Sitting at 11-2 with 11 consecutive wins and an ACC championship, it would be easy for Virginia Tech fans to reflect on the start of the season and wonder what might of been. If Hokies had converted a late third down and beaten Boise State, there's no way they fall the next week to James Madison and on to a 13-0 season.
But I argue that without those two losses to start the season there's no way this team turns into what it has become. If Virginia Tech hadn't gone through the heartache and disappointment of those two games they wouldn't have come together to become the resilient team I've grown to love.
I don't think the Hokies were a team capable of going 13-0 this year. If they beat Boise State and James Madison to start the season, there were still going to be losses along the way. The BSU game drove home the point to this team that no game is ever over until it hits :00 and the JMU game drove it home not to take any opponent likely.
Those are two cliches that every coaches tries to instill in his team, but sometimes it takes real-world experience for college-aged players to get the point. It appears that's what happened with this team. Those two games I believe are the reason this team played so well in second halves the rest of the season.
Also, on paper this team was very experienced, but it was really pretty young. The youth on defense overcame the experience on offense and the O-line needed to time gel, like it seems to every year. Key preseason injuries to Barquell Rivers and Nick Becton compounded the problem. Even if the team had managed to overcome its youth against BSU and JMU, there were still going to be losses along the way.
Do we comeback against NC State? I really don't think so. Do we drop another game along the way? I really think so.
Even before the bowl game is played, I think this is a special, special team that will be better appreciated long after the season is over. I'll never forget the strange, magical journey this team has taken me on and I doubt many of you will, either.
The loss to JMU was deflating to the team and to those of us who follow this team so religiously. Throughout the following weeks I tried to keep in mind the idea, borrowed from the movie Apollo 13, that instead of this being our worst disaster it was going to be our finest hour.
I couldn't imagine being more proud of this Virginia Tech football team even if it had gone 13-0. And like it's current 11-2 record, that wouldn't be possible without the start the team experienced.