It’s sort of like winning the starting quarterback job because the starter is out with an injury and his backup is ineligible. You didn’t win the job on the field. But you’re certainly not going to back down from the opportunity.
Neither is Virginia Tech, which just moved up the BCS depth chart.
Let’s be honest: The Hokies have no business playing in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Frank Beamer has had better teams and better schedules. Virginia Tech was outscored 61-13 by Clemson in their only two losses this year, and their lone win over a ranked opponent came against Georgia Tech. The Hokies dropped to No. 17 in the Associated Press top 25 after being whupped by the Tigers on Saturday, 38-10. But you know what, ACC fans? It doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter to the Sugar Bowl, so there’s no reason it should matter to you.
Enjoy it. Revel it in. Roll in it. Consider it a guilty pleasure.
For the first time in the 14-year existence of the BCS, the ACC has two teams in BCS bowls. Who cares if one of them snuck in through the back door? The Sugar Bowl left it open. If Boise State and Kansas State are miffed -- which they should be -- find more fans who would buy tickets. After all, Virginia Tech’s loyal fan base had to be the factor that sold the Sugar Bowl officials on the ACC’s runner-up.
The national perception of the ACC isn’t going to change, of course, just because there are two teams in BCS bowls this year. It’s only the first step. Virginia Tech and Clemson both obviously have to do something with those opportunities. The Hokies have the tougher task against Michigan, which has the nation’s No. 12 offense and No. 7 scoring defense. Read that again: No. 7 scoring defense. If you thought Clemson gave the Hokies problems, be prepared for an even better Michigan defense. Of course, Virginia Tech will have ample time to prepare. Then again, they had already seen what Clemson had to offer once.
And the Sugar Bowl has already seen what Virginia Tech has to offer. Apparently, it was enough.
From now until kickoff, ACC fans, coaches and players should remind everyone every chance they get that the league has two teams in BCS bowls. (Who knows, it might be another 14 years until it happens again.) If the Hokies win, feel free to get louder. If they lose, well, then, get ready to be reminded a few times that they probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place.
But depth charts are fluid, and so is the BCS.
The ACC should enjoy its new role in the BCS starting lineup.