The anticipation for the season-opening clash between Ohio State and Virginia Tech has been building for months.
The Hokies, fresh off of a disappointing 7-6 campaign, have been hyping the game, which will take place on Labor Day in prime time at Lane Stadium. Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer called it "the most anticipated game ever to come" to Blacksburg, Virginia, via Fox Sports, and the university has even canceled classes for September 7 in anticipation of heavy "campus traffic loads."
But it's not just the folks in Virginia Tech's camp who are excited for the marquee showdown. The Buckeyes are also eager to make the trip south for the rare Monday night kickoff.
That anticipation stems from the 35-21 loss the Hokies handed the Buckeyes in their home opener last year in Ohio Stadium. It was the lone blemish of Ohio State's College Football Playoff National Championship season, and the Buckeyes are motivated to avenge that defeat in Blacksburg.
Proof of that came in early June when Ohio State safety Tyvis Powell posted a warning to Virginia Tech on Twitter.
On the other side of things, Virginia Tech is very aware of Ohio State's desire to get even. Defensive tackle Luther Maddy responded to Powell on Twitter, saying, "We got the same amount of time to put in work as you!"
Earlier this year, Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster told Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times that he knows the Buckeyes will be mad when they meet on the field.
"They’ll want to score 100 points on us, I know that," Foster said. "They’ll want to beat us down. But we’ll be ready to play."
The matchup is keeping the Buckeyes focused during fall camp.
After the first practice coming out of summer on Monday, J.T. Barrett mentioned the Virginia Tech game as one that he's had circled for a while.
"You can say I have that one marked on the calendar," Barrett said, according to Bill Landis of the Northeast Ohio Media Group. "It does mean a lot to me personally being that I did play the game that we lost and I wasn't prepared."
The Hokies completely overwhelmed Barrett in last year's meeting, sacking him seven times and forcing him into his worst throwing performance of the year. Making the second start of his career, Barrett completed just nine of 29 passes and threw one touchdown against three interceptions.
And Barrett's not alone.
Speaking at Big Ten media days in Chicago two weeks ago, leaders of the Ohio State football team talked about their eagerness to meet the Hokies again.
“Looking at a chance to definitely get some payback on them,” defensive tackle Adolphus Washington said, according to Mark Berman of the Roanoke Times.
Offensive tackle Taylor Decker mentioned the unique "Bear" defense the Hokies deployed that confused Ohio State and lamented their lack of preparation, vowing that it will be different this year.
“But I think if our preparation was on the same level, we’ll beat them every time,” Decker said, according to Berman.
With all the expectations and preseason hype surrounding Ohio State, Urban Meyer is thankful they have a worthy Week 1 opponent to focus on. Instead of spending time getting his team to buy into the week-to-week mentality, Meyer can get his Buckeyes to hone in on one opponent.
“The fact that you’re playing an evenly matched opponent on the road—or at some positions, maybe more talented—that gets your focus,” Meyer said, via Berman. “We have to get much better than we are at this moment to win that game.”
David Regimbal is the Ohio State football Lead Writer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.