Virginia Tech Season Win Total Prediction
After 29 marvelous seasons at Virginia Tech, Frank Beamer decided to finally call it a career. Forward-thinking fans, though, want to know if the legend left the Blacksburg cupboard empty or rather well stocked.
Handicappers suggest looking somewhere in the middle. Online sports book Bovada.lv projects the Hokies for seven wins in 2016. Such a number would qualify as another solid effort, albeit one of relatively little consequence in an ACC landscape ruled by Clemson and Florida State.
Beamer Ball officially ended with last December’s 55-52 triumph vs. Tulsa in the Independence Bowl. The scene in Shreveport that evening was pure magic, with players hoisting the 69-year-old on their shoulders and carrying him off the field.
Yet, matters weren’t always rosy as the future Hall of Famer’s time on campus wound down. While Beamer collected 238 Ws total, his squads went just 29-23 over the final four campaigns. Virginia Tech barely managed a .500 conference record in that same span.
Enter Justin Fuente, consistently regarded as one of the finest young coaches in college football. His up-tempo, spread attack may seem initially jarring to that area of the country, but it paid major dividends at Memphis. Fuente is a renowned quarterback whisperer, too, having tutored Andy Dalton and Paxton Lynch. That can only be a positive for either holdover Brenden Motley or JUCO transfer Jerod Evans.
We like Evans, a dual-threat sparkplug, to get the call come Sept. 3 against Liberty. Irrespective of the student-athlete taking snaps, however, the Hokies possess talent everywhere. Wide receivers Cam Phillips and Isaiah Ford, not to mention tight end Bucky Hodges, represent elite targets. The trio combined for 164 catches and 2,276 yards last fall. Travon McMillian also bears watching as an emerging backfield option. In his first 13 contests as a rusher (he arrived as a QB), the Woodbridge native gained 1,042 yards on the ground.
Protection shouldn’t create problems, either. Four O-line veterans, including elite guards Wyatt Teller and Augie Conte, are back. Position coach Vance Vice fully expects his group to clear additional holes in the running game as well. An 82nd-ranked attack there simply doesn’t suffice.
While Fuente promises to bring his unique flavor to the offense, the defensive picture offers considerable comfort food. Beamer’s old lieutenant, Bud Foster, remains on hand to supervise the continued growth of stud end Ken Ekanem and tackle Woody Baron. Every ounce of Foster’s experience will benefit the linebacking corps, though, as Tremaine Edmunds and Andrew Motuapuaka lack polish.
Beamer essentially built this program, and we’ll miss that patented visor on Saturdays. Nonetheless, Virginia Tech boasts an exciting new leader and a host of individual stars in the making. Feel free to hop on board now and bank on the Hokies for at least eight victories.
THURSDAY COLLEGE FOOTBALL FREE PICK: VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES OVER 7 WINS