Heather Dinich, everyone's favorite ACC Blogger over at The Ocho has another analytical gem for us today. Dinich has been running a series called "Hope and Concern" about each ACC team heading into next season. As if each fan base (outside of Duke, who could care less about what goes on outside of Cameron Indoor) doesn’t know its team’s most obvious strength and weakness going into the season. Dinich leads with startling news that the Hokies have a stacked backfield with Taylor, Evans, Oglesby...yada, yada, yada. After stating the obvious for most of the conference, Heather decided to throw a little curveball into second half of the Hokies edition today. By curveball, I mean to say that she pulled out a dead horse (circa 2003) to abuse with a Sammy Sosa corked bat (howdja like THAT 2003 reference HD?). Quoting the ACC Blog:
Biggest reason for concern -- Soaring expectations
There's national title talk. There's preseason rankings. There's uber-hype over the Alabama game. There's everything Clemson faced last season before its season unraveled. If Virginia Tech is going to finish the season where it likely will start -- in the preseason top five -- then the players have to breathe deep and take it one quarter at a time. Virginia Tech is the kind of program that tends to be at its best when the chatter is at a minimum. They were under the radar when Michael Vick got there as a freshman, and seem to struggle when ranked high. Last year, though, when the adversity was at a premium, the coaching staff was at its best.
I never realized you were a Pitt fan Heather! A guy in my old office from Pittsburgh liked to throw out the ol’ “Chokies” reference too…until his team lost 3-0 in the Sun Bowl. The early 2000s are gone, and the new Hokies are a team that has exceeded expectations. While 2005 was a blip on the radar (with the Miami and FSU games), Tech has seemingly performed as well as anyone could ask since joining the ACC, especially with heavy expectations thrown upon them year after year from a demanding fan base. After announcing their conference switch, people expected the ACC to be dominated by FSU/Miami year in, year out. It hasn’t been the case, has it? Tech started ’04 and ’08 slowly and improved throughout those seasons en route to ACC titles (They started 2-2 and 1-1 respectively in those seasons). The 2007 Championship team bounced back form an early loss at LSU (which few expected them to win) to finish the regular season at #3 in the BCS. The 2006 edition beat the eventual ACC Champs (Wake) handily in their own house late in the season. Every Tech team has finished with at least 10 wins for the past five years. How is that not handling high expectations? I understand that Dinich doesn’t directly reference the Hokies’ past in this post until of her second-to-last sentence, but it doesn't need to be said at all anymore. It’s been a pretty common argument echoed by our old Big East buddies, and it should have died a while ago with their respectability.
On top of that point, someone should let her know that we're not Clemson. Frank Beamer is not Tommy Bowden (and to a lesser effect Dabo Swinney). That comparison between the 2008 Tigers and 2009 Hokies is ridiculous because of the significant disparity in the stability of these two programs. Virginia Tech is coming off of back-to-back ACC titles and an Orange Bowl victory. Clemson hadn't (and still hasn't) won a conference title since 1991. Even before last season, Clemson had crumpled under expectations quite often, especially against Papa Bowden and big bad FSU. They fell while ranked #11 (and favored) at the hands of our Hokies on a Thursday night in Lane in 2006 (where I lifted Sean Glennon onto my left shoulder after I rushed the field...seemed like a good idea at the time). The next year when they had a shot at revenge, we beat them with our special teams and defensive scoring ALONE (29-23). They are not and have not been in the Hokies' class since joining the ACC. In other words Heather, if you're looking for a point, that's not the tree to go barking up. It's been thrown out there quite often and proven wrong many times over the last several seasons. If you're going to beat a dead horse HD, at least throw some venom at Stinespring for us. That will keep the "pitchfork and torch" carriers behind you. Do us all a favor and get a new shtick…the blogging community, and Sammy’s bat will thank you.