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Our Enemies: Why the Hokies Will Win/Lose the ACC in 2009

I polled a few bloggers and other ACC media folks I know and asked them to answer two simple questions:

1. Why will Virginia Tech win the ACC in 2009?
2. Why won't Virginia Tech win the ACC in 2009?

I told them they could write as much or as little as they wanted and be as snarky as they wanted. The results give us a good idea at what our soon to be vanquished foes think about the 2009 edition of Virginia Tech football. Thanks to everyone who participated. Enjoy.

Brian - BC Interruption

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

- The Hokies will be battle tested early with games against Alabama, Nebraska and Miami Fla. in September

- Bud Foster's defenses are always solid

- Georgia Tech loses too much on the defensive side of the ball and North Carolina loses too much in the wide receiving corps

- I don't know ... ACC program collusion? The conference needs a national championship contender to be regarded as legitimate and the Hokies have the best (only?) shot this season.

- The Hokies miss both Florida State and Clemson this year on the Atlantic Division and play BC and Maryland, two Atlantic teams not projected to make much noise this year

- The only Atlantic Division team the Hokies play that is expected to do anything in the Atlantic (NC State) ... you play them in November. The Wolfpack are dropping like flies already and it is only August. Do you really expect Russell Wilson to still be playing by then?

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

- Did I say battle tested? Could a tough September leave the Hokies banged up and bruised for the ACC slate of games?

- Phil Steele's turnover margin theory (with 80% confidence)

- They travel to Atlanta this year to play the other Tech, and the Hokies needed a couple BS officiating calls to beat the Jackets last season

- The ugly side of Tyrod's passing game when he goes up against a formidable defense. October 18, 2008 at Boston College. 12 of 27 passing, 90 yards, 1 INT.

- ... I mean Tyrod Taylor's total passing game. 2 TDs total in the air last year??

- An ACC three-peat? This isn't the late 1990s and you aren't Florida State.

- There's too much parity in the ACC these days, as indicated by the Division races coming down to the last weekends of the regular season.

- Complete the following SAT analog. Clemson : Alabama :: Virginia Tech : Alabama

- Tech's O-line allowed 3.4 sacks per game over the last two seasons, worst in the ACC.

- Two words. Bryan. Stinespring. Oh, and you can't call-in and grill Beamer about Stinespring, either.

- You almost lost to Duke last year.

- Say what you will about BC's attendance in Tampa, but VT's was equally atrocious last year. Apparently Hokie fans just don't want to travel to Tampa and Miami in one year, so they can stay home in early December and start and end their season in Atlanta?

- Virginia has got to win the Commonwealth Cup one of these years, right? Right??

NoleCC - Scalp 'Em

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

They won't. The arrogance at VT is 2nd only to BC's.

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

Because they'll continue a tradition of choking to any decent ACC team, Miami, GT or FSU in the title game.

Chris - AllCanes

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

In the words of the immortal Ric Flair, to be the man you've gotta beat the man. The ACC seems pretty wide open this year, but if someone has to be a favorite, I'd pencil in the defending champs until proven otherwise. Three of the last five league titles and two in a row is a nice feat for the Hokies.

The schedule works to Virginia Tech's favor this year with Nebraska, Miami, Boston College, North Carolina and NC State all heading into Blacksburg. A season-opening game against Alabama in Atlanta could set the tone for things to come. A win over a SEC power would be a feather in the Hokies' cap, as well as a shot in the arm for a competitive, yet disrespected ACC.

Darren Evans tearing his ACL is a blow, but Tech has enough backs in the stable ti press on. It'll take someone else stepping up -- Ryan Williams, Josh Oglesby or freshman Ryan Williams - who would need a breakthrough inaugural campaign comparable to Evans' run last year - for the Hokies to win the conference. The defense has some holes to plug, but shouldn't miss a beat with Bud Foster running the show and reloading yet again. Jason Worilds will spend many Saturdays terrorizing opposing quarterbacks. 

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

A few reasons, starting with the competitive nature of the ACC Coastal this season. Georgia Tech is a top the division with Virginia Tech and gets the Hokies at home on 10/17 - a game that very well could decide the division. Two weeks later, North Carolina visits - another rival on the rise this season. Miami visits on 9/26 and depending on how the Canes first two games go (Florida State and Georgia Tech), you could see a very fired up bunch of Hurricanes in Blacksburg on 9/26.

Tyrod Taylor is still a liability and hasn't proven he has the arm to be the go-to threat on offense. He has the legs, but until he's a legit passing threat that offense is missing a gear they need to get to that next level. 6-of-12 passing for 75 yards in a loss to Miami last year was hardly impressive. When pressured by a fast and aggressive front seven, does Taylor know what to do with the ball if his running lanes are shut down? We'll see.

The loss of Darren Evans could hurt if one of three other capable backs doesn't step up. It's easy to think that because Evans did what he did last year that true freshman Ryan Williams can have a similar impact. David Wilson and Josh Oglesby, but both played back up to Evans, last year's Orange Bowl MVP. There's a reason he played and they didn't. How that plays out in 2009 remains to be seen. 

Furthermore, the ACC has been a schizophrenic conference the past few years. Teams are up one week, down the next and as the season rolls on, every game counts. Many times this decade VPI has gotten off to a hot start, only to collapse down the stretch. That hasn't been the case as of late, but the month of November sends the Hokies on the road three of four weeks. @East Carolina, @Maryland, N.C. State and @Virginia are no cakewalk. Drop a conference game down the stretch and that could be the difference between Virginia Tech making it to Tampa or losing ground to Georgia Tech, North Carolina or Miami, all who could make a case for their potential run in the Coastal.

James - Yet Another NC State Sports Blog

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

The play of Tyrod Taylor.

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

The play of Tyrod Taylor.

Anton Azucar - Anton Azucar

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

Because the Hokies will lose to Bama and run the ACC table under the radar, a la 2004 USC and 2007 LSU.

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

Not sure really. They really should. Inbreeding?

Winfield Featherston - From the Rumble Seat

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

Because Tyrod Taylor lives up to his hype and does mature into a competent passing quarterback. ACC defenses then cannot figure out how to defend the dual threat that Taylor becomes. Because Darren Evans has no sophomore slump--oh wait, Darren Evans doesn't even have a sophomore season now!

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

Basically the opposite. Because they lost to GT on October 17th.  Because Taylor is not as good as the media crowned him to be and he can't carry the team.  Because your offensive coordinator is Brian Stinespring. Honestly, to sum it all up....because VPI was over-hyped from the get go.

Willy Mac - Block-C

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

Virginia Tech will win the ACC again this year because the conference will once again be largely dominated by parity.  There will be a ton of evenly matched teams with VT being the one team that has just the right mix that will raise them from the rest of the 8-4 ACC teams to around 10-2 (or 11-2 after the ACCCG).  You guys just have a good assortment of coaches, players, and lineage spanning back to the mid-to-late 90's that makes you a tough team to beat. Nobody wants to play you in Blacksburg, nobody wants to play you on a Thursday.  You guys just have a great set up to make a run year in and year out.

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

This is one good reason:



That and Paul Johnson down at Georgia Tech is starting to get a ball of steam rolling.  Given a month to prepare for them like LSU had, GT is easily beatable.  But that offense is so different from the rest of the teams any one will see on their schedule that it's hard to prepare for them in a week (or less in our case).  They might give you a good run for your money.  Then again, if FSU finally rounds that corner this year they could give you fits as well.  

Lastly, teams have been known to shit the bed one week on the schedule.  You just gotta hope that it doesn't happen at the ACCCG.  It won't be a packed house at Blacksburg mind you, it'll be some travel weary half-a-crowd in some horrible location.

Jim Young - ACC Sports Journal

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009: 

Look, we know the Hokies will always be solid on defense. That's a given. They should be much better than solid this season.

We also know that offensive line experience is a good predictor of success (just ask Clemson, circa 2008). Check that box as well for Virginia Tech.

Even though Darren Evans is lost for the season, the Hokies have depth at this position. Ryan Williams will provide speed on the outside. Josh Oglesby has the potential to produce and now he'll get his chance.

How good will Tyrod Taylor be? I'm not sure it really matters. Just make a few plays a game - which he should be able to do on athleticism alone - and Virginia Tech will be very, very tough to beat.

It also helps that the Hokies get Miami, UNC and N.C. State at home, and get a week and a half to prepare for the Tar Heels.

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

Here's one thing that always nags at me when people talk about how "Tyrod Taylor is the man this season" and "He won't have to look over his shoulder" as if that's a good thing. I always wonder, "Why wasn't Taylor good enough to be the man last season?" And while I know Sean Glennon was a favorite backup punching bag for some fans (behind Bryan Stinespring, of course) he did help out the Hokies a few times each of the past two seasons, because he could throw the ball downfield.

Taylor's been inconsistent - at best - as a passer and he's been vulnerable to injury. As many questions as I have about Taylor, I know he needs to stay healthy. Lots of Ju-Ju Clayton = no trip to Tampa.

Oh and that trip to Georgia Tech for the Yellow Jackets' homecoming game looks pretty nasty.

Clark - ACC/SEC Blog

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

I think the Hokies have the best coaching staff in the ACC and arguably the most talented squad too.  That should be enough most years, but the ACC is as strong as it has ever been this season and VT will have a few teams nipping at their heels - mainly Georgia Tech.  The Hokies have to travel to Atlanta to face the Yellow Jackets, but this may be their only ACC loss of the year.  Ga Tech has to travel to FSU, to Miami, and to Virginia which has been a house of horrors since 1990.  Virginia Tech misses out on top Atlantic Division contenders Clemson and FSU and gets NC State at home.  Other Coastal Division contenders, North Carolina and Miami, come to Blacksburg.  Great coach, very good talent, manageable schedule could equal a third straight ACC title for the Hokies.

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

The only real challenger to the Hokies I see is Georgia Tech.  The Yellow Jackets return 19 starters from the end of last season and have another off season in Paul Johnson's system under their belt.  Johnson described Spring Practice this year versus last like night and day.  GT lost by just 3 to Va Tech in Blacksburg last year in just their third game in the offense.  The Yellow Jackets largely out played the Hokies, outgaining them by 79 yards in total offense.  Some untimely penalties and turnovers allowed VT to slip out with a three point win that proved to be the margin in the Coastal Division race.  We think the Jackets may be better this year on offense, but they could be A LOT better if you look back at Johnson's teams in their second year.  Also, the Hokies have to travel to Atlanta to play.  The home field and tie breaker could switch to Georgia Tech this season.

T.H. - Carolina March

Why Virginia Tech will win the ACC in 2009:

Because the enitre ACC is a blancmange of mediocrity, so why not Virginia Tech? They at least know what winning a conference championship is like.

Why Virginia Tech won't win the ACC in 2009:

Because their most experienced running back has 88 career yards, their wide recievers are still all sophomores, and as much as the Hokies would like it to beotherwise, Tyrod Taylor is not made to carry a team, especially with the front-loaded conference schedule they've drawn. To the vague, nebulous middle they go with everyone else.