The Hokies, despite their worst season in 20 years, are still going to a bowl game by virtue of a 17-14 win over ACC and in-state rival Virginia.
With 12 games in the books and only conference championship games left to play (and a few other non-consequential rivalry games), the bowl projections are a little more concrete, though not completely set.
Here’s where the Hokies could potentially end up, according to those in the media making bowl projections:
ESPN’s Mark Schlabach projects the Hokies will play Vanderbilt in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl in Nashville, TN, on Dec. 31. This would essentially be a home game for the Commodores.
ESPN’s Brad Edwards projects the Hokies will play Louisville in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 28.
Phil Steele projects the Hokies will face Southern California (USC) in the Hyundai Sun Bowl in El Paso, Texas, on Dec. 31.
CBS Sports projects the Hokies will play Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 28.
We’ll know for sure next Saturday or Sunday after the ACC and other conference championship games have been decided. Until then, Hokie fans are left guessing.
If the Hokies end up in the Music City Bowl, the fans would probably travel in decent numbers given the relative proximity of the bowl site (6- to 7-hour drive from Blacksburg).
If the Hokies end up in the Russell Athletic Bowl in Orlando, Tech can’t expect huge numbers of fans to make that trip, though the warmer weather in the dead of winter is quite appealing.
Lastly, should Virginia Tech end up in the Sun Bowl, forget it. Only the die-hards, those with big travel budgets, and those Hokies who live near El Paso will likely be in attendance.
Considering the Hokies are 6-6, the best scenario, of the three projections above, is the Music City Bowl. Virginia Tech played in the inaugural Music City Bowl in 1998 when Al Clark led Tech to a dominating 38-7 win over Alabama out of the SEC.
While Virginia Tech’s 20-season bowl streak remains intact after Saturday’s win over Virginia, the program’s streak of 20-straight winning seasons is still in jeopardy.
Frank Beamer and his team will need a win in whatever bowl game they end up in to finish with a winning record. Lose and another streak comes to an end for Coach Beamer. The 2012 season is the first in nine years that the Hokies haven’t won at least 10 games.