Watson! The Game is Afoot!
So, Jay walked us through his analysis (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3) of how he thinks the season will turn out in 2022. There are points of agreement and points of disagreement in his analysis. It wouldn’t be much fun if everyone thought the same thing all the time, now, would it? First, let’s just get the schedule up as we see it on Hokie Sports.
2022 Virginia Tech Football Schedule
|Sep 2 (Fri)||7 PM ET||Away||Old Dominion||Norfolk||ESPNU/Virginia Tech Sports Network||First Game|
|Sep 10 (Sat)||8 PM ET||Home||Boston College||Blacksburg||ACC Network/Virginia Tech Sports Network||Orange Effect|
|Sep 17 (Sat)||11 AM ET||Home||Wofford||Blacksburg||ACC Network/Virginia Tech Sports Network||White Effect Military Appreciation|
|Sep 22 (Thu)||7:30 PM ET||Home||West Virginia||Blacksburg||ESPN/Virginia Tech Sports Network||Thurday Night Game Hokie Effect|
|Oct 1 (Sat)||TBA||Away||North Carolina||Chapel Hill||TBD/Virginia Tech Sports Network|
|Oct 8 (Sat)||TBA||Away||Pitt||Pittsburgh||TBD/Virginia Tech Sports Network|
|Oct 15 (Sat)||TBA||Home||Miami||Blacksburg||TBD/Virginia Tech Sports Network||Homecoming Maroon Effect|
|Oct 27 (Thu)||7:30 PM ET||Away||NC State||Raleigh||ESPN/Virginia Tech Sports Network|
|Nov 5 (Sat)||TBA||Home||Georgia Tech||Blacksburg||TBD/Virginia Tech Sports Network||Hall of Fame|
|Nov 12 (Sat)||TBA||Away||Duke||Durham||TBD/Virginia Tech Sports Network|
|Nov 19 (Sat)||TBA||Away||Liberty||Lynchburg||TBD/Virginia Tech Sports Network|
|Nov 26 (Sat)||TBA||Home||Virginia||Blacksburg||TBD/Virginia Tech Sports Network||Commonwealth Cup Senior Night|
The most striking thing about this schedule is that there isn’t much of anything striking about it. It is the last time that the Hokies will face the bulk of the teams listed, because in 2023 the ACC has, instead of intelligently reorganizing and realigning the divisions, has tossed its divisions out the window. So, getting to the top to challenge the likes of Clemson for the ACC championship (note: I have not put that game - December 3rd- on the schedule) because I do not anticipate the minor miracle that Tech will play for it in 2022. Miracles do happen, though - ask the Basketball team about 2022. So, we should all withhold any negative judgments until there is a clearer picture and path at the end of October.
There has been one thing that has strained ever more levels of credulity and that’s the nonsense strength of schedule myth. It’s largely a meaningless comparison for the ACC Coastal, or ACC in general, because under the current scheduling rules Virginia Tech plays almost all of the ACC teams that it always plays. The only difference is the relay from the normal crossover rival of BC. This season the variable Atlantic crossover team is NC State, and that’s hardly a weak opponent to face.
So, the entire argument the “Strength of Schedule” graders have is the single “P5” non-conference game on the list and that’s West Virginia. Maybe the beef is the two “G5” teams on the list, Liberty being a late game for the season, and ODU showing up first. Well cry me a river of tears over that since neither has been complete trash over the last few seasons. Both teams have a potential to give us fits. Well, my beef with that sort of analysis always goes back to who and what Virginia Tech is capable of. We are currently a 30s rated program with occasional peeks in the teens. The schedule that we have pretty much reflects who we are at the moment. It’s not horrible, but it is the great peloton of twilight programs caught up in a perpetual border between night and day.
Looking at Things a Bit Differently
Because of that sort of twilight status combined with the entirely new and completely unknown coaching strategy, I thought that I’d look at things from a different angle in my season analysis. Instead of trying to predict absolute wins and loses - which is more often than not a roll of the dice with twilight teams- I decided to break Tech’s schedule down into risk levels and general odds of winning contests based on three categories: Probable Wins, Toss-Ups, and Serious Challenges. The difficulty level of the opponent is identified by the risk levels High, Moderate, and Low. Modifiers are allowed so that the risk of playing BC is Moderate/High, the risk of playing Miami is actually Very High, and Wofford is Very Low. That allows for some intelligent hedging, and will also contribute to the midseason reanalysis of the chart when I do my first and second third of the season updates. You’ll see this chart, again reanalyzed for the records and performance of both Tech and the unplayed opponents.
2022 Hokies Schedule Grouped by Risk and Probability
|Team||Opponrnt Risk Rating||Odds of Winning||Comment|
|Team||Opponrnt Risk Rating||Odds of Winning||Comment|
|PROBABLE WINS (In order of difficulty)|
|Wofford||Very Low||1000/1||Unless there is a massive and uncontrolled breakdown this will be a win - by how much will be indicative of many things for the future|
|Georgia Tech||Low||70/30||At Home - must win situation with a coach on the hot seat in Atlanta - unless Tech is broken this is a win|
|Duke||Low||70/30||Even with it away - Duke is totally broken and unless they have a miracle in the 1st 2/3rds of the season they lose this one|
|Liberty||Moderate/Low||60/40||Hugh Freeze might find a QB but Liberty will be no push over - it is not 50/50, but too close for comfort in their housee|
|Old Dominion||Moderate/Low||60/40||ODU is no longer a slouch program new to the Sun Belt and Pry's PSU pal as HC - not a push over by any means|
|Virginia||Moderate||50/50||Solid R/O QB - new everything else - Tech just is not going to drop this at Lane though|
|TOSS-UPS (In order of difficulty)|
|North Carolina||Moderate||50/50||No Sam Howell means back to a moderate threat - the media pro-Mack Brown hype wagon just loves to overrate his teams|
|Boston College||Moderate/High||50/50||The chances of winning will be directly related to the performance in Nofolk against ODU - Lane is an advantage here|
|West Virginia||High||50/50||WVA is not better than last season but not worse. This is a prime non-conference toss-up match - If Hokies are 3-0 it's a win - else who knows?|
|SERIOUS CHALLENGES (In order of difficulty)|
|Pitt||High/Very High||40/60||If Tech is 5-0 or 4-1 that goes to 50/50 - Nardo is as he always is - a dangerous whiner - this is a mid point test|
|NC State||High/Very High||40/60||This is a 50/50 with a winning Tech record and a 40/60 otherwise - NC State might challenge Clemson for the last Atlantic crown|
|Miami||Very High||30/70||Again if Tech is playing well on both sides of the ball this goes to 40/60 or even 50/50. New Coach, old recruits, big problem - Tyler van Dyke.|
Looking at What’s on the Chart as of August
Again, we’ll update this chart for the article after the first four games, and then after the eighth game to see where things stand both in terms of the Hokies’ record and the records of their unplayed opponents.
Let’s get out the divining rod and play the guessing game from here, where the answer will be a floor and a ceiling presented at three effort levels; the first is near complete disaster, the second is complete surprise success, and the third is a more balanced look.
Near Complete Disaster
If the perfect storm occurs, like it did in the middle of the 2020 fake season, and again in 2021, the ceiling and floor of the 2022 season look pretty similar. Tech could lose one or two of the probable win games (ODU, Duke, Virginia, and even Liberty) could pull something off, with that happening - let us say an NCD would be 2 - drops to ODU and UVA- the likely outcome of the remainder of the season will drop drastically in the toss ups and probably not happen at all in the Serious Challenges. There are 6 Probables and a 4-2 record there would leave the Hokies fishing for 2 wins from the likes of Pitt, UNC, and WVA (which wouldn’t count for the ACC but would for a bowl game). So, realistically there’d be no bowl and a 5-7 record as a floor level in this scenario. The ceiling of a near disaster season would not be much better. Tech might pick off one of the toss ups, or perhaps two if they get lucky so the ceiling is maybe 7-5 with a 6-6 more likely. That’s a bowl game for Pry Era Year 1 but there’d certainly be a drop off in enthusiasm for the struggle.
Complete Surprise Success
If Tech hits the perfect storm and starts off strong with solid wins in the first three games and then battling for an unexpected win over West Virginia in the mix, that momentum will be really difficult to stop. If Tech drives into Chapel Hill with a 4-0 record, it is unlikely that the Tar Heels will be able to break that momentum sled. Mack Brown is still overrated, and his team is on a near complete rebuild at critical positions. That’s a 50/50 split that I’d take on 4 game win streak. It would also set Tech up for a six team sweep of the probable wins and give them a strong possibility of grabbing all three toss-ups as well. That would leave 3 games that are serious challenges. Even if the Hokies drop all three, that’s a 9-win bowl bid season with a serious chance for that 10th. A skying Tech might very well pick off 1 or 2 of those serious challenges. That sets the floor of a Surprise Success at 8-4 (let’s say that West Virginia goes the way Jay is predicting). With a WVA win, there is a distinct possiblity of knocking off one or two of the serious challenges. We’ll push the 1 button for sanity’s sake, and that makes the Suprise Success Ceiling 10-2.
The Balanced Approach
This approach gets tricky because it’s an attempt to be more realistic without bridging into abject pessimism. Let’s get real about the season launch and give Jay either his WVA or UNC win. I don’t think that it will be both but until we see the first three games, we really won’t have too much more of a clue than the Spring Game. The selection of Grant Wells as the starting QB means Bowen and Glenn are going to install an offense that has a balanced passing attack with short, intermediate, and deep routes to stretch out the defense and push the game downfield in bigger chunks. I still see the probable games going the Hokies’ way. Which nets a bowl eligible 6 wins. We might pick up one or two toss ups, and one of the challenge games which would make the floor of the balanced approach a 7-5 regular season finish. The ceiling is probably not a ton better, though coming in at a respectable first season of 8-4.
Time for you to think risk evaluation and see what you see as the floor and ceiling of the 2022 season. No comments in the answers just numbers.
Given the information at hand what’s your floor/ceiling record best guess?
This poll is closed
Floor - 5-7, Ceiling - 7-5
Floor - 6-6, Ceiling - 8-4
Floor - 7-5, Ceiling - 9-3
Floor - 8-4, Ceiling - 10-2
The Upshot is that Brent Pry Wins IF He Just Keeps It Real
The Virginia Tech 2022 Schedule is much more difficult than many folks think. That’s because they still haven’t admitted that we are in the great peloton of middle of the road P5/G5 border teams and it’s going to take some serious time that may not exist for Brent Pry and staff to get this team to break out of the pile.
We will begin to get inklings of how well he will do by the end of September. Speculation about 2023 and beyond is nearly pointless until we get most of this season in the books. There is always the distinct possibility of any of the above things happening. This team is not very deep, and the new talent is barely out of high school. There are no superstar players, and not one of these coaches has had head coaching experience at the FBS P5 level.
We just won’t know until roughly 3 hours after kickoff on September 2nd, will we?