Before I get started, I need to address the sad state the print journalism world is in right now.
Layoffs aplenty, no jobs are safe.
This hit close to home earlier this week, when the sports editor at the newspaper I freelance for was laid off due to budget cuts. In all, Gannett cut 10 percent of its entire staff Wednesday.
Anything I do in my sports journalism career, I owe to this man. He was the first person to give me a shot, and it has opened several doors for me in a short time ever since. To see him go is not merely disheartening, it's devastating.
Now that you're feeling bad for me, so it's safe to talk ACC football (hey, at least it's not Big East football).
For the first time I can remember, Virginia Tech is getting stronger as the season progresses.
Usually it's the opposite, as I'm used to watching my Hokies lose the bulk of their games from November onward.
When I watched Tech's defense in action against the Wahoos of Charlottesville last week, the progression became evident.
The season started with a shocking (to us, anyway) loss to East Carolina, so there was never much confidence in Blacksburg from the get go.
The schedule was brutal for all ACC teams this year, as the postseason picture changed each week as conference teams beat the hell out of each other, and BC and Virginia Tech somehow emerged in the end.
Boston College had to win out at Florida State, at Wake Forest, and against Maryland. All three are gritty defensive teams who hit hard and rub your face in the turf.
I give the Eagles all the credit in the world for getting to the championship game, but while everyone is enamored by their defense, the Hokies slowly and silently improved all season long, earning the nation's No. 6 spot in total defense.
Don't get me wrong, they've done it against much less prolific offenses than the Big 12 or the SEC, but this defense is no joke. They proved it today.
Frank Beamer's special teams weren't as impressive this year—okay, they weren't impressive at all, but maybe it was a blessing in disguise. The team had to learn how to win with offense for the first time since Kevin Jones was in the backfield.
The Hokies' offense is still nothing special, especially when Sean Glennon is taking snaps, but with weapons in Marcus Vi—err...Tyrod Taylor, Darren Evans, and 6'3", 290-pound beast Greg Boone, we've finally learned the name of a coach other than Frank Beamer or Bud Foster—Bryan Stinespring.
Stinespring is creative, but maintains the Hokies' customary game plan of run, run, run.
The emerging fad of using the Wildcat formation has been a good friend to Stinespring, especially considering the aforementioned Boone was a quarterback in high school. The extra versatility is good when things need to be mixed up.
Today, Boone wasn't necessary because BC couldn't stop Taylor or Evans. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Though I support the decision of not playing Glennon, I was shocked we didn't see him on the field at all. A senior, I think he probably should have seen a little bit of playing time in his last ACC Championship game—though he couldn't have played better in this one than he did in last year's, earning MVP honors.
I've got a sneaking suspicion we'll see a good amount of him in the Orange Bowl against Cincinnati, probably the worst BCS bowl matchup anyone will ever see, but rules are rules. I say this because this platoon system is remarkably similar to the 2003 season, where Bryan Randall shared snaps with Marcus Vick.
Facing a high-powered California offense in the Insight Bowl, led by none other than Mr. Aaron Rodgers, both Vick and Randall were on the field at the same time for much of the game.
Vick only threw one pass, but caught four, and rushed three times. Stinespring was the mastermind behind the offensive trickery in the 52-49 loss. With similar weapons, and a few extra on top, we could see some really interesting stuff in the Orange Bowl.
Glennon, Taylor, and Boone can all take the snaps, and if Victor "Macho" Harris isn't too busy on defense and special teams, we could see him lined up wide on one side with Taylor lined up wide on the other side of the field.
With Evans in the backfield, Boone at tight end, and Harris and Taylor wide, I'd be at a complete loss for ideas if I were on the other side of the ball.
Nevermind any of that, though. The Hokies will win this crap game they probably shouldn't be in (I've already said it so haters don't need to) with defense.
It's nice to think Tech could actually win a BCS bowl game for once. Regardless of whether or not it should be there.
Hokie, Hokie, Hokie Hi.
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