Monday, October 31, 2005

Parity...with an exception

The ACC has some good teams. Maryland led Florida State into the 4th quarter last Saturday before falling 35-27. UNC led Miami 16-7 at the half before the Hurricanes woke up. Clemson lost by a point to Georgia Tech. What does this all mean? The ACC is good. From top to bottom, there seems to be a great deal of parity and talent. While experienced teams like FSU and Miami can grind out wins, there huge talent advantage has slowly been falling away.

The thing is, there is this other ACC team. One that had a nailbiting conclusion to start the season and since has not just won but won big. A team that is undefeated. A team that is clicking on all cylinders and a team that needs help. This team is one the Cavalier faithful know all to well, but the boys in Blacksburg are not just good...they're scary good. The Virginia Tech Hokies are 3rd in the nation, stuck behind national heavyweights USC and Texas. Their mission is clear, win out and hope that these two teams in front stumble. While USC and Texas have both showed the potential to drop one, it's important to remember, VT's perfect season is not assured...yet.

This week is very important for the ACC, for Miami, for VT and for the nation. The Hurricanes after an explosive second half travel to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies who have seemed invincible at home. Miami were the beasts of the Big East, but their counterpart has had the best of them as of late. VT's win last year over the Canes, a win this week would essentially do the same, giving them a two game lead over the rest of the Coastal Division of the ACC. Miami's last game at Lane Stadium was a 28-7 beatdown. Pride must be a big part of this equation. The Canes have to be tired of losing to the Hokies. The Hokies know that many wonder how good they really are, having yet to play a team anywhere close to the talent and makeup of the Miami squad. They feel they must not just win, but win big and use that momentum to push past Texas.

Parity cannot be an issue for Virginia Tech, they have spent the first two months proving that they are MUCH better than their opponents. If they want any chance of a national championship appearance, they cannot let the next month plague them like it often has. Two years ago, VT ended the year 2-4. With Miami, UNC and UVA still in their way, an uninspired team could inspire a similar record.

This is not just the ACC on the line this weekend, but the BCS. With 5 undefeated teams left (USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Alabama, and UCLA), there could be yet another huge controversy in the making over who deserves to play for the national championship. Fortunately for the BCS lovers, USC and UCLA will play each other, but it is highly possible AND probable that three or maybe four teams will end the year undefeated. Will Virginia Tech be the team that brings the long awaited playoff system to college football?

Not if they can help it.


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