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.