By Christopher Lusk
Virginia Tech is matched up against Clemson this weekend. Even the common fan knows that VT has continually had winning seasons, but most wouldn’t realize that in the seven ACC Championship games since the conference expanded for the 2005 season this is the fifth time that Tech has won the Coastal Division. In four previous attempts at winning the ACC Championship, the Hokies have booked a trip to the Orange Bowl three times. This week is only Clemson’s second appearance at the ACC Championship game, having lost in their first attempt in 2009, when they were led by C.J. Spiller.
The Hokies bring eight All-ACC players including ACC Offensive Player of the Year David Wilson, who was a unanimous first-team selection. Wilson and the Tech offense will look to bring a spark to this game, that they could not in their first encounter with Clemson, when they only managed to score three points. Since that game the Hokies have reeled off seven consecutive victories, winning by nearly two touchdowns a game. Easily the most rewarding game for any Hokies fan during that time span was the game versus UVA (Virginia) when the Hokies took on a team that believed they could emerge victorious. The Cavaliers were quickly reminded who the big brother in Virginia is, and Tech won 38-0.
Hopefully, Virginia Tech can bring the momentum created from last weekend’s blowout over Virginia into Saturday’s battle against Clemson.
I came across a blog earlier from a Clemson fan which I believe sums up the ACC fan’s idea of both Virginia Tech and Clemson. The link to his blog is posted after his story.
I usually do not want what I don’t have. Too many times in life I see people wasting time concentrating on what they don’t have instead of being thankful for what they do have.
I can’t remember ever feeling envious. But I must admit that I want my football program to have what Virginia Tech has.
What we will see Saturday night is exactly what I want. I want a football program that has an identity.
I want a football program that is consistent.
I want a football program has has stability in its coaching staff.
I want to be a tough football program.
I want to be a fundamentally sound program.
I want an attacking defense.
I want to be a program that improves each week.
I want a football program that doesn’t have to brag on recruiting rankings in February but one that can just show you their rings each year.
I want a program that does not let injuries define its season.
I want Clemson to be Virginia Tech.
The Hokies have won at least ten games in eight straight seasons. I want that kind of consistency.
In the last 16 years Tech has played in four Orange Bowls and three Sugar Bowls. I want to play in big games like that.
Don’t misunderstand what happens in Blacksburg though. Their fans want more than they have right now too. They are not happy all of the time. A few years ago Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer stopped taking phone calls on his radio show because fans were upset with a couple of bad years on offense.
Last season fans in Hokie Land were complaining about a defense that allowed 20.6 points per game.
Tech fans want to be able to beat the nation’s elite teams which is something they have not done a lot of.
But But Saturday night Tech will try to win their 85th game in the last eight years. They are 84-22 in that stretch.
Tech is looking for its fifth ACC Championship in the last eight years Saturday night.
They don’t rebuild at Tech and that is what I want. They lose Michael Vick or Marcus Vick at quarterback but their program does not slide. They lose Kevin Jones or Darren Evans at running back but they still win division and conference titles. They graduate Hall, Adibi or Moore on defense but they still win at least ten games. That is what I want.
Virginia Tech is a program that has an identity which is toughness. They usually play great defense but when they don’t it doesn’t matter because they are mentally tough. When the offense lacks talent or experience, the defense carries that year’s team. Last year it was Tyrod Taylor that carried them when the defense was down.
The names change but the toughness doesn’t and thus the record doesn’t.
Next year Tech will be without four starters on the offensive line. They will lose the two most prolific receivers in school history. They may lose the ACC Player of the Year in David Wilson if he enters the draft early. But next year they will still be the same old Virginia Tech team that will be fundamentally sound and will win 10 games and the ACC’s Coastal Division again.
Earlier this season I went to Blacksburg and I saw Clemson destroy Virginia Tech. I saw the Tigers beat Virginia Tech soundly in all three phases of the game. Clemson was the more physical team. The Tigers out rushed Tech. Tehy out passed them. They out blocked the Hokies and out tackled them. They even won the special teams battle against a program that prides itself on Beamer Ball.
After the game I heard Beamer tell his team that he wanted another shot at Clemson. He said he wanted to comeback and win this division so he would have another shot at a team that embarrassed his team on their home field.
At that time I thought he was crazy. Clemson looked superior in talent and scheme to Tech. The Tigers looked like the faster team that first night of October. Tech looked like it had no one who could stretch the field. Clemson looked like a modern offensive scheme while Tech looked like it was stuck in the eighties.
Here are nine weeks later and these two teams have gone in opposite directions. Virginia Tech lost at home by 20 points to Clemson nine weeks ago and the Hokies are a touchdown favorite heading into Saturday night. Who would have thought that?
I want what Virginia Tech has. I want ACC titles and Saturday night Clemson could start to gain what Tech has by beating them at their own game in Charlotte