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I’m
sure you’ve noticed that Chris Coleman and I have been a little quiet this week.
We usually like to provide a little something-something every day, be it a pay
article or a freebie, but since posting the game preview Tuesday afternoon,
neither of us have had anything to say. Sometimes, there isn’t anything
to say, and it’s just time to play football.

In our preseason perfect-world scenario, Virginia Tech was going to beat
Boise State, then stroll through the next seven games and enter November with an
8-0 record and national championship aspirations. That didn’t happen.

Instead of games 2-8 being a long, slow climb up the rankings, perhaps to the
#1 spot, it turned into a long, dull, tedious waiting game. It started with an
unexpected gut-punch from JMU, and once that went down, things really turned
into a grind.

If you’re like me, you haven’t enjoyed the last six games much at all. (But
it’s well documented that I take this stuff way too seriously.) There have been
good moments, yes, but for the most part, it’s been all about putting in the
time. Just put in the time, work on your game, win them all, and wait for
November.

The wait for November has been particularly painful at times, because while
the Hokies were repairing their record, their ranking, and their collective
psyche, we have had to endure endless talk about Boise State. Do the Broncos
deserve to play in the national championship game? What do they have to do to
impress the pollsters? Do they have a chance to make one of the top two spots in
the BCS? Should there be a playoff? Who’s better, Boise State, TCU, or Utah?
Blah, blah, blah, BLAH BLAH BLAH BLAAAAHHH!!!!

All
the while, the endless debate about Boise State is accompanied by highlights of
the Broncos beating the Hokies at FedExField. Highlights of the blocked punt,
highlights of the TD catch by their tight end, highlights of their long TD run,
highlights of their winning TD pass. Highlights, highlights, highlights, one
right after the other, of one of the most painful losses in VT football history.
(Yeah, I said it. It was.) Those ultra-cool black uniforms the Hokies wore will
forever be tainted with the stain of having lost that game.

It has, quite frankly, sucked. I’ve never been so miserable during a six-game
winning streak. All I can keep thinking is, "That was supposed to be
us." I’m sick of hearing about Boise State, and if the Hokies had just
beaten them, I wouldn’t be subjected to this endless, annoying,
fingernails-on-a-blackboard argument about Boise State and the national
championship. If the Hokies had just taken care of business, the 2010 BSU
football team would have been relegated to the trash bin of history. Instead,
they have been in the forefront of nearly every college football discussion in
the last two months. Blech.

Um … what? What’s that you say? The Hokies have a football game tonight?
And it’s not against Boise State?

Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest. It has been simmering for two
months now.

And yes, my Boise State rant is relevant to tonight’s Thursday night showcase
against Georgia Tech. Tonight’s game in Lane Stadium is the first step of
putting that miserable Boise State experience, and the subsequent two months of
being jabbed with that Boise State needle constantly, into the rear view mirror.
It’s time to make this season about what comes next, instead of what happened on
Monday, September 6th.

Tonight is all about shedding the past and looking to the future, and the
loss to Boise State isn’t the only part of the past that needs to be shed. The
loss to Georgia Tech in Atlanta last season is another bad memory that needs to
be flushed.

If you go back to October 17th, 2009, the Hokies entered that game feeling as
if the ACC Championship was their birthright. VT had won 3 of 5 ACC
Championships since entering the conference in 2004, including two in a row in
2007 and 2008, and there was no indication that things were going to be any
different in 2009. The 28-23 loss that night changed all that. It was a shocker,
and the hangover lingered into the next game, a 20-17 home loss on Thursday
night to North Carolina
, of all things.

So the ACC Championship went somewhere else last year. That’s hard to
stomach. It doesn’t belong in Atlanta, for crying out loud. The trophy belongs
in Blacksburg.

Tonight is all about redemption, redemption for last season and the first two
games of this season. Tonight is about the future, a future that I hope will
include a Coastal Division championship and a great ACC Championship game in
Charlotte, followed by the ACC Championship trophy returning to Blacksburg.

It has been a long, hard frustrating wait to get to this crucial November
stretch. So show up in Lane Stadium tonight and let it all out. Don’t sit on
your hands, and don’t fret about being cold or wet. We only get a couple
opportunities like this a year, so do your part to make it happen.

If you’re in the area early enough, or you’re tailgating in the lots in the
afternoon, show up for the pre-game walk, which takes place on Spring Road
around 5:30. Nothing gets football players fired up like fans lining the streets
two hours before kickoff. Except for maybe running out of the tunnel to
"Enter Sandman," but Hokie fans have got that part down pat.

The march to the 2010 ACC Championship starts tonight, folks. It’s not going
to be easy, and it’s going to take just as much effort from the fans as it is
the team. It all goes together, so be there, and give it everything you’ve got.
It’s been a long wait. Time to uncork.

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