So, we pick up where we left off, yesterday with a half season schedule in the books, a couple of ACC games and a tough contest with a perennially ranked team. How the next six go will depend heavily on how the prior six went. This stretch of games will probably determine the ACC Coastal Champion, and if we drive in to Chapel Hill with a 2-0 ACC record our expectations are going to be very different than if we arrive at 1-1 or even (shutter) 0-2.
Virginia Tech 2018 Football Schedule
|Sep 3 (Mon) 8 PM||ACC||at Florida State||Tallahassee FL||TV: ESPN|
|Sep 8 (Sat) 2 PM||FCS NonConference||William & Mary||Blacksburg||TV: ACC Network Extra|
|Sep 15 (Sat) 12:20 PM||FBS NonConference||East Carolina||Blacksburg||TV: ACC Network|
|Sep 22 (Sat) 3:30 PM||FBS NonConference||at Old Dominion||Norfolk VA||TV: CBS Sports Network|
|Sep 29 (Sat) TBA||ACC||at Duke||Durham NC||Coverage not listed|
|Oct 6 (Sat) Probably Primetme||Sorta ACC||vs Notre Dame||Blacksburg||Broadcast - probably NBC|
|Oct 13 (Sat) TBA||ACC||at North Carolina||Chapel Hill NC||Coverage not listed|
|Oct 25 (Thu) 7:30 PM||ACC||vs Georgia Tech||Blacksburg||TV: ESPN|
|Nov 3 (Sat) TBA||ACC||vs Boston College||Blacksburg||Coverage not listed|
|Nov 10 (Sat) TBA||ACC||at Pitt||Pittsburgh PA||Coverage not listed|
|Nov 17 (Sat) TBA||ACC||vs Miami||Blacksburg||Coverage not listed|
|Nov 23 (Fri) TBA||ACC||vs Virginia||Blacksburg||Coverage not listed|
Game seven will be a bit of a recovery time. Carolina is reeling from repeated off field issues, losses of personnel, and other functional nonsense that not many people except Larry Fedora think that they’ll have any sort of advantage from playing the Hokies in Chapel Hill. I won’t even hazard a guess, and probably won’t even say much more until I see how their season has gone. This will be both teams’ “one over the hump” game and we just don’t know where either program will be at that time.
Game eight will finally be time for some revenge for Coach Fuente. He’ll have a week and a half “semi-bye” to get prepared, and he’ll have the Thursday night Blacksburg sky and crowd to back him up. Georgia Tech (with their entire ego about being the “real Tech” – yeah I catch their site now and again) shows up at Lane Stadium in what will be a cool evening (please Lord don’t let it be raining) high in the southwestern Virginia mountains. It is time for Tech to break the back of Paul Johnson’s ancient option. There is this “thing” in the back of my mind, buzzing around, and it’s a yellow jacket. This might actually be the pivotal game of the season.
Game nine is with a re-surging Boston College. Re-surging is a general evaluation of pure hope coming from a media desperate to improve the image of the ACC Coastal, and the northeastern contingent of the ACC. BC has oscillated between awful and decent for most of the seasons since Jeff Jagodzinski left the program. Neither Spaziani nor Addazio has put up a winning record over the entirety of each coach’s tenure. BC has managed to eke out a steady flow of par seasons with bowl game opportunities. That means that the team CAN win, and they are really tired of losing to us. This is the perfect trap game as we come off of whatever transpired with Georgia Tech.
Game ten entails a trip to Pittsburgh and a game in the half empty Heinz “Big Ketchup” Field in front of a home crowd, and smarting after the 2017 goal line stand that shouldn’t have happened. Pitt nearly beat us last year. If they had scored the touchdown, there is no way that Tech (short of a miracle kickoff return) was going to have the offensive chops to come back in that short span of time. If anyone thinks that Pitt and the ever “interesting” Pat Narduzzi don’t remember that is fooling themselves. Nardo knows… he’s been chewing on it… It tastes really bad… and only beating us will wash it out of his mouth.
Game 11 is the presumed ACC Coastal Championship game and will be played in Lane Stadium on what will probably be a prime time slot. IF Tech and opponent, largely unacknowledged, bitter rivals Miami are actually in a place to vie for the title. It’ll probably be pretty cold by November 17th, and it certainly isn’t going to be a quiet venue. All of the show stops will be out for the 12th man. The South End zone will be deafeningly loud, and the student section in the North End zone will be rocking. I think that this might be a “weather” game. My old bones say it’s going to be a cold fall, and a breezy one at that. Tech played a flat, uninspired game against Miami last season. The Hokies were ‘up’ big for 2016, and need to repeat that energy and play quality for 2018. This is a “how bad do you want this?” sort of game. Like I said, the Costal will probably be the reward.
Game 12 kicks off (probably at 3:30) for the annual Game 12 contest with our instate “rivals” the Cavaliers of the University of Virginia. The Friday after Thanksgiving, I’ll be on the sideline, and Josh will be in the press box. We hope that the food comas have passed, and the smell of smoked turkey legs doesn’t re-induce the lethargy. Yes, 2017 was a shutout, but it was a measly 10-0 – with our offense being nearly as blanked as theirs. The Wahoos football faithful, as limited as that crowd is, will be spoiling for a spoiling. Like I said in Part I of this series, if the Hoos ended up with a 1-11 record for 2018 they’d have considered it a winning season just to get the Commonwealth Cup back. I expect a post-Thanksgiving grudge match with all of the stops pulled out on both sides.
We won’t even talk about the ACC Championship Game. It’s set for December 1st in Charlotte, and it’d be really cool of we were one of the teams on the field for the kickoff; largely since I won’t hesitate to apply for credentials for that one.
My feelings about this seasons schedule are decidedly mixed. It is loaded with trap games. The ACC Coastal has been taking a drubbing of late, and most of the programs are tired of it. That means jockeying for position to challenge the winner of the Atlantic is going to present a real challenge. No team that we play is going to roll over. There isn’t going to be a single ACC walk away. It will all depend on how this young Hokies team jells, and how healthy it is going into the second half of the season.
Of course football is a readily apparent teacher of reality. The seasons are short and every game ends up counting in some way. The Hokies need to play with serious chips on their shoulders. The groupthink respects BC more than they do us. They write us off for every tough opponent, and don’t even look to see if their assumptions about our defense are actually really valid.
Is all that I can say, except….