For the seventh time in eight years since joining the ACC, Virginia Tech football finished as the league’s highest-ranked team. The Hokies are No. 17 in the final coaches’ poll and No. 21 in the final AP poll, which were both released Tuesday following Monday night’s BCS championship game between Alabama and LSU.
Virginia Tech entered its Sugar Bowl loss to Michigan ranked No. 11 by the coaches’ poll and No. 17 in the AP poll. It began the season at No. 13 in both polls. This, however, is the Hokies’ worst final ranking in the AP poll since ending the 2003 season unranked.
On the bright side, even though the Hokies lost to Clemson twice this year, including last month’s ACC championship game, Virginia Tech was ranked ahead of the Tigers in both polls. Clemson was at No. 22 in the coaches’ and AP polls.
The only other ACC team to make the final rankings this year was Florida State, which came in at No. 23 in both the AP and coaches’ polls. The one time Virginia Tech hasn’t been the ACC’s top-ranked team at the end of the season was 2006, when Wake Forest finished one spot ahead of the Hokies in both polls.
This, though, is the first time since 1971 the ACC hasn’t had a team finish in the top 20 in the AP poll. But Virginia Tech will likely start next year ranked in the top 20 with quarterback Logan Thomas and nine defensive starters returning.
In other news, Virginia Tech announced that at least four of its graduating seniors will participate in all-star games of some kind as they look to impress scouts ahead of this spring’s NFL draft.
Wide receiver Danny Coale has been invited play in the East-West Shrine Game, which takes place on Jan. 21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. It’s a step below the prestigious Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., but remains one of the premier destinations for college seniors trying to improve their draft stock.
Safety Eddie Whitley is scheduled to participate in the NFLPA Bowl in Carson, Calif., on Jan. 21, but Virginia Tech indicated he is still trying to secure a invitation to the Shrine game.
Left guard Greg Nosal will play in the Casino Del Sol All-Star Game in Tuscon, Ariz., on Jan. 16, while right guard Jaymes Brooks will be at the Players All-Star Classic in Little Rock, Ark., on Feb. 4.
The Roanoke Times also reports that redshirt senior defensive tackle Kwamaine Battle has decided not to apply to the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility after tearing his left ACL for the second time in as many years during August preseason practices.
Battle started the first two games of 2010 before tearing his ACL the first time in Virginia Tech’s loss to James Madison. He finishes his career with eight total tackles in 19 games.
Battle was eligible for a medical redshirt since he took a redshirt his first year at Virginia Tech and then lost two seasons because of injury.