Well, I Didn’t See That Coming

I’ve found myself saying multiple times this season, “Well, I didn’t see that coming.” I didn’t see Clemson crushing VT the first time or the second time, and I didn’t see the Hokies mauling UVa in Charlottesville 38-0, either. But Sunday night, I got the biggest “didn’t see that coming” surprise of all when the Hokies got invited to the Sugar Bowl as the ACC’s first at-large BCS bid since the conference expanded in 2004.

Others were aware this might be coming before I was, but for the rest of us, the rumors started circulating Sunday evening, around 5:00 or 6:00 PM, that the Hokies might get a Sugar Bowl bid. It sounded too good to be true. Virginia Tech was bypassed for an at-large bid in 2000, when the #5-BCS-ranked Hokies, featuring TV-friendly Michael Vick, were passed over by the Fiesta Bowl in favor of #11 Notre Dame and #6 Oregon State, both of which were at-large bids.

The Hokies had a chance again for an at-large bid in 2005, when they finished #10 in the BCS standings, but were two spots behind #8 Miami and also lost the ACC Championship Game to #22 Florida State. Tech was passed up again, but so were #5 Oregon, #8 Miami, and #9 Auburn, because #4 Ohio State and #6 Notre Dame automatically got at-large bids, filling up all spots.

That was back in the days of just four BCS bowls, but for the 2006 season, the BCS added a dedicated BCS National Championship Game, creating ten BCS spots instead of just eight.