Virginia Tech no longer controls its own destiny in the ACC, but it does control how its 2009 season will be remembered. There are two options for this Hokie team. They can finish strong, add to their legacy as a team that has finished strong since the 2003 collapse and set themselves up to try for a national title all over again in 2010. Or they can drop a couple of games they shouldn't and add fuel to the fire of Hokie detractors who think this program has peaked.
In 2003, Virginia Tech started 7-1 and finished 1-4, including an overtime win against Temple. Not to see a repeat of that season, Frank Beamer started the Team United campaign and the Hokies responded. In 2004, the Hokies won the ACC in their first season in the league by winning their last eight regular season games.
The Hokies are 18-2 in regular season games in November and December (both losses vs. Miami) since joining the ACC. While this North Carolina game comes in October, it's important for the Hokies to win it and win convincingly. It would get Tech back on the right track going into November, where it will play three of four games on the road.
The Hokies probably won't play for a third consecutive league championship, even if they finish 10-2. But there's still a lot of things for this team to prove to its fans, to the country and to itself. And it all starts Thursday night in front of the home crowd against the Tar Heels.