The Hokies' lack of success in BCS games has been well documented, but the Allstate Sugar Bowl may be the biggest game in Virginia Tech history. This isn’t Michael Vick in the national championship game, but rather a fight for respect.
A win over Michigan would silence critics and bring pride to Blacksburg. A loss chastises the Hokies and provides the critics with an open forum in which to belittle Frank Beamer and his regular-season success.
Beamer seems to understand this and is taking a different approach for the Sugar Bowl. The Virginia Tech coach said, “I think it's really important that you not only go to the Sugar Bowl but that you win the Sugar Bowl." Andy Bitter’s article also had Beamer talking about how a loss in a BCS game is a bigger deal than winning one.
Virginia Tech’s bowl record is mediocre and it is apparent that a different approach is needed. Beamer understands that and has made it apparent that the trip to New Orleans is all business. The head coach will not put up with any nonsense from players, as made apparent by his Greyhound Bus from Hell policy.
If a player decides that a night on Bourbon Street is more important than the team, then they will find themselves with a one-way ticket home. It will be up to the veteran leaders of this team to set a good example. Senior safety Eddie Whitley was asked if he planned to go to New Orleans' famed street in the French Quarter. He responded, “After the game.”
If the Hokies' BCS berth wasn’t so controversial, then this business attitude wouldn’t be as important. Virginia Tech’s players have to be responsible in one of the least responsible cities in the United States. This will not be a small task, but it is necessary.
The Hokies may have had their worst BCS performance last season. The Orange Bowl was supposed to be a fond farewell to the then-winningest senior class in VPI’s history. The game that followed was a massacre at the hands of Andrew Luck and Jim Harbaugh. Brady Hoke and Denard Robinson cannot be allowed to do the same.
If Michigan dominates the Hokies, then Virginia Tech’s first at-large BCS berth could be their last.