Team preview: Virginia Tech

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(All information as of June 20, 2008)


The Hokies have four straight seasons with at least 10 wins, have won two of the last four ACC championships and played for the title another time. They've been to 15 consecutive bowls, dominated cross-state rival Virginia and they're welcoming in a top recruiting class this fall.

So why isn't there mass celebration in Hokie Nation?

For some reason Virginia Tech fans don't just have a chip on the shoulder, it's more like a block of their famed Hokie Stone. Maybe it's the 50-year slight dealt them by their now ACC brethren, who finally let them in the club four years ago? Or maybe it's the mounting "just misses" as far as national title consideration? Whatever the reason, there's restless-ness around Blacksburg leaving the Artists Formerly Known as Fightin' Gobblers perpetually unfulfilled.

Take the 2007 season. Please.

The second game, a 48-7 loss at second-ranked and eventual national champion LSU, was a blow to the collective Hokie psyche and took the national title off the table. But all Tech did after that was win 10 of its next 11 regular-season games and roll to a second conference crown. The nationally televised loss to Matt Ryan and Boston College was a heart-breaker, but the Hokies had nothing to be ashamed of, though they were again disappointed when they lost to Kansas in the FedEx Orange Bowl, their fourth straight loss in a major bowl.

Granted, that was a game Tech should have won, but there's no cause for so much homegrown angst over a program that shot to the top of the Atlantic Coast Conference the day it entered the league. Since 2004, the Hokies are 28-6 in league play. And the only comeback the rest of the league seems to have is to point at the list of transgressions that have side-lined several high-profile Tech players and embarrassed the university a bit as it comes to grips with its now-national reputation as a football factory.

Then again, look around the big-time football-fumbling ACC, and let those without sin cast the first Hokie Stone.