I spend a good deal of time last week hating on various people. I hated on Frank Beamer, the rest of the coaching staff and then finally the incoming freshman class. It seemed no stone was left unturned. Well, if I'm going to spend all that time talking trash about those inside the program, equal time needs to be given.
That's right, it's time to hate on us. Me, you, the fans. Our uppance has come. There's a large segment of our fan base, and I include myself, that doesn't really appreciate the level Virginia Tech football has reached. We're disappointed in losses to teams that in all honest are a lot better than us, in recruiting classes that rank in the top third nationally and sometimes in the general direction of the football program.
We act like a national championship is our birthright when reality couldn't be further from the truth.
It's is damn hard to win a national championship in college football. For a team like Virginia Tech, which has never won a title, doesn't have the tradition of excellence some teams have and doesn't play in the SEC, it's even harder. To even play for a national title, the Hokies would have to go undefeated and get lucky.
Then, they would have to win a game against a Top 5 team, something we don't exactly have a history of doing. There are plenty of teams like Virginia Tech out there. Wisconsin, Oregon, Iowa and West Virginia have been very good during the BCS era, have won their share of conference title and have only one championship game appearance between them.
The point is that breaking through to the elite level takes time and getting there isn't a given. It isn't a given that Oregon will make another national championship game appearance in the very near future. The Ducks could wind up like Tech and spend the next 10 years trying to make it back to the sport's biggest stage.
Other teams, like Clemson, Washington, Colorado and Georgia Tech, did break through and win a national title in modern times. None of them are close to college football royalty right now. Once you get there, there's no guarantee you won't slip back into obscurity.
Currently, Virginia Tech has a streak of seven consecutive 10-win seasons, a fact spouted out so often by Frank Beamer that some fans have become sickened by it. But it's something we should appreciate because of where this program has been. We used to be nothing and now we're a team that wins consistently and does it the right way.
The flip side of that is the coaches have built the program into something maybe even they couldn't have imagined and with that comes increased expectations that they may or may not be ready to be held to. I wouldn't be surprised if the people close to the program feel unappreciated for what they've built, but at the same time their success is what created the monster.
I spent a lot of time last season complaining that Boise State fans didn't know how to act like real football fans because they'd never experienced the same level of disappointment fan bases of top and elite level teams have faced. Now that they've lost to Nevada, they have that.
Well, our fan base needs to learn to act like one that's been there before. If we lose to a team that's better than us at the time we play them, let it go. We're not Alabama, Ohio State or Oklahoma. There's no championship tradition to be held to. We can't sit there and grovel that the Hokies should be playing in the national title game when we lost to James Madison. It's petty and annoying. Enjoy the damn title game without bitching and moaning like a petulant child.
If we're going to hold our coaches and players to a standard that's higher than one they've ever actually achieved we have to do the same for ourselves. Calling for the guillotine when something's imperfect and not appreciating where the level the program is at now isn't the way we should be doing things.
We act like we're thiiiiiiis close to winning a title when really, we aren't. We're in the same neighborhood as winning a title, but we're not banging on its front door. In reality, the program probably has an equal chance of winning the national title and regressing to the mean. It's OK to hope for a national title and have a level of disappointment when we don't get there. However, we should probably appreciate where we are now in case of the latter.