We have reached the end of our 2016 Hokies Football Roundtable Preview with our predictions for the 2016 season. Joining us once again are Sean Labar of The Virginian-Pilot, Mike McDaniel of Inside the ACC, and Dan Caro of TreadmillHorse.com. Let’s get to today’s season predictions.
Tim Thomas (Follow the site @techlunchpaild)
I’ll have a more in-depth game-by-game prediction here on techlunchpail.com later this week but to think that Justin Fuente can get this team, at least in the regular season, back to a 10-win season this fall is just absurd. The Hokies are a good team, but they are not a great team that can reign supreme in the ACC Coastal as they used to.
However, this team should be solid and in the hunt for the Coastal throughout the season with an above .500 ACC record due in part to a favorable conference schedule that includes many of their weakest opponents in Blacksburg. Right now, I think you’ll see the Hokies could in at 7-5 (5-3) or 8-4(6-2) this fall while also not having late-season worries about making a bowl game.
Sean Labar (@SeanLabar)
I hope Hokies’ fans are realistic. There isn’t any question around Fuente being a good coach. He’s got some solid pieces in place, and has already shown a knack for recruiting. This isn’t a bad team, in fact, I think the Hokies will catch a lot of people off guard. But all good things take time — and winning the ACC this season probably isn’t realistic. I have them finishing (7-5) during the regular season, which will be good enough for a decent bowl game.
Dan Caro (@treadmillhorse)
I predict the Hokies to go 6-6. There are a lot of unknowns on this team. 6-6 could turn into 8-4 or 4-8 (yes, I actually believe this). I lean more towards 6-6 or better because I think Justin Fuente is a good coach. He will find a way to get the most out of this team. More than what we’ve seen over the last 4 years. I don’t expect this team will win 9 or 10 games. I just don’t think the talent is there.
To give fans some hope, I do believe this will be an exciting season. I predict you will see things that you rarely saw under Beamer. There will be a lot of offensive fireworks and an aggressive approach. In some games it will be a good thing and in some games it will come back to bite us. Either way, it’ll be something different. This team will likely go to a lower tier bowl game this year but will show flashes that will give fans hope for the future.
Mike McDaniel (@MikeMcDanielACC)
Picking a record is tricky because of the major unknown at quarterback for the Hokies. While I do think that the team will perform much better on the field, it may not necessarily amount to many more wins than in the last couple of seasons. I see two sure-fire losses for the Hokies right off the bat with Preseason AP Top 10 opponents in Tennessee and Notre Dame. It’s just hard to envision a scenario where the Hokies win either of those two games, even if they hang tough and perform better than expected.
Two other games that I think will be very tough to win are on the road against North Carolina, who may have one of the best offenses in the country this season before it’s all said and done, as well as a road game with a tough Pittsburgh defense at Heinz field, where the Hokies never seem to perform well.
If the Hokies win the rest of the games on their schedule with those four opponents aside, that puts them at an 8-4 ceiling, which would include a home upset against Miami on Thursday, October 20th. With an 8-4 record, it would be tough for fans of the team to be disappointed, especially when considering all of the unknowns heading into the season.