In his last four years at Virginia Tech, legendary head coach Frank Beamer was a combined 29-23. Justin Fuente made a seamless transition in terms of maintaining the Hokies' culture after he was hired in 2015. While respecting the history of the program, Fuente also added his own twist, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
It didn’t hurt that he has won games, going 19-8 in his first two years. Entering year three, expectations are not diminishing, but the Hokies' coach will have to deal with a great deal of personnel turnover.
So how will the Hokies fare this fall? Athlon Sports polled a few editors and college football contributors share their realistic win/loss projection for Virginia Tech in 2018.
Virginia Tech Football Game-by-Game Predictions 2018
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Even though Virginia Tech is dealing with some significant personnel turnover, it’s hard for me to doubt Justin Fuente and Bud Foster. Sure, the defense has question marks at every level. However, Foster is one of the best in college football and consistently reloads in Blacksburg. The Hokies may hit a few speed bumps early in the year as the defense reloads, but the schedule features four ACC home games over the last five matchups, allowing this team to make up some ground. Quarterback Josh Jackson (above, right) seems poised to take a step forward in his second year as the starter. The skill talent is in flux, but Fuente will find a way to make this offense go.
Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch)
My confidence in the Hokies' ability to win the ACC Coastal has diminished a bit over the summer due in large part to some personnel losses on defense, specifically in the secondary. This is still a good team — and a very well-coached team — that should win eight games. How they get to those eight wins could be interesting. I have Virginia Tech losing to Duke and Pittsburgh but beating Miami, the projected Coastal champ. The schedule sets up well for a strong closing stretch, with four of the last five games at home. The Hokies also catch a break by not playing Clemson.
Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer)
When I look at the Hokies this season, it really feels as though the team is building toward something big... in 2019. Josh Jackson should make progress as a passer and be a little more consistent than he was as a freshman but I'm not sold on there being quite enough playmakers to really make a run at the division. There are question marks all over the defense but that should mean this unit will better later in the year than earlier. The schedule is easy enough where eight wins seems like a minimum but if the Hokies come together quicker than expected than double digits shouldn't be ruled out.
Jon Kinne (@JonRKinne)
Everyone knows that Bud Foster is an all-time great as a defensive coordinator, but he faces a huge challenge this year. With the exception of safety Reggie Floyd, the entire back seven of the defense is gone. Not only that, the projected starters at linebacker and in the secondary were not part of the regular rotation last year, meaning they’ve seen very few meaningful reps.
The Hokies return a decent amount on offense, but tackle Wyatt Teller and wide receiver Cam Phillips will be missed. Plus, this was a middle-of-the-road unit last year and it doesn’t feature a whole lot of game-breakers. Quarterback Josh Jackson is a year older and I do think this unit will improve, but it won’t be enough to offset what the defense lost.
Besides Florida State, Virginia Tech gets its biggest foes in Blacksburg, which is helpful. But I still think the win total will go down from last year. Justin Fuente has the Hokies moving in the right direction, but this season may be step back before a rebound in 2019.