Matt Waldron May Be the X-Factor for Virginia Tech Football

Justin CocchiolaCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2009

MIAMI - NOVEMBER 4: Brandon Pace #45 of the Virginia Tech Hokies kicks a field goal during the game against the Miami Hurricanes on November 4, 2006 at Orange Bowl Stadium in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)

When you think of great college football games, you often think about the game as a whole. 

However, so many times, the outcome of the game relies on the kicking gamewhether it's a made field goal attempt as time expires or a missed field goal attempt from 23 yards in the first quarter.

The Hokies will have to replace their kicker for the second straight season. Matt Waldron is the guy expected to replace Dustin Keys, who replaced Brandon Pace the year before. 

Call me crazy, but the scrawny little guy who attempts to kick a football through the uprights is one of the top five most important players on the team.

Pace struggled in his first season as the starter and missed a field goal as time expired against NC State in 2004. Tech made it to the Sugar Bowl that year, but the Hokies ended up losing to undefeated Auburn by three points.

Keys had a decent season in 2008 but struggled with distances of 40 yards or more. 

Waldron may be the biggest X-factor for Virginia Tech this season.

Waldron will face skepticism before the season starts, but he can keep the critics quiet if he has a good showing against Alabama.

Hell, he could miss every field goal attempt during that game, but if he makes one with under a minute left in the fourth quarter, he'll be considered a temporary hero. 

Oh, the life of a kicker.

For the Hokies' sake, let's hope he will be able to make most of his attempts this season.

Here's a little background information on Waldron. He originally enrolled at Penn State but then transfered to Tech. He has never stepped onto the field for the Hokies, but he didn't miss a field goal during spring practice and scrimmages.

Waldron made 109 out of 114 PATs in high school and made 11 of 13 field goal attempts. 

So, Waldron doesn't have a ton of experience, but that won't matter once he steps onto the field.

All the Hokies, or any other team in college football, care about is results. If Waldron provides them with results, then it will be another step in the right direction towards a national championship for Virginia Tech.