TSL Roundtable: Neutral site games

Share on your favorite social network:
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someoneGoogle+share on TumblrShare on Reddit

Should Virginia Tech continue to play neutral site games against programs like Alabama?

Upwind of uva: I think that depends on our aspirations. If we – and by ‘we’ I mean everyone within the athletic department, including the football players – want to build a program that can regularly compete not only for ACC titles, but also national playoff spots, then the answer is a resounding yes. You simply have to prove you belong, and that means playing and winning these types of games. I’d rather they be home-and-homes, but the occasional neutral site game against a national power doesn’t bother me.

However, I have noticed an undercurrent of “we are who we are” from the insiders over the past couple seasons. This is true during the football season when we lose The Big Game™ as well as in the recruiting cycle when, say, and Harvin, Kirven or Hand makes it clear we are not a darling by picking a Big Time School™.  This narrative is different than when the Hokies were building on the success of the mid-90’s on their way to the championship game in 1999 and in the years that followed. It’s half-true, half-excuse.

I don’t have a problem with admitting the deck is stacked against Virginia Tech when it comes to a national title in just about any sport. We don’t have the tradition, facilities or money that traditional powers have. But if we don’t believe we can compete at the highest levels, then stop asking the fans to spend money on these games. And, from a business perspective, you can argue that losing these games time and again is the #1 contributor to diluting Virginia Tech’s football brand over the past decade (which, it should be noted, reinforces the decisions of players like Hand that VT isn’t big-timey enough, while eroding the average college fan’s interest in watching a game such as VT-Bama).

Winning a fair share of these games is a part of the process towards establishing VT in a tier of schools that isn’t quite football royalty, but also isn’t a surprise when we rise up with a great team to challenge for a playoff spot. I’d like to think the newest coaches can help us compete better in these games than in years past (excepting this season, of course).

Tafkam Hokie: In general, my answer is yes.  A program with national championship aspirations should never shy away from an opportunity to play in an all-eyes-are-watching game.  Granted, I am also a big proponent of not