Changing the Conversation

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All month long we’ve been hearing it: the Hokies shouldn’t have been invited
to the Sugar Bowl, they can’t sell out their ticket allotment, they don’t win
the big games … these discussion points are bookended by a 38-10 pounding in
the ACC Championship Game on one end and Cody Journell’s arrest and suspension
on the other end. Whoever thought a month that included a Sugar Bowl bid could
be so unpleasant to live through? It’s time for the Hokies to change the

A December of Hokie-bashing isn’t new. We romanticize the 1995 Sugar Bowl win
because of how things ended up, but December of 1995 was just as unpleasant as
December of 2011. VT was a newcomer to the national scene, just three years
removed from a hideous 2-8-1 season and irrelevancy. The Hokies tied with Miami
for the Big East crown in 1995, and there was drama at the end of the season as
to which team, the Hokies or Canes, was going to get the league’s invitation to
a “Bowl Alliance” bowl.

No one came to Virginia Tech’s defense. No one pointed out that the Hokies
had beaten the Hurricanes in the regular season and therefore deserved the bid.
The media, who loves winning above all else and doesn’t care if it’s
accomplished honestly and fairly, wanted a soon-to-be-on-probation Miami squad
to be in the big game, not the Hokies.

Miami decided to bow out of bowl contention in 1995 as part of their NCAA
sanctions (instead of waiting till 1996), so the Big East’s Alliance Bowl bid
went to the Hokies. Instead of Miami going to the Orange Bowl, the Hokies were
invited to the Sugar Bowl.

And the bashing began.

I remember three things about the bashing: Lee Corso was out front on ESPN in
his anti-VT comments, Dennis Dodd was anti-Hokie in his writings for CBS
Sportsline (? I think that’s who he wrote for), and Christine Brennan blistered
the Hokies in the USA Today, decrying how VT wasn’t a traditional power in the
mold of Michigan or Ohio State.

After the Hokies won the game 28-10 over Texas, Corso apologized on air for
doubting the Hokies. He later picked VT to make the national championship game
in the 1999 preseason, and Hokie fans quickly got over any dislike of Corso,
because he was a man who owned up to his mistakes and changed his way of

Dodd, however, is still called “the poopsmith”