The Virginia Tech Hokies, long considered an ACC heavyweight, lost last season in the Discover Orange Bowl to the No. 4-ranked Stanford Cardinal by a score of 40-12.
The Hokies have been the model of success in the conference, having won four conference championships since joining the ACC in 2004, with Miami and Boston College.
Led by Frank Beamer, the team has been the model of success after coming over from the Big East, and they have proven a lot of experts and pundits wrong, who predicted that the Hurricanes and Seminoles would be playing for the ACC title every year.
Virginia Tech has been in its share of big games, having played for the 2000 national title and having visited all the BCS bowl games under Beamer.
Here are five reasons the Hokies are back in a BCS bowl game next season:
The Hokies have plenty of big-game experience. Since joining the ACC in 2004, the team has won four conference championships.
Virginia Tech is normally in the hunt for the both the ACC and national titles all season long and this season will be no different.
In the 2011 Orange Bowl, the Hokies were steamrolled by the Stanford Cardinal by a score of 40-12.
The Hokies will come into the upcoming college season looking to make a statement and get back to the business of winning conference titles, looking to end the SEC's streak of national championships.
The Virginia Tech defense has been a hallmark of some of Frank Beamer's best teams. Some of the best NFL defenders have come from Blacksburg, VA.
Xavier Adibi, Vince Hall, DeAngelo Hall, Brandon Flowers and Jason Worilds are just a few NFL players that have come from Hokies Nation.
Defensively, the Hokies are an attacking, aggressive defense that puts constant pressure on the quarterback. Last season, the Hokies were ranked 52nd in total defense, and were victimized by Andrew Luck and the Cardinal in the Orange Bowl.
With yet another dominant defensive line and a seemingly endless stable of defensive backs, the Hokies defense will look to rebound from a shaky 2010 season and be among the best defenses in the country.
The icon of all Hokies fans everywhere, Frank Beamer is the man in charge of the boys in Blacksburg. He has held the position since 1987 and isn't going anywhere, even at 64 years old.
Beamer has had some outstanding teams during his tenure at Virginia Tech. In 2000, Beamer and the Hokies, led by Michael Vick, played for the national championship, only to suffer a 46-29 loss to the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles.
Beamer's solid coaching gets his players ready to play every game, every weekend of every season. He has compiled a career record of 198-95-2 during his 24 years at the helm.
His teams have made 18 consecutive postseason appearances and Beamer has gone 8-10 in those games, including 1-4 in BCS games, one of which being the loss in the 2000 national championship game to Florida State.
The man responsible for the Hokies defense since 1987, Bud Foster has been in control of some pretty good defenses during his tenure in Blacksburg.
In 2000, he was recognized as the Defensive Coordinator of the Year after his defense finished the season ranked third in the country in rush and pass defense, and was ranked first in the country in scoring defense.
Foster makes average recruits into stars. He always has a quality stable of athletes at his disposal and his defense this season will be anchored by experienced, talented linebackers and a scary-good defensive line.
I expect Foster to do as he has always done in Blacksburg: make opposing offenses work for everything they get and present some terrifying matchups for opposing offensive coordinators.
The steamrolling the Hokies suffered in the 2011 Orange Bowl is in the rearview mirror.
Frank Beamer will have his guys ready to play when the 2011 campaign kicks off, and Tech will be out to prove that it is still a force to be reckoned with, not only the ACC, but in the national title picture as well.
The Hokies schedule opens on September 3rd with Appalachian State coming to Lane Stadium, and the team will want to hit the ground running to establish a good start to the season.
The team's ACC schedule includes home games against Miami and Clemson, and those games should be tests as to whether the Hokies will be in the hunt for a consecutive ACC championship.