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Virginia Tech Football: Ranking the Hokies' Toughest Opponents in 2023

By Sam Stromberg | August 15
VT FSU 2018
Eli Adams chases FSU RB Cam Akers in the Hokies' 2018 24-3 win at FSU. The Hokies will look to repeat in 2023, against a way tougher FSU squad.

With fall camp in full swing, college football season is approaching. Virginia Tech will look to rebound after an underwhelming 3-8 season under first-year Head Coach Brent Pry. In 2023, the Hokies have the 67th easiest schedule in FBS and one of the easiest schedules in all of Power Five, according to a ranking done by “The Lines” using a combination of FPI, SP+, and more. In this article, we will look at all twelve of Virginia Tech’s opponents in 2023, ranking them 12 to 1.

All win totals courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.

12. vs. Old Dominion (Sun Belt)

2022 Record: 3-9

2023 Win Total: o/u 3.5

Last Meeting: L; 20-17 (2022)

The Hokies dropped their week one contest to the Monarchs last season in Norfolk, starting off the Brent Pry era in very disappointing fashion. The Monarchs were bad last year, and they will be bad again this year. Hopefully the Hokies can take care of business this time, given the addition of former ODU WR Ali Jennings III.

11. at Boston College (ACC)

2022 Record: 3-9

2023 Win Total: o/u 5.5

Last Meeting: W; 27-10 (2022)

One of the Hokies' few wins from last year came at the disposal of the Eagles. BC returns QB Emmett Morehead after taking over for Phil Jurkovec and adds talented WR Ryan O’Keefe from UCF. However, BC must replace the ever so electric Zay Flowers. It may be another tough season for Jeff Hafley, but some optimism resides in Chestnut Hill given a manageable schedule.

10. at Virginia (ACC)

2022 Record: 3-7

2023 Win Total: o/u 3.5

Last Meeting: W; 29-24 (2021)

The Wahoos are not receiving much love from the media, getting picked to finish last in the preseason ACC order-of-finish. UVa added RB Kobe Pace from Clemson and WR Malik Washington from Northwestern, The Hoo’s success will depend on Monmouth QB transfer Tony Muskett and how he meshes in Tony Elliot’s offense. Chico Bennett Jr. returns on the D-Line and can be an All-ACC performer if healthy. I am more bullish on the Hoos than most.

9. at Rutgers (Big Ten)

2022 Record: 4-8

2023 Win Total: o/u 3.5

Last Meeting: W; 13-10 (2012)

Recently named starting QB Gavin Wimsatt will lead the Scarlet Knights in 2023 on offense, an offense in 2022 which was absolutely abysmal. HC Greg Schiano’s return to Piscataway has not been a smooth one, but the vibes are definitely up, adding new OC and QB developer Kirk Ciarrocca. Rutgers will look to find some consistency in 2023, returning an impressive 72.5% of total production from a year ago.

8. vs. Wake Forest (ACC)

2022 Record: 8-5

2023 Win Total: o/u 6.5

Last Meeting: L; 23-16 (2020)

Signal caller Sam Hartman is out, and redshirt sophomore Mitch Griffis is in. Griffis has big shoes to fill with Hartman’s departure to Notre Dame, but Dave Clawson has proved to be an offensive mastermind in recent years. Taylor Morin and Donavon Greene come back at receiver, but given the Demon Deacons recent success and the loss of LB Ryan Smenda Jr. to the NFL, I think they will disappoint in 2023.

7. at Marshall (Sun Belt)

2022 Record: 9-4

2023 Win Total: o/u 7.5

Last Meeting: W; 41-20 (2018)

A trip to Huntington to face the Thundering Herd is certainly no cake walk for the Hokies. Marshall has proved to be a premier Group of Five team, upsetting Notre Dame in South Bend just last year. HC Charles Huff and his talented back Rasheen Ali will look to spoil the Hokies' visit in late September, and truthfully, very well could.

6. vs. Syracuse (ACC)

2022 Record: 7-6

2023 Win Total: o/u 6.5

Last Meeting: L; 41-36 (2021)

QB Garrett Sharder gave the 2021 Virginia Tech defense fits in his takeover of Lane Stadium. In 2023 Sharder will look to do the same, but this time on a Thursday night in Blacksburg. Oronde Gadsden II comes back and is one of the best pass catchers in the conference as well. Dino Babers has been anything but consistent during his time at Syracuse, but will try and lean on his QB and strong LB corps, anchored by sophomore Marlowe Wax, in 2023.

5. vs. Purdue (Big Ten)

2022 Record: 8-6

2023 Win Total: o/u 5.5

Last Meeting: W; 51-24 (2015)

The reigning Big Ten West champs are under a new regime as Jeff Brohm made the move to Louisville. Ex-Illinois DC Ryan Walters is now at the top of the helm and will look to build upon a special 2022 season. Walters boasted a top ranked defense with the Illini last year and gets some talent back at Safety and Outside Linebacker – at Purdue. Purdue added highly touted Texas transfer Hudson Card at QB and brought in ex-WVU OC Graham Harrell to lead a revamped offense. While the Boilermakers will probably have lower expectations for 2023, it should still be a tough, early test for the Hokies.

4. vs. NC State (ACC)

2022 Record: 8-5

2023 Win Total: o/u 6.5

Last Meeting: L; 22-21 (2022)

One of the Hokies most frustrating losses last year came at the hands of NC State, blowing an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Hokies will meet former UVa QB Brennan Armstrong again, this time reunited with his former OC, Robert Anae. Look for Armstrong to get back to his old self, potentially making some noise once again in the ACC.

3. vs. Pittsburgh (ACC)

2022 Record: 9-4

2023 Win Total: o/u 6.5 *(-200)

Last Meeting: L; 45-29 (2022)

Despite losing six starters on defense and ACC DPOY Calijah Kancey, Pittsburgh – per usual – will be a tough test for the Hokies, this time in late September. The Panthers added QB Phil Jurkovec from Boston College and will look to compete for an ACC title berth in 2023.

2. at Louisville (ACC)

2022 Record: 8-5

2023 Win Total: o/u 8.5

Last Meeting: W; 42-35 (2020)

Scott Satterfield is out and Jeff Brohm is in. I have higher expectations than most for Louisville in 2023. The Cards loaded up in the secondary from the portal, adding ex-UNC DB’s Storm Duck and Cam’Ron Kelly (yes, that Cam’Ron Kelly; former VT commit, then to Auburn to UNC to UVa). Louisville also added one of the biggest weapons from the portal in WR Jamari Thrash. Former Purdue and Cal QB Jack Plummer has the experience and chemistry with Coach Brohm to make some serious noise in the ACC and potentially around the country in 2023.

1. at Florida State (ACC)

2022 Record: 10-3

2023 Win Total: o/u 9.5

Last Meeting: W; 24-3 (2018)

The lone ranked team on Virginia Tech’s 2023 schedule is also the highest ranked ACC team in the preseason AP Poll. The 8th ranked Florida State Seminoles return Heisman-caliber QB Jordan Travis. Mike Norvell also added weapons from the portal to an already loaded roster which returns WR Johnny Wilson, RB Trey Benson, and DE Jared Verse. The Seminoles are a serious threat to win an ACC title in 2023, but I think their goals go far beyond that. When all put together, this team is legit. The Hokies get the Seminoles after they face LSU and Clemson.

*Pitt’s -200 odds of o6.5 is quite favorable. 7 would be a better number.

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Been a Hokie fan ever since I can remember. Immensely passionate about journalism and Virginia Tech sports. Go Hokies!

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