We have reached the top 10 teams in the nation and the cream of the crop is starting to rise. Here is team #10 and the 2010 Virginia Tech Hokies Football Preview. All part of our 31 teams in 31 days college football season preview from Maddux Sports.
No. 10 Virginia Tech Hokies
2009 record: 10-3
2009 Bowl Game: 37-14 win over Tennessee in Chick-fil-A Bowl
2009 ATS: 7-5-1
Returning starters: 12 (8 on offense, 4 on defense)
The Hokies had a strong offensive season in 2009 and are looking to repeat their success in the 2010 season. They only lose three starters on offense and they should gel even more with the returning starters at skill positions.
Virginia Tech will have to rebuild the left side of the offensive line, as they lose left tackle Ed Wang and left guard Sergio Render. Junior Greg Nosal will step in at left guard, and he should do fine thanks to his experience. Sophomore Nick Becton will take over at left tackle, and he might be the biggest question mark on the offensive side.
Quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a strong season last year, throwing for 2,311 yards and 13 touchdowns. He limited his interceptions to five, and that’s really all he needs to do with Ryan Williams leading a strong Hokies running game. But Taylor also showed what he can do on the ground. He ran for 370 yards and five touchdowns.
Williams rushed for 1,655 yards in his freshman season and scored 21 touchdowns. He got the majority of the workload, and that could be the only concern going into 2010. He should be able to repeat his numbers, if the 293 carries didn’t wear on him too much.
The receiving corps stays intact with juniors Jarrett Boy Boykin and Danny Coale leading the way. Boykin had 40 catches for 835 yards and five touchdowns in 2009. Coale hauled in 30 passes for 614 yards and two scores. Both receivers averaged over 20 yards per catch.
The Hokies have an inexperienced defense, and will see lots of new faces especially on the defensive line. Virginia Tech has to replace three starters on the line, and will have a new look when rushing the passer.
Senior Steven Friday and junior Chris Drager will step in as defensive ends. Senior John Graves is set as one tackle, and sophomore Antoine Hopkins will most likely take the other spot. He might have to split playing time with junior Kwamaine Battle.
The team loses a combined 18.5 sacks on defense and it also loses top tackler Cody Grimm. The linebacker had 106 tackles, four sacks, and 8.5 tackles for a loss in 2009. He also broke up five passes.
The secondary looks solid with cornerback Rashad Carmichael leading the way. The senior had six interceptions in 2009 and could have a breakout season. He will need some help with free safety Kam Chancellor departing, but the defensive backfield should be OK with more experience than last season.
Punter Brent Bowdon and kicker Matt Waldron both depart. Redshirt freshman Grant Bowden, Brent’s brother, and Senior Brian Saunders are fighting for the position as punter. Redshirt freshman Cody Journell and senior Chris Hazley are battling to get the nod as kicker. Junior Justin Myer, who handled kickoffs the last two seasons, is in the mix as well.
Jayron Hosley returned punts last season, and he was dangerous at times. He averaged 11.2 yards per attempt and returned a punt for a touchdown in the Hokies’ 52-10 win over Marshall. Dyrell Roberts and David Wilson split duties as kick returners. Roberts was the more dangerous returnman, averaging 31.9 yards on 18 returns. He scored a touchdown on a 98-yard return against Alabama.
Against the spread
The Hokies went 7-5-1 against the college football odds in 2009.They were 3-2 as home favorites and 2-2-1 as away favorites. They were the underdog in only one game, at home in week four against Miami, Fl. They were two-point dogs and won the game decisively 31-7, leading to a 1-0 record ATS as the home dog.
Virginia Tech went 5-3 against conference opponents, and 2-2-1 in non-conference games. The Hokies have gone 70-54-2 against the spread in the last ten years.
You can bet on it
Bet the Hokies at home against Duke on October 23. They have won the last nine games against the Blue Devils. In the last six meetings the Hokies outgained Duke by an average of 227 yards per game. With the Blue Devils looking for a pretty goo season and possibly their first bowl in 16 years, the spread shouldn’t be terribly high.
Favor the fade
For our play against spot play we will use one of our likely week 1 college football picks. Fade the Hokies against Boise State in the season opener. The Hokies inexperienced defensive line will need some time to find a rhythm. I don’t think they will be able to put much pressure on Bronco’s starting quarter and probable Heisman candidate Kellen Moore. The Hokies have lost their last tow season openers and the last three played at neutral sites. The game against the Broncos will be held at FedEx Field in Landover, MD, home of the Washington Redskins and site of the Hokies’ season opening loss to #1 USC in 2004.