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VT vs. Clemson–What Just Happened?

Posted By Frank Sullivan On Dec 4 2011 @ 11:52 pm In Virginia Tech | No Comments

Everything that has transpired in the last 24 hours has been hard to follow.

First, the winner-take-all over-hyped ACC Championship game went in the opposite direction most people predicted.  The red-hot Virginia Tech Hokies came into the game having won their last seven games; last losing October 1st to the Clemson Tigers.  The Tigers limped into Saturday’s game having lost three of their last four.  Saturday nights game was a testament to how little the experts know.  Clemson blew out the favored Hokies 38-10, punching their ticket to the FedEx Orange Bowl.

For Hokie fans it’s been a confusing 24 hours.  Even after getting routed by the ACC Champion Clemson Tigers twice the #11 ranked Hokies still received an invitation to the All State Sugar Bowl to play the Michigan Wolverines January 3rd.  Wait…what?

The BCS makes no sense, everyone knows that.  At the same time, any bowl game will make decisions on what teams they invite on how well their respective fan bases travel and the television audience they could attract.  The Sugar Bowl selection committee has dealt with Virginia Tech before, back in 2000 the Hokies lost the Sugar to the national champion Florida State Gators.

Obviously, it was a difficult decision.  We thought every team we had an opportunity to select presented us with certain unique credentials. In the final analysis, we just felt the two teams we have chosen really give us in the long run the best opportunity to put together a match up that will provide a very exciting football game.”  Paul Hoolahan, CEO of the Sugar Bowl added after making the selection.

I’ll save the BCS bashing for now, although at least two higher ranked teams were completely ignored with these selections: Boise State and Kansas State had played their way into BCS contention.  It’s just hard to fathom that TV money is the bottom line when selecting teams with even the more important bowl games, but that is where the game is and that’s what it’s become.  For now the Hokies (and the ACC) must be ecstatic.  Another BCS game for the program, another high profile game to put the school and players under the lights; it was truly a shock but now they can think back on how they got here.

And how they got here was not pretty.

Watching the game last night I posed the question: Do you think Clemson is just a bad match up for the Hokies?

You don’t get blown out of the stadium by a team twice in one year if you match up well.  The Hokies have only mustered 13 points in the two games they’ve played the Tigers.  The Clemson defense is a solid unit but not a world-beating juggernaut, the Hokies inability to get anything going offensively Saturday night was reminiscent of the October 1st game.

After Logan Thomas fumbled on the Hokies first play from scrimmage you got a sense it wasn’t their night.  Tied at 10 at halftime it still felt like the Tigers had all of the momentum.  After scoring 21 points in the third quarter the game was all but over.  The Clemson fans began throwing oranges towards the VT bench and Clemson was awarded their first championship trophy since the 1991 season.

For the Hokes it’s a hard pill to swallow, but there is silver lining now.  They are the second-best team in the ACC, it’s clear now.  Still, they’ll bring more money, better recruits, and more fanfare to their beloved program with yet another trip to a BCS bowl.  Congratulations to Clemson on getting their act together and playing a marvelous game Saturday night.

Now the Hokies have a month to figure this Denard Robinson guy out.


Clemson coach Dabo Swinney and his players celebrate their ACC Championship. VT will face Michigan in the Sugar Bowl while Clemson will face West Virginia in the Orange Bowl.

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