Virginia Tech is headed back to the Orange Bowl for the second straight year as a result of Saturday’s 30-12 win over Boston College. On Sunday night, the Hokies found out that their opponent will be Cincinnati, the Big East Champions.
This is Virginia Tech’s sixth appearance in one of college football’s elite bowls. They are 1-4 in their previous five trips. The Hokies defeated Texas in 1995, and have since lost to Nebraska, Florida State, Auburn and Kansas. Tech will be looking to avenge last year’s Orange Bowl loss to Kansas. Like Kansas, Cincinnati is a non-traditional power who will be making their first appearance in a major New Year’s Day bowl game.
The Hokies are 9-4 on the year and ranked #19 in the BCS standings. It’s the first time they’ve made a BCS game with less than 10 wins. If they manage to defeat Cincinnati, they’ll have their fifth straight 10-win season.
Cincinnati finished the season 11-2, with a 6-1 mark in Big East play. The Bearcats played a 13th game this season because they traveled to play Hawaii over the weekend. They rallied to win that football game 29-24, scoring 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. They are currently #12 in the BCS standings.
Cincinnati has reached unprecedented heights under second year head coach Brian Kelly. The Bearcats have just three 10-win seasons in school history, and two of them have come in Kelly’s two years at the helm.
The Hokies and Bearcats have a bit of a history. Everyone remembers Cincinnati shutting out Tech 16-0 in Lane Stadium in 1995. The teams also met in Lane Stadium in 2006, with Virginia Tech earning a hard fought 29-13 victory. The Hokies trailed that game 13-12 heading into the fourth quarter, but scored 17 unanswered points in the final 15 minutes to pick up the win.
The Orange Bowl will be played on Thursday, January 1 at 8pm. The game will be televised by FOX.