The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Monday, November 07, 2005

Not As Bad As We Looked, But Not As Good As We Thought

Painful. There's no other way to describe the beatdown Virginia Tech suffered at the hands of the Miami Hurricanes this weekend. The Hokies were simply dominated in every facet of the game. We were physically beaten at both lines of scrimmage, we were forced into dumb mistakes and we were out-hustled by a very, very good team. Most surprising of all, we were out-coached too.

Nobody who has been watching these two teams all year could have predicted this level of domination. Miami was faster, sharper, better than they have been all season. Virginia Tech came unraveled in a way they haven't done since a trip to Morgantown back in '03. If Virginia Tech was taking Miami lightly, one has to wonder why. With all the hype surrounding the game, with so much on the line, and with the depth of the rivalry between these two teams, you'd expect the Hokies to have every reason to come out motivated. Unfortunately, Virginia Tech just didn't come to play on Saturday night.

I stayed through the entire game, and was standing and yelling for the vast majority of it. As the night unfolded, I just couldn't believe what was going on in front of my eyes. I have been to dozens of Virginia Tech football games and have never seen anything like it under Coach Frank Beamer. Even as the second half began, I told myself we were still in this game. "They'll make the necessary adjustments," I thought. I was wrong.

Sportswriter Bill Simmons has something he calls "The 13 Levels of Losing." Most of the time, when VT has lost in the past, it hurts but I move on. These were Level 11 or 12 losses. Saturday's game was a new feeling entirely. On Saturday, Virginia Tech fans witnessed the "This Can't be Happening" game. A level 5 defeat if ever there was one. For once, we were the favorite, we were in control, and we EXPECTED to win. On play after play we were beaten, crushed, and demoralized by Miami. It was like an avalanche, you never expected it, but once it started it just wouldn't stop.

So the question becomes, "Now What?" The National Title dreams are dead for another year (look at that '07 schedule though for some good news). We no longer control our own destiny in the ACC. Our "We have arrived!" moment came and went. Do we pack up and call it a season? Or do we have something left to play for? I hope that the Hokies choose the latter.

Here are three very big things we have left to play for:

1) The Commonwealth Cup: fortunately we have this weekend off so that we have extra time to heal, both mentally and physically, and get ready for our rivalry game on Nov. 19 in Charlottesville. We know that the Hoos are going to be ready for us and they have been pretty good at home this year. Virginia Tech is perceived as a wounded animal in C'ville and the cavs are going for the kill. A win against the hated Hoos, however, would be more than a cure for what ails us. If the Hokies want to reassert their dominance against someone, do it against the guy down the road. Remind folks who is still top dog in the Commonwealth. In the process, possibly contribute to UVA staying home for the holidays.

2) 11-1: In 1999, Virginia Tech had its best season in school history. They finished with a record of 11-1, losing only to Florida State in the National Championship game. The Hokies still have a chance to equal that best-ever record by winning their final two games of the regular season and winning a bowl game. I defy any true maroon and orange Hokie fan to call that a disappointment. Sure it's not a National Championship, but yet another Top 5 finish is nothing to sneeze at.

3) The BCS: It's not guaranteed by any means, but VT still has a decent shot at a BCS bid this year if we win out. Right now we stand at #6 in the BCS. If we are the top non-conference winner in the BCS I have to think the Sugar and Orange bowls would give us a good look for an at-large bid considering the traveling power of VT's fan base. Notre Dame is likely to receive the other at-large bid because they are Notre Dame. If we can somehow work our way into the Top 4 of the BCS we will be guaranteed an at-large bid, like Texas was last year. Further, if Miami somehow loses one of its next three games, VT stands ready to vault back into the ACC Championship game against FSU. A win in Jacksonville would also guarantee us a BCS bid. It may be out of our hands to some extent, but there is a lot of football left to be played, so if we simply keep winning, who knows what might happen.

In the end, it was a disappointing defeat for Virginia Tech, but there is still a lot to be proud of as a Hokie fan, and a lot to look forward to. And hey, it could be worse. We could be UVA.


Blogger GOPHokie said...

I just hope we make it through tomorrow night without another crushing defeat.

6:12 PM

Blogger Ross said...

7-5 people, 7-5. That is all we need to say.

3:49 PM

Anonymous Cato said...

I see Jim Weaver got ESPN to stop putting up the embarassing majors of many of your football players. Too bad, they were priceless...Has Marcus ConVick declared yet? Apparel, Housing, and Resource Management is my favorite department. But I am betting Marcus is looking at Human Development, with an emphasis on Middle School Development....

4:12 PM


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