The Virginia Tech Hokies have been the class of the ACC since it join the conference in 2004. This is a program that seems every year to be an outside pick for the national championship game but they never seem to be able to get over that hump. I believe this year they have the tools to get over that hump. This year's Hokies fit the championship mold much like last year's Alabama team.
First the running game. Last year Alabama built there offense around the running of Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson. This year Virginia Tech offense will be built around running backs Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. Williams last year ran for 5.6 yards per carry and 1655 yards overall. There is even talk about him being a Heisman Trophy candidate this year. Evans was injury last year but in 2008 was the Hokies leading rusher with 4.4 yards per carry and 1265 yards overall. Having two outstanding running backs in the backfield is part of the championship mold. Look at past champions in USC and Alabama.
Next is defense. They are not lying when they say "Defense wins championship" and Virginia Tech has had a top 12 ranked defense for the last six years. Alabama finished last year with the top rated defense. The year before when Florida was national championship they finished the year with the fifth rated defense. This year the Virginia Tech defense will be young but with Bud Foster as defensive coordinator, its hard seeing this defense finishing less than a top 10 defense in the nation.
Last is schedule. In college football where the regular season is basically a playoff your schedule is very important. The last two champions, Alabama and Florida, play in the SEC where you always get a good schedule against a number of ranked opponents. This year the Hokies start off against an top five ranked, most likely top three ranked Boise State team at FedEx Field. FedEx Field is basically an de facto home to the Hokies. Then they get a two month run of weaker non-ranked opponents were they can build experience. Then in the month of November they will play Georgia Tech in Blacksburg and then go on the road to North Carolina and Miami. The Miami game will be the most challenging game outside of the Boise State game. This is a schedule that a team like Virginia Tech can run the table with.
Fans of Virginia Tech continue to dream of the day that can say they are national champions. I am not tell them this year is the year. What I am saying is that the team in Blacksburg this year fits the mold of a champion in college football. What will happen, no one knows.