Results, perception or direction?

ESPN recently placed the 130 college football programs into tiers. Think of it as the haves and the haves not. While many Hokie fans would love to see their beloved Hokies in the championship tier, I would presume the majority would find it reasonable to place VT next to programs that often reside in the top 25. After all, the Hokies have had a tremendous resume the past 25-years.

But ESPN placed the Hokies in a tier 7. As in 7 out of 10. VT is not aligned with UNC, Tenn or Oklahoma State. In fact, they are below the likes of Boise State, Coastal Carolina and Utah! Tier 7 is the bottom of the top half of the 139 programs, rubbing shoulders with Ball State, San Jose State and Tulsa.

The past two years have been rough on Fuente and the Hokies. Is a Tier 7 placement representative of recent results, or misconceptions and potential of the program, or indicator of where the "experts" think the program is heading or what the ceiling is?

For a program with high expectations, a rabid fan base and donations and salaries that far surpass many programs (although short of the top tier), are the Hokies really in the same class as Air Force or Wake Forest?!

As a consolidation, at least Stanford, for all of its resources has a similiar gripe. Perhaps better performances against peers in this Tier (like Pitt and Boston College) may change perceptions. Or maybe this is the ceiling under Fuente?

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