Countdown: Athlon Sports No. 14

Hokie quarterback Bryan Randall threw for 2,134 yards and ran for 507 last fall and is coming off an MVP performance in the Hokies' 20–13 San Francisco Bowl win over Air Force. His backup is redshirt freshman Marcus Vick, who has shown the same unlimited potential as his older brother, Michael, but has no game experience.

Vick should see more and more action off the bench as the season progresses. Wide receiver Kevin Jones can put up now that he has the tailback job all to himself.

Three starting offensive linemen return along with the entire front seven on defense. Ends Garnell Wilds accounted for nine interceptions between them — Wilds had five in just four starts. Hall will dabble some at wide receiver and is one of the nation's most dangerous return specialists.

Efficiency expert: Bryan Randall finished last season ranked 10th nationally in passing efficiency.

Mr. Touchdown: Virginia Tech having scored in his last 27 straight games, an NCAA record.

The big four-oh: Virginia Tech's 2002 outgoing seniors are the first 40-win class in school history.

2002 results: 10–4 (3–4 Big East)

Bowl Game: beat Air Force 20-13 in San Francisco Bowl

Returning starters: 8 offense, 9 defense, both kickers

2003 Schedule:

A. 30 UCF
S. 6 James Madison
S. 18 Texas A&M
S. 27 Connecticut
O. 4 at Rutgers
O. 11 Syracuse
O. 22 at West Virginia
N. 1 Miami
N. 8 at Pittsburgh
N. 15 at Temple
N. 22 Boston College
N. 29 at Virginia

Schedule Analysis: Texas A&M stands out as the only true challenge in Virginia Tech's first six games, but the second half of the year gets dicey. Trips to West Virginia, Pittsburgh and Virginia will be tough, and a home date with Miami may determine the Big East title.

Final Word: Virginia Tech is loaded with experience and has some explosive talent on offense. The Hokies were lit up by a hot Miami team at the end of last year, but otherwise played fairly well on defense. The early schedule allows Virginia Tech to build some momentum for their tough stretch drive. Marcus Vick, but Randall has proven to be an effective signal-caller. A Big East title is not out of the realm of possibility.

To pre-order the 2003 Athlon Sports Eastern edition, click on the magazine icon below. The Eastern and National editions are set to hit newsstands June 6.

#14 Virginia Tech

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