The 2019 college football season is upon us as Virginia Tech football is looking for a bounce-back season starting with a road trip to a Boston College team with a potential All-American in A.J. Dillon.
Under Justin Fuente, the Hokies are undefeated in season openers including a road win at Florida State last year and a victory over West Virginia at FedEx Field the year before. Will the Hokies be able to push Fuente's record to 4-0 in season openers at Virginia Tech? Here's our staff's picks as the Hokies head to Chestnut Hill looking to start the season well once again.
This game pits two offenses that have very opposite strengths with the Hokies having a great passing attack including a pair of receivers who have All-ACC First Team potential in Tre Turner and Damon Hazelton while Boston College has a potential All-American RB in A.J. Dillon. While the Hokies return most of their front 7 from last season, Boston College has an almost brand new secondary that could struggle.
For the Hokies, while it will be important for them to establish a solid rushing attack, the Hokies shouldn't be afraid to air it out early and test the Eagles' young DBs to see if they have what it takes.
Meanwhile, tackling will be critical as Boston College will look to avoid third-and-long situations and try to control the game with their ground game built around the aforementioned Dillon. Boston College also has some new starters on the offensive line with that area not appearing to be the same strength that it has been in the past for the Eagles.
One of the biggest questions for both teams comes in the matchup between an inexperienced Boston College receiving corps and a Virginia Tech cornerback group that enters the season as a question mark despite the talented safety duo of Divine Deablo and Reggie Floyd that could help at times. While the Eagles will likely focus on their rushing attack, expect them to let Anthony Brown air it out at times to test those cornerbacks and see if they can step up to get the job done.
At the end of the day, one consistent thing under Justin Fuente is that his teams have been always ready to impress in their season openers with some of the Hokies' best performances coming in those games. This should be a four quarter battle, but the Hokies are the more talented team and their passing game will take advantage to pick up a season-opening victory in Chestnut Hill.
Pick: Virginia Tech 31, Boston College 24
This game is quite simple in my opinion. Whoever wins the battle in the trenches will win this football game. Can the Hokies and their depth issues on the defensive line emerge as a force against a mostly-new Boston College offensive front?
Eagles running back A.J. Dillon is a stud, but he is only as good as his offensive line. If the Hokies make it difficult on him to make an impact, they should have a good chance at winning the football game. Ultimately, I think the Hokies will stymie Dillon after a full off-season of preparation, and Tech’s offense will score enough to win and cover the spread. The Hokies will improve to 4-0 in season openers under Justin Fuente.
Pick: Virginia Tech 27, Boston College 14
It’s finally here! The 2019 Virginia Tech football season opens this weekend at Boston College.
In some ways, I think Virginia Tech has an advantage.
For example, the Hokies’ veteran starting wide receivers are much more experienced than the Eagles’ secondary.
On the other hand, Boston College has a few advantages as well. For example, All-ACC running back AJ Dillon will test a Virginia Tech defense who has a lot to prove.
Overall, I expect a relatively high scoring game. Both teams offenses are more reliable than their defenses, but I think the Hokies have the edge should this game turn into a shootout.
Pick: Virginia Tech 38, Boston College 28
Virginia Tech travels to Boston College this weekend to open their 2019 season looking for revenge after the Eagles defeated the Hokies 31-21 in Lane Stadium last year.
Justin Fuente is 3-0 in season openers at Virginia Tech, and I think he’ll be 4-0 after this weekend. The Hokies could not stop the run last year, with BC rushing for 249 yards. I think Tech’s defense will not allow that many yards on the ground this season and they will shut down Boston College’s offense. It will be a close game, but Virginia Tech’s offense will come up clutch for the Hokies and the Hokies will start 1-0 for the fourth straight year under Justin Fuente.
Pick: Virginia Tech 24, Boston College 17
You can thank the launch of the ACC Network for this early ACC matchup between the Eagles and the Hokies.
That might be able to work in Virginia Tech’s favor though as they have been strong in significant season openers away from Blacksburg under Justin Fuente. In the previous two seasons, the Hokies have collected season opening wins against preseason ranked opponents, including #22 West Virginia at Washington D.C. in 2017 and #19 Florida State at Tallahassee in 2018.
This game carries a lot of weight on how the beginning of the season could go for the Hokies. With a win, the Hokies could be in a favorable position to be 4-0 heading into Coral Gables in October.
The key matchup to watch is Boston College RB A.J. Dillion and his production against the Hokies' defense. The Preseason All-ACC RB is coming off a 1000 rushing yard season, including the 99 rushing yards he put against the Hokies in a 31-21 Boston College victory in Lane Stadium last season.
Virginia Tech’s defense will be very similar to last year’s matchup as the Hokies return nine of last season's starters on the defensive side in 2019. I think Virginia Tech will make a bounce back against the Eagles after last year’s loss and start the season off on a positive note with a tight ACC road victory.
Pick: Virginia Tech 24, Boston College 21