After a wild weekend of college football that saw four top-10 teams go down, Virginia Tech is now ranked higher in the BCS standings than it has been since 2007. The Hokies moved up three spots to No. 5 in the latest rankings, which were released Sunday evening.
The teams that remain in front of Virginia Tech are Louisiana State, Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma State, but one-loss Stanford is still one spot behind the Hokies at No. 6. More significantly, the shuffling atop the rankings opened the door for Virginia Tech to possibly sneak into the BCS championship game come January if things fall right (more on that in a bit).
But at least one prominent commentator took issue with the desirable position Virginia Tech nows finds itself in.
“I love Frank Beamer … but who have they beaten to be up at No. 4 in the coaches’ poll,” ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit said on Sunday’s “BCS Countdown” show, before referencing Virginia Tech’s weak nonconference schedule and closer-than-expected victory over Duke last month.
The Hokies were No. 4 in this week’s coaches’ poll and No. 5 in the Harris poll, which each make up one-third of the BCS standings formula. But Herbstreit’s point of view is certainly one shared by others around the country.
Virginia Tech has beaten just one team currently ranked in the top 25 (Georgia Tech) and its second-best win may be over Arkansas State in September (the Red Wolves got four votes in this week’s AP poll). According to the Sagarin ratings, one of the computer formulas used in the BCS rankings, the Hokies are the No. 18 team in the country and have played the 57th-toughest schedule.
Virginia Tech’s players had the weekend off after disposing of North Carolina on Thursday night, which only meant the Hokies got to sit in front of their televisions and watch as the college football world went through tremendous upheaval in a span of 24 hours.
To recap: No. 2 Oklahoma State lost to Iowa State on Friday night, No. 7 Clemson was trounced by North Carolina State on Saturday afternoon and No. 4 Oregon and No. 5 Oklahoma capped off a historic weekend by losing to Southern California and Baylor, respectively. It’s the first time since October 27, 2001, that three of the top five teams in the BCS standings have lost in the same week.
The question I’ve been getting all weekend from readers is whether all these upsets give the Hokies a chance at making the BCS national championship game if they win out. The answer is probably not, but with how chaotic college football has been of late, there’s a slight chance Virginia Tech could be playing in New Orleans on Jan. 9.
Take this scenario, for instance (and this is contingent on Virginia Tech defeating Virginia and then getting past Clemson in the ACC championship game): Arkansas beats LSU — or the Tigers lose to Georgia in the SEC championship game — and Alabama loses to Auburn next weekend; then Oklahoma gets past Oklahoma State on Dec. 4. If Clemson beats South Carolina next weekend to boost its ranking after a disappointing setback this past weekend, there’s a chance a one-loss Virginia Tech team could sneak into the title game.
Again, none of this really matters if the Hokies can’t get past Virginia on Saturday in what is quickly turning into one of the more high-stakes Commonwealth Cup matchups in recent history. The Cavaliers, who entered the Associated Press rankings at No. 25 after their dramatic 14-13 win over Florida State this past weekend, would advance to the ACC championship game if they can defeat Virginia Tech for the first time since 2003.
But one thing seems certain after this weekend: the next two weeks just got a lot more interesting for Virginia Tech fans, and the entire college football world for that matter.