Friday Q&A: Lots on Loeffler and Quarterbacks

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1) How will the new ACC schedules impact our strength of schedule and our chances for getting a bid to the 4-team playoffs? Do we need to dramatically strengthen our OOC schedule to improve our strength of schedule?

Chris Coleman: I wouldn’t base my scheduling around whether or not Virginia Tech might be in contention for the 4-team playoff. How many times would they have made it, or been in the discussion for it, in the past?

They would have made it in 1999, and they would have been in the discussion in 2000. They would have been in the discussion in 2007, when they finished #3 in the BCS rankings, but I don’t think any selection committee on earth would have put them in a 4-team tournament after what happened at LSU early in the season. I don’t think any unbiased person could look at that Tech team and think it was one of the four best in the country.

This isn’t basketball where dozens of teams make the Big Dance. We’re talking about four teams here, and you’ll likely talking about no-loss and one-loss teams, with occasionally perhaps a strong 2-loss team.

Do you change your scheduling philosophy for something that may or may not happen about once a decade? Well, Tech has never shied away from playing big names in their non-conference schedule. LSU, Nebraska, Alabama, Boise State and USC have taken on the Hokies in the past, and we’ve got Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin coming up. Nobody can accuse Tech of being scared, that’s for sure.

However, I’d argue that those games have hurt Tech more than helped them. If VT had played Marshall instead of LSU in 2007, the Hokies would have finished 12-1, and that likely would have put them in the National Championship Game against Ohio State (LSU lost two games that year). In 2010, if they had played a normal opponent in week one and won the game, would they have lost to JMU the next week? Probably not. That team would have had a legit chance to go unbeaten, or perhaps only finish with one loss.

So, I’d argue that there is more of a chance that continuing to play top-flight OOC opponents in the future will be more likely to cost Virginia Tech a playoff bid than it is to gain them a berth in the postseason. If the Hokies ever won any of those games against top five opponents, I might change my tune.

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