The Virginia Tech Hokies have seen a complete roster turnover since the last time the Hokies played in the ACC Championship against Clemson five years ago. Now, the Hokies are back on the ACC’s biggest stage facing a Tigers’ team that has plenty of experience on big stages. While the Hokies don’t have a lot of experience, Justin Fuente told the media that they are looking back to one big stage the Hokies were on earlier this season to help prepare for the ACC’s title game.
— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) December 2, 2016
The Battle at Bristol was the game of the week in college football n the second week of the college football season with College GameDay coming to town and the game receiving the primetime spot on ABC with their top broadcast crew also being sent to Bristol.
Of course, the game was also more of an event centered around a football game than a normal football game given the festival atmosphere around the game, the major concert the night before, and all of the fan fest activities leading up to kickoff in addition to playing in the middle of a NASCAR track in front of the biggest crowd to ever watch a college football game.
In what was an incredible environment unlike any other, the Hokies got off to a strong start but then seemed to get consumed in the moment before having a fumble to start the second quarter that seemed to trigger a huge domino effect of sorts causing the Hokies to collapse and get blown out by Tennessee in a game in which they appeared to be the better team in the first quarter.
That loss was this young Hokies’ team first taste of the big stage, but Virginia Tech now returns to an even bigger stage in primetime on national television in a game that will have implications nationally. Virginia Tech also enters this game as the underdog just like they did in Bristol when Tennessee had high expectations for this season and was a decent-sized favorite against the Hokies.
However, Clemson does bring a much bigger challenge than the Hokies faced against Tennessee along with Clemson being a team that is very used to playing on the biggest stages in college football after making the national title game last year.
For the Hokies, their first time on a big stage this season went quite poorly, but the Hokies have shown some resilience as the season has gone along especially with their impressive comeback victory at Notre Dame. In this matchup, the Hokies will have to stay focused on football and not get obsessed with the spectacle though it helps that this game is in a normal football stadium instead of in the middle of a racetrack.
If Virginia Tech can learn their lessons from getting caught in the moment against Tennessee and falling apart in Bristol, they’ll be able to stay in this game, but if they do get caught in the moment of this big stage, this game has the potential to get ugly against the very talented Tigers.
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