One of the most-used tags on this blog recently has been "preseason hype makes me nervous." Since this blog started on SB Nation, it's been utilized 15 times on posts and FanShots, 11 times in July alone. But that tag is a bit of a misnomer.
A better one would be "preseason hype makes me anxious." And the hype is only a small part of the equation.
You have to combine the hype the Hokies are receiving with the fact they won their last four games of 2008, the length of college football's off-season and the opener with Alabama. All those elements come together to make the wait for Sept. 5 unbearable.
Virginia Tech is facing high expectations from fans and media alike and some seem to think it's a negative thing for the Hokies. It isn't.
The feeling I get reading about the team and listening to the players and Frank Beamer at the ACC Football Kickoff is that the preseason expectations aren't weighing heavily on the Hokies or making them cocky. Instead, the hype is making them work harder and making them more focused on the task at hand.
But the anxiety and hype needs to come with one big caveat: The Hokies will not win the national championship this year.
Can Virginia Tech win the ACC, contend for the national title and accomplish great things? Absolutely. Will they go 14-0 and raise the crystal? No.
Despite all the hype and all the preseason accolades bestowed on Beamer's team, my focus is still on 2010. That's when the Hokies will really be ready for prime time and have the talent, depth and experience on defense to possibly win a national title.
Everyone is consider the Hokies the last hope for the ACC in 2009. That shouldn't be their burden. They shouldn't be expected to make the BCSCG and make the conference legitimate again. However, what they can't afford to do is fall flat on their faces, go 7-5 and play in the GMAC Bowl. Instead, what the conference needs is for the Hokies to be one of two or three teams that breaks away from the pack and establishes themselves to make a championship run in 2010.
In today's college football world, a lot of people forget that for most programs it's a marathon and not a sprint. I think the Hokies realize that and it's why the preseason hype shouldn't make you nervous. It is possible for this team to accomplish great things and live up to expectations without raising the crystal.
As a Hokie fan, it's not all-or-nothing time for me yet. We're getting there, but 2009 isn't quite the time to think of anything less than a BCSCG berth a disaster.