Sorry about the title - I couldn't resist with all the dumbassery happening on Wall Street - but, what I am about to say just might be more unpopular than the Unpopular Opinion. It's been a long 4 days (due to work kicking me in the junk ... repeatedly) since that fateful night, so only now am I catching up on Hokie Nation's response to the Clemson game.
My reaction to last Saturday?
A resounding Meh. As in, "I don't really care."
Yup, I just said that I don't care that we lost. I mean I do care, as I was quite the unhappy camper last Saturday night, but in the grand scheme of things, it just wasn't that big of a loss. We lost to a team that is more accomplished than us, and who looked better than us, but we also lost to a team in the opposite division than us. Sure, that loss just nuked any remote possibility of a BCS Championship birth. But who in their right mind really thought we were going to be a MNC team this year? I admit that I thought we could perhaps enjoy a darkhorse shot, but after the first 4 games, I realized that was a more than distant opportunity. All I want to see this year is another 10-win season, an ACC championship, and a bowl win against a quality opponent. (Sidenote: Tennessee barely counted a few years ago. I would argue that our last quality bowl win came nearly 11 years ago vs Clemson in the 2001 Gator Bowl following the 2000 season.)
All of those things are still within reach.
I would like to take a moment and disagree with MikeSty's opinion that Lane "just died" early in the game. Perhaps it has to do with where he was located in the stands versus where I was located in the stands, but I did not feel that Lane died early on. I felt like most people (including myself) thought Tech was going to get something going and pull the game out of our collective ass for most of the game. Even when we were down 17-3, I thought "this sucks, but it is not insurmountable." For most of the game I and those around me were yelling our asses off when we were on defense trying to will a good play for the Hokies.
It was late in the 3rd quarter and into the 4th quarter when I knew things were really going to shit. When Clemson went up 23-3, I left Lane Stadium and headed downtown for the warmth of the indoors and bourbon. Feel free to knock me for leaving before the bitter end, but I knew the Hokies weren't coming back from that deficit and I was (a) cold, (b) miserable, and (c) seeking my first night out in Blacksburg since last basketball season earlier this year. I hope you can understand my desire to leave the game at that time.
In the time between my getting up early Sunday morning to head back to Hoo'ville (yes, I live in enemy territory, it's not as bad as you might think) and the present (less than 48 hours before kickoff vs Miami), I have reflected on the loss, on the commentary about our program, and on the commentary on our fanbase. I have concluded something that really should be painfully obvious. Virginia Tech football has been on a plateau for the past 7 seasons, and the fanbase has been on a plateau for just as long or longer.
I believe that because we've seen the same product on the field, with minor variation, for the last 7 years, we are collectively less hungry. We have consistently been a good team, but not a great team. We have a string of 10-win seasons that is truly rare in college football today, yet we cannot get over the hump and beat college football's elite. Week-in and week-out we watch one of the best good teams in the nation.
These really aren't things to complain about, and my intention is not to bitch about the state of Virginia Tech football. (Because I really can't complain, it's been a hell of a ride since my freshman year in 1997). However, I believe the last 7'ish years have bread a complacency amongst both fans and coaches. Heck, I just admitted that I really didn't care that much about the loss, and folks are complaining that Lane has lost its edge. I also think Beamer enjoys a bit of complacency as well. While the coaching moves he made in the offseason were huge by Frank standards, I remain convinced that in order for us to make that last push to enter the realm of college football elite Coach Beamer must change his offensive philosophy. I agree with much of what french60wasp wrote earlier this week, and I blame it to a certain extent on the complacency we experience today.
So, I ask my fellow TKP readers, am I way out there in this opinion? Am I the 1%?
PS: I can't believe I just ended that post with "Am I the 1%?" ... that was lame, but it seemed to tie it all together. However, I do welcome your feedback. I love Hokie Nation, Virginia Tech, and Blacksburg; and I can't wait for another beautiful Saturday afternoon when Miami comes to town this week.
PSS: Shameless plug: I recently got into the Twitter: @VinceRivellino. Feel free to hit me up there with your feedback.