Update (8:30 PM): It's official.
Update (7:45 PM): It's all but official.
Excited about the Russell Athletic Bowl!Go Hokies!
— Beamer Ball (@Beamer_Ball) December 2, 2012
— RussellAthleticBowl (@RussellAthBowl) December 2, 2012
Also, an interesting tidbit: Rutgers is on a five-game bowl win streak.
Here's a report published on Friday by Keith Sargeant of Scarlett Scuttlebutt.
Though it won't be announced until the BCS bowl pairings become official Sunday evening, Rutgers will play in the Russell Athletic Bowl on Dec. 28 in Orlando, Fla., where it is expected to face Virginia Tech, according to multiple sources familiar with the Big East's bowl pecking order.
Russell Athletic Bowl officials had been considering Cincinnati — which will join Louisville, Rutgers and Syracuse for a share of the Big East crown with a win Saturday at UConn — but they prefer Rutgers over a rematch between the Bearcats and Virginia Tech from earlier this season.
Sargeant's report was probably premature, if Georgia Tech beat Florida State last night, the Bees would have won the ACC's automatic Orange Bowl bid, and that would have knocked the ACC's bowl picture out of whack. However, they didn't. Today, CBS and SB Nation are both projecting Tech to play Rutgers in Orlando.
As Teel noted, NC State is still in the mix, and has best record (7-5) among Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech. However, the each bowl's goals are to sell tickets, bring fans to their host city, and put up a good TV number, not matchup the two best teams.
Given its winning record, the Wolfpack appeared the leading candidate for Orlando under that scenario, until the school fired coach Tom O'Brien on Sunday. But the combination of that bad karma and the Hokies' more recognizable brand figures to alter the equation.
Also, N.C. State has appeared in the Orlando bowl four times in the last 12 years. Virginia Tech has never played in the contest, which kicks off at 5:30 p.m., and is televised by ESPN.
While nothing is official yet, the Hokies heading to Orlando seems like a logical conclusion to me.
The Hokies and Scarlet Knights have a one-sided history going back to when the teams were both Big East members. They played each season from 1992–2003, Rutgers won the first meeting, Tech won the next 11.
The times have changed though. Rutgers' defense would be a real test for Tech's up-and-down offense. They're ranked 11th and 4th nationally in rush and scoring D, respectively. Jawan Jamison is a workhorse tailback (he broke a school record with 41 rushes against USF), and he had a ferocious start to the season. He eclipsed 100 yards rushing in Rutgers first five games. However, ankle injuries have caused him to struggle down the stretch. The Scarlet Knights have a tall trio of receivers, all are 6-3 and above. Leading receiver Brandon Coleman is 6-6, he's caught 39 balls, for 663 yards, and 10 scores.
If Tech loses, it would be the program's first losing season since 1992 (2-8-1), and the Hokies would have gone 0-3 against the Big East. Two more lousy statistics to cap off an already trying season. A victory would mean a three game winning streak to end the season, and Tech heading into the offseason on the right foot.
What do you guys think of the potential matchup? Are you planning on traveling to the game, why or why not?