Virginia Tech and Stanford are set to meet in the Discover Orange Bowl at 8 p.m. on January 3rd.
This will probably be the best game outside of the national championship that the BCS has to offer. These are two storied programs with two great quarterbacks and two great coaches going head to head.
The Hokies have been a perennial power in college football for the last decade or so. They've played in a bowl game every year since 1993, and they've won at least 10 games in a season for seven straight years.
Since entering the ACC in 2004, the Hokies have won the conference four times, including in their inaugural season. They've played in four ACC title games and have won three of them. The only thing left for Hokies head coach Frank Beamer to do is win a national title.
Stanford has had a major turnaround in its program thanks to head coach Jim Harbaugh. The former NFL quarterback began his head coaching career at the University of San Diego, where he went 29-6 in three seasons. He then came to Stanford in 2007 to take over a program that was coming off a 2006 season in which it went 1-11.
Harbaugh went 4-8 in 2007, 5-7 in 2008 and 8-5 in 2009, and they're 11-1 so far in 2010. That is a tremendous turnaround at a place where it's not easy to win. Stanford is similar to Notre Dame as far as having tough academic standards for athletes, and they may be even tougher than the Fighting Irish, but Harbaugh didn't let that excuse stand in his way.
What's also helped these two coaches and programs are their quarterbacks. Tyrod Taylor came to Virginia Tech in 2007 touted as the next Michael Vick. Taylor is 34-7, which is the most wins by any quarterback in Virginia Tech history, has won three ACC titles and been the ACC Championship Game MVP twice and won the ACC Player of the Year award this season. If it wasn't for Taylor, the Hokies would not be in Miami for the Orange Bowl.
The same can be said for Andrew Luck, who many are calling the greatest quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning. Luck is the sure-fire No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft if he decides to leave. Luck has been at Stanford for three years but redshirted in 2008. He's been the starting quarterback for the last two years, and he's been linked to the Heisman Trophy and the Davey O'Brien Award this season.
He's likely to win the Davey O'Brien Award, which goes to the nation's best quarterback. Luck has thrown for over 3,000 yards, 28 touchdowns and seven interceptions this season, and he can also move the ball with his legs. Luck has 438 yards rushing with three touchdowns, averaging well over eight yards per carry.
Luck is 19-5 as a starter at Stanford and is the one of the main reasons they've been so successful this year. Both quarterbacks have carried their respective teams on their backs and now have a chance to compete against each other in the Orange Bowl.
Both teams were expected to compete for a national title coming into this year. Stanford has only one loss, and that was to Oregon, who is playing in the national title game against Auburn. The Hokies lost their first two games of the year, including one to FCS opponent JMU. After their shocking start, the Hokies have won 11 in a row.
Stanford probably isn't the happiest team in the world, considering they have to travel across the country to play in the Orange Bowl as opposed to the Rose Bowl, but Harbaugh will have his guys ready to go.
This is one of the best matchups of the 2010 bowl season, and we have two of college football's best coaches and quarterbacks going head to head. This is the first time an ACC team will face a Pac-10 team in the Orange Bowl, but Pac-10 teams have a 3-0 record all-time in the game.
It's too early to predict an outcome, but you can definitely expect to see one of the best games of the bowl season when you turn on this game in early January.