It is that time! Yes, it’s predictions and poll time for the season opener between our Hokies and the ‘Noles. This one is a sticky difficult pick. Not many rational folks like the match up at this time of year. Not many people understand how anyone thought it was a good idea, either.
We know that neither team is what it was two seasons ago. Virginia Tech has inexperience nearly everywhere except the defensive line some skill positions. Florida State has the ultimate newness, a new coach with a radically different offensive philosophy and a reworked young defensive front seven.
So, all of the traditional prediction tools are mostly nonsense. As we saw with Miami’s debut game against LSU, (LSU curb stomped Miami: 33-3, with Miami scoring two TD’s late in garbage time.) the media expectations are largely paper, guesses, and favoritism.
So there is a small paper trail on Justin Fuente’s Hokies, and absolutely nothing on Willie Taggart’s Seminoles. Tonight we have a head scratcher and raw “feelings” to go on.
Gobbler Country’s Staff writers take their shots:
The Hokies open their season on the road in Florida State, and with all the inexperience on the field, it is truly anyone’s guess who shows up and performs for Virginia Tech. However, the Hokies would be ecstatic if a different Josh Jackson shows up in game one in Tallahassee. The defense is bound to go through some rough stretches during this game given the new pieces and talent on the other sideline, despite Bud Foster’s brilliance. If Jackson can keep the offense on schedule and be efficient in the red zone, Tech has a chance to ride those ups-and-downs over the course of 60 minutes.
Defensively, Foster needs to devise a method to contain Francois in the pocket. The ‘Noles starting quarterback has the legs to give the Hokies serious problems, and we know how much of a problem it has been in the past for Virginia Tech. He is not the most accurate passer, however, and is coming off a bad knee injury so his mobility might be limited which should help the defense out.
This is truly a fantastic opportunity for the Hokies to start their run for the Coastal division crown off on the right foot, especially given Miami’s stinker of a performance last night. Unfortunately, I just see the away environment and the rocky uncertainty of how the inexperienced will perform as a deck stacked slightly too tall for the Hokies to overcome. I would take the points, though (for you gamblers out there).
This is like predicting a bowl game where neither team has faced the other with any regularity and worse because there isn’t even a season of consistent performance to back the guess. And frankly that’s what we are doing is offering up Semi-educated WAGs. Both teams are serious sleepers, here. No one can tell what the Seminole offense will look like. They have talent, but does the talent match the new offensive style when played against a live opponent. If run correctly it does have some really big possibilities if Bud Foster hasn’t fixed his running QB problem. But, with Francois being athletic enough, but coming off of a serious knee repair, AND never being a running QB, does Taggart reshape his offense to lessen the burden on Francois and use the running backs more? Again with the guesses!
I am thinking along the lines of both Joshua and Jawhar that this is going to be a 60 point over/under game with the defense that can make critical stops being the dominant factor. I’ll stick with Justin and Bud on this one and go in the tank for the Murray State Racers.
This is one season where I am truly not sure what to think about the Hokies one either side of the football. With so many standouts gone to the NFL, Bud Foster has a completely new group to work with defensively. While losing Tim Settle, Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds, Greg Stroman, Brandon Facyson and others is never a good thing, we all know to never count out Foster. He lives for this stuff.
However, there are concerns. We must hope Ricky Walker stays completely healthy. If he goes down for any length of time, we are in trouble.
Offensively, let’s hope Josh Jackson takes a step forward from last season. Early indications are positive for Jackson, but he will need help. The Seminoles are loaded with talent, but they’re just young. The front seven is loaded with several four- and five-star recruits.
The ‘Noles have three stud running backs and an athletic quarterback. That quarterback is coming off major knee surgery so it’s imperative Foster keeps him uncomfortable. If that happens, the Hokies can win this game.
I think it’s close—much closer than what some national pundits may think—but in the end the Seminoles pull off the victory after a valiant effort on both sides of the ball by the Hokies.
FSU 31, Virginia Tech 27
As he told Tomahawk Nation:
Right now for anyone to say they definitively know what’s going to happen in this game is lying both to themselves, and to you. I could see a couple things happening. My predictions can go like this:
- Neither team can really get a footing on defense and both offenses run house all day and it’s some form of low-grade shootout where who knows who would win.
- Josh Jackson hasn’t improved and the running game still isn’t good and Taggart’s offense immediately clicks and it’s off to the races with an FSU housing.
- The more experienced (one year under the belt in the system) Jackson and Tech offense gain somewhat more traction against FSU’s new defense than FSU does against the Hokies, and the Hokies win in a squeaker
- Some weird combination of all of the above.
I’m not really sure what’s going to happen. For the sake of it being a home game at FSU, I’d say that, much to my chagrin, the Noles win something like 34-28 or something to that effect. Not as far apart as the wizards of the desert think it is, but it being home field sure counts for something.
That’s the skinny from the staff. So, let’s go with a slight variation of Joshua’s scenarios:
How do you think this is going to go? Elaborate in the Comments section, please.
This poll is closed
Neither defense works and both offenses run house resulting in a low-grade shootout.
Josh Jackson and the run game struggle and Taggart’s offense immediately clicks. FSU blows the doors off.
Jackson and Tech offense solve their woes. FSU’s defense and offense are inconsistent. Hokies win in a squeaker
Tech’s defense is a surprise, The offense works like the West Virginia game, Tech surprises and wins comfortably.
See you online this evening! Game Thread here, and maybe even some Facebook comments. We always have Josh on the Twitter feed @gobblercountry. And just for the record.