This is the first of two posts debating the Hokies' ability to Raise the Crystal in 2010. Read part two here.
Football season is near.
The Hokies can win the National Championship this year.
I won't lie to you, I don't actually know if Frank and the boys will actually lift that big crystal monstrosity of a trophy this season. I don't know if Ryan Williams and Darren Evans will surpass Suggs and Jones as the greatest RB duo at the school. I don't know if the defense will grow up as fast as needed. I don't know. If I did know, well, I wouldn't be here.
However, there are reasons to think that this is the year. I've followed the Hokies since I was old enough to walk, and this is probably the most talented offensive team ever to play in Lane Stadium. Can they do something with the talent? Throw darts at Stinespring all you want, but the play calling was pretty damn good last year. But of course, you read all about it on the greatest Tech football site known to man.
The backfield will be overflowing with speed and power this season, no worries there. The receiver position has talent, experience, and depth. The line will have to grow up with the departure of big Serg and 'Holding on Ed Wang'. But, what team doesn't face question marks at the beginning of the season? The truth is, there aren't very many points to bicker about on the offensive side of the ball.
Defense is another story. The almighty Bud Foster has his work cut out for him with a young group. Although, it always seems that he could grab eleven guys out of the nearest classroom and still hold opponents under 300 yards a game. The cold truth is that we don't know what we're getting with this group until we see them against Boise State. With that being said, I'm expecting a pretty cohesive and ball-hawking unit out on FedEx Field. With Bud at the helm, should we expect anything less?
Offense? Check. Defense? Check.
Special Teams? Do I even have to address that? Didn't Frank Beamer invent special teams? Check.
Each year, there are a few dates that Hokie fans circle on the calendar as the 'make or break' games. That's not to say that Tech can just walk into every other game expecting to win. But usually with the Hokies, they lose one of the 'make or break' games before they lose the gimmes. The 'make or breaks' used to consist of Syracuse, Miami, West Virginia and UVA.
Then, it was Miami, West Virginia, Pitt and UVA.
Then, UVA quit playing football.
Then, Tech moved to the ACC.
Then, divisions with painfully unimaginative names were created.
Basically, it boils down to the annual out of conference game against a highly ranked foe, Georgia Tech, North Carolina and Miami. The Boise State game looms large. Kudos to them, apparently they spoke to USC, LSU and Alabama before they agreed to play Tech in the opener this season. However, the game is essentially a home game for the Hokies (with 20,000+ extra home fans), and if they lose, you can print out this column and burn it along with my article about Seth Greenberg's contract extension. Georgia Tech is a home game following a bye week, and the revenge factor is most definitely in play. Speaking of revenge, North Carolina appears to be another difficult task, as their defense should be unbelievable this season and the game is in Chapel Hill. Wait, playing in Chapel Hill isn't really that difficult. And come to think of it, I'll take our offense against their defense, as long as Ryan Williams isn't partying in South Beach anytime between now and then. If this were SportsCenter, South Beach would be the perfect transition to the final opponent on the list.
Well, look, it still is the perfect transition, "....aaand speaking of South Beach.....Miami!" I don't like the prospect of playing them on the road, but in order to satisfy my cliche quota, "they've got to play the hand they're dealt". Meaningless drivel aside, I think Foster has the game plan for Harris down to a T and Tech will walk out of South Beach with a W. Enough initials for you? A W for VT in FL. Book it. Basically, time goes on, things change, and yet the largest circles on my Tech schedule are still around the showdown with the Hurricanes. As for the idea that the ACC Championship could trip the Hokies up, I'm not buying it. If they can get through the much tougher Coastal Division, there's no reason why they can't beat the Atlantic Division Champion and secure the BCS bid. Florida State, Clemson, whoever the opponent may be.
The biggest reason for my belief that the Hokies will hoist the glass monstrosity this year is quite simple. One of these years, it's bound to happen. It seems that the same ten or fifteen teams are in a position to make a run at the title every year. Virginia Tech has been one of those teams since the magical 1999 season. The Hokies are consistently hovering around the top of the polls, so close to the top that we can almost taste it.
The bottom line is that one year, everything is going to come up orange and maroon. Can that year be this year? David Cutcliffe thinks so. Dennis Dodd thinks so. I think so. One year, Tech will win their first BCS National Championship. One year, they will beat the door down and reign supreme. One year, Tech Triumph will blare in the background as announcers proclaim that they will miss their broadcasting partner and they'll see us all on the road to the BCS starting in September. One year, Frank will ride off the field on the shoulders of his adoring players while Bud pumps his fists toward the student section. One year, it will happen.
Why can't that be this year?