Photo Credit: Harley Taylor
This week's Inside The Lunch Pail mailbag is a little more abbreviated than normal, but we appreciate the questions that have been sent in this week. Just a reminder, that questions don't have to be limited to football but can be on any NCAA-sanctioned sport at Virginia Tech, recruiting, Hokies in the Pros, etc. You can send your questions weekly by tweeting them at us or by emailing them to email@example.com.
With that said, let's get to this week's questions.
@techlunchpaild Question for the mailbag: Is a lose to unc the death nail for the bowl streak and coastal hopes?— Stevebrice2020 (@stevebrice2020) October 15, 2019
This is a great questions and the answer for one part of this is more clear than the other.
Yes, a loss to North Carolina would end Virginia Tech's hopes of winning the ACC Coastal. Going 5-3 in even one of the most chaotic Coastal divisions ever would still likely not be enough to win the division. Additionally, the Hokies would have a pair of losses to Coastal schools in North Carolina and Duke that would make tiebreakers more favorable to those 2.
At this point, every ACC game is a must win to keep Coastal title hopes alive.
The bowl streak is a slightly different story only because of the fact that the ACC has been such a mess that a loss would not be the death knell for it.
Now, the challenge this year is having to reach that seven-win mark given that the Hokies played 2 FCS opponents. Outside of Georgia Tech, there isn't necessarily another clear win on the schedule, but hosting North Carolina, Wake Forest, and Pittsburgh at home creates opportunities even if VT is underdogs against UNC and likely will be such against Wake and Pitt. Meanwhile, Virginia still looks like the slight favorite in the Coastal, but even when UVA was clearly more talented last year, we've seen how the win streak finds a way to survive with that game potentially being critical for bowl eligibility.
Of course, if VT ends up 6-6, there likely won't be enough bowl eligible 6-6 or better teams to fill out all the bowl game spots given the numerous amount of bowls. Don't be surprised if VT finishes at 6-6 that they end up finding a way to a bowl game simply because of need to fill spots.
@techlunchpaild Question for the mailbag: : How far have the goalposts moved for what good vt football is that we now celebrate wins over bad 1-4 fcs teams?— Stevebrice2020 (@stevebrice2020) October 15, 2019
I'm not sure if celebrated is the right word, but I think Hokie fans have reason to be encouraged after the victory of Rhode Island because of the play of Hendon Hooker.
In a game where VT only had 8 possessions to score (ninth one was just running out the clock), Virginia Tech got the ball inside the URI 5 or scored 6 out of 8 while reaching URI territory on all but one possession. Regardless of the opponent, that's a major step in the right direction of an offense that Justin Fuente has been looking to be efficient.
Secondly, Hooker continues to avoid putting Virginia Tech in danger of interceptions as I can't remember a single pass that was a near interception The only close call to a turnover in the past two games was the bad snap that Hooker quickly dove on.
I don't you'll see anyone flying the banner real high though after a 17-point victory over a now 1-5 Rhode Island. The pass defense issues remain a major concern, something that our Mike McDaniel took a look at earlier this week and is worth reading here.
However, I don't think there's anything wrong with celebrating a somewhat comfortable victory in a season that has been full of frustration and underwhelming performances. While this performance was underwhelming in some ways, it still probably ranks as the second best performance and a sign of improvement, something that Hokie fans will take heading into the gauntlet that will reveal if the Hokies have actually figured it out or not.