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ACC Championship Game vs. Florida State Offers Virginia Tech and Bryan Stinespring a Shot at Redemption

By design I don't remember a lot about the last time we faced Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. I did the best I could to forget the game as soon as it happened. What I do remember was being heavily favored, a lot of three and outs, a disastrous third quarter and a lot of bourbon.

I remember my roommate leaving the apartment early in the third quarter, returning literally 10 seconds before Sean Dockery's shot to beat the basketball team the next day, leaving again a couple of minutes later and not coming back until late Monday. I also remember having to buy a new remote.

But most of my memories about the 2005 ACC Championship Game were of what happened after Virginia Tech's loss. I was a regular lurker on Tech Sideline back then and it was the days following the loss to the Seminoles when I was introduced to the hatred a lot of our fans have of offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring.

Up until that night in Jacksonville, there wasn't a lot for Hokie fans to complain about Stinespring. The Hokies lost a lot of games in 2003, but also scored a lot of points. They then won the 2004 ACC title and were 10-1 and (I think) 14-point favorites going into their game against Florida State.

Then, the offense sleep-walked through the first three quarters of the game and woke up just in time to make it look respectable. In reality, the Hokies had very little chance of actually coming back from a 27-3 deficit.

Shortly after the game, former East Carolina head coach Steve Logan, who at the time was the quarterbacks coach for the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe, ripped Stinespring and his offensive game plan on his radio show and gave his idea for what Tech's game plan should have been (if anyone still has the recording, please let me know). If I remember right, it involved using roll outs and draws to try and mitigate FSU's pass rush, which sacked Marcus Vick six times.

Hokie fans on the message boards ate it up and called for the Logan to be placed in charge of the offense. Things quickly started going downhill for Stinespring. After the 2005 season he lost his quarterback when Vick was dismissed from school and his quarterbacks coach when Kevin Rogers departed for the NFL.

He went into the 2006 season with high expectations, Mike O'Cain and Sean Glennon. Considering he wasn't supposed to be the starter in 2006, Glennon had a pretty solid year. What killed him were interceptions, which a lot of sophomores are prone to do.

In 2007 the Tyrod Taylor era began and the Hokies started stockpiling talent on the offensive side of the ball. Now, here we are in 2010 and the Hokies are averaging more yards per play than any team in the ACC. They've made the ACC Championship Game for the third time in Taylor's four seasons and have been given a shot at redemption.

But while redemption against the team with the spear on the side of their helmet is what they seek, they have to realize that they're only facing the 2010 Seminoles. If they start trying to battle the ghosts of FSU games past, they may wind up in the same spot they were that Saturday night five years ago.

Memories are easy to erase if you try. I was able to do it five years ago. Hopefully the Hokies can do it this Saturday.