2011 Orange Bowl: 5 Storylines to Watch

A look at five things to watch leading up to Virginia Tech's game against Stanford.

1. Tyrod Taylor vs. Andrew Luck

This is, in all likelihood, the final college game for both Taylor and Luck. Taylor is a senior and Luck, a redshirt sophomore, would have to pass up a lot of money to return to school. The two will have the stage to themselves on Jan. 3 as the Orange Bowl is the only game that night. On top of that, it will be getting the ESPN Monday Night Football treatment, complete with Tirico, Gruden and Jaws. The quarterback matchup will be an interesting one because it features a prototypical college QB in Taylor and a prototypical NFL QB in Luck. Both are great quarterbacks at this level and get the job done in their own way. I think the contrasting styles makes this a fun matchup to watch.

2. Who's Going Pro?

In addition to the probable early departure of Luck, there are a few Hokies who may decide to test the NFL Draft waters early. Running backs coach Billy Hite said on Tech Talk Live this week if either Ryan Williams or Darren Evans is projected to be an early-round draft pick, they should go pro. Both are expected to at least submit paperwork to the league to gauge where they might be picked in this spring's draft. Questions about their future are sure to come up between now and the game.

3. Who's Going to be Ineligible?

This is kind of a taboo subject, but bowl season is also ineligibility season in college football. Because the bowls come after final exams, players aren't ruled academically ineligible until between the end of the regular season and the bowls. Well, as Trible and other Tech students know, exam week is almost here so we'll find out soon if the Hokies hit the books this semester. As for Stanford (which has its final exams this week), I don't know if it's being a smart kid school is a good thing or a bad thing. Sure, it's players had to get into Stanford, but the classwork there is pretty brutal.

4. Who Won't Play Due to Injury?

We already know backer Lyndell Gibson is out for this game and will likely be replaced by Tariq Edwards for the game against Stanford. For the Cardinal, wide receiver Chris Owusu's status for the Orange Bowl is up in the air after he missed the last three games of the regular season.

5. Other Open Coaching Jobs

Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh is a hot commodity right now and is mentioned by SOMEONE as a possible replacement every time a prestigious job opens up. Whether it's Florida or a theoretical opening at Michigan, Harbaugh is a wanted man. However, it looks like he's going to get a big raise from Stanford that will keep him on The Farm for a while. In Blacksburg, Bud Foster's name usually gets kicked around for job openings this time of year, but the annuity he stands to receive from the Hokies if he sticks around basically guarantees he's not taking a job unless it's a head coaching position he thinks he can succeed at. However, there are sure to be rumors involving both Harbaugh and Foster leading up to the Orange Bowl.

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