Big-game losses are hard to take, but some are harder to take than others.
Sometimes, the what-ifs will drive you crazy: the questionable coaching
decisions, the failure to make plays, the luck that went against you, and the
referees who made the calls that went against you. When you lose by three points
in overtime, the what-ifs are legion, and they are what torture us well into the
From the what-if standpoint, this game reminds me of the 2004 Sugar Bowl, a
game that was also very winnable, but filled with what-ifs. In 2004, the Hokies
missed a 23-yard field goal, dropped a pass on 4th and 1 at the Auburn goal
line, and despite playing well defensively, gave up two 3rd and 16 conversions
that contributed to the 16-13 loss. Contemplating the what-ifs from that game
Just like this game. If you thought the 2004 Sugar Bowl was tough, this one
far exceeds it in missed opportunities, critical lapses, bad coaching decisions,
and twists of fate.
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