All in All, Not Too Shabby

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dust settles on the Virginia Tech 2004 football season. I assume that by now
everybody has gotten over their Bourbon Street hangovers, quenched the
Mississippi burning fires kindled by the propane of yet another Tech Sugar Bowl
appearance, and have recovered from a New Orleans experience that left them laid
out like Lenin in his tomb. Some of us, unfortunately, are still dealing with
the aftereffects of a rather extraordinary way to quit smoking [I finally found
a way to fulfill that resolution made over so many New Year‘s], but life and
TSL Pass columns go on.

It will take some time, probably years, to apply the
proper perspective to Tech’s ’04 season. It was a year that began with a loss
in the DC suburbs against the nation’s best team and ended with the same in
New Orleans against the country’s second-best outfit. In between those two
defeats there was another against NC State, but also ten victories and an
inaugural ACC season that yielded an inaugural ACC championship. All things
considered, it was a pretty darn good year by most any standard.

Tech came up short in both of its cracks against the
country’s elite teams, demonstrating the difference between the Top Ten and
the Top Two. USC and Auburn were both a little better than Tech and both won by
just a little bit. Tech joined twenty-three other teams in losing to the Trojans
and Tigers, the only one to lose to each. I notice you don’t hear too much
anymore about Tech’s easy schedule.

Tech might not have been MNC-caliber, but they certainly
had the stuff with which to conquer their new conference. Included among the
seven ACC wins were two against old foes on the last two weeks of the regular
season. Tech punctured the hype that ballooned out of Hooville, sending algroh
slinking home to ponder that there is a little more to winning championships
than braggadocio. The next week, in a made-for-television epic that found the
ACC’s two Big East imports vying for the conference championship of their new
league, either outright or shared, Tech knocked off Miami in the Orange Bowl to
bogart the title. People named