VA Tech saves ACC from more bowl embarrassment

Darren EvansEntering the Virginia Tech-Cincinnati Orange Bowl matchup Thursday night, the ACC hadn’t earned a BCS victory since 1999 and some media outlets were even suggesting that the conference champion should lose its automatic BCS bid. Making matters worse, the conference was just 3-6 in non-BCS bowl games this year, further adding to the embarrassment.

But Frank Beamer’s Hokies put an end to the ACC’s drought with their convincing 20-7 win over the Big East Champion Bearcats. Tech held Brian Kelly’s dynamic offense to just 239 passing yards and picked off Cincy quarterback Tony Pike four times.

Offensively, Hokie frosh running back Darren Evans did most of the damage, rushing for 153 yards and a touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Tyrod Taylor added 47 rushing yards and a score. As a team, Tech rushed for 259 yards, which was their third 250-yard rushing game of the year.

Maybe this win will breathe some life into the ACC, which certainly has some talented programs, but inconsistency seems to be the conference’s major drawback.

VA Tech always has one of the more talented defenses, but poor quarterback play doomed them for most of the year. Georgia Tech’s triple option was impossible to stop at times, but LSU’s 38-3 rout in the Chick-fil-A Bowl proved that the Jackets still have a long way to go to compete for a national title. Boston College, NC State and Maryland have some great young talent, but once again, inconsistency doomed those three programs throughout the year.

With players like Evans, Taylor, Da’Rel Scott and Russell Wilson, the ACC will feature some of the best young talent in college football heading into 2009. So hopefully the ACC can turn their BCS misfortunes around and produce a legit title contender next year, instead of being the conference that’s best known for its underachieving.

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