A belated "Happy Holidays" to everyone here, as well as an early "Happy New Year." While 2012 may not have unfolded as we fans had imagined, Virginia Tech finds itself in familiar territory: a bowl game. The Hokies will square off in Orlando against an old Big East foe, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights.
Rutgers, while one of the oldest programs in the nation, has a fairly small number of program milestones: 1869 (first college football game), 1976 (an undefeated 11-0 season), 2006 (11-2, win over #2 Lousiville). That's it. Really.
In a down year for the Big East, Rutgers exploded to a 7-0 record, and at one point sat at 9-1 with a possible BCS berth within their grasp. The one loss? Kent State.
The season's trajectory for the Scarlet Knights was reflected by the struggles of sophomore quarterback Gary Nova. During Rutgers' 7-0 start, Nova threw 15 touchdowns and 3 interceptions; during the Knights' 2-3 late-season slide, he only threw 7 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
During this surprise season, fans on the banks of the old Raritan were also met with welcome news: Rutgers would be jumping ship from the sinking Big East to the Big Ten.
With a new conference comes new-found confidence for the State University of New Jersey...
This will sound like a cliche, but there is a huge difference between 7-6 and 6-7. Tech's program has yet to post a losing season in the ACC, and avoiding that will be difficult. A win over a quality opponent like Rutgers would be HUGE in gaining momentum heading into next season. 2012 may not have been what fans expected, but it can still end on a familiar note: victory.
For the last time (on the gridiron) this year, LET'S GO...HOKIES.