Early last week, before his Hokies blasted rival Virginia, 52-14, at Scott Stadium in Charlottesville on Saturday, Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer said he missed talking about the Bowl Championship Series debate. Before the Hokies were beaten by Miami on Nov. 5, they were among college football's last unbeaten teams and seemed to be very much in the national championship race.
"Well, I really kind of enjoyed talking about the BCS," joked Beamer, who mostly went out of his way to avoid the subject. "I was getting to where I liked it a little bit. I'd like to be talking about the BCS."
The Hokies can certainly talk about the BCS now, after Georgia Tech, an 18-point underdog, stunned No. 3 Miami, 14-10, at the Orange Bowl in Miami on Saturday night. The Hurricanes' second ACC loss moved Virginia Tech back into first place in the conference's Coastal Division and, if the Hokies beat North Carolina in their regular season finale at Lane Stadium Saturday, they will play Florida State in the inaugural ACC championship game at Jacksonville's Alltel Stadium on Dec. 3.
The Hokies' dominating performance against the Cavaliers -- Virginia Tech's 52 points were the most Virginia had allowed since its 1984 opener -- helped them move up to No. 5 in both the Associated Press and coaches' top 25 polls and that is probably where they'll be when the new BCS rankings are released today.
"We had to show everybody we're still here, that we haven't gone anywhere," Tech linebacker Vince Hall said.
With two weeks left in college football's regular season, two-time defending national champion Southern California and No. 2 Texas still are on pace to play in the Jan. 4 Rose Bowl for the national title. The No. 1 Trojans survived another scare late Saturday night, beating then-No. 16 Fresno State, 50-42, to win their 33rd game in a row. Southern California is trying to become the first team to win at least a share of three consecutive national titles since the inception of the AP rankings in 1936.
Because of conference affiliations, the ACC champion will play in the Jan. 3 Orange Bowl and the Southeastern Conference champion, probably Georgia or LSU, will play in the Jan. 2 Sugar Bowl. The six BCS conference champions and two at-large teams make up the eight teams that play the four BCS games.
The three BCS bowl games other than the Rose Bowl then begin choosing their participants. The Fiesta Bowl will get the first choice because it likely will lose Texas, the Big 12 Conference champion, to the Rose Bowl and will probably pick Notre Dame, if the Fighting Irish win at Stanford on Saturday.
The Orange Bowl selects next and will probably choose either Big Ten conference champion Penn State or potential at-large pick Ohio State to play the ACC champion. The Fiesta Bowl then chooses again, and could take the team the Orange Bowl doesn't select or another potential at-large team, Oregon, to play Notre Dame. The Sugar Bowl, which will be played Jan. 2 in Atlanta because of extensive damage to the Louisiana Superdome caused by Hurricane Katrina, will then have the Big East champion, either West Virginia or South Florida, to face the SEC champ.
ACC Notes: The Hokies will host North Carolina at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday, with the game on ESPN. Maryland at N.C. State will also be on ESPN, at noon. Virginia's game at Miami will be at 3:30 on WJLA-TV-7.