Friday Q&A: Tech’s best chance at a big non-conference win?

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Is this our best opportunity to win one of these big OOC games between LSU/USC-W/Bama, and how do you feel our chances are against Ohio State as compared to the other big games we have played?

Answer by Will Stewart: This turned out to be an interesting question to answer. I’ll answer it by comparing what I think about this game to what I thought about other big OOC matchups before they happened, not with the gift of hindsight.

First, we have to define the games we’ll consider as “big OOC matchups.” Let’s start with the 2007 season, and I’ll include the following games: LSU 2007, Alabama 2009, Boise State 2010, Stanford 2010, Michigan 2011, and Alabama 2013.

I’m not including the Orange Bowls against Kansas and Cincinnati, or the matchups with Nebraska. I chose to concentrate on games where the stage was big and/or the opponent was a storied program and/or highly rated. I just don’t think many people on a national level cared about the matchups with Kansas, Cincinnati, or Nebraska. I also didn’t include last year’s matchup with UCLA because it was in the Sun Bowl, VT was unranked, and UCLA was only ranked 17th. Not many people were paying attention.

Now let’s put them in order by how optimistic my pre-game prediction was, with the actual result:

  • 2010 Boise State (Prediction: VT 31, BSU 24; Result: BSU 33, VT 30)
  • 2009 Alabama (Prediction: VT 20, Bama 17; Result: Bama 34, VT 24)
  • 2011 Michigan (Prediction: Michigan 24, VT 21; Result: Michigan 23, VT 20)
  • 2010 Stanford (Prediction: Stanford 31, VT 24; Result: Stanford 40, VT 12)
  • 2007 LSU (Prediction: LSU 13, VT 3; Result: LSU 48, VT 7)
  • 2013 Alabama (Prediction: Bama 35, VT 10; Result: Bama 35, VT 10)

I thought Boise State 2010 was the best chance to win a big OOC matchup, because it was in front of a huge, mostly-Hokie crowd, and I thought VT had the talent edge. I thought Boise was walking into a buzz saw.

I liked VT against Alabama in the 2009 opener, primarily because ‘Bama was starting a new QB, VT had a veteran defense, and Tyrod was in his first year as full-time starter. No one knew at that point what Nick Saban