Why you should give to Hokie Club

I often hear complaints from Hokie fans. Things like why do we have to play games AT Old Dominion? Why can’t we recruit 4 and 5 star recruits like Clemson? Why do the top recruits in Virginia go out of state? Why don’t we win the ACC anymore? When are we going to be able to compete for a national championship? A lot of this is because of money. Success in big time college football these days is dictated by how much you have to spend and how big your budget is. It’s no surprise that some of the most successful teams in college football also have the biggest revenues to reinvest.

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Where is Virginia Tech on this list? Here:

virginia-tech

That’s 44th. There are only 65 Power 5 programs.  That’s in the bottom-third of the Power 5. Why is Virginia Tech so low? Largely because it lags behind its conference peers in terms of donations.

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These numbers are a little dated (they are from 2014) and they have improved some since the start of the Drive for 25 fundraising program. But the Hokies still lag behind. As of June 25, 2018 there are still only 13,787 Hokie Club members. Even if you compare that to the 2014 numbers, we’re still lagging well behind Clemson, Florida State and even NC State.

The bigger issue for me is that we have a HUGE alumni base. Virginia Tech has almost 250,000 living alums and only 4% give to Hokie Club. I get that not all of those alums are fans of athletics but still we can certainly do better than 4%. I’m sure more than 4% of our alums attend football and basketball games. I feel like I’ve seen more than 4% of our alums at football and basketball games.

hokienation

So at this point you might be rolling your eyes say I don’t have a lot of money to give to Hokie Club. I get it. The great thing is you don’t have to. If you give the minimum, it’s only $100 a year or $8.33 a month. If you have a degree from Virginia Tech you can probably afford that. And every little bit helps. Virginia Tech can make up a lot of ground with a lot of small donations rather than a few big ones. Which is why the Drive for 25 wants 25,000 Hokie Club members – not a specific dollar amount. They just want new members.

So consider giving to Hokie Club. First, because you’re giving to a good cause. Virginia Tech athletes work very hard and you’re giving those young men and women the opportunity to get a world class education. Secondly, it’s for the reasons I led off with. With a bigger budget, the Hokies can compete at a level that they haven’t been able to in the past. It gives us more control over who we schedule, who we recruit and where we spend our money – facilities, dorms, support staff, etc. But more importantly, do it because you love Virginia Tech.

TODAY is the DAY! Support Virginia Tech football and join the Drive for 25!

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North Carolina Preview and Prediction

This game is a mismatch. Not much in this matchup favors the Hokies. North Carolina is firing on all cylinders and are winners of nine straight. It’s hard to see a way that the Hokies can win this game.

North Carolina is a great rushing team with an even better running quarterback. Better hope that the Hokies have somehow figured out a way to contain a running quarterback otherwise Marquise Williams could run for 200 yards. There are plenty of playmakers to worry about on the UNC offense. This group is firing on all cylinders. No one has come close to stopping them in the last two games.

The defense is beatable but will require dedication to running the football. This is not a team that you can easily beat through the air. A consistent running game will control the clock and keep the UNC offense off the field. That is a good formula to beat these guys.

If you’re looking for reasons to be hopeful, UNC has only played two true road games this season. TWO! And both of them went down to the last possession. A seven point win against Georgia Tech and a seven point win against Pitt. Since then they’ve blasted Duke at home by 35 and Miami at home by 38.

My sense is that UNC is a team that thrives at home and may be feeling a bit too good about themselves going into a difficult road game at Virginia Tech. This should be the best crowd the Hokies have seen since the Ohio State game and should be at full throat from start to finish. On paper, the Tarheels are a much better team. These games aren’t played on paper and the Hokies should have the emotional edge. I’m not picking against Frank Beamer in his last home game. Go Hokies!

Prediction: Virginia Tech 34, UNC 28

Grading the Unis

Ohio State

Helmet: B

Jersey/Pants combo: A

Overall: B+

The Hokies have worn far worse in big games (see Alabama 2013). This uni looked pretty good. It’s always hard to make an orange helmet work with a uniform that was almost completely maroon. But the helmet didn’t look out of place. Wasn’t my favorite uni ever but it looked pretty good overall.

 Furman

Helmet: B

Jersey/Pants combo: A

Overall: B+

I really liked the helmet. Only loses points for being a rehash of Navy’s helmet from 2013. The jersey/pants combo is the best white uni combo we have. A problem we’ve had in the past was pairing a good jersey/pants combo with a bad helmet (see the cartoon helmets from 2012). This uni combo was a winner. The only issue I can find with it is that it’s not particularly original.

Ohio State Q&A with Phil Harrison of CollegeFootballNews.com

This week’s guest is Phil Harrison of CollegeFootballNews.com and CampusInsiders.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFB.

What are your expectations for Ohio State this season?

It’s National Championship or bust. What was a young team last year is now a seasoned one, there is NFL talent across the board, and the ships being steered by one of, if not the best college football coach in the game today. Repeating won’t be easy, and there will be many land-mines along the way, but it all starts and ends with the College Football Playoff. Anything less would leave a sour taste in everyone’s mouth in Columbus.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game?

I for one believe this is going to be a whale of a game. Virginia Tech was the only team able to crack the scarlet and gray code last year, and last I checked, Bud Foster was still calling the shots on defense. Sure OSU is a much different team than that fateful night in the ‘Shoe last year, but the it’ll be an electric environment in Blacksburg, with a team that has more than enough talent and coaching to make things very, very interesting.

What is the perception among Ohio State fans about VT’s program? What is the level of excitement like among fans about going to Lane Stadium to play VT?

The Hokies are well respected around the Ohio State program. In fact, over a decade ago, when Jim Tressel grabbed the keys to the OSU program, he was more than kind with his praise of Virginia Tech, stating publicly that it was one of the programs that he wanted to pattern the Buckeyes after. Yes, Virginia Tech has fallen on leaner times recently, but when you think of the Hokies, you think of great secondaries, NFL talent, and a hard-nosed and well-coached team that gets after it with bad intentions.

And the excitement level? Anytime you go to a place that you haven’t been before against a team the caliber of Virginia Tech, it’s something to get excited about. But to be honest, at least for Ohio State fans, it’s seen as a revenge game. All the Monday morning quarterbacks would be better served being satisfied with simply getting out of the Blacksburg night with a win.

What is your prediction for the game?

It’ll be a donnybrook. I would not be surprised one bit to see this be a fourth-quarter game. The Hokies may have struggled with injuries and consistency last year after the tussle in Columbus, but just like OSU wants to show everyone that last year was a fluke, Virginia Tech would like to show the world that it wasn’t. Both teams will trade punches defensively early on, but I do like Ohio State to wrestle it away at the end via a much more seasoned quarterback under center than last time the two met. Ohio State 27 Virginia Tech 20.

Q&A with Mike Kline from the Duke Sports Blog

You can follow Mike Kline on twitter @MikeKlineDSB

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

So far Duke has either met or exceeded my expectations on the season. Most expected a good team with a good record, but not sure many believed, even with a favorable schedule that they’d be 8-1 and in position to be in the drivers seat in the coastal. Duke is not all things for everyone, but they are a team that believes they can win.  Anthony Boone has been at times very good and the running game has been surprisingly good. Defensively they’ve done well against the pass, but struggled against the run. They are a team with a lot of momentum heading into the Virginia Tech game.

What are your expectations going into the VT game?

Duke has had two back to back games against physical opponents so their could be a combination of fatigue and some bruises to account for when they take on the Hokies. They also have the risk of looking ahead at UNC on the big Thursday night matchup next week so minds could be else where.

The good news for the Blue Devils is that they are at home and after years of being the doormat they believe they can beat anyone.

Virginia Tech has definitely had a down year since beating Ohio State, but the fact is they are still a formidable opponent for Duke and one that they cannot look past.

Who do you think is going to win the Coastal Division?

Right now, unless Duke has a total collapse, I think the Blue Devils will take the Coastal Division as long as they win two of their next three games and get some help in some other games. Obviously if they win out they will take the crown for the second straight year. I just have the feeling this is another special year for the Blue Devils so I think they’ll get the job done.

What is your prediction for the game?

I think this is a game that can go either way but I expect something similar to what we saw between these two teams last year. I think Duke wins a low scoring game, though I don’t count out the Hokies at all. It wouldn’t be shocking if they pulled out the W, but I think Duke wins 21-17.

Boston College Q&A with @SoaringtoGlory

You can follow Joe @SoaringtoGlory on Twitter.

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

Boston College is right around where I expected them to be overall, but didn’t get there the way anyone expected.  Beat USC, lose to Colorado State?  Take Clemson to the wire, nearly blow a 20-point lead against Wake?  The Eagles are unpredictable but I never bought the media’s prophesies of doom for this team, especially those that killed BC after losing Andre Williams.  BC wasn’t massively underrated, but they were underrated to an extent, which is nothing new to us really.  We’re looking like a bowl team again and I’m satisfied.

What are your expectations going into the VT game?

Were the Hokies still ranked, the expectations would be minimal.  The Eagles haven’t played a good game at Lane Stadium in years, but Boston College is catching Virginia Tech at the right time.  This is about as good a chance they’ve had of beating VT in their building since we had Matt Ryan.  I am not expecting a win at this point but I am expecting that the Eagles will at least be in the game in the fourth quarter.  Part of it is that nobody knows how the Hokies are going to respond to the Miami embarrassment.

What are your thoughts on VT being BC’s inter-division rival? Do you like the arrangement or would you like to see BC matched with another team?

This rivalry game has served us well for a long time — I noted on my own site that these two teams have only gone one year since 1993 where they did not see one another.  There is a familiarity with playing the Hokies every year, and while I wouldn’t mind one-year breaks now and then, I have no issues with keeping the series going indefinitely.

What is your prediction for the game?

I’m debating this — my response might change several times from now until Saturday morning.  As for now, you caught me at a time when I’m expecting a narrow VT win.  The Hokies are clearly in trouble but I don’t think they’re as bad as they looked last Thursday.  Thing is, their run defense looked porous at best and that’s bad news if the Eagles run game gets going.  I don’t put too much stock into BC being 3-0 on the road as they’ve played lesser opposition all three times.  Even beating a relatively down VT team on the road would be worthy of praise.

Miami Preview and Prediction

The Hokies are 4-3 overall, 1-2 in the Coastal. They are staring 4-4 and the battle for bowl eligibility square in the face. They have more injuries than you’d care to count. Their freshman mike linebacker will be making his starting debut on Thursday night. They are missing their top 2 running backs. The offensive line can’t stop committing pre-snap penalties. They have four freshmen starting on offense. The quarterback has thrown as many interceptions as he has touchdowns. But you know what? It’s Thursday night. It’s Blacksburg. The Hokies backs are against the wall. This is when this team does their best work.

If Bud Foster can’t scheme around having to start freshman Andrew Motuapuaka at mike linebacker, then Duke Johnson has the potential to have a huge day. The Hokies defense has to bottle him up like they did James Conner much of last Thursday night but they need to avoid all the missed tackles. They need better play out of Kyshoen Jarrett who had a rough night against Pittsburgh. The Hokies will need his help stopping Duke Johnson in the run game and Phillip Dorsett in pass game.

Brad Kaaya is off to a good start in his career at Miami. However, he has not been particular impressive on the road except for a good performance at Nebraska (where he also threw two picks). This is a game where if the Hokies defense can bottle up Duke Johnson then they put a true freshman quarterback against a Bud Foster defense. That’s a match-up that Bud Foster wins almost every time.

Overall, the Miami defense has been better than in recent year. They rank 22nd in total defense. Their achilles heel appears to be stopping the run. There is a little more hope for the Hokies this week with Marshawn Williams coming back from injury and Wyatt Teller and David Wang starting on the offensive line. The running game was much better in the second half of last week’s game with those two in the lineup. Not to say that the Hokies will be able to run the ball effectively this week, but the chances are certainly better than they were last week.

Another key to this game will be the Hokies ability to convert on third down. Miami’s third down defense is only ranked 79th in the country where they are only stopping opposing teams 39.7% of the time. The running game needs to try to keep the Hokies out of third and long. But if they do get behind the chains, Michael Brewer needs to make good decisions and accurate throws to get first downs against this Miami defense. This is something he has been able to do fairly well throughout the course of the season.

This game will ultimately be decided by penalties and turnovers. Both of these teams have issues with both. The team who can take care of the ball and not beat themselves is going to win this game. Here’s hoping the Hokies can put the issues that they had with penalties last week behind them.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, it’s Thursday night. It’s Blacksburg. It’s the Miami Hurricanes. If you can’t get excited about this one, you might want to take a second look at your fandom. This is the type of game where the Hokies always play their best. The players always get fired up for Enter Sandman, the fireworks and playing under the lights on national TV (and possibly #AllMaroonEverything?). We know this team can be really good but we also know this team can be pretty bad and the injuries are starting to mount. Let’s hope it’s a vintage Thursday night performance in Blacksburg and the Hokies can get themselves back in the Coastal race.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 27, Miami 13

Miami Q&A with StateOfTheU.com

You can follow Jerry Steinberg @TheStateOfTheU on Twitter or visit his website at StateOfTheU.com.

What are your thoughts on your team so far?

In all honestly I am disappointed. The defense, while statistically improved, failed miserably in Miami’s losses to Georgia Tech and Nebraska. The offense has been explosive, and freshman QB Brad Kaaya has been all that was advertised and more, but third down struggles have also cost the ‘Canes in their three losses.  More than anything I am upset that some of the same failures of recent seasons (consistency on both sides of the ball, ability to stop the run) have shown up again this year.

What are your expectations going into the VT game?

I expect Miami’s offense to move the ball against the injuries riddled Hokies D.  Duke Johnson is tough to stop for anyone. Kaaya looks better each time out.  But I also expect the Hokies O to get “healthy” against UM’s D.  Miami has yet to show the ability to stop the opposition in this type games during the Golden/D’Onofrio era.  Until it happens, in a big game against a good team, a solid/game-winning type defensive performance is not to be expected. Even in the biggest win n recent years (Last season Vs UF) it was more about forcing turnovers than making consistent plays.  Look for a high scoring game.

At this point, how do you see the Coastal division shaking out? Which team do you think will end up winning the division?

As much as Miami’s issues frustrate me, I realize that each and every team in the division has problems.  Someone is going to win, and I think 5-3 gets it done.  I’d like to say Miami, but my guess is it ends up being Duke again.

What is your prediction for the game?

Miami makes a bunch of big plays on offense, but gives up a few as well, and loses the special teams battle. However a key late turnover saves their season in a 31-27 win.

Why can’t the Hokies have an SEC-sized offensive line?

It seems whenever the SEC plays, I see Hokie fans on message boards and on Twitter pose the question, “Why can’t we have an o-line like [insert SEC team here].” In a recent Twitter conversation with @hokiesmash, he posed the question why can’t the Hokies have an offensive line at least as good as Pitt or BC’s? Pitt and BC might not be the gold standard for great offensive play but they are consistently good in the ACC and should be a model for the Hokies to follow. So the question is, why are Pitt and BC’s offensive lines better than the Hokies? Let’s look deeper into if that’s true and if so, why?

Recruiting

Where do Pitt and BC recruit their linemen from and how talented are they perceived to be when they enroll?
* Star values come from 247sports.com’s composite rankings

Pittsburgh

2014 Commits: PA (2), MI, CT
1 4stars  3 3stars

2013 Commits: PA (3), OH, NY
1 5star3stars 1 2stars

2012 Commits: PA, WI
1 4stars 1 2stars

2011 Commits: PA, NY
1 3stars 1 2stars

States Represented: PA (7), NY (2), CT, OH, MI, WI
Average Stars: 3.08 stars 3stars

Pittsburgh

Boston College

2014 Commits: MA (2), GA
3 3stars

2013 Commits: No Offensive Line Commits

2012 Commits: VA, MA, NJ
3 3stars

2011 Commits: MA (2), IL (2), PA, MD
4 3stars 3 2stars

States Represented: MA (4), IL (2), NJ, PA, MD, VA, GA
Average Stars: 2.77 stars 3stars

BostonCollege

Virginia Tech

2014 Commits: NJ (2), PA, OH
4 3stars

2013 Commits: VA (3)
3 3stars

2012 Commits: VA (2), PA (2)
1 3stars 3 2stars

2011 Commits: VA
1 3stars

States Represented: VA (6), PA (3), NJ (2), OH
Average stars: 2.75 stars 3stars

VirginiaTech

Do the Hokies recruit the same areas as Pitt and BC? Yes. All three schools have recruited the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

Do the Hokies have roughly the same recruiting success as Pitt and BC? Pitt’s offensive line recruiting has been better than both BC and VT. Pitt has one 5-star and two 4-star offensive line recruits. BC and VT have no 4 or 5 star offensive line recruits.

How have the results been different on the field been different over the last 4 years?

Pittsburgh

2014 Rushing Offense Ranking: 19th
2014 Sacks Allowed: 51st

2013 Rushing Offense Ranking: 102nd
2013 Sacks Allowed: 118th

2012 Rushing Offense Ranking: 92nd
2012 Sacks Allowed: 102nd

Boston College

2014 Rushing Offense Ranking: 8th
2014 Sacks Allowed: 34th

2013 Rushing Offense Ranking: 20th
2013 Sacks Allowed: 44th

2012 Rushing Offense Ranking: 115th
2012 Sacks Allowed: 106th

Virginia Tech

2014 Rushing Offense Ranking: 77th
2014 Sacks Allowed: 51st

2013 Rushing Offense Ranking: 109th
2013 Sacks Allowed: 96th

2012 Rushing Offense Ranking: 79th
2012 Sacks Allowed: 60th

oline-rankings

Boston College has by far been the most successful team on the offensive line. The 2012 season was nightmare that they rebounded nicely from. Pitt has not been better than the Hokies for the last two years before a huge improvement this year (hello James Conner). For the Hokies, 2012 was a mediocre year on the offensive line. 2013 was downright awful. So far, 2014 has been a return to mediocrity. So what does all this tell us and what do the Hokies need to do?

Well, out of the three teams analyzed, the Hokies are definitely getting the least out of their recruits. You can blame it on coaching transitions (three coaches in the last three years) or you can blame it on the quality of those coaches. I do not have enough insight into the program to give you the answer to that question but the level of production is clear. So what’s the answer? In my opinion it’s two-fold – pick a fertile recruiting area where you feel like you can be successful then get those recruits to sign with your program. Stacy Searels appears to be favoring the Southeast (Virginia to Florida) but he has gone as far as Massachusetts for a recruit. The biggest issue is picking an area where the Hokies can win the recruiting battles. It doesn’t make sense to spend a lot of time recruiting guys in the South who are going to the SEC anyway. It would seem like the low-hanging fruit would be recruiting the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic but if Stacy Searels feels like he can be successful in the Southeast – I hope he feels like he can close the deal with those recruits. Otherwise, the Hokies will not be getting any better on the offensive line any time soon. Virginia Tech will not be successful with the SEC’s leftovers. They are better off following Pitt and BC’s example by recruiting the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. Then have some stability on the coaching staff to get the most out of those recruits.