Virginia Tech comes into the 2010 season with national championship expectations once again. The Hokies have a top five ranking, 10 in some polls, and everything is set in place for them to make a run at their first crystal ball.
After the Hokies first game against third ranked Boise State, there aren't many games on the schedule the Hokies should have trouble winning.
Tech's home opener is against James Madison University and then they host East Carolina. These two games should be blowouts, and could even provide a chance to get some backup players some game time experience.
The Hokies then go on the road to open conference play with Boston College and N.C. State in consecutive weeks. If one team has been a thorn in the Hokies side the last few years, it's been Boston College.
However, the talent level between these two schools isn't even close this year, and the Hokies will have way too much offensive power for the Eagles to handle.
Russell Wilson could give the Hokie defense a few problems when Tech visits Raleigh, but I'd expect a similar result to 2009 for the Hokies (38-10 win).
Tech returns home to play Central Michigan and then Wake Forest for their homecoming game. Both schools will have new quarterbacks and the task of competing with the Virginia Tech offense, defense, and crowd in Lane Stadium will be too much for the either school to handle.
Then Virginia Tech hosts Duke to complete the month of October.
The Hokies could easily be 8-0 with a top three ranking going in to the month of November. The only game that could give them a hiccup is against Boise State. The other seven games on the schedule shouldn't even be close.
But November is a different story. The Hokies host Georgia Tech on Thursday night November 4th, then travel to North Carolina and Miami in back-to-back weeks.
Georgia Tech got the best of Virginia Tech last year, and Josh Nesbitt completed only one pass. The Virginia Tech offense should be better this year, and the Georgia Tech offense should be a little bit worse after losing Demaryius Thomas and Jonathan Dwyer.
However, both teams could look different come November so it's impossible to predict how they will play. Right now you would have to think Virginia Tech will be favored.
The Hokies also lost to North Carolina last season. The Tar Heels are in the middle of a recruiting violations scandal at the moment, which could drastically alter their expectations for 2010.
If the Tar Heels stay intact, this will be a great game to watch. A great offense in Virginia Tech will go up against a great North Carolina defense. If both teams are still ranked in the top 10 when November 13th rolls around it could be great for the ACC.
Virginia Tech then has to go on the road to Miami. The Hokies pounded the Hurricanes into a tropical depression last year, beating them 31-7 in Blacksburg. I think the game will be closer this year, but I still think the Hokies will field the best team.
Virginia Tech finishes November in Lane Stadium against Virginia. If the Hokies get through November unscathed you would have to think they'd be on their way to a national championship appearance.
However, there's also the ACC Championship game to take into consideration, and there's a good chance Florida State will find their way to Charlotte, which is ironic to say the least. The Hokies lost to Florida State in their only national championship appearance back in 2000.
We really won't know how good the Hokies are until this November stretch, but if they're 8-0 heading into their Thursday night showdown with Georgia Tech expectations are going to be extremely high for the Hokies to finish the season undefeated and to represent the ACC in the national championship.