Virginia Tech Football: Hokies' 5 Most Likely Bowl Opponents

Bryan Manning@bdmanning4Featured ColumnistNovember 4, 2013

Virginia Tech Football: Hokies' 5 Most Likely Bowl Opponents

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    Logan Thomas
    Logan ThomasDarren McCollester/Getty Images

    Two weeks ago, Virginia Tech fans were dreaming of a matchup with Florida State in the ACC title game, a potential BCS berth and another 10-win season.

    What a difference nine days make. 

    Now, after back-to-back losses to ACC "heavyweights" Duke and Boston College, the Hokies are 6-3 on the season, 3-2 in the ACC, with a game at Miami next week. 

    So, instead of reserving those tickets for a January bowl game, the Hokies are more likely headed for another underwhelming bowl like last season's appearance in the Russell Athletic Bowl. 

    Will they make another appearance in the Russell Athletic Bowl, or will the Hokies head back to Chick-fil-A for the first time since 2009?

Russell Athletic Bowl: Louisville

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    Despite playing an awful schedule, the Louisville Cardinals had expectations of a national championship season in 2013. After losing to UCF two weeks ago, those hopes were long gone.

    The Cardinals are currently third in the American Athletic Conference. They play the conference's current leader, Houston, in two weeks and that could determine if they get the conference's automatic BCS berth.

    This would be a fun matchup pitting superstar quarterback Teddy Bridgewater against Bud Foster's terrific defense. 

    These schools met in the 2006 Gator Bowl, you know, the game where Marcus Vick stomped Elvis Dumervil's leg

Russell Athletic Bowl: Houston

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    John O'Korn
    John O'KornThomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports

    Houston, the current leader in the AAC, still must play co-leader UCF and third-place Louisville this season. A loss in either of those games would likely place the Cougars in the Russell Athletic Bowl.

    Playing in the Russell Athletic Bowl again would be a disappointment for the Hokies, but for a team like Houston, playing a school like Virginia Tech would be an exciting proposition. 

    The Cougars are one of the better passing teams in the country, and they would be an exciting matchup against the Hokies defensive backfield.

Chick-Fil-a Bowl: Texas A&M

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    Johnny Manziel
    Johnny ManzielTroy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

    The Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta could bring any number of SEC teams. Texas A&M, Georgia, LSU and Florida could all be in play here as the SEC's fifth-best team. Much of it depends on how many schools the league will get into the BCS. 

    The Aggies, currently in third place in the SEC West, would be an intriguing opponent for the Hokies. The scary thing, however, is whether the Hokies could even compete with A&M.

    Johnny Manziel hasn't faced a ton of top defenses in 2013, but he did shred Alabama. The Hokies and their miserable offense could muster only 213 total yards against the Tide. The Aggies defense could actually be bad enough to make the Hokies offense look like a competent bunch. 

    Foster's defense would present quite the matchup for Manziel. The Hokies need to win their remaining three regular season games to actually appear in this game. As it stands now, Clemson or Miami would likely play in this game. 

Hyundai Sun Bowl: USC Trojans

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    Marqise Lee
    Marqise LeeKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    This game isn't exactly in an enticing location for fans, nor is it a prestigious bowl, but a matchup with USC could be a lot of fun.

    The Trojans have played better since Ed Orgeron took over for Lane Kiffin as coach. They are 5-3 on the season, and this could be a likely destination for the Trojans.

    Star receiver Marqise Lee hasn't had the type of season many thought he would, but USC's issues at quarterback are a big reason for that. 

    Lee and Nelson Agholor against the Fuller brothers, Antone Exum and Brandon Facyson would give fans a reason to watch this bowl.

    The last time these two teams met was in the 2004 season opener when USC defeated the Hokies 24-13. 

Hyundai Sun Bowl: Oregon State Beavers

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    Sean Mannion
    Sean MannionKirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    Two weeks ago, the Beavers, much like the Hokies, were 6-1 and had their sights set on much bigger things. However, two losses later and Oregon State appears to be headed for either the Fight Hunger Bowl, Las Vegas Bowl or the Sun Bowl.

    The Beavers, currently No. 3 in the nation in passing offense, don't have a large national following. Getting fans to come to El Paso to watch the Hokies face OSU could be a tough sell. But this could actually be a very good game.

    UCLA, USC, Oregon State and Washington are all in contention to represent the Pac-12 in the Sun Bowl.