3 For Virginia
I'd like to congratulate UVA and Virginia Tech on their bowl victories and also extend a special congratulations to the West Virginia Mountaineers for getting their second-ever bowl victory in dramatic fashion last night over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
If you recall, I was in Morgantown this fall for the final (at least for a while) meeting between VT and WVU. At that time I realized that WVU was a lot better than many people were saying. Throughout the season I continued to believe that WVU was under-ranked in the human polls, and that view was confirmed by the computer polls, which had WVU in the Top 10 going into last nights game.
Well, WVU certainly proved themselves worthy of a Top 10 ranking last night after beating UGA in Atlanta. Rich Rodriguez has done a fine job there and I expect WVU to continue to be a BCS player for years to come.
As far as UVA and VT go, it is great for both schools to end their seasons with a win, but looking closer the future seems dramatically different for the Commonwealth's premier programs. UVA's win may have silenced the FireAlGroh crowd temporarily, but the may struggle again next year breaking in a lot of new talent. Among the graduating seniors for UVA are QB Marques Hagans, K Connor Hughes, RB Wali Lundy, OL D'Brickshaw Ferguson, and LB Ahmad Brooks. In addition, I would be surprised to see Kai Parham give up his final year of eligibility to rake in NFL cash. That will put Groh in a tough spot next year to try an compete with the best of the ACC. However, I will point out that I was very impressed by the coming-out party of Chris Long in Nashville and look forward to seeing him bust some heads for a couple more years.
For VT, the comeback win over Louisville was nice, and an 11-2 record is nothing to scoff at, but for a team that expected much more, there is a bit of disappointment to the season. Frankly the hokies failed to show up in the two most important games of the season and as a result it cost them a chance at either a National or an ACC Championship. The big-game mentality and preparation is certainly something that must be addressed in the offseason for the Hokies.
In addition, I must say that, as a Hokie fan, I was flat-out embarrassed by the behavior of Marcus Vick in yesterday's game. His stepping on the leg of Lousiville DE Elvis Dumervil was clearly intentional and is indicative of an attitude problem that remains uncorrected. Despite all his talent, Marcus has a penchant for making incredibly dumb and selfish decisions. Frankly, VT has three capable QB's behind Vick that could very well step in and do the job without the behavioral problems that have plagued Michael's little bro. Perhaps it has come time to cut ties to that part of VT's past and look now to the promising future of the program.
VT is likely to be a preseason Top 10 team again next year and they will certainly have the talent to once again make a run at the ACC crown. Whether of not they can make another run at a National title will depend largely on whether they can find a way to maintain a consistently high level of play and discipline, regardless of whether they are playing Duke or Florida State.