The first article was a bit long, so I figured it’d be best to split the season into halves… Okay math geniuses, 7-6 are not quite halves; but the ACC Championship game will be pure speculation and a tiny entry, here. We’ll talk about that when we get to it.
The final six games of the season are possibly the 2nd most annoying in the entire scheduling nightmare for the Hokies. There are 4 away games and two home. The stretch run for the ACC Coastal Division Championship (If we are still in the hunt) will have to be conducted in other teams’ houses. The “regular” season, of course, ends with the traditional Thanksgiving Weekend face off with the Wahoos. This time it’s in Scott Stadium, Hooville.
Syracuse October 23rd TBD on the kick… Home
At least we aren’t playing in the cranky old Carrier Dome, but the old Big East isn’t the new stuff, and ‘Cuse ain’t ‘Cuse… Dino Babers is in trouble, and Syracuse is not doing well. That being said... we are struggling nearly as much as they are so this should be a shoe in, but it won’t be. They have nothing much, and we have better, but guess what? The 2nd half of the season is rarely populated by the personnel that started it. Who knows? But the odds are currently something on the order of a 60-40 in favor of Tech on this one. If ‘Cuse shows signs of life in the first half, that could change, but somehow I really don’t think so. It could be a mess if both programs are in bad shape, by late October, tough.
Georgia Tech October 30th TBD again and in Atlanta
No one can honestly say what Georgia Tech will look like in October. This will be their third season without that Paul Johnson cracked option that Justin Fuente’s Foster defense couldn’t figure out. So, with a more conventional look and feel, the probability for a win should be good, in the 70-30 range, but GT has been upping its recruiting game, and could be an approaching near peer opponent, again. Either way the win-loss odds will remain where they are until we see if the Jackets are any good.
Boston College November 5th 7:30PM Kickoff Chestnut Hill
BC is and always will be a rival. It’s been a dog fight since the Big East days and probably will continue into the future of whatever new roads develop. Boston College was good once, so were we. Neither are horrid programs, now. But both are struggling to get quality recruits and any sort of dominant presence on the football field going. The programs are both “bursty” meaning we get good for a streak of games in a season, and then trip over something that stops us. This should be a Tech win, but if Burmeister doesn’t last the whole season, the offense could be a worse nightmare than it already is. BC’s offense isn’t much better even if they have their starters in place. It’s going to be an interesting game on a chilly Fall night in New England, that’s for sure.
Duke November 13th TBD on the start final home game – Senior Night
Senior night comes very early this season. We actually have quite a few young men playing their final games in Lane Stadium this season. The emotions are going to be high, and the avenged 2019 disaster loss to Duke has not done much to remove that bad taste. Most of this Virginia Tech team was that team, and some curb stomping revenge should be in the hearts and minds of every Hokie football player. It’s certainly on my mind since I had to endure photographing that disaster. Yes, I’ll be there, but as a fan this season. And no, I will not accept a similar result to the last time. I’m not making a prediction other than a Tech win, for this one… because there are too many CASE evaluations in the loop to go beyond that desire.
Miami November 13th TBD (will probably depend on record and probable interest) Coral Gables
Every year we hear about Miami being back… and every year Miami looks like it could be back… until it ends up in the middle of the pile with critical injuries happening to key positions and momentum dying off as their schedule heavies up. It’s not that they aren’t a challenge, because their program trajectory sounds very much like ours, with just a few more big wins a generation and a half ago. Either way, it’s always a dice roll as to whether or not Tech has the gumption to roll into Coral Gables and nab a win. We can and have done so. This game is another total IF THEN ELSE result, and making a guess won’t even be accurate until we see where the Hokies are against ‘Cuse.
Virginia November 27th Time is up in the “what’s it worth?” zone. Scott Stadium
Perkins was it. Post Perkins UVA has reverted to form and will struggle again this season with a team that is very much the same as last season’s. The Hokies will roll into Hooville after having a day to digest a team Thanksgiving dinner in Blacksburg. If Burmeister is still ambulatory, and Tech’s defensive line has learned to put natural pressure on the QB, contain him, and the secondary is as good as they look like they could be… this could be a fun game. Prediction. The Cup stays in its case in Merriman.
Is there a good chance for us to win the ACC Coastal?
Yes, sadly it’s going to be mostly dependent on the very first game. If we win the UNC match-up we are roughly tied for the odds-on favorite to win the Coastal with Miami. If we lose that game, then the wheels will have to fall off of UNC and Miami carts for us to get there.
Is Clemson going to dominate again this season?
Well, unless Dabo has a complete nervous breakdown, and Venables gets himself thrown out of a few games for being out of control… No one in the Atlantic Division has a shot at anything but a winning season and a good bowl game.
So, Clemson wins the Atlantic again in 2021…right?
Yeah… they are the league strangler, and unless whoever wins the Coastal shows up in Charlotte with a serious chip on their shoulder. It’s going to take a “throw away the old playbook and game plan we’re going for broke” attitude. FSU is loaded with transfers so there is no telling if they come close to challenging Clemson in the Atlantic. That’s their supposed main comp. No one else really comes very close. Louisville has fallen back and might or might not have more oomph than anyone else in that division. Those are Clemson’s only real counters, there. Suffice it to say if you bet tiny money on someone other than Clemson winning the ACC for 2021, and you won that bet, the payoff would put your kids through school.
That means you are giving up on Virginia Tech before the season starts!
No, I am just being realistic. Virginia Tech is a twilight team in a less than stellar conference in which one program dominates. Tech is an occasional challenger for the Costal title though. Beating Clemson means either complete luck, a massive personnel disaster happening to Dabo, or a miracle. That goes for every other team in the ACC, btw.
Have no fear, though. I predict by 2025 that Clemson will be grinding off to whatever semi-pro league is forming with the SEC core power teams. We’ll see a huge conference reshuffling of programs and coaches. My guess is the ACC stays amateur and forms its own Championship series with the left overs from the semi-pro league consolidation. Virginia Tech will most definitely be in the hunt for that title, because I seriously doubt that we have the resources to put up the money to join a professional league.
Conclusion set for the 2021 season shapes up to be the following elements:
Reasonably Sure wins (minus personnel disasters): 5 (Middle Tennessee, Richmond, Syracuse, Georgia Tech, UVA)
Dog fights that should be close wins: 4 (West Virginia, Pitt, BC, Duke)
Games we won’t be favored but could win: 2 (UNC, Miami)
Games that we have a reasonable chance but just that ‘a chance’: 1 (Notre Dame)
Final Record predictions with caveats:
If we are healthy and Braxton Burmeister stays on the field, we have a really good shot at a 10-2 record. If the team breaks down and Burmeister struggles or is injured we start dropping off precipitously from there. Corn’s offense tends to beat the tar out of quarterbacks so I am nervous, here.
This is all based on health and the defense rising to its coaching potential, but the floor should be 8-4, the ceiling 11-1, and we have a small chance of going undefeated. It’s small, but that’s larger than it has been for years.