Not only could the division be at play, in the best case scenario, but Justin Fuente could sorely use a win against the Canes as Mark Richt's recruiting picks up steam.

Breakout Player: Give me Dylan Rivers. Dax Hollifield is the linebacker prospect everyone is talking about these days, but it wasn't so long ago that Rivers was the guy earning all the hype. He has experience on special teams and a clear path to a starting job. Should he stick at backer, he'll have the chance to make plenty of big plays and earn some headlines right away.

Brian Marcolini

Season Prediction: This season is so interesting to me, because everything about it screams down year. Tech lost their best offensive weapon, their best offensive lineman, and a senior center. On defense, Ricky Walker and Trevon Hill are basically standing alone in the woods after the rest of their friends got Thanos'd.

Youth and inexperience coupled with three different spotlight games (Florida State, Notre Dame, and Miami)? It seems to be a recipe for disaster. But there's something in my gut that's keeping me from a purely pessimistic outlook. I think the fan base is underestimating Josh Jackson's ability to lead the offense in his second season. I think we'll see much better play from the skill positions, and both lines look like the strength of the team (which is how good college teams function.)

But most of all, they have a good coach. And in college football, a good coach is the only thing that makes a difference every year. Quarterbacks are important, but there's a reason Lamar Jackson or Johnny Manziel never competed for a national title. Fuente and Foster are good enough to ride a very favorable schedule — four of their toughest five matchups come at home, including Miami in mid-November — to a better-than-expected season.

Final Regular Season Record: 9–3

Key Matchup: Picture this: It's late October and the Hokies are 5-2, having lost to both Florida State and Notre Dame. Not a huge deal, right? Some would say that's the expected path, and five of seven isn't a terrible way to start the year. And after a week off they get Georgia Tech in Lane Stadium, in prime time on a Thursday night. It's really a fulcrum moment for the team. Win, and they could potentially be 8-2 with a chance to clinch the Coastal against Miami in Blacksburg. But losing to the Yellow Jackets is basically the end of the road for 2018 (it'd give them two ACC losses and, more embarrassingly, three failings on national TV). Fuente hasn't beaten Paul Johnson yet. That game is massive.

Breakout Player: It's fun to pick the guys on offense, but each of them have a replacement. If Hazelton struggles, Savoy, Kumah, and Patterson will be (theoretically) there to fill the void. Same with McClease and the stable of backs behind him. It's the defense who'll put people in the positions to become stars. And while my stomach is already knotting up about the linebacker and corner play, I realize I'm not worried about the safeties in the slightest.

Reggie Floyd is beyond solid, but a little too productive to list as a "breakout" candidate. But you know who no one's talking about? Divine Deablo. Remember? He was the guy pushing future first round pick Terrell Edmunds for playing time? He's the kind of rangy athlete Bud hasn't had at free safety since...a miscast Kam Chancellor? I think he's going to be the next defensive super star.

Pierson Booher

Season Prediction: When you enter a season with cornerback and linebacking corps with 0 career starts between them, it's hard not to worry. Pair that with a worryingly thin defensive line that plays under a position coach that loves to rotate his players, and suddenly the season feels on the brink before the opening kickoff. As Joe noted, one injury at a key position has the potential to significantly debilitate the defense. I don't mean to sound hyperbolic, but Bud Foster is facing one of the toughest tasks of his career. And yes, I'm sure that I've written this before and that Foster has always continued to churn out strong defenses. Truthfully, the coaching staff can only do so much. At the end of the day, players need to do their part and step up. While the next wave of Lunch Pail defenders is short on experience, they are hardly lacking in talent.

The most fascinating part of this season is the potential on the offensive side of the football. Hokies fans have grown accustomed to relying on defense and special teams to carry the offense, but this season presents the opposite. For the first time in three seasons, Justin Fuente will benefit from a returning starter at quarterback. Talented recruiting classes at offensive skill positions and along the line are beginning to bear fruit, providing Fuente and Brad Cornelsen with the types of playmakers they've been looking for to truly unlock their offensive system. The schedule sets up favorably after the Labor Day matchup with the Seminoles in Tallahassee. Facing Notre Dame, Miami and Georgia Tech at home are huge bonuses, in addition to avoiding the dreaded trip to Chestnut Hill to face a formidable Boston College team.

When it comes to sports, I'm a big fan of trial by fire. I feel that it separates the contenders from the pretenders. Players can't hide, and the truly talented ones relish the opportunity to compete on the big stage. The season opener will hardly be indicative of the season as-a-whole, but we'll certainly learn a lot about what this new crop of talent could potentially accomplish this season. Regardless of the final score against the 'Noles, how the team progresses following the opener and how the younger players hold up over the season will be critical.

Final Regular Season Record: 8–4

Key Matchup: Georgia Tech. Sure, the Hokies benefit from a bye week before a critical Thursday night matchup in Lane Stadium. But what will the state of the team be at this point in the season? How will the young players have adapted to the mental and physical rigors of major college football? What is the injury situation? Have the multitude of question marks that litter the offensive and defensive lineups been largely answered? Can Justin Fuente solve Paul Johnson's riddle? I worry about the state of the defensive line and how formidable the two-deep is. I worry about the young linebackers and corners and their ability properly defend the Bees' option attack. This game marks the beginning of the season's stretch run, with consecutive games againstBC, at Pitt, Miami and UVa. Thus, I worry about how this team fares in the wake of this game, win or lose.

Breakout Player: Divine Deablo. For a guy with little collegiate experience in the secondary, Deablo flashed some serious talent last season before going down with a foot injury four games into the campaign. The rangy converted wide receiver has speed, hands and is a physical specimen. The prospect of a long and physical compliment to starting rover Reggie Floyd is exciting, assuming Deablo can hold off Khalil Ladler in fall camp. If Deablo wins the job, he'll be responsible for providing support to an inexperienced crop of corners and linebackers (*drink*). It's an incredibly important role, one that Deablo appears primed to excel in.

TheFifthFuller

Season Prediction: Hello. I won't lie to you, friends. Things are bleak. The best receiver, gone. The best offensive lineman, gone. The best defensive lineman, gone. Linebackers, gone. Virginia Tech lost more defensive backs than LOLUVA had fans at their spring festival. No Fullers to replace them. Frank tha God spends his days walking Hank. The crown rests heavy upon Justin's brow. Is this the year one or more of the streaks end?

Lol, hell no. Josh Jackson is the second coming of Bryan Randall. The receiving corps is poised to blow up. French won't stop hyping the offensive line. Ricky Walker is still here to wreck some fools. If you worry about the secondary, you clearly haven't followed Hokie football very well. All of those things add up to...

Final Regular Season Record: 150, baby!

Key Matchup: Georgia Tech. Miami is the easy answer, but the front half of the schedule (aside from Florida State and the Domers) is shaping up to be relatively light. Chop Block O'Clock comes on a Thursday night in the Terror Dome, and this is really the tone setter for the second half of the year. If Tech can get through with a win and minimal injuries to the defensive line, it'll be set for a strong November.

Breakout Player: So I don't know if the leading rusher from last season counts as a breakout player...maybe it's like he's almost broken through and he just needs some giant dudes to step up and help him finish, sorta like...

Yeah, and then Deshawn McClease is gonna blow up this year like:


Joel Smith

Season Prediction: As always seems to be the case that when a large number of contributors depart, it's easy to see this season going any number of directions. I wouldn't be surprised to see the bowl streak end or the Commonwealth Cup depart, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Tech to win the Coastal. Even if the Hokies drop the opener against FSU, a team better than last year's record would indicate, the next few games shape up nicely for first year starters to get some experience and rhythm. Don't sleep on Boston College this year, but don't stress aboutECU either. If I'm being a little optimistic, but not a total homer, losses come against FSU, ND, and Miami; realistically I'd bet the Hokies take one of these but then lose to BC or Georgia Tech.

Final Regular Season Record: 9–3

Key Matchup: Virginia. This season is unlikely to be about winning the ACC, but rather a stepping stone towards what should be a highly anticipated 2019 team. The optimism surrounding the program would take a major hit with a loss of the Commonwealth Cup, as would the perception needed to keep recruits in-state.

Breakout Player: Well almost any player that has a good season would be a "breakout" since most of the major contributors left. I've talked myself into and out of Hazleton several times already, and Hollifield as well. I think McClease splits carries too much to break out even if he does prove to be the best back. In the end, I keep coming back to the newcomer with college experience getting rave reviews at a position of dire need: Hazleton. He proves to be a reliable receiver with elite potential and competes with Savoy as the biggest producer at WR.

Billy Berlin

Season Prediction: The general consensus is that the offensive talent is really trending upward. While the star ratings are comparable to the Beamer era, I believe Fuente and his staff are doing a better job at evaluating players. This season will show if they are also able to develop those players. After rewatching the first few games from last season, I realized I had forgotten how impressed I was with JJ's early performance. If he can show improvement, and if part of the issue last year was indeed injury, then I feel good with him under center. On defense, we can all agree that depth at DT is a big concern. I think Tech will be ok this year, as the starters will do great. But just like last year, it will be very noticeable when they are on the bench resting. Next year though — unless Tech lands a game ready JUCO, grad transfer, or gets a freshman surprise à la Luther Maddy — reach for the the panic button. As for the rest of the defense, I think they will make a lot of young mistakes early on, which makes starting the season against FSU a true trial by fire. With that said, the Hokies still have Bud, so with an improved offense there is reason to be optimistic.

Final Regular Season Record: 9 – 3. I think this season plays out a lot like last year. Get hyped up winning the easy games, then deflated after Tech loses the big ones. Losses to FSU, ND, and Miami.

Key Matchup: I am going with Miami here. This is the game that is going to tell us more about the direction of the program and position in the ACC than any other. Most pundits have Miami tabbed as the new kings of the Coastal after their success last year. This game will be late in the season on the Hokies' turf. It's Tech's chance to make a stand and show the world that the Hokies are still the team to be feared in the division. I know I said I am putting it down as a loss, but trust me, nothing makes me happier than knocking Miami down when they are perceived to be "back".

Breakout Player: Deshawn McClease. I was pumped to see him pack on some pounds this offseason and he looks like an animal in his before/after HilGains photo. I expect the o-line to create more holes for the backs this year, so I am going to go bold and say McClease breaks 1,000 yards even with some rotating.

Joey Coogan

Season Prediction: Where to even start? It's been a nightmarish offseason in Blacksburg, one plagued by freak injuries and early departures of several would-be contributors. That said, the Hokies seemingly escaped a twelfth-round knockout blow with Josh Jackson safely back under center, providing at least some semblance of quiet confidence as a Labor Day matchup with Florida State looms large.

At the danger of echoing our fearless leader Joe, I think a favorable conference schedule gives this young but talented Hokies team the chops to compete for a Coastal Division title. There's certainly questions to answer on the defensive side of the ball, but entering fall camp with Bud Foster's group as the primary concern feels strangely comforting. Depth is a towering issue up-and-down the roster, but if the Hokies can avoid the injury bug, don't be shocked if the Nov. 17 showdown with Miami decides the Coastal.

Season Record: 8–4

Key Matchup: Miami. Extending the Commonwealth Cup streak is an annual necessity, sure, but Mark Richt's squad promises to be the biggest obstacle in the Hokies' quest to return to Charlotte.

Breakout Player: Not sure if Deshawn McClease counts, but after picking Tremaine Edmunds last year (nailed it!), I'd say the shifty 757 tailback is a step in the right direction. The Hokies desperately need a home-run threat to emerge from a crowded backfield, and McClease's dynamic playmaking ability should give him a leg up on the returning duo of Steven Peoples and Jalen Holston. Give me 1,000+ yards and 7 touchdowns, please and thank you.

Mark Umansky

Season Prediction: I'm going to admit, I'm down on this upcoming year. Maybe it's because there's yet another primetime opening kickoff that historically has been less than ideal, or because last year's bowl game left a bad taste in my mouth, or because this offseason has been a rollercoaster of news, or any other number of reasons, but I feel like Fuente and his staff are really going to have to dig deep this year to keep the wheels from coming off. The end of the offseason and the start of fall camp appears to have brought some stability, so hopefully I'm dead wrong and the freshmen gel with the veterans and steamroll FSU in their opening number on their way to a TheFifthFuller 15-0 dream.

That all said, the schedule lines up pretty well, even with the ACC Wheel of Chaos looming in the shadows, so I think Virginia Tech is safely extending the bowl streak one more year.

Final Regular Season Record: 8–4

Key Matchup: Since I don't expect Tech to compete for the ACC title, UVa. The rest of the season won't matter one lick if the streak ends this year.

Breakout Player: I'm going to say Deshawn McClease, but it'd be fun to see the running game as a whole get a breakout year for the first time since David Wilson rolled through town.

Henry Skutt

Season Prediction: So, uh that offseason was fun, yeah? As the news of departures continued to come out one after the other, I continued to be more and more negative about this season. I even got to a point where I genuinely believed both the bowl streak and the UVA streak would end. That was...not a good time.

But you know what? I've turned it around. I've been around this coaching staff and these players a few times now. Their confidence has brought new life to my expectations for this season. That's not to say Virginia Tech is going 15-0 (sorry TheFifthFuller). But the Hokies are definitely not losing to UVA and their 27 ACC caliber players. And I think it'll be easy to find six wins on this schedule. But man, after that sixth win, it gets tougher. Florida State is an opening weekend toss-up. Boston College is going to be sneaky good. Duke is not the pushover they used to be, especially in Durham. Georgia Tech has Fuente's number. Notre Dame is, well, Notre Dame. And Miami is, well, Miami.

Final Regular Season Record: 7–5 Ducks to avoid shoes.

Key Matchup: Notre Dame. I don't know if Tech will be in contention for the Coastal when Miami comes to town. But a win against the Irish, presumably on national TV, will be huge for Tech's perception on a national stage. And who knows. With that game being in early October, maybe it launches Tech towards an exciting end to the season.

Breakout Player: Quincy Patterson. Fight me. He's going to get his 4 games worth of playing time, and he's going to show that he's the future. Tech will go into the 2018-19 offseason with a full blown quarterback race on its hands.

Comments

May there be lots of VicTories, LET'S GO!

It's all about The VPISU
VT '10, Born & Raised in the 804.
Rockin in The Bakken.
GO: Freeman Rebels, Keydets, Black Knights (the VMI of the North), NY Rangers & Giants, and ATL Braves.

HOKIES!

Hokie in West Africa...sadly, I can't jump up and down hard enough for it to be felt in Lane

I love TheFifthFullers optimism! Bring on 15-0

1-0 every week

Can we list their predictions for previous years in the write ups also? Let's see who has their finger on the pulse of the program.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

Whoa whoa whoa...the last thing we need around here is accountability for prior hot takes.

Woah woah woah woah woah woah WOAH. If you read that article, I predicted Travon McMillian as the breakout, not Joel Caleb. I still have my Joel Train conductor hat, but that was from 2014. And all audio and other evidence of its existence has been destroyed.

Whoa whoa whoa...the last thing we need around here is accountability for prior hot takes.

Is it wrong that I read that as HOTCAKES?

Let's Go

HOKIES

All-American offensive line confirmed!

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

Haha I know I just couldn't help myself.

Using /s is for cowards.

It seems like the general consensus both here and around Hokie Nation in general is that we will get most of the wins we are supposed to get but we won't turn any sort of corner and get more than one big win. I completely understand this sentiment because it's right in line with what has happened in the past for our Hokies. But here's the thing, don't we have some reason to believe this could be pretty different because we have a new coach who specializes in offense entering his third year. We can keep the Bud expectations about where they have been - fielding another good to great defense, even with lots of youth. But what has been the history of this offensive staff with a few years to acclimate the players to their offense with a returning starter at qb? A wildly effective offense. Granted this is a small sample size, but I like our chances.

No need to duck hank, you probably got it close to right unfortunately. Rough draft and off season plus so much youth and 6 or 7 wins seems realistic for expectations.

I can imagine no more rewarding a career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction:
“I served in the United States Navy"

KCCO

7 wins is the right guess in my mind, too. There are many unknowns and the inevitable wheel'o'destiny of the coastal. The FSU game is huge as it counts as a conference game. A W or L will have long term impacts for us in the coastal race. I can see us beating FSU and ND, then having fits with BC, GT, Miami. Obligatory Pitt happens.

TheFifthFuller bringing some common sense to the staff predictions as usual.

"How the ass pocket will be used, I do not know. Alls I know is, the ass pocket will be used."
- The BoD

I came here just to make sure TheFifthFuller represented us appropriately

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

To keep your TV show metaphor going, this offseason was the Red Wedding. Hopefully we have a few of the past season's role characters become stars and carry this thing forward.

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

I'm with TheFifthFuller! I feel good about the defense. 2015 (chosen because of the most recent year with a new Mike) was a rough year for VT with plenty of close games. Our offense is in way better shape this year than in 2015. I think our defense will be better even with the youth.

Who can forget this play at the end of the Duke game? On the two point conversion Thomas Sirk jukes Andrew Motuapuka out of his shorts (or did Motu juke himself out of his own shorts?) then goes on to TRUCK Luther Maddy! Let that sink in... Thomas Sirk TRUCKED Luther Maddy (all 6'2" 283 lbs of him). You can't make this stuff up.

The idea that this year's team is only one game better than the 2015 team doesn't make sense to me. This is a season where Brendan Motley started 5 games, Michael Brewer was not 100% and Motu was engaging people not carrying the ball (I am a Motu fan but he was not a natural Mike early on):

I understand FSU, Miami and ND are on the schedule. FSU is not anOSU or even close and neither is ND.

The decline at the end of the Beamer years is hard to deny and it would seem harder to forget.

As much as I want to say 9-3 and I really think it's 11-1 because I can't shake a bad feeling about Pitt.

I think we beat GT this year. Edmunds and Reynolds were good players for VT but Deablo and Hunter are upgrades.

GT Long TD 1:

GT Long TD 2:

Do you see this happening to Deablo AND Hunter? I don't.

By the time Miami rolls into town Rosier's haphazard high risk passing style is going to cost Miami the game. Last year they survived 3 INTs at home. You don't survive 3 INTs in Lane and walk away with a win.

Will youth cost us some this year? Yes. But I don't think it costs us much. I have not been this confident about our defense since... Well I don't know when! I feel like in years past we've been amazing at some positions and mediocre at others. This defense seems to me to be good to great across the board.

As for the offense I think it's easily better than last year and could be better than 2016. Jackson does not have to be the primary rusher for Fuente's system to work. He merely needs to be a threat (and yes, he's a threat).

Start Jumping!

I want to buy what you're selling so badly. In a vacuum I think you're points are right. I'm just terrified of the lack of depth and inexperience.

I really want to buy into this as well, but Fn A I'm scared of the youth and inexperience on defense...

I'm actually not as scared of sPitt as I am of us getting embarrassed on national TV as the only game played on Labor day, and then again against ND, resulting in people not giving a damn about us again until we beat Miami in a squeaker at home. (No seriously, we need to beat Miami this year. I can't deal with these assholes in south Florida...).

I'm on the 10-2 bandwagon, but our 2 losses are ugly as sin. Beat GT and the stage is set for momentum to carry us into Charlotte.

Repeat after me- In Bud we (must) trust. Jesus H and his mother, please, Bud....

Warning- Filter lost.

"Look at this... This is just spectacular.... These people are losing their minds"

FREE THE "STICK IT IN" CHANT!!!

I'll have a full pitcher of this guy's Kool-Aid

man, what a downer. I was all new hope about this season, but now I'm fully expecting ESB in advance of our 2019 return of the jedi.

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)..

i hear this season's midichlorians count is off the charts tho

Chem PhD '16

The series would be better if that movie never happened. Even though it is the best of the prequels cinematically.

I think we will go 9-3 like most of the staff predictions but I also think that we will win 1 out of 3 against out big matchups (FSU, ND, MIA). However, even under Fuente we are prone to lose one or two unexpected matches (Syracuse, Georgia Tech)...kinda worried more about that. If we stay out of that bug of losing to a bad team, i think we can go 10-2. I know the defense is in a tough situation but the guys have been picking up the slack, Bud knows what he is doing and we are still good up front on the line and in the back-end at Safety.

Hokies, Local Soccer, AFC Ajax, Ravens

"even under Fuente we are prone to lose one or two unexpected matches"? Really? Hard to call it "prone" with only two years to examine trends. If that is still the case after five years, I might be more inclined to think that way. Add in the fact that teams lose to supposedly "lesser" teams every year, even the blue bloods, and I'm just not going to hang that on Fuente at this point.
I will agree with your 10-2, though. I think we have the talent if they gel quickly enough.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Exactly. All teams drop a game here or there to an inferior team (except Bama, whose most recent losses to teams that finished outside the top 10 are to #17 Ole Miss in 2014 and #22 USCe in 2010). Hell, the phenomenon was even named after Clemson, and look where they are now despite losing to Syracuse last year and Pitt the year before.

I declare shenanigans!

On Joey Coogan!

You cannot call a "breakout year" for a player who had 16.5 TFL's and 4.5 sacks the previous year. Tremaine was not a "breakout" candidate last season.

On a more serious note, I kind of vibe with the 8-4 crowd but I am hoping and looking forward to be proven wrong.

I think Fuente has a big opportunity to endear himself and inspire confidence in the future if he can put an offense on the field this season that shows marked improvement from last year. I want to see Fuente's offense consistently moving the ball week to week and resemble more of the later Memphis teams.

On Georgia Tech, I really, really want to see us play well on offense against them. It's easy to point out the long passing TD's we gave up as the difference in the game, but ultimately we should have never been struggling to break 20 points on that GT defense. Both years we have lost to GT the offense has been sputtering and locking up against less than stellar Yellow Jacket defenses. I damn near need that not to happen again for the sake of my mental health during those games.

Devon Hunter?

8 picks, 6 fumble recoveries 14 touchdowns. Mark it on your calendars.

Not sure what to mark on my calendar, but with those kind of stats should I just shave his name on the side of my head instead?

To TheFifthFuller, I love your optimism!

I would love to see Deshawn McLease have a breakout season as you predict. With some of the positive talk about the offensive line, and McLease's track record from last year, it's plausible. And THAT would open up the passing game so much more! The offense seems to have tremendous potential. And we need it, because with such a young defense there will be some mental mistakes that result in big plays.

Hokie in West Africa...sadly, I can't jump up and down hard enough for it to be felt in Lane

I'm also going with 9-3. I think we can get one from FSU, ND, or Miami (if we have to play FSU, I'm glad we get them game 1 after a coaching change), but also could see us losing a game we shouldn't; most nervous about Duke (away, looking ahead to ND) or Pitt (away, could be beat up after GT and BC, looking ahead to Miami). Less nervous about BC (not taking them lightly, but it's at home and I think Bud knows how to shut down Lefty's O) and GT (as long as our DTs are healthy for that game, I think giving them an extra few days to prep for GT is crucial). We are young, but I think by the end of the year our DBs, LBs, and WRs could be the strongest units on the team, along with an improved OL. Really hope JJ keeps improving.

Key Games: FSU; start out the year with a big win, change some perception. ND; shaping up to be a big recruiting weekend. GT; hadn't thought of it, but liked what Brian, and others, said. Miami; ACC Coastal implications...hopefully. LOLUVA; hate calling it a big game, but I hope we never lose to them ever.

Breakout player: What about Hunter? Can't wait to see what he can do at the whip.

Season Prediction: I really want to drink the Kool-aid and buy in to the hype after a brutal off season, and shout loudly and confidently from the rooftops that we are going to go 9-3 or 10-2. We've been through this before and I hope I'm wrong but I think we're going to lose multiple games this year that we shouldn't. On the flip side, I think we win at least 1 that we aren't supposed to win.

FSU - L - 38-24
W&M - Big W - 63-3
ECU - Big W - 55-6
ODU - Big W - 40-14
Duke - L (and so it begins) - 24-21
ND - W (Lane is rowdy and we get them down early) - 35-24
UNC - Big W - 42-14
GT - W (monkey off the back) - 35-30
BC - L (I threw up in my mouth as I wrote it) - 27-24
Pitt - L - 31-24
Miami - L - 42-28
UVA - Big W - 38-0 (Bro)

Final Regular Season Record: 7-5

Key Matchup: Da U but I dont feel good about it this year. I think that we will be out of the coastal race by this point, but I think its a good measuring stick for next year. If we can win this game somehow, hype thrusters will be in overdrive. They get one more year of bakness before we cockslap them accordingly.

Breakout Player: A QB that isnt JJ. I like the kid a lot and I really want to be wrong but I just can't see him taking us to the next level. I hope to eat crow in a big way. Give me HH or QP to end the season with a shellacking of UVA.

I'm with you for the 7-5.

As for the specific games, I'm not sure.

If I had to put money on each game:

Wins: W&M, ECU, ODU, UNC, UVA

Losses: FSU, ND, Miami

Toss Ups: Duke (lean W), GT (lean L), BC (lean L), Pitt (lean W)

I think the season is really decided in the three game stretch of GT->BC->Pitt. Our schedule actually lines up pretty favorably by getting our harder games at home, extra time before GT etc but I just think we're going to have too many growing pains this year for this squad to compete for the division.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I think the season is really decided in the three game stretch of GT->BC->Pitt

Agree 100%. That block and the resulting momentum (positive or negative) will be the difference between 6-6 or 9-3

Putting the backup quarterback as the breakout player is almost as crazy as putting him for ACC player of the year

It's Time to go to Work

Ima let yall finish but House Gaines and Trevon Hill bout to have the greatest season of Tech DEs EVER

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

I'm thinking 7-5 right now, but if we beat FSU, then it's 15-0.

Season Prediction: Bud is basically a demi God. But even he has his work cut out for him. When you can count returning defensive starters on half a hand that's a pretty clear indicator that it will be a down year.

Offensively there is an awful lot of talk about promising talent. I feel like I've heard that tune before. On repeat. Until they produce on the field I'm gonna go right on ahead expecting history to repeat itself. Aside from generational talents at QB, VT has not been an offensive threat in recent memory. Until proven otherwise, I anticipate more of the same.

Fianl regular season record: 6-6. Losses to FSU, ND, Miami, BC, Pitt, GT

Key match up: As much as it pains me to say this, Virginia. We will need to beat them in order to preserve both streaks. But we will.

Breakout player: Who will be the breakout player on a 6-6 squad? I'm just going to put Josh Jackson here since he is likely to be improved from last year. Based on a lot of what I've read one might think he's not a good player. Well, this is his season to show up and prove why the coaches are starting him. Any improvement from last year should constitute breaking out since he clearly wasn't impressive enough for fans last season. It's just pure bad luck that his improved play will be overshadowed by a poor defensive showing this season. By November fans will be clamoring for QP when JJ isn't even the real issue. 2019 will be better regardless of who starts under center.

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

6-6. Losses to FSU, ND, Miami, BC, Pitt, GT

Get out of here negative Nancy we're building a hype train.

Sorry, I find something kinda soothing about balance. All the hype was getting to be a bit much

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

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)..

I put 10 on the under at the Westgate in Vegas, for what it's worth. I just don't see 9 wins on that schedule any way I look at it. The over would have won me a lot more money, but I just don't see it happening.

If JJ is our breakout player, then this team either doesn't go 6-6, or Bud fields the worst defense since 2010, if not ever.

Twitter me

I believe it's entirely possible that our offense takes a big step forward in JJ's arm but as a team we still lose several close games because of mistakes on defense. Bud is a hell of a coach but this might be one of the most raw defenses he's had to work with in a long time and he can't be out on the field with them. It wouldn't shock me if the defense ends up being one of his worst in Blacksburg. JJ could still take a huge step forward and the team could lose. Watching VT lose a bunch of 48-45 type games could support that theory. And if Jackson throws for 200+ yards and a few TDs each week but doesn't get any help from the defense can you really blame him?

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Watching VT lose a bunch of 48-45 type games could support that theory.

Ouch! If that comes to pass it will be a sad day in Hokieland.

Hokie in West Africa...sadly, I can't jump up and down hard enough for it to be felt in Lane

I get that Bud doesn't have a bunch of returning starters on defense, but it is not like he is starting 8 true freshman. Diablo was getting a ton of minutes before his injury, Rivers and Hunter have been in the system for a full season, the entire DL has some experience, it really is just the outside CB that are the primary concern as Quillen and Watts are the only non-freshman that in the two deep. I think he will be able to field a solid starting defense and the Offense should improve enough to keep them rested. Based on talent alone, I don't think this will be one of Bud's worst defenses.

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

Agreed. Just because we aren't trotting out 11 seniors doesn't mean anything. People lean to heavy on experience. Being a good football player means just that, you're good. Give me a talented sophmore over a mediocre senior all day long.

If we are a .500 team this year, then that likely means JJ did not progress as many hope and expect him to and the offense is largely disappointing for a second year in a row. I have faith that JJ will be better this year, but the question is how much better/how high is his ceiling. I can say with confidence that, unlike last year, if he is seriously banged up or begins to struggle down the stretch again, I think we have more competent backup options to relieve him than we did last year. He should've come out on several occasions last year, but we had no one eligible that the coaches trusted to complete a forward pass. I don't believe that is the case this year.

There are two things that are coming to mind for me.

1. Nobody is talking at all about pace on offense. Fuente would like to go fast but because he's been thin at WR and inexperienced at QB in his first two years in Blacksburg our offense has operated well below the ideal pace for him. I think that our offense will see a considerable uptick in pace this season. The side effect of that, however, is more stress on the defense which brings me to the next point.

2. This might be one of the hardest jobs Bud has had in his career. I don't believe that to be an overstatement. He has 8 or 9 brand new starters and pretty limited interior line depth. I know he's worked magic in the past but expecting, at best, only a modest step backwards on defense this year is comically outlandish and pretty unfair to Foster. This defense needs a miracle in order to avoid a significant drop in production from recent teams.

This team will struggle. Both offensive and defensive units are young and inexperienced. Each unit will have good days and bad days. It's not likely that their good days will align enough to win more than 7 or 8 games. Temper expectations or else you're in for a long season and a tough off season

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

I'm not terribly concerned about the defense. I know we are incredibly young and inexperienced in a lot of spots, but remember Bud said he threw more at this unit than he ever has in the past due to the talent level he has and the sheer football readiness/IQ he sees from these guys. We will likely have some growing pains, but Bud saying that makes me feel better about the D getting up to speed steadily throughout the season. Some depth concerns, but we also have a lot of experience on the D line. And the guys behind them are pretty good recruits with a year in the program under their belts for most. FSU is a huge first test, but they are breaking in an entirely new staff and scheme on both sides of the ball. I also think Fuente and Bud are scheming/gameplanning incredibly hard for this one. We may not win, but I'd say we definitely have a chance to pull it off.

The offense is the biggest factor to me. A lot really rides on JJ's improvement and ability to make this offense click through the first part of the year while the defense gets comfortable. If we somehow pull out a win against FSU, or even if we don't, we have four very winnable games to help iron out the kinks before our next big test against ND. We could very easily be a 6-7 win team, but we also have the potential for 9-10 if everything falls in place and players progress as expected.

Honestly, I feel like Fu will keep it (relatively) slow again, if only due to the lack of depth we have on defense. A fast offense means more reps for the defense, which means they get tired faster and need a sub, as well as more chances for injury.

This is the exact season I'm expecting, including the losses.

Maybe its just me, but I'm not buying the negativity surrounding the team. 8-4, 7-5? Nope, I think we are going to see a step forward this year. First of all, we have more talent on offense than I can remember in a very long time with an OL that is widely predicted to be an actual honest to goodness strength. Which is the first time we've been able to say that since the Carter Administration. Secondly, and I'm honestly shocked at how many have forgotten this... never, ever, ever, ever doubt a Bud Foster coached defense. Ever.

Ever

We might not be a Top 10 defense this year, but he has worked magic with less talented defensive units before. We have plenty of talent, but its very raw. Luckily, outside the FSU game, all our tough games are at home this year, and Lane has regained its footing as a tough venue. Not to mention we'll have a few weeks after Labor Day to get the ship right before the meat of the schedule hits. Plenty of time for a coach like Bud.

Prediction: 10-2, losses to FSU and GT.

I'm seriously not buying the ND hype, I think they get exposed again this year. And Miami in Lane in a cold November day with the division on the line? Nah, give me the Hokies all day on that one. And I repeat, I have a feeling this offense is going to legitimately win us games this year. If our OL is as good as expected, we could make some serious noise this year.

Key Matchup: Miami in November. Average Low for November 17th in Blacksburg - 30F. Average High- 55F. Its gonna be cold, and if its the late afternoon/night game that we usually see with this kind of matchup, it'll be your typical Blacksburg freezing for Miami, who historically struggles badly in cold weather games. The door will be open for a statement win, and I believe we make it.

Breakout Player: Hazleton. I've been waiting for this kid to see the field since watching his Ball St film. The guy catches everything thrown near him. with a year to bulk up and get stronger behind him, I'm expecting big things out of him. He plays to his potential, he doesn't see his Senior Year in Blacksburg.

"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

we had some slobbernockin' OLs in the 90s and some decent ones in the early 2000s, but I agree with everything else

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.

We had some great individual players on the OL, but I'm not sure I would have called the OL that strong as a whole during those years, but given that was 20 years ago, perhaps it was and my recent memory is clouding that recollection.

"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

Man, I love your optimism! I genuinely hope you're right. And honestly I belive there is potential for us to be a dark horse this year. I'm just not quite bullish enough to predict it. That said, my post above is a bit salty tic. I'm just sick of everyone trashing JJ and slobbering over QP. This literally happens every year (remember when people wanted Jackson to start over Jerod after the spring game?) and still nobody ever learns.... Drives me nuts. If there was one thing you could ban from the internet what would it be? For me, it would be backup QB discussions.

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

Don't get me wrong. I think QP is the real deal and is the second legitimate NFL QB prospect we've had since MV7 (Tyrod being the other). The guy is built like a Mack truck and it sounds like he's got all the intangibles to be truly special. But he's redshirting this year and outside of some PT to see how he does against real competition that's now allowed, he's a future asset, and we're in the present.

All of that overlooks that Jackson is a good QB. Last year, we were very thin at WR and TE, and opponents stacked the box to stop our running game, which ended up getting him hurt and wrecking any kind of sustained play he could manage. With more talent at receiver, and an OL that should be able to keep him off his ass, I think he's going to shine this year. I don't think we're a playoff contender, but JJ is absolutely a darkhorse ACC POTY contender.

"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'll be your typical Blacksburg freezing for Miami

I'm just hoping it's not like 12/1/2001, where it was 70 and sunny in Blacksburg.

I really want to say 8-4, but I think I have to guess 7-5 and hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Under promise, over perform. I like your style.

What's
Important
Now

What are phrases never spoken to Louisville head coaches?

Plan for the worst, hope for the best.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

We beat AT LEAST one of FSU/ND/MIA, lose to Pitt on the road to go 9-3.

This team needs to at least put up a big fight in one of those "big 3" games if not actually win. I can live with a "growth" season but I would consider it a failure if the team is easily defeated on the national stage against all of our marquee opponents the way they have been for the most part under Fuente.

I'm going to bypass this season and look ahead one football season forward:

Season: 2019
Date: January 13, 2020
Venue: Mercedes-Benz Superdome New Orleans, Louisiana

This will mark 20 years since our last national championship run. We will do it again on the 20th year anniversary. And we will fill that gdamn trophy case.

Let's Go

HOKIES

Getting to the big game, is absolutely doable. Winning is another story.

As long as Nick Saban is at Alabama, I don't know if we'll have the the horses to fill the case.

That's just the sad state of affairs in college football.

What's
Important
Now

Eh... how closely we played Clemson in 2016, combined with the fact that they went on to beat Saban for the natty, has me convinced that anything is possible. And that's even looking past the fact that we beat the eventual national champions in 2014. Not that I think it will happen this year, or ever for that matter, but we could pull off a surprise win against anybody with a couple breaks.

100% anything is possible. I just don't like the odds. Saban just has waves of 4 and 5 star players that he can get fresh off the bench. It's really the worst part about college football now adays. There are few team that will pull better recruiting classes just because of their name.

What's
Important
Now

Less because of their name and more because of the $$$. Sometime in the last few weeks, PAPN was talking about Bama for a few minutes, and they shared a few anecdotes that were interesting. There was one where Saban heard that a bunch of his players had a favorite restaurant, but there was usually heavy traffic and a decent wait time on food, so he got the AD to pay the restaurant to open a new location near the athletics facilities. Also, less than a year after they built a new practice facility or something, he had them break down a few walls and build some new passageways to save his players a few minutes walking between the lockers and meeting rooms and such.

Crazy what can happen when money isn't really an issue.

And it'd be my birthday! This would be perfect.

(might be trolling for a reply with that birthday scene from The Office)

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

What's
Important
Now

I deserved this, have a leg.

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

"That move was slicker than a peeled onion in a bowl of snot." -Mike Burnop

Na na na na na na live for today. Almost like wishing your life away.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

Our schedule this year is not tough. Multiple losses to Duke, BC, Pitt, or GT...those are unacceptable, regardless of what happened this off-season. We don't recruit at a very high level, but definitely do well above those guys and should never have less talent across the board..

Shame on any of you who say this is a 7-5 or 6-6 year. With this schedule, 6-6 should have some folks concerned about jobs. I could see FSU, ND, Miami, and maybe one more, but beyond that, damn. It's really unfortunate if we're in a position where our fans seem ho hum or 'growing pains' about a 6-6 type year with this shitty of a schedule.

I don't know if you've noticed, but we've had a lot of attrition this offseason. If we get lucky and keep the injuries to a minimum this season, and restricted to the few positions where we have some semblance of depth, then yes, we could potentially hit 10-2 and earn a trip to Charlotte in early December.

On the other hand, if (god forbid) we lose 2 of our D-linemen early in the year it'll be hard to get anything going on defense the rest of the year, and anyone outside of W&M, ECU, ODU, and UVA could beat us and I wouldn't be surprised.

On the off-chance that we actually go 6-6 this year, I certainly hope that Whit has the sense to look at the circumstances behind it, and not make any rash decisions about the coaching staff.

I don't know if you've noticed, but we've had a lot of attrition this offseason.

I'll ignore the passive aggressive tone, but yes, clearly I am aware of what has happened this offseason, as I even cited it specifically. But other teams face similar challenges every year also, and while we're young jimmys and joes account for something, and across the board, we should be able to put a significantly more talented product on the field than Duke, BC, Pitt, and GT.

Could something absolutely drastic happen and we go 6-6? Yeah I guess it could. But it's a pretty disappointing time for our program where we're sitting here 2 weeks from kickoff already trying to justify how a 6-6 season (with a piss poor schedule) would be alright.

I think the part of your post that really ruffled my feathers was "Shame on any of you who say this is a 7-5 or 6-6 year", as if they aren't "true Hokies" or something. I will say that during the "JJ academics uncertainty period" of the offseason, I was mentally preparing myself for a 6-6 or 7-5 type of year, and it wasn't until recently that I've started trending back towards the 8-4 camp. And even with that expectation, if the level of attrition we've experienced carries into the season itself we could be in for trouble.

I've literally never accused any Tech fans of not being 'true Hokies.' The whole notion of that is silly to me. I don't agree with the mindset some fans have, and get annoyed when our fans feel like we've got to have some kind of inferiority complex, we've got to be underdogs all the time, or cant have significant expectations. To me, an apologetic outlook on a 6-6 season is embarrassing.

I have to say that while I don't completely agree with everything you are saying, I do think it's okay to think 6-6 is unacceptable for Virginia Tech with this schedule. I do think it's okay to look at Duke, Pitt, and BC for what they are, substantially less talented teams that we should not lose to, and it should be okay to view that as unacceptable. I don't care if BC has a solid running game, with a great young back, and an okay defense, we should not ever be okay with losing to BC. Especially when their biggest question mark is QB. Duke had a strong and statistically impressive defense last year and has a solid veteran QB, and they also are substantially less talented than VT and have a worse coaching staff (Respect to Cutcliffe, our overall staff is better). Pitt has a history of upsetting better teams, but they also are substantially less talented than VT and have a ton of question marks all over their team as well. I think it's okay to expect more from Virginia Tech than dropping multiple games to teams like that.

You can believe that a 6-6 season is unacceptable from a program like ours, but still recognize that 6-6 is reasonably possible (meaning, not statistically unlikely). I think you're confusing "substantially less talented team" with "substantially lesser programs". It's definitely possible that we're at a talent deficit when playing any P5 teams during the first half of the season, and we could lose to a few lesser programs.

Twitter me

I'm not arguing that it's not possible, I'm just saying it's okay to find that outcome unacceptable based on what Virginia Tech Football should be. We shouldn't be losing to those teams, they are both less talented top to bottom and lesser programs.

The team was 9-4 last year, and we didn't beat a FBS team that was better than 7-6.

I'm not sure how you feel its unreasonable for that same program, after losing an immense amount of talent in the off-season could be a couple games worse.

Hokies United l Ut Prosim

I'll just say this, a lot of people on here are saying they can understand and see us going 7-5 or 6-6 this year and that being ok because of the attrition. But all I know is if we start losing to BC and Pitt and god forbid GT again, I anticipate a full on meltdown by the same people happening on here. When Beamer lost more that 5 games for the first time since 1997, everyone wanted him gone and that was following 8 straight years of 10 win seasons... People are ruthless.

Bud/Wiles 2020

Start losing to GT again? We have lost 3 of the last 4 to them. That's the issue with some of the 9-4 or 10 win season talk. It seems our consistency has tightened up on Fuente, and I would like to think it is trending upward, but we need to start dominating the coastal to get these high win seasons again. Losing to FSU and Miami, would put us at best 6-2 in the coastal. One slip up between UNCheat and PItt (happens) would get us in that magical 5-3 territory that brings ACC talk to the forefront on who will face Clemson.

"concerned about jobs..."

Don't act like I am calling for CJF or Bud's head here. We do have some fairly unproven pieces on our staff, and if we cant get (even the young guys who are still significantly more talented than most of our opponents) enough out of our players to go better than 6-6 with this schedule, it at least opens up the question as to whether or not they may be the guys we want to roll with long term.

Look we just need to take this season one game at a time because that's just how we will have to play them. So I'll give you my breakdown of the season as I see it right now...

1-0

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

TKP BINGO!!

I appreciate all the support, and I appreciate all the hate I am getting. I will continue to work as hard as I can to be the best I can be and bring this team a championship. Go Hokies 🐔 - Josh Jackson

I keep seeing people predicting a loss to Pitt. Would someone tell me what is scary about Pitt this season? They don't have a single player on the ACC preseason list, they graduated most of their talent, we seem to have figured out how to beat them (although it hasn't been by much), and they are still coached by Pat Narduzzi.

Fuck Pat Narduzzi.

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

People still have PTSD from past Pitt losses. On paper they have no business beating us.

No reason other than Heinz Field. Their cross divisional games are against the two worst teams in the Atlantic, so their conference record may skew better than they really are, at least compared to us.

The Orange and Maroon you see, that's fighting on to victory.

Heinz Field...God I hate Heinz Field.

@hokie_rd

They are in the dreaded let-down look ahead sandwich spot. After BC and GT if we have 2 acc losses we are basically on the outside looking in on the coastal race, with an eye towards a huge home game against Miami. Just not great circumstances to play a team that always plays us tough, and just may have found their qb of the future late last year

I think it's less about Pitt and more about how we have played against Pitt. I know it doesn't make sense. Pitt's been a thorn in our side since the 90's. No one gets excited about Pitt as an opponent. It's kind of like BC and Syracuse. Whoop dee doo.

TLDR

15-0 LETS GO!

ALL ABOARD THE HYPE TRAIN!

TKPhi Damn Proud
BSME 2009

I'm predicting 1-0.

It really all comes down to how soon the basically new back 7 on defense gels...the sooner they do, the higher the expectations. I'm going with my gut and saying 9-3.

Mark's prediction is 100% spot on because he takes spectacular pictures of the lunch pail.

#scienceandmath

Leonard. Duh.

Some of the predictors nailed it IMO - DIVINE DAB - that guy jumped out when I saw him in action. Covers mucho ground, Kevin McHale length arms. Very impressive. I think he will be an upgrade at safety.

"I play real sports, not trying to be the best at exercising..." - KP

Did French abstain?

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

I thought french doesn't like doing predictions

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)..

I think our good friend French is mired in an impossibly difficult work/travel situation right now and is probably trying hard to find time to eat a decent meal and get a decent night's sleep. That said, I'd not be surprised to see him come out with a 2500 word analysis of our waterboy position any day now. Travel well, friend.

Reel men fish on Wednesdays

You might be right. The last one of his that I can find is 2015 (and, for some reason I can't find last year's post).

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

We don't love dem Hoos.

I think the staff goes 1-7 for the season.

Sometimes we live no particular way but our own

Lmao what a rollercoaster of opinions on here. I didn't want to say it because I don't want to jinx us, but I think it's hilarious that so many people think we lose to FSU.

We have the pieces and the coaching to win every game on the schedule. That was true the past two years with the exception of last year's Clemson. As we've seen that doesn't usually happen (Syracuse, GT and GT.. ugh). I'm completely ready for a 8-10 win season even though we'll all naturally still be pissed off after every loss.

Also any 6-6 predictions are absolutely hilarious and show all the pessimists out here 😂. Can you imagine all the meltdowns on this site if that happened? (especially by the people who made those predictions) Ain't no way if this team stays healthy.

To you my friend, stay strong in swag... insert gif.

"I play real sports, not trying to be the best at exercising..." - KP

Prediction?

Pain...

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

I predict that Inwill be submitting my review of the Duke game from the United Arab Emirates.

Five star get after it 100 percent Juice Key-Playing. MAN

Baron any unforeseen sircumstances, that will make for one empressive knight.

As always fifthfuller is the only reasonable prediction. 15-0 here we go!

Danny is always open
23 can't read

The TKP staff always predicts a solid 1-2 games below the actual season results, so we're good here as usual.

In 2016 we had Joe calling 6-6 and all but two others calling 7-5 or 8-4.

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

Then again, in 2015 pretty much everyone said 8-4 or 9-3. Not really a good enough sample size.

To be fair to 2015 predictions, the loss of Brewer, Fuller, and a few others to injury probably cost us 2 or 3 games.

What's to say we won't lose one or both of walker and mihota, costing us another 2-3 games? Our team is extraordinarily young and perilously thin. Particularly on defense. I would not be shocked if our offense took a big step forward and yet we still lose several close, high scoring games due to critical defensive lapses

If a tree falls in Scott Stadium does it make a sound?

In that case, my off-the-cuff comment would need to clarify that the TKP staff predictions expect 2-3 of our key players to be injured for a significant time period.

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

Hokies were 47th in total offense last season. That will improve. The season hinges on how well a -without OM glasses on- paper thin and average defense on paper will come together and play. If Fuente and Cornelsen can produce a top 20 offense and somehow figure out how to score 3 or even (gasp) 4 TDs against GT's 80th ranked defense, that mean a win or 2 people don't expect and late enough in the year that the young LBs and secondary are playing better. Miami, FSU, ND are better teams on paper- but 2 of those games are at home. I think this team desperately needs to avoid the "stinker" this season- a loss to decent Pitt, BC, or soft and horrible UNC or UVA (lol they are never beating us again, who are we kidding)... So long story short, we win 1 of the 3 big games, and drop another to either GT or BC or Pitt... 9-3 reg season-IF Ricky Walker and Tre Hill start all 12 games...

9-3 is my prediction.
I could see 8-4 too.
I struggle to see 5 teams this squad should lose to without something majorly bad happening on the injury front.

And that includes the fact that if we lose to GT on Thursday night in Lane Stadium, I'm gonna be very upset.

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

yeah cause we've never had injuries upend an entire season or anything (looking at you 2015)

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)..

saw this and seems like espn agrees with us getting to 9 wins. I think its funny that a successful season for FSU is 7-6. I don't know why we are giving them so much credit. I expect us to win that game even in their house. buds D is going to lock it down young or not and the O will be much improved. FSU line will cause them problems all season and no one in the business is better at bringing pressure than bud. just ask the bucks.

19. Florida State

The expectation every year in Tallahassee is to compete for championships, but there is a different reality at Florida State this season. Of course, new coach Willie Taggart wants to win right away. But this is also a bit of a transition year. Florida State will be running new offensive and defensive schemes, and it remains unsettled at quarterback. The schedule also is difficult, and division rival Clemson is loaded. So a successful season is anything better than a 7-6 record, plus a win over either rival Miami or Clemson. If it's both, that's even better. -- Adelson

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

20. Virginia Tech

For the Hokies, consistency is arguably the biggest goal right now. After a wild -- and mostly bad -- offseason, Justin Fuente has holes galore on his depth chart, but there is ample potential among the young players looking to fill those gaps. The question is how quickly Fuente and his staff can develop that talent. Eight or nine wins would be a nice season, but more important, Virginia Tech wants to end the season with far fewer questions than it starts with. -- Hale

#Bapn ain't EZ

Wanna win put boobie in! Let boobie spin coach!

plus a win over either rival Miami or Clemson. If it's both, that's even better.

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

Things like that don't make sense to me. You're saying that a successful season needs at least one win over one of the two toughest opponents on their schedule, but leaves room for 4 losses to lesser opponents? Yeah, I'm sure that fans in Tally will be happy with losses to Miami, VT, NC State, Boston College, and Notre Dame, as long as they beat Clemson.

Riiiiiiiiight.

Lots of fear of GT on here. I get it...they have had our number recently. However, I think Fuente knows our fanbase wants this win. He wants this win! Just like he has been taking it to UNC lately, I feel that he will prioritize this game and whoop some ass! F Paul Johnson!
via GIPHY" target="_blank">

via GIPHY

10 win season with this disclaimer. FSU is the most important game of the season. Not necessarily win. If we can not slow up at least their d-line 3 pros potential- JJ gets beat-up maybe lost for significant time- makes those should win games 50/50: Reason: without JJ being able to run 100% of offense will fall sharply making protecting a young inexperienced defense much more difficult. IMHO

James Lacy

Haven't you heard? JJ is going to sit out the three games after FSU while we work in QP under the new redshirt rule.

I agree with you, that JJ getting dinged up in the opener would be a huge factor on our season, but in reality we should be able to beat the next three teams with our second string QB, so there are 3 built in weeks for him to heal back up.

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

After attending the Roanoke Hokie Club Luncheon today, I have made my prediction as 11-1. I think we'll lose a stupid game just like usual. Georgia Tech or Pitt will be the loss
Fuente has gotten me excited!

I predict a 10 win regular season. GT worries me with the young D. Miami as well.