The Virginia Tech Hokies returned to the ACC Championship for the first time since 2011 last night, but were unable to pull off a big upset, losing 42-35 to playoff-bound Clemson who will face Ohio State in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl semifinal game. However, the Hokies have earned themselves a higher-profile bowl game from their appearances in the Military Bowl and Independence Bowl the past two years and that’s exactly what they got.
— The Tech Lunch Pail (@techlunchpaild) December 4, 2016
After the Hokies came close to going to the Belk Bowl last year, Virginia Tech is headed to Charlotte this year for the Belk Bowl where they will face the 7-5 Arkansas Razorbacks in what is Virginia Tech’s 24th-straight bowl appearance. Arkansas is the first power 5 opponent for the Hokies in a bowl game since they played the UCLA Bruins in the 2013 Sun Bowl in which they were beat 42-12.
For Virginia Tech, the Belk Bowl is a worthy choice as the Hokies will get to face a solid opponent that will test them but give them a great opportunity to get a strong win to finish the season and make a jump into the top 15. Arkansas would like to also get a strong win to finish the season as the Razorbacks only beat one team that is currently ranked and no team with more than 8 wins though the Hokies also only beat one top 25 team and did not beat a team with more than 8 wins.
Virginia Tech is likely to be about 3 to 5 point favorites with this matchup being a better one defensively for Bud Foster against a more traditional offense run by Arkansas. However, Bret Bielema teams are traditionally quite physical and the Hokies will have to bring a lot of toughness and physicality especially on defense with Bielema and Arkansas likely to pound the rock a lot.
This is a great opportunity for the Hokies to get a quality win and make a closing statement that this team is back to stay on the national stage after winning the ACC Coastal and losing by only 7 to Clemson in the ACC Championship in the first year of the Justin Fuente era.
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