Call Me a Sucker

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I’ve been watching Virginia Tech football closely for 27 years now, ever
since I enrolled at Tech as a freshman in the fall of 1983. I’ve seen highly
hyped teams fade into mediocrity (1994 and 2003, anyone?), and I’ve seen teams
from which nothing was expected surprise us all (1993 and 2004, for example). As
the years go by, I get caught up less and less in the preseason hype, but call
me a sucker, because I’ve been roped in by the 2010 Hokies. This could be a
really good year.

It’s the preseason, and every team is going undefeated this season. Optimism
abounds, for most teams anyway. The vibe out of Blacksburg is particularly
upbeat, and it makes me cast a wary eye on the proceedings. What are we seeing
here: the usual rosy preseason outlook, or could this team be for real?

The truth is, we never really know, and injuries and sheer luck can play a
big role. Sometimes you can even be perfect and not get a chance to play for the
national championship. In 2005, had the Hokies beaten Miami and downed FSU in
the ACC Championship game, Tech still would have been on the outside of the BCS
Championship Game looking in. Texas and USC were ahead of the Hokies all season
long, and neither one of them lost a game. Virginia Tech would have simply been
2005’s Auburn, left to wonder “what if.”

Given that so much of it is up to simple chance, we look instead for clues
that indicate a team could make the national championship game. And I see
a lot of clues that the 2010 Hokies could.

one, the value of a senior QB can never be overestimated, and the Hokies have
got a good one in Tyrod Taylor. Senior QBs are no guarantee. The scrap heap of
Hokie football is littered with senior starting QBs. In 1991, the Hokies lost a
slew of early season games against a brutal schedule with four-year starter Will
Furrer at the helm, and Tech failed to make a bowl game. In 1994, three-year
starter Maurice DeShazo struggled to play well under offensive coordinator Gary
Tranquill. In 1998, Al Clark, lacked the sheer ability to will a mediocre Tech
offense to productivity in a three-loss season. In 2008, Sean Glennon was
benched after two games in favor of Tyrod Taylor.

But sometimes senior