Is the Virginia Tech football program finished as one of the nation's elite? Might be. After winning at least 10 games every year from 2004-11, the Hokies haven't topped eight victories since. Let's examine Virginia Tech's 2015 odds at 5Dimes.
Beamer's Magic Gone?
Last season, Virginia Tech finished a very disappointing 7-6, tying for the school's fewest wins since 1997 back when it was still in the Big East. The Hokies actually had one of the most shocking wins of 2014, going to Columbus and beating Ohio State 35-21 in Week 2. Of course that would be the only loss the defending champion Buckeyes would suffer, and it got Virginia Tech into the Top 25.
However, Tech was shocked at home by non-Power 5 team East Carolina in the third game, 28-21. It was East Carolina's first win over a ranked team since 2009 and first on the road since 1996. Some chalked that up to a trap game for Virginia Tech off the OSU upset, but the Hokies (now unranked) were then beaten at home the next week by Georgia Tech, 27-24, on a field goal with no time remaining. OK, Tech bounced back with wins over Western Michigan and North Carolina, but then lost at Pittsburgh, were blown out at home by Miami and lost at home against to Boston College. Remember how hard it used to be to win in Blacksburg?
Virginia Tech rebounded from that three-game skid with a win at Duke but then came the ugliest game by far of the entire 2014 season, and I mean in the nation: a 6-3 double-overtime Virginia Tech loss at Wake Forest, which was just a pitiful team last year. It was Wake's first win over the Hokies since 1983 and set offensive football back about 20 years -- it was scoreless after regulation. That defeat dropped Virginia Tech to 5-6, meaning it had to beat rival Virginia in the regular-season finale to reach a bowl game. The Hokies did win 24-20, and closed the year with a 33-17 win over Cincinnati in the Military Bowl. That victory preserved a streak of 22 consecutive winning seasons.
A total of 16 starters are due back from last year's club, eight on either side of the ball. That includes quarterback Michael Brewer, a former Texas Tech transfer who completed 59.4 percent of his passes for 2,692 yards, 18 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in 2014. He is +20000 to win the Heisman. Receivers Isaiah Ford and Cam Phillips combined for 96 catches, 1,207 yards and nine touchdowns as freshmen. There's a deep stable of running backs if not one clear-cut No. 1. The defense is always good under coordinator Bud Foster and returns one of the nation's best cornerbacks in All-American Kendall Fuller.
Could this possibly be Coach Frank Beamer's last season? He has been with Tech since 1987 and his 273 career victories (he went 42-23-2 at FCS program Murray State) are most among active FBS coaches. This week, Beamer said he isn't ready to retire anytime soon but that when he does, he would like either Foster or associate head coach/running backs coach Shane Beamer, his son, to replace him.
Breaking Down Schedule
Think Ohio State will be foaming at the mouth for payback in the season opener on Sept. 7 in Blacksburg? The Buckeyes are currently 13-point favorites. The big question is who starts at QB for OSU. It was J.T. Barrett in last year's game and it was only his second career start. It was also his worst game of the year, going 9-for-29 with three interceptions.
Presumably Virginia Tech loses that but should win its final three non-conference games: vs. Furman (line TBA), at Purdue (+11.5) and a payback game at East Carolina (+9), which lost all-time leading passer Shane Carden.
The Hokies open ACC play with back-to-back home games against NC State (TBA) and Pittsburgh (+9.5). Should be two more wins. Tech didn't play the Wolfpack last season and lost by five at Pitt. The first conference road game is at Miami, which opened as a 3.5-point favorite. Duke Johnson ran for 249 yards and scored two touchdowns in last year's 30-6 UM win but Johnson is now in the NFL.
Duke visits after Miami and then Tech goes to Boston College to close out October. No lines on those. The season concludes at reigning Coastal Division champion Georgia Tech (-5.5), home to North Carolina (TBA) and at Virginia (+5.5). The beauty of this schedule? No Florida State, Clemson or Louisville from the Atlantic Division. By comparison, both Georgia Tech and Miami have to face FSU and Clemson.
NCAAF Free Picks: Virginia Tech is +15500 to win the national title, +600 to win the ACC title and +195 to win the Coastal Division, which is tied with Georgia Tech. The Hokies have a total of 8 wins, with both at -115. This schedule is really easy other than the opener. Go 'over' the wins and I do believe Virginia Tech wins the Coastal even if it loses at Georgia Tech.