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Welcome to TSLMail #341- Friday, August 1, 2008
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Tech Sports News

Hokies Finish Better Than They Start
by Chris Coleman,

The preseason USA Today Coaches' Poll was released this morning, and the Hokies found themselves ranked #15 in the country. That's very respectable, considering they finished #9 last year and lost eight players in the NFL Draft. That's a lot of player turnover, yet the coaches still expect the Hokies to be a Top 15 team.

That's a lot more respect than the Hokies used to get, when it seemed like every season they would finish higher in the postseason polls than they began.

The following table shows Virginia Tech's preseason and postseason rankings in the Coaches' Poll dating back to 1993. The column on the far right shows the differential between the start of the season and the end. If the Hokies aren't in the Top 25, their ranking is automatically a 26. For example, in 1993, they began the season unranked but ended at #20. That's a differential of 6.

Hokies in the Coaches' Poll, 1993-Present
Year Preseason Postseason Differential
1993 NR 20 6
1994 19 24 -5
1995 NR 9 17
1996 15 12 3
1997 25 NR -1
1998 NR 19 6
1999 14 3 11
2000 10 6 4
2001 9 18 -9
2002 16 14 2
2003 10 NR -16
2004 NR 10 16
2005 7 7 0
2006 16 18 -2
2007 9 9 0


That's not a perfect system. In 1993 the Hokies were a lot lower than #26 to start the year, so that differential of 6 would actually be higher. However, in 2003 the Hokies were a lot worse than #26 to end the year, so the differential of -16 would be worse. Not to say that it all evens out in the end, but it's the best we could do.

For the most part, the Hokies have made a habit of finishing higher in the rankings than they began. In eight seasons from 1993 through 2007, they finished higher. In two seasons they finished exactly the same. In five seasons they finished lower than they started, though I'd hardly call 2006 an unsuccessful season simply because the Hokies finished #18 rather than #16.

There has been an interesting trend developing in the last three seasons. In two of the last three years, the Hokies have finished exactly where they began in the rankings. In the other year, they finished two spots lower than they started. So in the last three years, the coaches have been almost 100% accurate with their preseason ranking of Virginia Tech.

That says a couple of things. First of all, the Hokies are getting a lot more respect now. The fact that they lost so many great players off the 2007 team, yet are still picked in the Top 15 in 2008, says that opposing coaches have a great amount of respect for Tech's stability.

Secondly, it shows that the toughest part of the climb to the top comes as you get close to the summit. When you are hiking a mountain, the first couple of thousand feet are easy. It's the last few hundred that are the toughest. You are near the top, and you know you are near the top, but it seems like it's taking forever.

That's what's happening to Tech's football program right now. In the 1990's, Tech passed programs like Rutgers, Pitt, UVA, Maryland, etc. in football prominence. It's a lot tougher to reach the level of schools like Georgia, USC and Texas. Those years of rapid advancement are gone, and we're going to be seeing a lot more of the status quo in the rankings. Pretty much the same teams will make up the Top 15 or so teams each year. They'll just be in a different order each year, depending on the personnel they have returning. The Hokies will be one of those 15 teams each year, you can count on that.

This year Virginia Tech begins the season right at #15. With a challenging September schedule that includes ECU, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Nebraska, it would be a good sign if they are still ranked there, or higher, as October begins. With late season games against teams such as Florida State, Miami and Boston College, and with such a young roster, nobody is likely to complain if the Hokies finish where they started this year. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week
Hokies Ranked 15th in Preseason Coaches' Poll
August 1, 2008
The preseason USA Today Top 25 Coaches' Poll has been released, and the Hokies come in at #15, the second-highest among three ranked ACC teams. The Clemson Tigers are ranked 9th, and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons are ranked 23rd. Six other ACC teams received votes.

Friday Football Q&A: August 1, 2008
August 1, 2008
This week in the Friday Q&A, Raleigh Hokie talks about how the Hokies will get the ball in the hands of their playmakers this year. He also discusses Bud Foster's defense and how it could change. In the final question, Chris Coleman gives an early preview of the East Carolina game.

2008 Hokie Football Season Preview: Offensive Line
July 31, 2008
Virginia Tech lost just one player off last year's offensive line, but he was a big one. Duane Brown was a First Round draft pick of the Houston Texans at left tackle. Despite his loss, the Hokies showed improvement up front during spring practice, and could possibly have the best interior offensive line in the ACC. The starters are set, but the depth chart still needs to shake itself out.

Green Talks Recent AAU Performance, Basketball Future
July 31, 2008
Coming off of an 18-point, 5-rebound and 3-assist per game performance in which he guided Millbrook (Winchester, VA) to a Group AA state championship title, rising senior Erick Green had big expectations heading into this spring and summer's AAU basketball circuit. Unfortunately, the 6-2, 170-pound point guard suffered an ankle injury early on in the AAU circuit, and he has been hampered by the injury ever since. Despite the injury, Green has been pleased with his AAU circuit season and especially his performance at a recent AAU event.

2008 ACC Football Season Preview: Georgia Tech
July 30, 2008
Chan Gailey was fired in the offseason, and the Yellow Jackets hired Navy head coach Paul Johnson. Johnson's Navy teams were known for a triple option attack, and his Georgia Tech team will employ the same offense, with some elements of the spread offense mixed in. Johnson is lucky because he has a quarterback perfectly suited to run his offense in Josh Nesbitt, as well as a top notch B-Back (the primary ball carrier in the triple option) in Jonathan Dwyer.

Pasut Close to Making College Choice?
July 30, 2008
6-3, 234-pound tight end prospect Zico Pasut appears to be closing in on a decision. The Ardrey Kell (Charlotte, N.C.) rising senior has reduced his list to three schools - East Carolina, Virginia Tech and West Virginia - and a college commitment could come in the very near future.

2008 Hokie Football Season Preview: Defensive Line
July 29, 2008
Virginia Tech lost four senior defensive linemen off the 2007 squad. Carlton Powell, Barry Booker and Kory Robertson are gone at defensive tackle, while defensive end Chris Ellis' departure leaves line coach Charley Wiles with a position to fill on the edge. Talent is not a problem up front for the Hokies, but depth could be.

Norman Sees Dream Come True
July 29, 2008
The term "package-deal" gets floated around often in recruiting circles, but often times it does not come to fruition. For Theron Norman and his good friend Duan Perez-Means, attending college together has been the goal since they were very young. This past Saturday, the Hermitage (Richmond, VA) stars made that goal a reality when both players verbally committed to Virginia Tech.

2008 ACC Football Season Preview: Florida State
July 28, 2008
Florida State suffered from their biggest talent deficit in years last season, and also caught the injury bug. They have gone a combined 14-12 over the last two seasons, hardly FSU-like numbers. Over 20 players missed the Music City Bowl last season because of the academic scandal that hit the program, and some of those players will be suspended for the first three games of the 2008 season as well.

Thomas, Brookville Gear up for 2008 Season
July 28, 2008
Today is the first day of preseason practice for Brookville's (Lynchburg, VA) varsity football team. With 18 returning starters returning including quarterback/athlete Logan Thomas, rising junior tight end/wide receiver/defensive end Zack McCray and offensive tackle Devin Bolling, head coach Jeff Woody is anxious to get the season underway.

Hermitage Duo Commit to VT
July 27, 2008
According to Hermitage (Richmond, VA) head coach Patrick Kane, rising senior stars Theron Norman and Duan Perez-Means have verbally committed to Virginia Tech.
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