A Crazy, Fun Outlier

Virginia Tech played like a top-25 team for the second half of the season. A look at how the Hokies found themselves in such odd company, and the biggest roster needs going forward.

[Virginia Tech Athletics]

The 2023 Virginia Tech Hokies were a rollercoaster of a football team.

They made you agonize over busted run fits and fantasize about ACC Championship hopes, within the span of a week. They were maddening, exciting, depressing, and exhilarating, all at the same time.

And they were an outlier. A large one, at that.

This year, the Hokies won five conference games by three or more scores. The last time a Tech did that? Try 2009 — you know, that team with Tyrod Taylor, Kam Chancellor, and David Wilson. Tech put up the most points per game since 2016 (28.6) without even playing an FCS game. Somehow, this is the same team that lost to Purdue and Marshall.

In the end, Virginia Tech has only a 6-6 record to show for their statistical accolades. But a deeper look into the numbers shows how drastically the Hokies improved from their September woes — and how much they stick out amongst their peers.

An Outlier for the Ages

A phenomenon I've been keeping tabs with this year is blowout wins. On Sunday, I had a tweet (Xeet?) go semi-viral where I listed all the Power Five teams that had as many three-score conference wins as the Hokies.

Since I was taken aback by how much Tech stuck out amongst this elite cast of characters, I went through last decade and (excluding the Covid season) looked at every Power Five team who recorded as many blowout conference wins. Of the 53 teams that did, all but one of them won at least nine games.

The exception? 2023 Virginia Tech.

Even including Tech's blowouts losses to Florida State and Louisville, the Hokies still finished with a +8.3 scoring margin in conference play. Of the 16 Power Five teams who had as high a scoring margin, only the Hokies did not spend time in the AP Poll this season.

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