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Virginia Tech Football's 2014 Season Opener and a Look at the Past

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We're less than two weeks out from Virginia Tech's season opener against William & Mary at Lane Stadium, which brings up memories of season openers and the ways Tech has started seasons in the past. Is there any correlation to starts and finishes?

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

August 30 is approaching fast as the smell of burning charcoal and the satiation of cold beverages lures fans to Blacksburg for yet another football season set to begin with the Hokies taking on William & Mary.

With camp dwindling down and the final touches being put on, it got me thinking about the way Tech could start the season and what's happened in the past when Tech starts the season a certain way. What has happened? And what could happen in 2014?

Here's a look at some recent starts and finishes by Tech teams:

2013-2014 (First Four Games: 3-1)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Aug 31, 2013


(Neutral  Field) #1 Alabama

L, 10-35

Sat, Sept 7, 2013


Vs. Western Carolina

W, 45-3

Sat, Sept 14, 2013


@ East Carolina

W, 15-10

Sat, Sept 21, 2013


Vs. Marshall

W, 29-21 (3 OT)

2013-2014 (Next Five Games: 3-2)

Date


Opponent


Result


Thu, Sept 26, 2013


@ Georgia Tech

W, 17-10

Sat, Oct 5, 2013


Vs. North Carolina

W, 27-17

Sat, Oct 12, 2013


Vs. Pittsburgh

W,19-9

Sat, Oct 26, 2013


Vs. Duke

L, 10-13

Sat, Nov 2, 2013


@ Boston College

L, 27-34

2013-2014 (Last Four Games: 2-2)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Nov 9, 2013


@ #14 Miami

W, 42-24

Sat, Nov 16, 2013


Vs. Maryland

L, 24-27 (OT)

Sat, Nov 30, 2013


Vs. Virginia

W, 16-6

Tue, Dec 31, 2013


(Neutral Field) #17 UCLA

L, 12-42

(Overall: 8-5) (Conference: 5-3) (Home: 4-2) (Away: 4-1) (Neutral: 0-2)

2012-2013 (First Four Games: 3-1)

Date


Opponent


Result


Mon, Sept 3, 2012


Vs. Georgia Tech

W, 20-17 (OT)

Sat, Sept, 8, 2012


Vs. Austin Peay

W, 42-7

Sat, Sept 15, 2012


@ Pittsburgh

L, 17-35

Sat, Sept 22, 2012


Vs. Bowling Green

W, 37-0

2012-2013 (Next Four Games: 1-3)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Sept 29, 2012


(Neutral Field) Cincinnati

L, 24-27

Sat, Oct 6, 2012


@ North Carolina

L, 34-48

Sat, Oct 13, 2012


Vs. Duke

W, 41-20

Sat, Oct 20, 2012


@ #14 Clemson

L, 17-38

2012-2013 (Last Five Games: 3-2)

Date


Opponent


Result


Thu, Nov 1, 2012


@ Miami

L, 12-30

Thu, Nov 8, 2012


Vs. Florida State

L, 22-28

Sat, Nov 17, 2012


@ Boston College

W, 30-23 (OT)

Sat, Nov 24, 2012


Vs. Virginia

W, 17-14

Fri, Dec 28, 2012


(Neutral Field) Rutgers

W, 13-10 (OT)

(Overall: 7-6) (Conference: 4-4) (Home: 5-1) (Away: 1-4) (Neutral: 1-1)

2011-2012 (First Four Games: 4-0)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Sept 3, 2011


Vs. Appalachian State

W, 66-13

Sat, Sept 10, 2011


@ East Carolina

W, 17-10

Sat, Sept 17, 2011


Vs. Arkansas State

W, 26-7

Sat, Sept 24, 2011


@ Marshall

W, 30-10

2011-2012 (Next Five Games: 4-1)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Oct 1, 2011


Vs. #13 Clemson

L, 3-23

Sat, Oct 8, 2011


Vs. Miami

W, 38-35

Sat, Oct 15, 2011


@ Wake Forest

W, 38-17

Sat, Oct 22, 2011


Vs. Boston College

W, 30-14

Sat, Oct 29, 2011


@ Duke

W, 14-10

2011-2012 (Last Five Games: 3-2)

Date


Opponent


Result


Thu, Nov 10, 2011


@ #20 Georgia Tech

W, 37-26

Thu, Nov 17, 2011


Vs. North Carolina

W, 24-21

Sat, Nov 26, 2011


@ #24 Virginia

W, 38-0

Sat, Dec 3, 2011


(Neutral Field) #21 Clemson

L, 10-38

Tue, Jan 3, 2012


(Neutral Field) #13 Michigan

L, 20-23 (OT)

(Overall: 11-3) (Conference: 7-1) (Home: 5-1) (Away: 6-0) (Neutral: 0-2)

It's usually believed and proven that teams are better late in the season once they've gotten in a groove and that's usually true for the Hokies also. It's usually better when the Hokies win the majority of their first games to help them gain confidence going into conference play. It also helps get the team ready when having to play Alabama in the season openers in recent years. Thus, with the start of the 2014 season comes playing at Ohio State in week two. So Tech should be geared up to get the ball rolling with the opportunity to take down a top college football team in the Buckeyes. And now that chance increases with Ohio State starting quarterback Braxton Miller being sidelined for the season after he re-injured his shoulder. But what do we make of the 2014 schedule? Here's my prediction:

(First Four Games: 3-1)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Aug 30, 2014


Vs. William & Mary

W

Sat, Sept 6, 2014


@ Ohio State

L

Sat, Sept 13, 2014


Vs. East Carolina

W

Sat, Sept 20, 2014


Vs. Georgia Tech

W

This is definitely going to be an improved Tech team with a more talented offense and a faster still dominant defense (The best in the Atlantic Coast Conference in my opinion). I see the Hokies taking care of business against the Tribe, stumbling against an overall better team in Ohio State regardless of Braxton Miller''s presence, skimming past ECU, and beating Georgia Tech in their ACC opener in Lane Stadium.

(Next Four Games: 2-2)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Sept 27, 2014


Vs. Western Michigan

W

Sat, Oct 4, 2014


@ North Carolina

L

Thu, Oct 16, 2014


@ Pittsburgh

L

Thu, Oct 23, 2014


Vs. Miami

W

This will be the tough stretch for the Hokies right in the middle of the season where they sometimes stumbled in the past. To me, they blow past Western Michigan, lose at UNC in a tough game, get a wake up call in a loss to Pitt, and come back to avenge two back to back losses in a Thursday night game in Lane against a talented Miami team.

(Next Five Games: 4-1)

Date


Opponent


Result


Sat, Nov 1, 2014


Vs. Boston College

W

Sat, Nov 15, 2014


@ Duke

W

Sat, Nov 22, 2014


@ Wake Forest

W

Fri, Nov 28, 2014


Vs. Virginia

W

Sat, Dec 6, 2014


(Neutral Field) Florida State

L

The Hokies turn on the heat here and beat Boston College in Blacksburg, beat a depleted Duke team, roll over the Demon Deacons, continue the streak against the Hoos, and somehow make it to the ACC Championship to lose to the defending National Champion Florida State Seminoles.

Then I'll say the Hokies lose their bowl game to a better team.

(Overall: 9-5) (Conference: 6-3) (Home: 7-0) (Away: 2-3) (Neutral: 0-2)

Take from this what you will. I think the better the Hokies start the season, playing a tough opponent, and getting humbled helps Tech mature and focus. They will slip up as they do in a tougher more competitive ACC, and I believe eventually lose to the Seminoles and to a better team in the bowl game.

What are your thoughts?