August 30, 2011
With the upcoming football season getting underway, a bevy of NCAA team and conference stories circling, NCAA sanctions looming EVERYWHERE, and coupled with my geographic location, I’m forced to begin the season not with my VOL brethren in Knoxville, TN but submersed in Virginia Tech Hokie country and fandom of questionable logic. This year, however, has begun humorously with the Hokie fans polluting the air with derogatory statements about the SEC and most of its conference teams. Recent news stories involving teams possibly leaving their conference in order to join the SEC has overshadowed an obvious black mark on this college football season….
So I am still wondering how teams like Virginia Tech and Florida State can be excited when ESPN and gamblers pick them as the favorites to win their respective divisions? Who the hell else is going to win?
Of course these two teams are favored to win the ACC, they’re practically the only competitive teams left in the conference. What is more outrageous is that once these two teams start tallying up the win column, they will start getting press and poll votes. Neither will be deserved. Frank Beamer will be heraled as one of the all-time great winning coaches, Jimbo Fisher will be marked as a man who should of been teaching Bobby Bowden football. I’m sure Virginia Tech will look like a very tough football team when handling the likes of Duke and Wake Forest or Arkansas State on the YAWN Channel! (throwing up in my mouth a little). Adding insult to injury, these two teams will be guaranteed automatic BCS bowl bids simply for strolling their way up the ACC.
Even though a long standing Virginia Tech tradition has been to have a completely unsuspecting team catch the Hokies with their tailfeathers down like James Madison in 2010 you still have 2 or 3 teams on this schedule that would look like a good game if it were not for all the off-season press, turmoil, and coaching changes which will obviously set teams like UNC or Miami into the “rebuilding” year talk. Clemson? A team that has consistently folded during big games. Boston College or Georgia Tech? Do they even have coaches?
Yet, with all this considered, the Hokies are awarded a pre-season ranking of #13 in the nation on both ESPN and AP/Coaches Poll. Obviously the pollsters have seen that Virginia Tech is going to walk its way into the ACC Championship game and possibly a BCS Bowl, so why not just let them. Here’s why!!! Because they don’t deserve it. Virginia Tech may be a top #25 team pre-season but certainly their schedule gives them very little to be proud of. Similar to the Boise State discussion of last year where the idea of beating up on unworthy opponents kept them out of contention for a national title, this too should be the discussion about Tech’s season.
The smack talk of the SEC and comparison to the Vols schedule is at first glance laughable. While the Vols haven’t been the pride of the SEC for a while now, they are still good competition and improving. It’s hard not to improve when faced with a schedule like the SEC teams face. 6 Top #25 teams, 4 of them in the month of October! Only 3 games on the Vols schedule can you point to with the “they should win that” attitude compared to a minimum of 7 games or 60% of the Hokies schedule!
Strength of Schedule Rankings via Congrove Computer Rankings (www.collegefootballpoll.com)
With a Strength of Schedule ranking that is right along side college powerhouses like Airforce and Louisiana-Lafayette, the Hokies should have to rely more heavily on their bakery and tons of yeast this year to even keep them rising in the media’s National Championship discussions. In the end, just like with any fluffy cake fresh out of the oven too early, it is bound to fall flat. The National Championship will be given to a team from a real college football conference, such as the SEC which is in line for its 6th straight! So for all you ACC fans out there, the countdown begins…… for TIPOFF!