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Thursday, December 31, 2009
Chick-fil-A Bowl a must-win for Hokies

By Heather Dinich
ESPN.com

The numbers have been reported repeatedly: Virginia Tech has lost four straight games to SEC teams dating back to 2002. The Hokies are 0-2 in the Georgia Dome, and 0-2 in the city of Atlanta this year.

Virginia Tech has never won back-to-back bowl games under coach Frank Beamer. The Hokies are 8-14 in their bowl games. The ACC desperately needs another bowl win, especially against a formidable SEC team.

The list goes on, but when you add everything up, tonight’s game against Tennessee equals a must-win for the Hokies. Even some of the players realize Virginia Tech has something to prove in this game.

“You never like continually losing on the same field, that’s never good, or in the same city,” senior defensive end Nekos Brown said. “You always want to come out with a win, and we’ve got to do our part for the ACC. We take pride in that, and we do feel like it’s a must-win game.”

The geography of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and this regional matchup is also an underlying factor, as Georgia has become the No. 4 state in the country behind Texas, California and Florida in terms of producing Division I football players. In addition to conference bragging rights, it could also help either program gain an edge in area recruiting.

In the big picture, the Chick-fil-A Bowl hasn’t been dominated by either conference.

Over the past 17 years of the ACC vs. the SEC in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the SEC has scored 365 points, the ACC has scored 321. The SEC has won nine games, the ACC has won eight games. The SEC has won the past four games, but prior to that the ACC won four straight.

“That’s what leads it to a rivalry,” said Chick-fil-A Bowl president Gary Stokan. “This is a big game.”

And it’s one Virginia Tech and the ACC can’t afford to lose.