Since the Hokies finally became bowl eligible when they narrowly defeated their in-state rivals, the Virginia Cavaliers, in the last game of the season, speculation has run rampant as to where Virginia Tech would end up bowling. As of tonight, we officially have that answer: a Dec. 28 date with Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla., a prevalent rumor over that time period. For details surrounding the matchup, continue reading below.
If you polled 1,000 people in the know at the beginning of the season (excluding Heather Dinich of course, per the qualifier in the know) about which Bowl Virginia Tech would end up in, none of them would have responded "the Russell Athletic Bowl." In fact, many of them may not even be aware of the existence of the Russell Athletic Bowl. But we're here, and alas, 100 percent of those people would've been wrong.
But now that we are here, the Hokies have a quazi-opportunity to, if nothing else, save face to a degree. While winning this bowl game would be a small measure of solace, the converse would be much worse. Losing the game would pull the Hokies under .500 for the first time since 1992 (though I have voiced my protestations regarding some very shady officiating in one of those games...ahem), give the Hokies a 3-game bowl losing streak (though I have voiced my protestations regarding some very shady officiating in one of those games...ahem) and stick them with a loss to a team which they own an 11-game winning streak over, last losing by a point in...you guessed it, 1992. A team which the Hokies beat by a combined score of 99-0 over a two-year stretch this millennia.
That's why this bowl bid is particularly concerning from a perception perspective. Any of the rumored opponents that were mentioned over the last week could have beaten the Hokies, but this matchup added an element of insult to injury. I'm not conceding that the Hokies have a chance of winning, but should they lose, it will be a stark message to the rest of the college football world of Rutgers meteoric rise over the last decade, and the Hokies cataclysmic fall over the last calendar year.
For all your Rutgers Scarlet Knights news and updates regarding the bowl game matchup, be sure to check out SB Nation's Rutgers blog, On The Banks. For all your Virginia Tech news and updates, be sure to check in with us here at Gobbler Country. Also don't forget to check out SB Nation's post on the matter, which can be found here.