VIRGINIA TECH (7-2 overall, 5-0 ACC)
The Virginia Tech Hokies, after non-conference pratfalls in the first week(s) of the season, regroup in time to roll through their ACC brethren en route to another league crown.
LSU obliterated the Hokies in early 2007; three months later they were ACC champions. East Carolina turned the tables on Tech in the first game of the '08 season; 90 days later they were celebrating their second straight league crown. The boys from Blacksburg stumbled not only to likely BCS title game participant Boise State in Week 1 of the '10 campaign, but let that hangover beat them again 5 days later in the form of James Freaking Madison. And here we sit two months later as Beamer's crew is 5-0 in the ACC and basically a lock to win the Coastal crown.
What is it about Virginia Tech that makes them so prone to non-conference gaffes while methodically plowing through the ACC? It's not quite so simple. Simply losing at LSU in '07 was no disgrace; but getting butchered was. Still , that LSU team won the national championship that year. And the Hokies, en route to the ACC title, did lose a home conference game later that fall in one of Matt Ryan's miracles. In 2008, Tech stumbled out of the gate to ECU....and proceeded to stumble three more times in ACC play to Boston College, Florida State and Miami. ACC champion in 2008, certainly, but hardly in dominating fashion. And that's really it as far as Tech's pattern of losing early out of conference then winning the league. Will it happen again this year? Probably. Let's just hope they win the Orange Bowl this time.