Boston College vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

Brent Pry’s first game as head coach did not go as planned. It’s frustrating but it was a weird football game. Turnovers, penalties, and some questionable penalty calls. I’m not making excuses but the stats say Virginia Tech should have won that game more often than not. Either way, the Hokies have some things to cleanup and that starts this week.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 69th
Offense: 100th
Defense: 35th
Special Teams: 43rd

Boston College

Overall: 76th
Offense: 108th
Defense: 43rd
Special Teams: 106th

As bad as the Hokies losing to ODU was, Boston College didn’t exactly have a great week either. They dropped their first game to Rutgers after accumulating only 29 yards rushing. Phil Jurkovec also threw for 2 interceptions. The Hokies are going to need to keep Boston College one-dimensional again this week. They will also have to stop Jurkovec’s favorite target, Zay Flowers. Doesn’t is feel like he has been at Boston College for the last ten years? He’s a talented wide receiver and one that will look to do some damage on Saturday. If the rain in the forecast holds, that may slow down BC’s passing offense.

The Hokies offense had a multitude of issues on Friday. They took penalties. They turned the ball over. And the passing game did not look in sync at all. Those all appear correctable but one week isn’t a lot of time. My biggest concern last week was the wide receivers not finding any separation. This offense will not work with only running backs and tight ends. Outside of an injured Kaleb Smith someone else is going to need to step up. Unfortunately, this offense doesn’t have a ton of time to figure it out. This will need to be a learn-on-the-job moment for the Hokies young wide receivers. Grant Wells needs more targets to throw to.

One positive on Friday was that the running game worked pretty well. Keshawn King ran for over 100 yards and averaged 5.8 yards per carry. If he can handle the load, the Hokies would be wise to feed him the football on Saturday. Boston College gave up 212 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns to Rutgers on the ground. The Hokies need to pound the rock while they figure out their issues in the pass game. Grant Wells also looked pretty good passing out of play action last week. A strong running game benefits the passing game. This offense would be wise to establish the run early and often.

The Hokies aren’t as bad as they looked on Friday. They still have a lot to clean up but there were the signs of what could be areas of strength. The defense looked very good. The run game looked good. The issues were penalties and turnovers. If the Hokies can clean those up and continue to play stout defense, they should be in good shape. A return to Lane Stadium comes at a good time against a beatable Boston College team. But first the Hokies need to show that they’ve cleaned up some of their issues from last week. If not, it could be a long season. Hammer the under.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 24, Boston College 20

Old Dominion vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

We have lift off on the Brent Pry era. Brent Pry and staff have made all the right moves this offseason. Now comes the hard part. How will this staff manage a roster they inherited and turn them into a winning football team? That may be a lot to ask in year one but there is a lot of excitement amongst the fan base. Brent Pry has done a good job of embracing the parts of the program that the fans care about. Pry’s next obstacle is to try get a win on the road at ODU. Something the previous staff was not able to do.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 61st
Offense: 90th
Defense: 31st

Old Dominion

Overall: 93rd
Offense: 80th
Defense: 107th

ODU has a good offense but one that plays to the strengths of the Hokies defense. If the Hokies are able to stop the run and pressure the quarterback, they should be in good shape. ODU has Hayden Wolff at quarterback. He is not very mobile and has a tendency to throw into traffic. This sets up like a good opportunity for Derek Jones’ cheetahs to be on the prowl. They need to look to force Wolff into mistakes in the passing game. The Hokies need to also be on the lookout for TE Zach Kuntz. He’s an NFL prospect and one of the top ten tight ends going into next year’s draft. He’s a player that the Hokies need to keep an eye on.

ODU already has some familiarity with Virginia Tech quarterback Grant Wells. They played against him while he was with Marshall last season. Wells threw for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns in that game but also threw 2 interceptions. He will need to cut down on the turnovers to keep ODU from getting any short fields. The last time the Hokies lost an opener was against Boston College on the road in 2019. That day, the offense turned the ball over five times. They need to avoid the turnover bug on Friday.

Another area the Hokies will want to watch out for is on kick and punt returns. ODU was one of the best kick and punt return units in the country last season. Former Hokies recruiting target, Lamareon James, is ODU’s kick and punt returner. He is electric with the ball in his hands. The Hokies coverage teams will need to be ready, otherwise he can house one.

A lot of the national experts out there are underrating the Hokies. Yes, the Fuente-coached Hokies have looked awful in the past few seasons. That’s true. But this is a new regime and there is still talent on this roster. Does that mean the Hokies will blow the doors off ODU? No. But there is enough to win on the road against a middle-of-the-road Sun Belt team. It won’t look pretty, but they’ll get it done.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 30, Old Dominion 20

2022 Virginia Tech Season Preview

New era. Who dis?

Brent Pry has a lot of work to do. The Fuente era left a lot of areas that need improvement. The first area of focus needs to be to improve the roster. There are very few all-conference players on this team. If other ACC teams had the opportunity to switch players with the Hokies, I don’t know how many would. If Tech hopes to improve on last year’s 6-7 season, this coaching staff will need to work some magic with the roster.

Offense

The previous staff was a little too conservative on offense — especially in the 4th quarter. They relied too much on “expected outcomes”. Usually, those expected outcomes were plays that didn’t go for many yards. If the new staff can take the reigns off this offense, we should see more big plays than last season. At least get the ball into the hands of your playmakers.

I don’t know a whole lot about Grant Wells but what I see from him, he looks like he should be a solid QB for the Hokies. A good arm and accurate with some mobility. He’s not a game-changing talent but there’s enough there to win you football games. I see him as another Ryan Willis / Michael Brewer-type QB. You know what you’re getting from them and it’s enough to win you football games.

In the past few years, the Hokies have also had to rely on the backup quarterback. The Hokies have a solid backup in Jason Brown. Last year, he registered wins against Florida and Auburn. Although, like Wells, he is not a game-changing talent, he is able to win you football games in a pinch. Winning games in the SEC is nice to have on your resume.

The Hokies should feel good about what they have at running back. Malachi Thomas was impressive as a true freshman. In a scheme that is set up to let running backs shine, Malachi Thomas should be able to put up even better numbers. Behind him, they should get solid play from Jalen Holston. Holston will need to prove he can be more consistent than he was last season. With Joe Rudolph coordinating the run game, this is an offense that will be friendly to running backs.

The receiving room definitely has some question marks. The only known quantity that is expected to get serious playing time is Kaleb Smith. And most of his work has come as a backup the last couple of years. If this is going to be successful group, the newcomers will need to step up and fill the void. If the Hokies can’t get production out of those newcomers, this offense might be stuck in mud all season.

The offensive line doesn’t have a lot of depth but they will have elite coaching. Joe Rudolph is one of the best offensive line coaches in college football. He is the right guy to take a young line and mold them into functional group this year. This is a position group that needs to avoid the injury bug. An injury or two on the line would dampen the ability for this offense to move the ball.

The biggest change will be the new scheme and new coaches. These coaches will let the players go out there and make plays. The previous staff put the reins on the office too much. The staff needs to let their playmakers make plays.

Defense

There are some good pieces on the defensive side of the ball. Including a couple of players that have not reached their potential the last few years. This new, defensive-minded staff should be able to get more from this defensive talent. If we know one thing, it’s that Brent Pry knows how to coach defense.

The defensive line doesn’t have a ton of depth but they have enough that they should be okay. They should be able to go two deep at both at end and at tackle. Should injuries pile up, things might get a little dicey. For now, this is a solid group that could get All-ACC play from their two starting defensive tackles. The defensive ends will need to get more pressure than they did last year to improve this defense. Quarterbacks last year had too much time to throw.

Linebacker is the position group that concerns me the most on defense. Too many guys that haven’t been consistent in the past. Will the new staff be able to maximize their strengths? These linebackers will need to learn and adapt to the new scheme that they were not recruited for. The Hokies will need to get more sideline-to-sideline play from this group. There has been too much inconsistent play from this position group in the past couple of years. And there are questions about speed and coverage ability in this group.

I like the defensive backs group quite a bit. This is an underrated group. Dorian Strong has the potential to reclaim his play from 2020 when he was a freshman All-American. You also have Armani Chatman and Brion Murray who have been solid. Not to mention DJ Harvey who has the potential to have a breakout season. The big unknown is what to expect from the boundary safety position. If someone steps in that role, this should be a pretty good group.

If there is an area that should improve the most with the new coaches, it should be the defense. After finishing ranked 78th in total defense last year, expect a big improvement. The Hokies should be able to rely on the defense once again.

Final Thoughts

This team might not look great right out the gate. Those first few games might include a couple of squeakers. The offense will look rough at times. The hope is that the defense is able to carry this team at the beginning of year. If the defense is also struggling, it might be a long year. You can expect an improved defense and an offense that will get better week-to-week. That four game stretch in the middle of the schedule is going to be tough. This roster isn’t ready yet to compete in tough games like those. Especially the ones on the road. All the other games on the schedule are winnable but the defense needs to keep Tech in the game. This should look like classic VT — tough defense and a ground-and-pound offense. A good foundation to build on.

Tough games (<40% chance to win)

at North Carolina, at Pittsburgh, Miami and at NC State. Getting even a single win from this group of games is a bonus for this season. It would be great if the Hokies could pull an upset in that game at home against Miami.

Toss-up games (50-50 games)

Boston College, West Virginia, at Georgia Tech, at Liberty, Virginia. You can judge this season based on these five games. They will represent the difference between 9-3 and 3-9. If the Hokies can get three wins out of this group, they should be in good shape toward bowl eligibility. Based on how the home-road games break down, the Hokies have a good chance to post a good record in these games.

Should win games (>60% to win)

at Old Dominion, at Duke. The Hokies need to stop losing these type of games. Under the previous staff, the losses against ODU and Liberty were coach killers. The Hokies have to be able to win games against G5 opponents. That should be a given at a school with a strong football history like Virginia Tech. Duke is one of the weakest ACC teams this season and the game is at Duke which has always been friendly to the Hokies.

Must win games (>90% to win)

Wofford. The Hokies need to treat this game as a tune up, and not squeak by like they have been the past couple of years.

Key games for the Hokies: at Old Dominion, West Virginia, Virginia

Upset Alert: at Old Dominion

Game by Game Predictions

at Old Dominion (Fri.)This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg
Boston CollegeThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg
WoffordThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg
West Virginia (Thurs.)This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg
at North Carolinahttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/North_Carolina_Tar_Heels_logo.svg/300px-North_Carolina_Tar_Heels_logo.svg.png
at Pitt
MiamiMiami Hurricanes - Wikipedia
at NC State (Thurs.)
Georgia TechThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg
at DukeThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg
at LibertyThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg
VirginiaThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg


Final Regular Season Record: 8-4 (4-4 in the ACC)
Expected finish: 3rd in the ACC Coastal

Pinstripe Bowl Preview and Prediction

Hokies are back in the bowl season for the first time in two years. Between transfers, opt-outs and Covid protocols the Hokies are down to a skeleton crew. Let’s hope they have enough players to play on Wednesday. The depth at WR and CB is starting to look a bit dicey.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 62nd
Offense: 74th
Defense: 47th
Special Team: 28th

Maryland

Overall: 68th
Offense: 34th
Defense: 86th
Special Team: 122nd

Maryland looks a lot like Virginia. A big-time passing attack led by Taulia Tagovailoa (Tua’s brother). This is not a great game for the Hokies to be without Jermaine Waller. Virginia Tech’s best chance in this game is to stop the run and try to force Tagovailoa into a couple of turnovers.

The Hokies should be able to run the ball against Maryland. They would be wise to run the ball over and over again with Blumrick, Blackshear and Malachi Thomas. Virginia Tech needs to run the ball and control the clock. They do not want to get into a shootout with Maryland. It’s the same gameplan that has worked for the Hokies late in the season. If Tech starts throwing the ball all over the field, then it’s time to worry.

All things being equal Tech has the better team. But after opt outs, transfers and Covid absences, it seems like Maryland will have the better squad. It’s hard to imagine VT winning with their backup QB, backup WRs and backup CBs. This game will look like the 2018 Cincinnati bowl game and 2019 Kentucky bowl game. A frustrating way to end another frustrating season.

Prediction: Maryland 28, Virginia Tech 17

How did I do with my predictions this year?

I had a better read on this team in the preseason than in my week-to-week picks. My week-to-week picks got too influenced by what a roller coaster this team was. In the preseason, I saw this as a 7-5 team. I ended up picking a 6-6 result in my week-to-week picks but I got SIX of the games wrong. I did okay in my preseason picks. I only missed on the big win against UNC and the two losses at home against Pitt and Syracuse. Maybe next year I’ll stick with my gut on my preseason picks.

Game Preseason PredictionGame Week PredictionActual Outcome
North Carolinahttps://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/d7/North_Carolina_Tar_Heels_logo.svg/300px-North_Carolina_Tar_Heels_logo.svg.pngUNC 35 – 21VT 17 – 10
Middle TennesseeThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svgVT 34 – 13VT 35 – 14
at West VirginiaWest Virginia Mountaineers - WikipediaVT 23 – 20WVU 27 – 21
RichmondThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svgVT 35 – 7 VT 21 – 10
Notre DameNotre Dame Fighting Irish - WikipediaND 23 – 17ND 32 – 29
PittsburghThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svgPitt 31 – 17Pitt 28 – 7
SyracuseThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svgCuse 24 – 21Cuse 41 – 36
at Georgia TechThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svg GT 28 – 21VT 26 – 17
at Boston CollegeBoston College Eagles - WikipediaVT 28 – BC 10BC 17 – 3
DukeThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svgVT 35 – 13VT 48 – 17
at MiamiMiami Hurricanes - WikipediaVT 33 – 30Miami 38 – 26
at VirginiaThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is logo-white.svgUVA 38 – 35VT 29 – 24

Virginia vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

This game feels like it has consequences beyond bragging rights almost every year. This year the Hokies will need to get a win to become bowl eligible. The bowl streak ended last year, so making a lower tier bowl game wouldn’t be a huge accomplishment. But it might be a nice reward for the players who have kept fighting all season.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 57th
Offense: 73rd
Defense: 39th
Special Team: 38th

Virginia

Overall: 46th
Offense: 7th
Defense: 92nd
Special Team: 75th

Virginia has an elite passing offense. They rank 2nd in the nation in passing offense. Brennan Armstrong ranks 2nd in the nation in passing yards per game and 1st in the nation in total offense. If Virginia Tech is not at their best defending the pass, they could get lit up by this Virginia offense.

Virginia has one of the worst defenses the Hokies will face this season. They are about as bad as Duke’s defense. If the Hokies hope to win this game, they must run the ball, control the clock and keep the score low. If this turns into a shootout, the Wahoos are more likely to win. Ball control is the name of the game this week.

These rivalry games are tough to predict. As we know from previous years, throw out the records when these teams play. This game is about pride and bragging rights. Virginia is playing well on offense now that Brennan Armstrong is back. The Hokies will need to play their A-game on defense to keep the Wahoos from lighting up the scoreboard. If the Hokies can control the clock, they will be able to keep the game close. It’ll be a close game but the ‘Hoos win it late in the 4th quarter.

Prediction: Virginia 35, Virginia Tech 28

Miami vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

It was the right decision to let Justin Fuente go. The timing was strange but I’m sure there were reasons for that. Maybe the job needed to be open to have serious conversations with interested coaches. The Fuente era started with a lot of promise but lost momentum and finally reached the point of no return.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 44th
Offense: 67th
Defense: 25th
Special Team: 32nd

Miami

Overall: 32nd
Offense: 22nd
Defense: 47th
Special Team: 50th

Miami is a good passing team. They are 16th in the nation in passing offense. Tyler Van Dyke has been good for the Hurricanes. He’s thrown for over 2,000 yards, 19 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. The Hokies boast the nation’s 15th ranked passing defense. So it should be strength vs strength when Miami is on offense.

Miami’s run defense has been a bit leaky in recent weeks. The Hokies would be smart to keep the ball on the ground with Malachi Thomas and Raheem Blackshear. Tackling has been an issue for Miami this year, so VT would be smart to test them early and often in that area.

There may be some extra juice from the players to play under former VT player JC Price. They still have the opportunity to make a bowl game and the seniors will want to close the season strong. They don’t want to be the team that got their coach fired. So while this season has been up and down, I think we see some fight from these guys in the last two regular season games.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 33, Miami 30

Duke vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

Virginia Tech had a chance to get back in position for a bowl game but couldn’t get it done. As soon as Braxton Burmeister went out, the Hokies offense couldn’t get going. They have three more opportunities to get two wins to qualify for a bowl. Their best remaining opportunity is this Saturday at home against Duke.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 50th
Offense: 70th
Defense: 32nd
Special Team: 37th

Duke

Overall: 97th
Offense: 89th
Defense: 102nd
Special Team: 97th

The Duke offense moves the ball well but they struggle to score in the red zone. This is a balanced offense. They run and throw the ball well but they tend to stall the closer they get to the red zone. The Hokies need to be able to stop drives and hold the Blue Devils to field goals.

The Duke defense may be the worst defense that Virginia Tech faces this year. Virginia Tech should be able to run the ball with Malachi Thomas and Raheem Blackshear. The question is who is going to play quarterback? Will Braxton be back? Will they go back to Kadum? Will Connor Blumrick be back from injury? If the Hokies can find a quarterback that can complete passes, they have a good chance to win.

This is a tough game to predict without knowing who will play quarterback for Virginia Tech. If the Hokies have Burmeister back, I like their chances. If he’s not back, I’m not so sure. Either way, I think Virginia Tech has more talent across the board than Duke. I’m also thinking that Virginia Tech will want to win on Senior Day. I think they find a way to get it done.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 35, Duke 13

Boston College vs Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

I give the Hokies a lot of credit for getting off the mat against Georgia Tech. They had a couple of crushing losses going into that game, so picking up a win on the road is no small task. It also bodes well for their chances at a bowl and their chances to pick up a couple more wins in the last 4 games.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 39th
Offense: 57th
Defense: 32nd
Special Teams: 53rd

Boston College

Overall: 68th
Offense: 53rd
Defense: 68th
Special Teams: 50th

Boston College has been BAD on offense since they lost Phil Jurkovec. They are averaging 10 points per game in conference games this year. Yikes. That makes VT’s offense look explosive. Boston College would be smart to keep the ball on the ground against Virginia Tech’s defense. They have had some success running the ball. Trying to throw against VT’s secondary wouldn’t go well for them. Without Jurkovec, that seems like the only gameplan that might work to get any sort of offense going.

Virginia Tech needs to run the ball early and often. The Hokies can’t get cute on offense. They need to line up and run the ball right at BC’s defense. The Eagles rush defense is suspect. This isn’t the game for the Hokies to be tossing the ball all over the field. They can have a lot of success by keeping the ball on the ground and grinding out yards. Malachi Thomas and Raheem Blackshear need to play big roles in this game.

This seems like a good matchup for the Hokies. I worry a little about an empty stadium on a cold Friday night in Boston. But all things being equal, the Hokies have the better team. The key factors for the Hokies will be stopping the run and being able to establish the run game. If they can do both those things, they should be able to come out of Boston with a comfortable win.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 28, Boston College 10

Georgia Tech vs. Virginia Tech Preview and Prediction

The Hokies have put themselves in position to win. But they can’t seem to close the deal. Last week, the offense finally showed up but the defense didn’t. At some point, both sides of the ball will show up and the Hokies will put another win on the board. The prospects of a bowl game are starting to look dicey.

SP+ Rankings

Virginia Tech

Overall: 43rd
Offense: 57th
Defense: 38th
Special Teams: 57th

Georgia Tech

Overall: 50th
Offense: 47th
Defense: 50th
Special Teams: 94th

Georgia Tech is a solid offensive team. The throw and run the ball well. Like Syracuse, they are a team that creates running plays from their quarterback and running backs. A running QB gave the Hokies a lot of trouble last week. This is an area that has given the Hokies a lot of trouble for years now. The Hokies need to do a better job of spying the quarterback if they hope to slow down Georgia Tech’s offense.

The Yellow Jackets are not a good defensive team. This is a team the Hokies should be able to put up some yards on. Virginia Tech would be smart to lean on a similar gameplan to last week’s. Run the ball. Get Malachi Thomas involved and not force the issue in the pass game. There should be some space this week for the offense to operate. Georgia Tech’s defense looks like a better matchup for the Hokies than Syracuse did.

This looks like an even matchup. Georgia Tech has a better offense. Virginia Tech has a better defense. In even matchups like this, I like to go with the home team. Virginia Tech is dealing with a lot of internal turmoil and a road trip is not what they need to turn things around. It’ll be a close game. This game will come down to the 4th quarter and like the Notre Dame and Syracuse games, Georgia Tech makes enough plays down the stretch to get the win.

Prediction: Georgia Tech 28, Virginia Tech 21

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