2011 Bowl Games: Virginia Tech Heads Back to Sugar Bowl
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I never thought I’d say this, but thank goodness for the BCS system.
I’m not talking about the massively flawed computer metric that spits out the top two teams and then leaves everyone guessing about the method.
I’m referring to the system that rewards a Virginia Tech team fresh off an embarrassing loss, but with excellent fans to back into my favorite bowl game, the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, LA.
Fresh off a vomit-inducing 38-10 thumping at the hands of Clemson in the ACC Championship game, the 11-2 Hokies find themselves with an unbelievable date January 3 with No. 13 Michigan in the Superdome.
Plenty of folks are saying the Hokies don’t deserve this, perhaps not, but it does make up for past injustices. I can now almost forgive the 2001 Fiesta Bowl for stupidly picking No. 11 Notre Dame over a one-loss No. 5 Hokie squad led by Michael Vick.
This must be what it feels like to be Notre Dame, actually, getting favorable bowl bids based purely on past reputation. Virginia Tech has clearly arrived as a program.
It’s comical to watch Kirk Herbstreit pontificating about how mad he is that the Sugar Bowl chose teams simply to put meat in the seats and make money. That’s what it’s all about Kirk!
The entire BCS is a wild money grab run by greedy heads and fools. It’s designed only to pick the top two teams (it can barely accomplish that). After that, the rankings barely matter.
This is the system we’re always told works best, so I don’t need to hear the talking heads at ESPN cry foul when the BCS selections upset them.
Assuming that bowls represent some level of accomplishment as we’ve been told they do—despite the fact that there are 35 bowl games this season featuring 70 teams—the Hokies must have been pretty good to knock off all those capable squads.
There are many illustrious bowl games such as the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl or the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl, but there’s no question that for a Hokie the Sugar Bowl is as good as it gets.
Virginia Tech’s best moments have come in New Orleans. In 1995 an upstart Hokie team rebounded from an 0-2 start to stun Texas 28-10 in the Sugar Bowl. The Hokies finished in the top ten for the first time with a 10-2 record and loads of excitement.
Virginia Tech returned with much more at stake for the 2000 BCS national championship game against Florida State. Redshirt freshman Michael Vick dazzled the nation and elevated the program to a new level despite losing 46-29.
In 2005, the Hokies won the ACC in their first season and earned a matchup with an undefeated Auburn team left out of the BCS national championship game. Virginia Tech mounted a furious comeback behind ACC player of the year Bryan Randall, but lost 16-13.
This season, the stakes are high again. This is a de facto must-win game for Virginia Tech. If the Hokies falter, the national perception of not being a big-game program will continue to fester and frankly, there will be plenty of truth to it.
If Virginia Tech wins, morons like Herbstreit and Pat Forde will continue to say the Hokies didn’t belong while simultaneously saying the BCS got it right with a national championship rematch no one wants to see.
But I just don’t care. Right or wrong, the Hokies are in the Sugar Bowl, and few things could be better.
As Frank Beamer once eloquently stated, “I want to know how many of you are coming to New Orleans?!”
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