Virginia Tech Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2012
With spring practices coming to a close around the country, the 2012 college football season is drawing near.
The Hokies will be kicking off the season in grand fashion against rival Georgia Tech under the lights on Labor Day at what surely will be a rockin' Lane Stadium.
There are certainly some difficult games on Tech's schedule, but most seem to be winnable, given that most teams that gave the Hokies problems last season are rebuilding at key positions.
The question is, with a favorable schedule and a little luck, can the Hokies run the table?
Georgia Tech (Sep. 3)
2011 Record: 8-5
When the Yellow Jackets roll into Blacksburg for a Labor Day primetime season kickoff, it may very well be the Hokies' most losable game for the 2012 season.
The Jackets bring with them an experienced senior quarterback in Tevin Washington, whose tenure haphazardly began in Blacksburg during the 2010 installment of this heated rivalry when then-senior Joshua Nesbitt broke his arm making a post-interception tackle.
Virginia Tech eventually won that 2010 game and repeated last season in Atlanta with a 37-26 victory over the Jackets.
The Hokies will be fielding an experienced junior quarterback in Logan Thomas and will have a rabid home crowd behind them on defense, but they will have to replace David Wilson in the run game.
Prediction: Win (1-0)
Austin Peay (Sep. 8)
2011 Record: 3-8
The only difficulty with this Austin Peay game will be coming off short rest after a Monday night matchup with Georgia Tech, but the Hokies should be able to dominate and send the starters to the showers by halftime.
This game comes at a perfect time for a nice turnaround back to a "normal" Saturday schedule going forward.
Even an exhausted Virginia Tech team should be able to put the Governors away early and run away with a decisive win.
Prediction: Win (2-0)
At Pittsburgh (Sep. 15)
2011 Record: 6-7
Pitt is one of the games that could have very well been a difficult one for 2012, but with another coaching change and a ton of instability on both sides of the ball, Virginia Tech will be able to handle the Panthers easily.
Pitt usually fields a lot of size up front on both sides of the ball, but with so many questions about what this team's identity will be, and this early in the season, there's just no reason to believe that the Panthers can pull off a win in this one, even at home.
Prediction: Win (3-0)
Bowling Green (Sep. 22)
2011 Record: 5-7
Bowling Green wasn't good last season, going 3-5 in the lowly MAC, and they'll be no match for an experienced Virginia Tech squad on the road.
The Falcons' only comparable opponent last season would have been West Virginia, and in that game Bowling Green fell 55-10 on the road. Though they fared better than Clemson in the Orange Bowl, a 45-point loss in their only BCS matchup doesn't give us any reason to believe the Falcons can handle the Hokies on the road.
Prediction: Win (4-0)
Cincinnati (Sep. 29)
2011 Record: 10-3
This is another matchup that could have been much more difficult for the Hokies this season, if not for the Bearcats losing a few key players to graduation.
With a healthy Zach Collaros coming back for another year fresh off a 10-win season, it certainly would have been difficult not to give Cincy a fighting chance, but that's not the case. Collaros, who signed with Tampa after the draft, is in the NFL, leaving his old team searching for a replacement.
Cincinnati certainly has a chance to find a new leading passer and a new top rusher by late September, but at this point an educated guess would result in a Hokies victory at home.
Prediction: Win (5-0)
At North Carolina (Oct. 6)
2011 Record: 7-6
Last season, Butch Davis was forced out at Chapel Hill with the NCAA looming large in the background, leaving the Tar Heels to pick up the pieces on the field.
After an interim 2011 season with defensive coordinator Everett Withers at the helm, Larry Fedora takes over at Carolina, coming off a 12-2 season and a bowl win at Southern Miss.
Conference USA, however isn't exactly playing big-league ball, and as a first-year coach installing a new system on offense, there are simply too many questions for the Heels to this point. Look for Virginia Tech to yet again take advantage of rebuilding in what could have been a difficult spot on the schedule.
Prediction: Win (6-0)
Duke (Oct. 13)
2011 Record: 3-9
If David Cutcliffe was going to have the Blue Devils up to par in the ACC, he would have done it by now. Even the most skeptical of fans probably expected Duke to have been better by now, but this program is simply stuck in the same rut it has been in since Florida hired Steve Spurrier away from Durham.
Though the Dukies gave Virginia Tech a run for their money last season in a 14-10 victory on the road, look for the Hokies to pull away early in the 2012 version of this matchup.
Prediction: Win (7-0)
At Clemson (Oct. 20)
2011 Record: 10-4
Clemson may be the most vulnerable game on Tech's schedule for this next season as the ACC's two BCS team's from 2012 square off in late October.
Both teams return a good number of starters, but until the Tigers can stop "pulling a Clemson" year after disappointing year, this program will continue to blow big games, and this should be a big one indeed.
The Hokies shouldn't have much of a drop-off for this next season and will be good enough again to contend for the ACC. This game could go either way, but advantage: Hokes.
Prediction: Win (8-0)
At Miami (Nov. 1)
2011 Record: 6-6
This may sound like a broken record, but this is another game that could have gone either way. Instead, the Hurricanes will have some key positions to fill going into the 2012 season, leaving a gap for the Hokies to sneak through yet again.
Last season Tech pulled out a 38-35 victory at home, but don't look for Miami to put up anywhere near that many points on this year's Hokie defense. The Canes will be looking for a new quarterback after Jacory Harris went undrafted during this year's draft, and running back Lamar Miller will be a Dolphin.
A little luck never hurts when making a championship run in college football.
Prediction: Win (9-0)
Florida State (Nov. 8)
2011 Record: 9-4
If the Seminoles are going to lose a game in 2012, it will be this one.
Blacksburg is a tough place to play as it is, but FSU will likely have a lot riding on this matchup, and this is a perfect late-season trap with all the marbles on the line.
A loss would be costly, but with a few games remaining and a possible conference championship berth still waiting, it might not cost the Noles a shot at the crystal football. For the Hokies, though, it could all but solidify a shot.
If both teams are as good as they should be, and this is an undefeated or top-10 matchup, this should be a GameDay extravaganza and a much-needed ACC showcase.
Prediction: Win (10-0)
At Boston College (Nov. 17)
2011 Record: 4-8
Boston College isn't much better than Duke, and why should anyone believe that the Eagles will be much better in 2012?
Senior running back Montel Harris, the Eagles' career leading rusher, was dismissed from the team on May 1st by Frank Spaziani, which leaves BC looking for even more production on offense.
The Spaziani era at Chestnut Hill has been dismal, and not much points towards a positive future to this point.
After a 30-14 victory last season at home, look for the Hokies to roll even bigger on the road.
Prediction: Win (11-0)
Virginia (Nov. 24)
2011 Record: 8-5
This game could always go either way regardless of records, as with any good football rivalry.
The Cavaliers are coming off a surprise season in 2011 but showed a lot of weakness in a season-ending bowl dismantling at the hands of a mediocre Auburn squad.
The Cavs return junior quarterback Michael Rocco, who has shown a ton of promise, but as with the Auburn and Carolina last season, not to mention a 38-0 loss to the Hokies at home, Virginia just doesn't seem to be ready for the big time just yet.
Prediction: Win (12-0)