Virginia Tech football wary of its Coastal Division cushion
The Virginia Tech football team was in a meeting Saturday afternoon as Virginia was finishing off Mike London's first signature victory over Miami -- a result that left the Hokies with at least a two-game lead in the loss column on every ACC Coastal Division foe.
So Coach Frank Beamer decided there was no better time to deliver a message of warning now that Virginia Tech has all of a sudden found itself in a fortuitous position entering the toughest stretch of this season's schedule.
"Mentally preparing for a game and what you think, it affects how you play," Beamer recalled Monday during his weekly teleconference. "You respect every opponent. We got a good lesson early in the year that any team can beat another team on a given Saturday, so you better get ready to play and take care of business.”
But considering the Hokies already controlled their own destiny within the division before Miami lost its second conference game, they must really be feeling good now. If Virginia Tech goes 3-1 during its last four regular-season games, it would advance to the ACC championship game. If the Hokies go 2-2 and one of those losses is to Virginia (I'm just presenting scenarios, please don't kill me), they would still advance to play in Charlotte for a chance to go to a BCS bowl.
But frankly, with the way the rest of the divisional threats are playing of late -- Georgia Tech is coming off a 27-13 loss to Clemson and depleted North Carolina needed a fourth-quarter rally to beat division I-AA William & Mary this past weekend -- a 2-2 record of any kind during this last four-game stretch might be enough to give Virginia Tech a championship game berth.
That, though, didn't provide any consolation for players and coaches who were available to the media Saturday evening after practice. Whether they were feeling comfortable or not with the current standings, they were sticking by Beamer's company line.
"If a team is gonna help us out with the lead, then be my guest," said running back Ryan Williams. "I’m not gonna complain about it at all. We’re not taking nothing for granted, but if you’re willing to help, go ahead and help.”
Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring said he was watching the Virginia game from the treadmill but wouldn't divulge any thoughts on the outcome or how it affected Virginia Tech's status these next few weeks.
"Whatever transpires on other fields of play is what happens on other fields of play," said Stinespring. "We just gotta concentrate on what we do when we step on the field. Things change in a hurry in this profession. Things happen in a hurry from Saturday to Saturday. The only thing you dwell on and concentrate on is how you handle what happens week-to-week. I know that may sound like a business quote, but like I said week-to-week things change dramatically.”
With the way this season started, though, there weren't a lot of people here in Blacksburg that thought the Hokies would have such a wide margin for error, relatively speaking, heading into November. That won't stop Beamer from cautioning the masses that anything can happen now that the Hokies have emerged from their bye week.
"Right now there’s probably not been a team that’s separated themselves from the others," he said. "There’s a lot of football to be played and I think it speaks to how competitive this league is more than anything else.”
| November 1, 2010; 3:35 PM ET
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