2010 record: 11-3, 8-0 (1st, ACC Coastal)
2010 bowl: 40-12 loss to Stanford in the Orange Bowl
2010 final AP/coaches’ ranking: 16th/15th
Coach: Frank Beamer, 25th year; 198-95-2 overall, 46-10 ACC
Offensive coordinator: Bryan Stinespring, 10th year
2010 offensive rankings: 21st, scoring offense (33.9 ppg); 41st, total offense (402.3 ypg); 23rd, rushing offense (198.7 ypg); 72nd, passing offense (203.6 ypg)
Defensive coordinator: Bud Foster, 17th year
2010 defensive rankings: 26th, scoring defense (20.6 ppg); 52nd, total defense (361.5 ypg); 64th, rushing defense (155.9 ypg); 40th, passing defense (205.6 ypg)
Returning offensive starters: 6
Returning defensive starters: 6
Location: Blacksburg, Va.
Stadium: Lane Stadium (grass; 65,115)
Last league title: 2010
2011 schedule: [view]
2011 roster: [view]
2010 statistics: [view]
Snapshot: There are very few things in the game of college football you can truly count upon and rely on, but a 10-win season from the Hokies is one of those. Ten times in the past 12 years, including seven straight entering this season, Virginia Tech has reached the double-digit win plateau. Tech has won outright or shared the ACC/Coastal crown five times in the seven seasons they’ve been in the conference, and this year should be no different despite losing their starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor and more than half of their starting defense.
One part of the latter that must improve, however, is the play of the front four. The Hokies were well below average in stopping the run last year, and the youngsters along the line — they could start as many as three sophomores — must match their talent level with on-field production to improve that facet of the defense.
And certainly there will be a learning curve as the Hokies break in sophomore Logan Thomas, but fortunately the schedule makers were very, very kind to the Hokies this year. Tech’s three toughest conference games — Clemson, Miami and Boston College — will all be played in Blacksburg. Their toughest conference road trip? To Georgia Tech, which would actually be the dictionary definition of anti-tough. Or, perhaps, the rivalry game at Virginia, although that should be nothing more than a tune-up for the first weekend in December, which should include yet another trip to the ACC championship game and a shot at going to a fifth BcS bowl in eight years.
(Writer’s note: Look at that, an entire mini-preview of Virginia Tech and there’s nary a mention of the embarrassing loss to Div. 1-AA/FCS James Madison… oops, never mind.)
Make-or-break game: Oct. 8 vs. Miami
As far as the Coastal Division is concerned, the Hokies and the Hurricanes — especially considering the troubles brought on by the abrupt coaching change at North Carolina — are clearly the class of what is otherwise a paper-thin group of schools. Thus, this game will very likely determine just who will represent the division in the conference championship game two months later. Being at home will be one advantage for the Hokies; being the better, more talented team will be the biggest advantage, and will allow the Hokies to slide their way into a title game appearance for the fifth time in eight years.
Heisman hopeful: Running back David Wilson
Somewhat buried behind a bevy of backfield talent — alliteration; it’s fun for the whole family! — for the past two seasons, this year will be the junior’s turn in the spotlight as he will be expected to carry a sizable chunk of the Hokies’ running game load. He’s averaged more than 5.5 yards per carry and, with a new quarterback as well as the departure of last year’s leading rusher Ryan Williams, he should far surpass his career total of just under 200 carries. While he’s far from a household name, he should be and very well could be by the end of the season. Whether or not he’ll grab the Heisman voters’ attention remains to be seen.
Postseason projection: Chick-fil-A Bowl