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Hokies finish 10th in AP football poll

Virginia Tech finished 10th in the final Associated Press poll for the 2009 football season, making their fourth appearance in the final top 10 since joining the ACC before the 2004 season.

The Hokies (10-3) were the highest three-loss team in the poll, one spot ahead of No. 11 Oregon (10-3), which lost to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.

Virginia Tech ascension in the polls reflected its dominating performance against Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31. The Hokies outclassed the Volunteers in a 37-14 victory in the Georgia Dome to put a memorable cap on a disappointing season that opened with hopes of making a run at a national title.

Looking to 2010, Virginia Tech has the makings of a top 10 team. The Hokies return key elements of a blossoming offense, most notably running back Ryan Williams, quarterback Tyrod Taylor and a cast of young wide receivers. Their defense, however, will be impacted by the notable departures linebacker Cody Grimm and free safety Kam Chancellor; the announcement Thursday by defensive end Jason Worilds that he would leave early for the NFL draft also issued a blow to the Hokies' defensive depth.

Great bowl ratings

The meeting between Virginia Tech and Tennessee was highly anticipated among fans from both schools and was televised in an unopposed time slot on Dec. 31. The combination of those factors equated to strong ratings.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl drew a 4.3 rating, up 36 percent from the 2008 Chick-fil-A Bowl between LSU and Georgia Tech.

More than 7.5 million people watched the Hokies topple Tennessee, 37-14, in this season's Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Three Hokies in all-star game

Free safety Kam Chancellor, guard Sergio Render and cornerback Stephan Virgil have accepted invitations to play in the 85th East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23, in Orlando. The East-West Shrine Game is America’s longest-running college all-star football game.

By Mark Viera  |  January 8, 2010; 2:29 PM ET
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