Virginia Tech fans have a lot to be thankful for this week.
Thanks, Oklahoma State.
And not-so-Happy Thanksgiving, Clemson.
Four of the top seven teams in the country lost this past weekend, including Atlantic Division champion Clemson, bumping the Hokies up to No. 5 in the latest BCS standings. Last I checked, that qualifies as a national title contender. There are only five problems with that theory, though: No. 1 LSU, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3. Arkansas, No. 4 Oklahoma State, and No. 5 Virginia Tech's strength of schedule. The Hokies' weak nonconference schedule will weigh it down, and Clemson's loss to NC State certainly won't help matters if the two of them meet again in the ACC title game. The Hokies still have a long way to climb, but one thing is for sure -- it's not as far as Clemson fell following its loss to the Wolfpack.
The Tigers were No. 7 in the country at this time last week, but after a 37-13 loss to NC State, Clemson dropped like a rock to No. 17. Florida State dropped out after its loss to Virginia, and Georgia Tech snuck in at No. 23 following its win against Duke. So yes, the ACC still has three teams ranked in the BCS standings, but it lost its two representatives in the top 10. Even more frustrating to the league is the fact that Clemson lost on a weekend when three teams ranked above it also lost.
So here we are again, in a very familiar place -- with Virginia Tech as the league's best hope for a national title, so close, and yet so much farther away than the standings truly indicate.