Virginia Tech 2016 football regular season schedule
2016 Virginia Tech regular season schedule
For the first time since 1986, someone other than Frank Beamer will be coaching the Hokies on the sideline. Here's the regular season schedule for Virginia Tech in Justin Fuente's first year as head coach.
Sat. Sept. 3 vs. Liberty 12:30 p.m.
Normally opening up the season against an FCS opponent feels pretty anticlimactic. Anything can happen of course (see JMU in 2010), but usually the excitement of a new season wears off in the first quarter and by then the game is already well in hand. This year’s opener will be highly anticipated, however, as it will be Justin Fuente's first as head coach. Liberty went 6-5 last season, but did manage impressive wins over Montana and Coastal Carolina.
Sat. Sept. 10 vs. Tennessee in the Battle at Bristol 8:00 p.m.
Virginia Tech and Tennessee will hit the track for the Battle at Bristol. If Justin Fuente wants to put an early stamp on the program, a win over the Volunteers would be a great way to do it. This Tennessee team is loaded and should be one of the front runners to win the SEC East Division. Butch Jones is also desperate for a signature win after several years of underachieving. While some SEC fans may scoff at the notion of Virginia Tech as a “signature win,” this game could be played in front of the largest crowd in college football history thanks to the venue (160,000 capacity) which certainly ups the importance.
Sat. Sept. 17 vs. Boston College 3:30 p.m.
Virginia Tech will welcome back former offensive coordinator Scot Loeffler who now holds the same position for Boston College. He certainly has his work cut out for him as the Eagles were ranked 126th in total offense in 2015. How’s it going? The final score in Boston College’s spring game was 6-2. The Eagles are a tough out considering how great their defense is, but they may continue to struggle on the offensive side of the ball.
Sat. Sept. 24 vs. East Carolina
The Pirates have proven to be a thorn in the side of Virginia Tech over the past few years, but this will be a team in transition after the inexplicable firing of head coach Ruffin McNeill. New head coach Scottie Montgomery was the offensive coordinator at Duke, but being able to keep the ECU program at a level in which the team can continue to compete with the Hokies will be a tall task. Not impossible, but just how good the Pirates will look this fall remains very much a mystery.
Sat. Oct. 8 at North Carolina
Marquise Williams won’t be under center for the Tar Heels, but the defending Coastal Division Champions look well stocked for another run at the division. The main focus for North Carolina this season will be getting quarterback Mitch Trubisky up to speed. An emotional Virginia Tech team forced overtime last season in what was Frank Beamer’s last home game. Can Justin Fuente lead them to an upset of the division favorites on the road?
Sat. Oct 15 at Syracuse
Enjoy this one because it will be the last time these two former Big East rivals play each other until 2021. Isn’t conference expansion great? The Orange will be lead by head coach Dino Babers who is in his first year at Syracuse. As good as a hire as Babers looks like he could be, he has his work cut out for him. The Orange have a lot of starters returning, but not a lot of talent. Syracuse struggled on both sides of the ball last season and it may take some time before Babers is able to turn that program around.
Thurs. Oct. 20 vs. Miami
The last time Miami visited Blacksburg on a Thursday, the Hokies were embarrassed 30-6. Revenge will be on the minds of Virginia Tech as they host the Hurricanes in Justin Fuente’s first Thursday night game for the Hokies. Miami hasn’t looked like The U for many years, but now the chronically underachieving Hurricanes have Mark Richt at the helm. All Richt did in his 15 seasons at Georgia was win the SEC twice and the SEC East six times. Plus, it’s not as if he’s starting from scratch with players like quarterback Brad Kaaya in tow. Both Richt and Fuente are now tasked with restoring their respective teams to glory. This game could serve as a benchmark for which team is further along in that process.
Thurs. Oct. 27 at Pitt
Pat Narduzzi impressed in his first season at Pittsburgh leading the Panthers to eight wins in 2015 and that has left many to believe the Panthers are well on their way towards contention in the Coastal Division. Running back James Conner’s successful battle with Lymphoma has been the feel-good story of the offseason. Hopefully he will be able to return to the field this fall and if he does, he will provide an offensive spark to go along with the stout defense Narduzzi has built.
Sat. Nov. 5 at Duke
Some believe this could be a step back year for Duke after seeing them manage only an 8-5 record in 2015, but count out the Blue Devils at your own risk. Head coach David Cutcliffe has managed to build a respectable football team at Duke and they always seem to be surpassing expectations. The Blue Devils were decimated by injury on the defensive side of the ball last season and will look to rebound this year. The biggest question mark is on offense as Zac Roper takes over at offensive coordinator for Scottie Montgomery who left for ECU. In addition to what looks like a lack of talent at the skill positions, Roper may also be without his starting quarterback. Dual threat Thomas Sirk ruptured his Achilles tendon in February and his status remains uncertain.
Sat. Nov. 12 vs. Georgia Tech
After an 11-win season in 2014 much more was expected from the Yellow Jackets in 2015 behind quarterback Justin Thomas. Georgia Tech managed only three wins and now the state of this team heading into this season anyone’s guess. At this point, you know what you’re going to get from Paul Johnson’s option offense. It’s not going to catch anyone off guard. The question is which Thomas are we going to see? Will it be the one who ran the offense seemingly to perfection with over over 1,000 yards rushing and 26 total touchdowns or or the one who was held to less than 500 yards rushing in a sputtering offense?
Sat. Nov. 19 at Notre Dame
Virginia Tech will make its first ever trip to South Bend to take on Notre Dame in a game that could well have national implications if the Irish are as good as many predict. Notre Dame went 10-3 in 2015 with their only losses coming against Clemson, Stanford and Ohio State. The scary thing is that they could have been even better if not for a rash of injuries to key players including quarterback Malik Zaire. Will he be able to reclaim the starting job from DeShone Kizer who played well in relief or will the Hokies see a two quarterback system?
Sat. Nov. 26 vs. Virginia
Justin Fuente will welcome Bronco Mendenhall and the Cavaliers to Blacksburg hoping to defend the Commonwealth Cup for 13th consecutive time. Do not underestimate the importance of this game. The Hokies have dominated this rivalry of late, not only winning 12 straight but 16 of the last 17 contests between the two teams. A loss, however, could signal to fans and, more importantly, to recruits a change in fortune for the two schools. If Virginia Tech hopes to maintain its place atop the hierarchy of Virginia schools, beating the Cavaliers is a must.