Hokies, Thomas lead the way in ACC Coastal

Hokies, Thomas lead the way in ACC Coastal

Published Aug. 24, 2012 9:30 p.m. ET

Much like the annual August theme in the Atlantic Division regards Florida State returning to its old perch atop the college football landscape, the Coastal beat always begins with a very simple question: Is this finally the year for Virginia Tech?

It’s not about winning ACC championships, as the Hokies have four in their near-decade long time in the league, but they haven’t challenged for a national championship. Frank Beamer’s 1999 team, which was paced by Michael Vick, lost to FSU in the national title game. But despite some impressive marks and its current stance as the only program in the nation to win at least 10 games for the last eight consecutive seasons, VPI hasn’t been able to break through. 

It has a chance again this season. The schedule works in its favor in many respects, the Hokies have an all-everything caliber quarterback, a loaded defense that makes plays, and is always well-equipped along the offensive line and at tailback, even when ushering in new players. 

But Beamer’s boys might not be ready to play for a BCS title, though they should be solid favorites to win another Coastal title. 

The division gets jumbled after that. Virginia finished second a year ago and may be better this season, but so should be Georgia Tech and North Carolina, which is on probation and banned from a bowl. But the Tar Heels say they still have plenty to play for and are talented enough to sneak into the top spot. 

Duke could make a run for a bowl game and Miami could either win nine games or five, depending on several issues. 

Here is a look at how the ACC’s Coastal Division should shape up»