Analyze This: 2013 Schedule Overview

Three things related to college football happen each year in February: National Signing Day, the NFL Draft Combine, and the release of the coming season's schedule. The ACC officially released its schedule on Monday afternoon, locking the next 12 Virginia Tech football games into specific dates. The countdown is on. Today, we'll analyze what the Hokies will face this season.
- The most glaring aspect of the schedule is obviously the lack of a Thursday night home game. Virginia Tech has had a Thursday night home game every year since 2002 and it has become a bit of a tradition in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech athletics director
I see both sides of the coin, as Thursday night games severely restrict the game day experience. I remember the 2007 Boston College game leaving Richmond at 1:00 p.m. with my dad, being stuck in traffic for six and a half hours in the driving rain, and walking into Lane Stadium as Enter Sandman was blaring. Then again, that game was one of the most memorable games ever in Lane Stadium and not having a Thursday night game will prevent that chance from even happening.
- The other point that has been repeated is the, for lack of a better word, boring home schedule. The teams that will visit Lane Stadium are: Western Carolina, Marshall, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Duke, and Maryland. The combined 2012 record of those teams was 30-44 and the only team with a record over .500 was North Carolina at 8-4. Could North Carolina take another step forward under coach
The other tradition Virginia Tech has (had?) other than playing on Thursday nights seems to be opening the season with a big one. It doesn't get much bigger than this one as the Hokies will be squaring off right in the middle of SEC country against defending National Champion Alabama. The Crimson Tide lost
Junior quarterback
No matter what happens in Atlanta, the Hokies will have this one to look forward to and get some confidence back. The Catamounts are an FCS team that went 1-11 last year. Translation? This one won't be close.
The Hokies and Pirates have played 16 times since coach
East Carolina has 18 starters returning for coach
The Herd went 5-7 last season and are looking to take the next step back to being a bowl contender each season and it all starts with Cato. However, I expect Virginia Tech to take control of this one in the second half.
This has the potential to be one of the ugliest games of the 2013 season. Both teams will be on short weeks as the Hokies play Marshall five days before this one and the Yellow Jackets play North Carolina. Combine that with the triple-option attack featured by Georgia Tech and a Virginia Tech team that wasn't exactly efficient in 2012.
The Tar Heels torched the Hokies last season to the tune of 48 points, 339 rushing yards, and 533 total yards in Fedora's first season. Quarterback
Thankfully for the Hokies, running back
The Hokies get two of the teams that absolutely pounded them in 2012 in back-to-back weeks in 2013, setting up potentially a revengeful 14 days for the Hokies. The Panthers have had the upper hand in the series recently, winning each of the past four games. They have scored at least 28 points in each game, which will likely fire Foster up a little bit more in the week leading up to this one.
Virginia Tech was torn to shreds by Pitt running backs
The Blue Devils lost a lot offensively as both quarterback
As far as Duke has come as a program in recent years, it still doesn't have the sheer talent to match up with the bigger programs in the conference, especially on the road.
The Hokies snuck out of Chestnut Hill with a 30-23 overtime win to keep their bowl hopes alive in 2012, but this year's Boston College team will be much different under new head coach
With expansion came some shuffling within the future schedules and along with playing Duke at home and Boston College on the road, the Hokies will be traveling to Coral Gables for the second straight season. Who knows what will be of the Hurricanes' post season chances by this point as the NCAA continues to shuffle its feet with regards to their investigation. Regardless, coach
Only two starters departed after last season and among the returnees are quarterback
The Terps will be saying farewell to the ACC this season and their second-to-last conference game will take them on the road to Blacksburg. Who their quarterback will be by this time is a question no one knows, as who will start the spring game isn't even known.
Maryland has three quarterbacks, including 2011 starter
Virginia Tech has won nine in a row and 13 of 14 in the series, although the most recent game was a hard fought 17-14 grind that went to the Hokies only after a late
The Cavaliers' schedule leading up to this one is difficult. A rivalry game on the road will present a challenge, but I still see the Hokies pulling out another close victory in 2013.
1. Alabama
2. Miami
3. North Carolina
4. Pittsburgh
5. Virginia
6. East Carolina
7. Georgia Tech
8. Maryland
9. Boston College
10. Duke
11. Marshall
12. Western Carolina
Alabama - QB
Western Carolina - LB
East Carolina - LB
Marshall - QB
Georgia Tech - S
North Carolina - QB
Pittsburgh - RB
Duke - QB
Boston College - LB
Miami - RB
Maryland - WR
Virginia - QB
As of now, I have the Hokies at 8-4 overall and 5-3 in the conference with losses to North Carolina, Miami, and Georgia Tech. If that happens, there's no way Virginia Tech is remotely near the ACC Championship discussion. However, this is before spring and fall practice. This is before we've seen
This is before we find out if that deep defensive line is ready to dominate the line of scrimmage. Basically, this is entirely way too early to be locking in predictions, so don't hold me to them if Edmunds breaks out and the defense looks great this spring and I bump the Hokies back up into the ten win range. But if the Hokies struggle to run the ball again and Thomas remains inaccurate, 8-4 might be right on the money.