Hokies Picked by Media to Win ACC: Good or Bad?

by hokieg on July 28, 2009 · 3 comments

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acc media days Hokies Picked by Media to Win ACC:  Good or Bad?I don't like it. Never have liked it. I don't think its good for the players. I think its good for our opponents (It's a perfect situation for Georgia Tech). It's a set-up for how the media will cover you this year. It will magnify the first loss of the year. A 3-time ACC Champion? It just doesn't happen. It will make even a loss in the ACC Championship game a failure of a season.

Yeah, I just don't like being the favorite.

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When it comes to Virginia Tech Football, I learned a few things while watching the last 20 years. One is that most of the disappointments have a common trait. Hokie heartbreaks come from being the favorite. Now you may say that is true with most teams, but there is something this program still identifies with in being the underdog, or in having slightly less expectations put on them than they are capable.

We've built a strong program. We are respected. We have tremendous, almost unmatched home field advantage. We are almost always favored in games. But we are not USC. We are not Florida. We are not Ohio State. We don't ASSUME we will always be favored. We don't expect to be picked to win our conference every year. We'd still rather be strong, be respected, be elite, but have some hill to climb. Someone above us to knock off. We just aren't as good when "defending the high ground".

Give me the underdog role vs. USC in FedEx in 2003. Give me 1995 Sugar Bowl vs Texas. Give me 1999 National Championship Game vs. FSU (we lost, but I was very proud). The games that haunt me are ones like the 2005 ACC Championship Game vs FSU (14 point favorites), and 2008 Orange Bowl vs Kansas (6 point favorites). For all Frank Beamer has done at VT, the killer, 'favorite' instinct in big OOC games has never been our strength.

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I'll contradict myself in that in general Beamer has developed a system that takes care of business IN conference against inferior teams (with some expectations, i.e. Pitt and all games in the Carrier Dome in the Big East). But there's too much parity in the ACC. Last year was a slew of even team, and VT somehow emerged. Don't put those expectations on us again in July. (I hear that Georgia Tech option offense will really fine-tuned this season!!)

Until we are USC, Florida, or Ohio State, who reads these pre-season proclomations with a 'ho-hum' attitude, I'd just assume someone else shoulder the burden and let the Hokies do what they do best. Lose recruiting wars, get listed as a 'team to watch' in July, get ranked somewhere in the teens in preseason polls. Then go out and beat the snot out of everyone.

Go Hokies!

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