Before the season began, nobody gave the Virginia Tech football team much of a chance to have a bounce-back season (Except for Phil Steele who had them ranked #12). After the first three games, things were not looking much better. A blowout loss to Alabama, two close games to C-USA opponents, and a decisive victory over an FCS school was not exactly the resume Hokie fans were hoping for going into their conference opener against Georgia Tech.
Then, things began to turn around. The Hokies won three straight ACC games in which they dominated the competition more than the scores indicated. In that stretch, Logan Thomas completed 66 percent of his passes and did not throw a single interception. For awhile, it seemed like Virginia Tech had a clear path to the ACC title game, and had the potential for a one-loss season.
Then Duke happened.
And then Boston College.
Now the Hokies sit at 6-3. Things are not looking well, but in perhaps the most #goACC scenario, Virginia Tech can still get to the ACC Championship. Here’s how the Hokies can salvage their season.
While the Hokies now have two ACC losses, they are still very much in the Coastal Divisional race. If they can beat a Miami team that has not looked very good the past three games, they will own the tiebreaker over both Miami and Georgia Tech. Unless Duke wins out, they will control their own destiny to get to the ACC Championship. While Duke has looked much better than in years past, it will be tough for them to win their next four games, which include NC State, Miami, Wake Forest, and UNC.
Not only will a win against Miami put Virginia Tech back in the Coastal race, but it will also give them a win against a top-15 team, something they have not done since 2009. Against Miami.
Remember the other team from Virginia? The battle for the Commonwealth Cup has not been much of a rivalry the past few years. Virginia Tech has won the last 9 meetings, as well as 13 of the last 14. Still, it is important for the Hokies to win against the Cavaliers. It will not do anything to help their ranking, but it would be a devastating loss for the program. If the Virginia Tech does beat Miami, and then Maryland the next week, Virginia will be anxious to spoil their ACC Championship hopes.
This game will carry recruiting implications as well. Somehow, UVA has out-recruited Virginia Tech for the better part of a decade, despite disappointing seasons and embarrassing losses almost every year. In-state recruits will certainly be watching this game, and while usually a mere loss will not decide the decision of a high school student, another blowout a la 2011 (38-0) could really help.
If the Hokies can win out, it will give them a chance to…
Win the ACC
Yeah, it’s a long shot, but much crazier things have happened. Florida State is all but guaranteed to represent the Atlantic, but it’s more than possible for the Hokies to play spoiler, and walk away with a win over a top-5 team, and an Orange Bowl berth. With all the criticism Frank Beamer and the entire offensive staff has received the past two seasons, how fitting would it be for them to silence the critics and finish the season strong? Logan Thomas has been the target of intense scrutiny by fans and reporters. What if he completed his career at Virginia Tech by beating 2 out of the 3 ranked opponents they will face all year?
ACC fans will like to see Florida State in the National Championship game, but Frank Beamer and company would like nothing more than to ruin that dream.
Win their bowl game
For the 21st consecutive year, Virginia Tech will play in a bowl game. Their bowl record is not stellar, especially when it comes to BCS Bowls, but having such a long streak shows consistency in the program, as only two other teams can claim a longer active streak. Whether they miracle their way into the Orange Bowl, or play an lowly team in a lowly bowl, it never hurts to finish the season strong.