The Ultimate Utility is Near Futility
Look, the reality is that guessing by flipping a coin for each game might be an interesting test of which is better, blind luck or analyzing the snot out of something, but football articles generally attract way more attention than any other sport, so with the publication of the schedule, it’s time to do some way-too-early ruminating and cogitating over the list to see if we can, at least, come up with a floor/ceiling guess for the season.
Guess #1: Tech wins the Spring Game.
That happens on Saturday, April 15th at 3:00 or so. We have submitted for the credential notification list and hope to be on the sidelines with a camera to get some early shots, impressions, and images. This Spring practice session is important because of the critical transfer portal additions to the team and the anticipated quarterback competition.
On to the Season
- Sept. 2, Old Dominion, Lane Stadium - Rate it: Toss-up/Win
ODU coming to Lane has traditionally been a good sign for a solid start. Traditionally is a short time, and solid start seems to relate only to Worsham Field. This team seems to come apart at sea level. This could be a win, but only leans that way from Toss-up.
- Sept. 9 Purdue, Lane Stadium - Rate it: Toss-up/Loss
There is a certain lack of data in this contest. This B1G opponent might have been in the Win category, but last season something happened, and Purdue remembered that it used to have a solid football program. The Boilermakers surprised everyone. Hopefully they don’t surprise us. This is a Toss-up, but if Purdue plays like last season and we play like it too, we lose.
- Sept. 16 at Rutgers, Piscataway, N.J. - Rate it: Win
Rutgers did better last season, but it’s still Rutgers and still the tail end of the cupcakes of the B1G. We’ll rate this as a mild level Win, but it is in Jersey and that might count for something.
- Sept. 23 at Marshall, Huntington, W.Va. - Rate it: Win
We love Marshall. The programs have been close since, well - y’all know, but there is nothing that stops the football games from being hard-nosed and hard fought. Even in their house, I think the Hokies do fine and walk away with a win.
- Sept. 30 Pitt, Lane Stadium - Rate it: Loss
Nope... It’s Nardo. Nardo is painful, embarrassing, annoying, and dangerous - Pitt is just a better program at this stage of the game, and also Nardo isn’t impressed by Lane. This one we will probably drop. We have a chance to win, but it’s just might be a “Dumb and Dumber” chance.
- Oct. 7 at Florida State, Tallahassee, Fla. - Rate it: Loss
Nope, again. FSU seems to be back with a vengence. It’s new coaching staff has taken full advantage of its recruiting advantages and stocked up on talent. I just don’t see us having a snowball’s chance in Florida in July for this one.
- Oct. 14 Wake Forest Lane Stadium - Rate it: Toss-up/Win
Wake got good for a season or two and then lost everyone. They haven’t had the chance to get good again. I figure that this one might be a bit of a Toss-up but it leans heavily toward win.
- Oct. 26 Syracuse, Lane Stadium - Rate it: Toss-up/Win
Will ‘Cuse be good this year? I have no freaking idea! Not one clue. Babers looked like he had some magic going and then the fairy-dust blew away and Syracuse faded. I’ll leave this one in the pride on Thursday night column and we march in with a big jump show, lots of fireworks, and some heavy crowd earthquake action. It’s still a toss-up but leans win if we can take advantage of the energy.. and have an offense...
- Nov. 4 at Louisville, Louisville, Ky. - Rate it: Toss-up/Loss
Not even going to speculate too much. I am leaving it as a straight toss-up for now. Louisville is good, it’s bad, it’s frustrating for its fans... it’s everything bi-polar in one season. Will we get them on an up, or down weekend? Dunno but let’s be cautious because we don’t even have a clue as to what the Hokies will be, either.
- Nov. 11 at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Mass. - Rate it: Win
One of the only teams worse than us in a sub-par mediocre football conference. If we haven’t fallen flat, we’ll win this one.
- Nov. 18 NC State, Lane Stadium - Rate it: Loss
If we are very good this could be a toss-up. But if we aren’t better than good it’s a home loss. I just don’t know if we are going to be better than good this season.
- Nov. 25 at Virginia, Charlottesville, Va. - Rate it: Win
It’s a trip to Lane Stadium - North Annex to a team that has nothing, at all. Armstrong has gone, they have no one to catch the ball, no one to run it, and now, no one to throw it. The Wahoos lose on this gig. I’d like to see us curb stomp them, but any W will be good.
Looking at the Totals for Something Akin to Hope
I am not sanguine about this coming season, and frankly not particularly impressed with the ACC as a football league anyway. Everyone who has read my pieces over the years know that little tidbit. When someone thought it was such a great idea to tear apart the Big East and they headed for the exists to the ACC I was not happy, at all. I wanted to see us in the Big Ten (B1G) and thought it would not only be a better fit, but a better conference overall.
When very solid rumors popped up that certain single people in the Tech hierarchy had said absolutely N-O to the move to the SEC when that popped up nearly a decade ago. On that move, I had mixed emotions because the program was beginning to tread water instead of swim, and though the SEC would have been a huge infusion of cash to make things better. There was also the probability of being an SEC league cupcake that just didn’t appeal to me.
So, now we are stuck in a conference with a putrid media deal that will last until the next ice age dawns, and with the hard cash enticements for programs to go to the super conferences forming out of the SEC and B1G, Tech could be facing recruiting and status mediocrity for a very long time to come.
The 2023 season looks like it’s going to be flat out weird, with the ACC deciding that almost all of the programs just don’t count for much, and only the top 3 or 4 big money programs need apply to the championship contest. I know that’s a mouthful of sentence, but it all fits together into one coherent thought. The Virginia Tech 2023 season is just not really all that predictable, and what is predictable isn’t enough to make it satisfying to most fans.
The Upshot of the Trip
So, if you pile up the simple chart, you have the following:
Win/Loss/Toss-up Breakdown for 2023
What you get is something like a floor of 4 and ceiling of 7 and if the toss-ups follow the first impression, you get a floor of 6 and a ceiling of ooh... umm... 6. There are some fudge factor issues like losing one that should have been won, and winning a toss-up or two that were probably losses, but my guess right now, is that Tech finishes right around 6 and 6 if they don’t mess up. They might even get a couple of toss-ups to fall their way. Unfortunately, this chart also says that they could walk home after Thanksgiving, again.
We’ll see how things go and what the future holds beyond 2023 and 2024 will have to be encountered one season at a time. Merger mania hasn’t re-ignited, yet. That’s too hot a burning ember not to flame up again.