Four-Year Trend: 2008 (10-4), 2009 (10-3), 2010 (11-3), 2011 (11-3)
Notable Player: QB Logan Thomas. He has a big-time arm and at an athletic 6’6″ 260 lbs is a threat in the run game. He showed brilliant flashes as a sophomore in 2011. As a junior, he will have to make plays. The Hokies lose all four guards and tackles, two starting wide receivers and first-round running back David Wilson from last year’s team.
Top Newcomers: Joel Caleb (S), J.C. Coleman (RB), Deon Clarke (LB), Ken Ekanem (DE), Jarontay Jones (DE)
Circle This Game: Virginia Tech at Clemson [Oct. 20] Virginia Tech lost twice in the ACC last season, both times to Clemson. The Hokies will want revenge and a strong start to the three-game stretch that will define their season.
Why We Like Them: Consistency. Frank Beamer’s Hokies are coming off their eighth-straight 10-win season and their 13th in the last 17 years. This is rooted in defense. Bud Foster has been an assistant for Beamer since 1987* and defensive coordinator since 1995. He routinely churns out excellent defenses and returns nine starters. The Hokies struggled at times last year, but, healthy and focused, they were their normal aggressive selves against Michigan in the Sugar Bowl.
Best-Case Scenario: The Hokies beat Georgia Tech in the opener, ride their soft schedule into late October and win two out of three in their tough three-game stretch – at Clemson, at Miami and Florida State at home – to finish 11-1 and play for the ACC Title.
Worst-Case Scenario: The defense is not elite. The offense sputters due to attrition. The Hokies proceed decently against a soft opening schedule but fade down the stretch to finish 7-5.
Lean and Mean: Frank Beamer has lost 32 pounds since spring practice ended. He started a workout regimin and dropped to a starch and sugar free 2,000 calorie per day diet. He’s down to his playing weight from the 1960s. Hope those half-zip Nike jackets come in “smedium.”
Projected Bowl: Chick-fil-A
[Photo via Presswire]