Hokies and Heels to Play in Primetime on ESPN

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UNC Gametime Announced

The Virginia Tech athletics department announced on Sunday afternoon that ESPN has picked up the Tech-UNC football game and has scheduled it for a 7:45 kickoff in Lane Stadium. The Hokies are coming off a 52-14 whipping of archrival Virginia, while UNC scored a touchdown in the final minutes to knock off Duke 24-21.

This will be the fifth consecutive game that the Hokies have played in front of a national ESPN audience, and the fourth in primetime. Tech lost to Miami in that stretch, but blew out Maryland, Boston College and Virginia. The last time the Hokies did not play a nationally televised game on ESPN was October 8 against Marshall. Instead they played the Thundering Herd in a nationally televised game on ESPN2.

The Hokies played on national television on ESPN on October 1 for the West Virginia game as well. Overall this will be Tech’s ninth national telecast of the season. The September 24 contest against Georgia Tech was a split national game on ABC, while the Duke game was broadcast regionally by Jefferson Pilot Sports.

Hokies Move up in the Polls

Virginia Tech moved up in each poll following their blowout victory over the Virginia Cavaliers. The Hokies are now ranked fifth in the AP Poll, fifth in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll, and sixth by the Harris Interactive Poll. Only the Coaches’ Poll and Harris Interactive Poll count in the BCS Standings.

The Hokies jumped up two spots in the AP Poll. One spot was a result of Miami’s loss to Georgia Tech on Saturday night in the Orange Bowl. VT also jumped Notre Dame in the AP Poll as a result of their dominating performance against UVA. Tech is just two points ahead of the Fighting Irish in the AP Poll, but over 100 points behind fourth ranked Penn State.

In the USA Today Coaches’ Poll the Hokies moved up one spot from sixth to fifth. They are comfortably ahead of Notre Dame in this poll, leading the Irish by 92 points. In the Harris Interactive Poll, Virginia Tech moved up to sixth, but could not manage to jump Notre Dame. The Hokies trail the Irish by just ten points.

In the BCS itself, Virginia Tech moved up one spot to fifth. The Hokies trail fourth-ranked LSU by quite a bit in the Harris Poll and Coaches’ Poll, but are much stronger than the Tigers in the computer Polls. Tech’s computer poll average is fourth in the nation, while LSU ranks eighth.

The computer polls agree that the Hokies rank anywhere from third to fifth in the nation. Virginia Tech ranks as high as third nationally by Billingsley and as low as fifth by Massey and Sagarin. The Hokies are ranked fourth by Anderson & Hester, Colley Matrix and Wolfe.

For the Hokies, BCS rankings are irrelevant at this point. They must defeat North Carolina on Saturday night to advance to the ACC Championship Game. At that point they must defeat Florida State to advance to a BCS game. If Virginia Tech loses to either UNC or Florida State, they will not go to a BCS game.

If the Hokies beat UNC but lose to Florida State in Jacksonville, they would likely be headed to the Peach Bowl in Atlanta on December 30, where they would face an SEC team. If they lose to UNC, they will not advance to the ACC Championship Game unless Virginia defeats Miami. They would then likely go to the Gator Bowl on January 2 where they would face a Big East foe.

If Tech goes to a BCS game, it would likely be the Orange Bowl on January 3 at 8pm. They would probably face a Big Ten team. Penn State will be the Big Ten representative in the BCS, but it is very possible that 9-2 Ohio State will sneak into the BCS as an at-large team. The Hokies could play either of those teams in the Orange Bowl.

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