Virginia Tech has won the ACC Coastal Division five out of the last seven years. The Hokies have been a model of consistency over the last decade. Since 2004, Virginia Tech has a record of 65-16. The Hokies hold the nation’s longest streak of 10-plus win seasons at eight years. Clearly, this is a program that is doing a whole lot of things right.
Frank Beamer’s team has made a major mark on the football world, but they still haven’t captured a national title. The goal of finishing the season at the top of the college football rankings is still there for the Hokies. The team came mighty close when Michael Vick and the Hokies lost in the 2000 Sugar Bowl to Florida State, but they haven’t been back to the title game since.
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The Hokies went 11-3 in 2011, with two of their losses coming against the Clemson Tigers. Virginia Tech dropped a 23-20 overtime heartbreaker to the Michigan Wolverines in the 2012 Sugar Bowl at the end of last season. The Hokies lost that game despite outgaining the Wolverines by nearly 200 total yards.
It was a solid season in Blacksburg, but the team wasn’t happy with the way it ended. They are looking to accomplish even bigger things in the season ahead.
Who is the winningest active coach in Division I football? The correct answer is Frank Beamer at Virginia Tech. It may be hard to believe, but Beamer tops the list with 251 career victories. Beamer is also the longest-tenured coach in Division I. He has brought amazing stability to the Virginia Tech program over the last 25 years.
Beamer’s teams are best known for their amazing special teams play. No other teams block as many kicks or wreak as much havoc in this department as the Hokies. Since Beamer came to Virginia Tech in 1987, 35 different special teams players have scored touchdowns for the Hokies. In addition, a player on every position of the defense has scored during that same time. Virginia Tech’s amazing defense and special teams play has led to the term “Beamerball,” which describes a team scoring non-offensive touchdowns.
The Virginia Tech coaching staff is loaded with terrific coaching minds. Bud Foster may be the best defensive coordinator in college football. Week in and week out he gets the most of his players, and one has to wonder how long it will be before he gets a head coaching job. Shane Beamer, son of Frank Beamer, is the associate head coach for Virginia Tech.
This is the side of the ball that has lots of question marks heading into the 2012 season. David Wilson ran for the third most yards in ACC history last year, but he is now in the NFL. It will be extremely tough to replace the ACC Player of the Year from 2011.
Virginia Tech has been loaded in the backfield in recent years. However, inexperience there this year could be a major problem moving ahead. The team’s most experienced candidate to take over the job this year is Tony Gregory, but he has had injury problems in the offseason. It looks like Michael Holmes will be the starter in the backfield, but this unit is certainly much weaker in 2012.
Logan Thomas will be the key to this offense in the year ahead. Thomas is a 6-foot-6 junior quarterback who looked like he was really maturing as the 2011 season came to a close. Thomas threw for 19 touchdowns last season and rushed for 11 more. Thomas worked in the offseason to improve his footwork and accuracy. He will need to be a major threat on the ground as well as through the air for the Hokies.
Virginia Tech will also be without their two starting wide receivers from last year. Still, it seems the Hokies have enough depth to be effective at this spot. Dyrell Roberts and D.J. Coles should get a lot of action on the outside. Also, keep an eye on Demetri Knowles, who ran a 4.28 40-yard dash. Knowles will likely be used in lots of gadget plays this year.
Junior center Andrew Miller is the only returning starter on the offensive front. The Hokies lost four guys who had started every game for the past two years. Virginia Tech has plenty of size and talent in this unit, but the team hopes the chemistry of the line isn’t an issue.
While the offense has tons of questions, the defense is absolutely stacked. Ten starters from a year ago return, and this could be one of Foster’s best defenses yet.
In 2011, Virginia Tech ranked 10th in the nation in total defense. It all starts with the amazing defensive front. All of the starters from the defensive line are back, as are all of the top reserves. J.R. Collins and James Gayle are both all-ACC ends. Derrick Hopkins and Luther Maddy are strong in the middle of the defensive front.
All three linebackers return from a year ago as well, though all of them have been dealing with minor injuries in the offseason. The good news for the Hokies is this they are loaded with depth at this position. Middle linebacker Bruce Taylor has all the tools to be one of the best in the nation.
Kyle Fuller is one of the nation’s best cornerbacks. He managed to lead his team in tackles for loss from his cornerback position. He is an excellent cover corner who also stops the run exceptionally well. Kyshoen Jarrett and Detrick Bonner are great at covering the field from the safety spots. This group will be as physical as any secondary in the nation.
2012 Virginia Tech Hokies Football Schedule Analysis
While most of the college football teams in the nation will start on Aug. 31 or Sept. 1, the Hokies get their season kicked off on Sept. 3, 2012, against Georgia Tech. This game will be nationally televised on Labor Day evening by ESPN. Virginia Tech has tripped up early on in the past few years, and they’ll have to be careful when they visit Pittsburgh on Sept. 15.
You have to think the Hokies have circled the Oct. 20 game at Clemson. The Tigers beat them twice last season, and Virginia Tech is going to want to exact some revenge. After a bye week, the Hokies will travel to Miami to take on the Hurricanes. Florida State, a team many are saying is a real national title contender, will visit Blacksburg on Nov. 8.
2012 Virginia Tech Hokies Odds to Win the ACC and General Futures
What do the oddsmakers think of Virginia Tech’s chances of finding that elusive BCS title? 5Dimes lists the Hokies at +4,000 to win the BCS Championship and +1,550 to play in the title game.
JustBet lists the Hokies at +300 to win the ACC Conference. Florida State is the heavy favorite at -125. Virginia Tech is listed as a -125 favorite to win the ACC Coastal Division at BetOnline. Logan Thomas is listed at +7,500 to win the Heisman Trophy at 5Dimes.
5Dimes also lists odds for the Nov. 8 matchup against Florida State. The Hokies are listed as three-point home underdogs in that one. Most books list the Hokies season win total at nine wins.
2012 Virginia Tech Hokies Football Predictions
Virginia Tech’s defense is going to have to carry the team quite a bit this year. Thomas has the potential to be a very good quarterback, but losing so much talent around him will make it tough for him to have a breakout season. Look for the Hokies to use his athleticism in the running game more this year.
The defense should be dominating, and that will win this team a lot of games. Not many teams can match the Hokies depth and talent level on the defensive side of the field.
The middle of the conference schedule gets very tough, but it’s hard to see this team losing more than three games this year. Florida State is a very talented team, but the Hokies are probably worth a small play at +300 win the ACC.
Look for another very successful season from the Hokies.
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