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Hokies Welcome Challenge

Buckeyes Could Be Third Top Ranked Opener in 11 Years

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Tech's non-con schedule was a punchline?  Back in the days when the B.C.S. ran the world, strength of schedule seemed to haunt the late 90's to 2k Hokies.  Virginia Tech listened to the critics.  Big East football was typically an end of year shootout with Miami.  Miami was the only team in the Big East that got national respect.  Sorry West Virginia fans, the Major Harris led Fiesta Bowl Mountaineers proved to be a one and done.  Don't get me wrong, Don Nehlen won a ton of big ballgames at W.V.U..  Syracuse with McNabb was definitely formidable.  Boston College, and Pitt also had some good run in the Big East.  The Big East also had Temple and Rutgers.    Tech would invariably slaughter the cupcakes, ease into the schedule, and then play Miami.  This didn't sit well with voters, and Tech quickly adjusted.  The non-conference schedule is made years in advance, and in 2004 Tech hit the jackpot.  Virginia Tech was slated to play  #1 U.S.C. on a neutral field to open the season.  Prior to this game Tech was all-time 0-6 versus #1 ranked teams.  U.S.C. was ranked #1 heading into FedEx field, while "splitting" a national title with L.S.U. the previous year.

Tech also opened up with the #1 Crimson Tide in 2009. Tech led, and 'Bama came back to win by ten. This game was awesome, but looking to the future, the upcoming game against the Buckeyes shares the most parallels with the '04 U.S.C. tilt. The Trojans had Matt Leinart. Everybody's all-American had the keys to the Ferrari that was the Trojans offense. Reggie Bush had a huge game for the Trojans against the Hokies. Bush did most of his damage on the receiving end of Leinart's seam routes and wheel routes. Ohio State has a three headed monster at quarterback, but Cardale Jones appears to get the nod. I can assure you this Tech fans, he's not spending time cracking the books.

Judging by the Playboy article, and other off the field endeavors, I don't believe Leinart was spending too much time in the Southern Cal library.

So we have a couple of QB1's that aren't exactly Rhodes Scholars. As far as the Bush comparison, look no further than Ezekiel Elliot. How big a role did he have in defeating Oregon? 246 yards on 36 carries. Don't forget, after the Oregon dismantling of F.S.U., people were already ordering the Oregon National Championship gear. All the momentum is on the side of the Buckeyes heading into Lane for sure, but I will make this bold statement.

"We may not win, but we will cover the spread."

Against U.S.C. the spread was 17 points. Final score was U.S.C. 24 V.T. 13. In the 2009 tilt, Alabama was a 6 1/2 point favorite, and won by ten. Tech is an early 17-19 point underdog in Lane Stadium for the opener. I don't gamble, but as much as Urban has circled this game, Frank and Bud may have circled this one that much harder.