A lot of people outside of the ACC are wondering why the Hokies are receiving so much hype. They are wondering why the Hokies projected in the preseason top 10, and why there are national title run whispers in Blacksburg this year.
There are many reasons for all this hype. The Hokies are returning loads of very young talent, including a receiving corps that was comprised entirely of freshmen last season.
Virginia Tech's offensive line lost only two starters from last season. Both of these positions will be filled by talented players with starting experience. Jaymes Broods will step in and play in the right guard position vacated by Nick Marshman. Brooks started in the Orange Bowl in place of the ineligible Marshman and played very well.
Beau Warren will fill in at center. Warren has played well in several games in his time at Virginia Tech.
At the skill positions, the Hokies return all of the starters from the 2008 campaign, including record breaking freshman tailback Darren Evans and playmaking QB Tyrod Taylor.
The addition of Logan Thomas and Ryan Williams, along with hopefully consistent line play, should give the Virginia Tech offense the shot in the arm it has needed the last few years.
On defense, the Hokies return all but four starters from the No. 7 overall defense in 2008. Three of the four positions will be filled by players that have starting experience. The biggest loss of all will be the leadership of Victor "Macho" Harris.
The returning talent on the Virginia Tech defense is amazing. Stephan Virgil will move over to the boundary corner position to replace Harris. Virgil had a quiet but productive season in 2008. He hauled in six interceptions and blocked a punt. He was just in the shadow of an All-American.
Barquell Rivers, Rashad Carmichael, Jake Johnson, and John Graves or Nekos Brown will fill the other vacant spots on the depth chart. All but Johnson have playing experience and have played well when called upon.
With Jason Worilds healthy for the first time in two years and replacements ready to step up and fill the gaps, Bud Foster's defense should only improve.
This season's schedule lines up perfectly for a title run. An early test against Alabama in Atlanta, GA will set the tone for the season. With all the difficult games except Georgia Tech at home, this schedule is just right. The schedule matches the talent more so this year than the undefeated season in 1999.
With a shutdown defense and great talent returning on offense, things may just be right for a title run this season in Hokietown. If the Hokies live up to the hype and reach or win the title game, Blacksburg will be the place to be come January 2010.