College Football Preview: Boston College at Virginia Tech
TAMPA, Fla. ó Boston College’s Matt Ryan moved on, as did an impressive group of Virginia Tech players who were either drafted or signed NFL free-agent contracts after making their mark in the ACC.
A year after the ACC championship game offered plenty of star appeal, the league is presenting an Eagles-Hokies rematch without national title implications or much else to get fans excited about buying tickets.
Make no mistake about it, though. No. 18 Boston College (9-3) and defending champ Virginia Tech (8-4) are excited about the opportunity face each other again with the Orange Bowl on the line after retooling and overcoming injuries to finish strong.
“Last year we were really happy to be in this game,” Boston College coach Jeff Jagodzinski said Friday. “This year, they’re not just happy to be here. They want to take it one step further and go and win this one.”
Few expected the Eagles or Hokies to repeat as division champions after losing several key players from last year’s teams that met in the title game, which Virginia Tech won 30-16, in Jacksonville, Fla.
Ryan was the third pick in the NFL draft and has helped transform the Atlanta Falcons into one of pro football’s biggest surprises this season.
Tech lost 13 players, including receiver Eddie Royal and cornerback Brandon Flowers, who were either drafted or wound up in NFL camps as free agents. In fact, more than half the roster that made the trip to Tampa was not in Jacksonville a year ago.
“We don’t have a lot of name guys, but we have a lot of hard-working guys,” Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer said.
Beamer conceded his team is fortunate to be in a position to win its third title since moving from the Big East to the ACC five years ago, especially after losing to Boston College, Florida State and Miami within a four-game span.
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