The unveiling of this season's first Bowl Championship Series rankings during halftime of last night's NFL game between Pittsburgh and Atlanta drew little more than a nod of recognition from the Virginia Tech football players.
The Hokies, ranked a school-best third by both national polls, were ranked in the same position in the BCS poll, which lists Florida State No. 1, with 3.55 points, and Penn State No. 2 (5.75). The top two schools are both 8-0, while the Hokies (6.25) are 6-0.
The BCS rankings, in their second year of existence, are determined by a formula that weighs national rankings, won-lost records, strength of schedule and a team's position in eight other complicated computer rankings. The top two teams in the BCS poll at the end of the season will meet in the Sugar Bowl Jan. 4 in New Orleans to play for the national championship.
The No. 3 slot was not a surprise to the Hokies and neither was it, according to the players, much of a concern.
"It doesn't matter where we are right now," Virginia Tech wide receiver Andre Davis said. "We have to be up there at the end of the season. Right now we're not even talking about any of the polls, we're talking about our remaining games. We have to win each of those for all of this talk to even matter. After the Boston College game [Nov. 26] then we'll start to worry about where we stand."
Although the Seminoles, Nittany Lions and Hokies are undefeated, Virginia Tech trails its counterparts because of its weaker schedule. The Hokies' cause will not be helped by their remaining games. Their upcoming opponents--Pittsburgh, West Virginia, Miami, Temple and Boston College--have a combined record of 16-18.
"I think that the two best teams in the country will play for the national championship at the end of the year," Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said. "I tell [the players] that if we take care of business everything will be okay. We've got a lot more to worry about than this, and that's playing every game. Our attention right now better be on Pittsburgh."