Predicting the ACC Coastal Division is a total crapshoot this season. While the teams, including Virginia Tech, may have different strengths and weaknesses, they all seem to have an equal amount of talent.
Ranking the difficulty of games on a Coastal Division team’s schedule is equally as challenging. For the Michael Brewer and the Hokies, their easiest game is an obvious choice and picking the two hardest contests is pretty simple. But arguments can be made for just about everything in between.
Here are my rankings of Virginia Tech’s games from easiest to most difficult.
12. Sept. 12 vs. Furman
Virginia Tech gets the Purple Paladins five days after facing off with Ohio State, which would normally be a concern. But Furman was a 3-9 FCS team last year so this should not be much of a challenge for the Hokies.
11. Sept. 19 at Purdue
The Hokies get the Boilermakers the week after Furman. Purdue has 15 starters back though it is hard to imagine last year’s 111th-ranked offense doing much of anything against the Virginia Tech defense.
10. Sept. 26 at East Carolina
Ruffin McNeill has built a solid program but the Pirates must replace quarterback Shane Carden and top receiver Justin Hardy. While this road game will not be a complete cakewalk it is one that Virginia Tech will handle.
9. Nov. 28 at Virginia
Last game of the year. Rivalry game. Virginia coach Mike London may be fighting for his life or already gone. Virginia Tech could have a lot riding on this game while the result may not matter to the Cavaliers. Give me the focused, motivated team, especially when it's more talented.
8. Oct. 17 at Miami
Miami has some questions along the offensive line and if there is a team built to exploit those issues, it is Virginia Tech.
7. Oct. 24 vs. Duke
The Blue Devils have beaten the Hokies in consecutive games, meaning motivation should not be a problem for Virginia Tech. Duke has 12 starters returning but this team also has lost some key components to its recent success.
6. Oct. 31 at Boston College
Boston College should struggle offensively, which would not appear to be a good recipe for success against Virginia Tech this season. But the Eagles have a strong defense, the game will be played in Chestnut Hill, and the Hokies have to avoid looking ahead to Georgia Tech.
5. Oct. 9 (Thursday) vs. NC State
Both teams only have six days to prepare for this match up, with the Hokies squaring off with Pittsburgh the weekend prior while the Wolfpack take on Louisville in their first real test of the season.
4. Oct. 3 vs. Pittsburgh
The Hokies' defense could be tested by the Panthers' offensive weapons. Plus, if new Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi can stiffen what was a decent defense, this game could be a battle for Virginia Tech. Pittsburgh will have an off week prior to going to Blacksburg.
3. Nov. 21 vs. North Carolina
North Carolina should be improved in 2015, but this ranking is based primarily on where the game falls on the schedule. Virginia Tech is at Georgia Tech the week before and a win or a loss in Atlanta could be a letdown after playing the Yellow Jackets.
2. Nov. 12 (Thursday) at Georgia Tech
While the trip to Atlanta may not be the most difficult game on the schedule, it is the most important. On that Thursday night in November, both teams should be contending for the ACC Coastal crown and the winner will get a huge leg up in that race.
1. Sept. 7 (Monday) vs. Ohio State
The virtually unanimous No. 1 preseason pick and defending national champion will come to Virginia Tech to open the season with the Buckeyes looking to avenge their only loss of 2014. Suspensions or no suspensions, beating Ohio State will be a chore.
— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.