The Virginia Tech Hokies have a few question marks this season, there's no doubting that. However, it's believed, until otherwise proven, that the talent filling the vacant positions is some of the best in recent history.
Now, preseason polls mean absolutely nothing, but they can affect where a team finishes the season. For the Hokies, to be ranked 13th is a great position for them to sneak into the top 5 of the rankings by season's end. Frank Beamer and company have a new quarterback coming in (Logan Thomas), a new starting running back (David Wilson) and almost an entirely different defensive line.
All are question marks. Will Logan Thomas live up to the hype? Is David Wilson an every down back? Will inexperience on the defensive front be too much for the defense to overcome?
All questions that won't be answered until the season is underway, and we may have to wait even longer considering the Hokies schedule. The last two years, the Hokies had one of the toughest schedules in the nation, but this year they're considered to have one of the weakest.
The Hokies open the season with Appalachian State, a trip to East Carolina, Arkansas State and then finish off the month of September with a visit to Marshall. Not exactly a challenging stretch, but considering the Hokies inexperience in key positions the coaching staff has to be excited.
Will Virginia Tech win the ACC Championship in 2011?
September has basically been the month where Virginia Tech's national title hopes are shattered. Virginia Tech has had a realistic dream of filling a vacant trophy case in the Merryman Athletic Center since Michael Vick roamed the campus. They're not false hopes either.
The Hokies have dominated the ACC since arriving in the conference in 2004 with four championships in seven years. Virginia Tech has also won 10-plus games a year for the last seven seasons, which is the longest streak in college football.
So why haven't the Hokies been able to capitalize on all of their talent? For one, nothing ever really changes in Blacksburg as far as the coaching staff is concerned; that is until this season. Beamer re-assigned a number of coaches, gave quarterbacks coach Mike O'Cain the play-calling duties and brought in some younger coaches, Shane Beamer and Cornell Brown, who also have a big role in recruiting.
All of this means it hasn't been your typical offseason in Blacksburg. Being ranked 13th in the AP poll is a great place for the Hokies to make a run. You likely won't hear Virginia Tech brought up very often in the first month of the season because of their schedule, but at the same time they may end up in the top 10 by October 1st.
The Hokies need to get over the hump of losing their opener, which they should do against Appalachian State, and take the season by storm. The Hokies have a phenomenal chance of going undefeated on their road to another ACC Championship where they'll likely play Florida State, again.
These are by far the two best teams in the conference, especially considering the offseasons North Carolina, Georgia Tech and Miami have had, and will likely be the last two standing in December. Don't be surprised to see both teams undefeated at this point with a potential trip to New Orleans on the line to play for the national title.
This scenario would provide a bit of irony considering Virginia Tech's only national title appearance in the year 2000 was against Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.