2008 Monday Thoughts: Orange Bowl Champs

a season, and what a finish. What a pleasure it is to face the month of January
coming off a bowl win, without any drama. It’s the first time since 2002 that
the Hokies finished with a win and didn’t stomp somebody in the leg doing it. As
many gaps, injuries, problems and youth as this team had, they still did what no
Tech team has done since 1995: win a conference championship and a BCS Bowl.

This was an impressive win. Cincinnati didn’t look very good against the
Hokies last Thursday, but the Bearcats are a good team, with some great
players. The reason Cincinnati looked bad was that Virginia Tech made
them look bad. Tech came in prepared, focused and on a mission, and the
importance of this game to this team was apparent.

Part of me thinks that you never know how bowl games are going to go, but if
you follow a team closely, you do get an inkling. We (as fans) entered last
year’s Orange Bowl with trepidation, because Aaron McFarling of the Roanoke
Times correctly sniffed out that Kansas was preparing hard, while the Hokies
were taking almost all of December off. Our worst fears came true, as a
physically less talented Kansas team played up to their potential and knocked
Tech off.

This year, the pre-bowl coverage was all about the Hokies practicing more,
taking the game more seriously, and treating it like a business trip. (A direct
quote from Kansas coach Mark Mangino last year was that the Jayhawks were
treating the game as a “business trip.”)