Before getting into my preview, belated congrats to the Salem High Spartans on their third straight title. Coach Mag and Co. are great guys, and I’m happy to see them succeed. Salem’s also produced a few Hokie favorites over the years, and on their way to the championship this year they had to beat Cole Beck and Blacksburg in a shootout.
For the Camping World Bowl, after watching a good bit of the Pokes play my feeling is that Tech can’t beat OSU if the Cowboys are playing their A-game. Realistically, unless OSU falls apart in Orlando, I think a bruising effort with lots of hidden yardage success is the key for Tech, so I went looking for that kind of game. I had a hard time finding one to focus on. With VT, you can say that a fairly healthy Hokie squad lost convincingly but not badly to Miami fairly late in the season, so if I were looking to find what worked against a (hypothetically healthy) Hokie squad, I’d start with it. But OSU doesn’t have many clear benchmark games like that.
On the surface, shared opponents WVU and Pitt looked like obvious review fodder. But in addition to both games being early in the year for Oklahoma State, WVU is such a different squad from Tech that it was hard to draw too much that was specific, and Pitt was in such disarray at that point in the season that it took them overtime to beat Youngstown State…and then the season got bad for them.
Then, for a big chunk of the first half of the season, the OSU offensive line was in tatters to the point I was reminded of Tech’s time with Curt Newsome. Against Texas, the Pokes let a tweener reserve middle linebacker who was moved to DE look like Reggie...
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