Tech a go-go: Hokies looking to jump to SEC?
With UVA’s first game staring us in the face, I was set to address Bowl game hopes (there apparently are some), probabilities of beating Virginia Tech (a Tech fan made me swear not to tell he believes this is Virginia’s year), and the rather unsettling rumor that Virginia's Mike London is a better coach than Tech's Frank Beamer (the same Tech fan brought up that one of his own accord). I was prepared to break it all down and make my own call, but an offhand remark by radio sportscaster Dan Patrick brought my plans to a screeching halt.
Is Virginia Tech going to leave the ACC?
According to Patrick, Virginia Tech would be the perfect 14th team for the SEC. With the addition of Texas A&M, they need another team in the East; and Tech would bring a strong competitive program– and more importantly, a huge fan following with an expanded TV market.
Jim Weaver, Tech’s athletic director, told the Newport Daily Press that the Hokies are happy where they are and have “no interest in any discussion concerning affiliation with any conference other than the ACC.” Sure, and Ken Cuccinelli won’t throw over being Attorney General to run for governor. Tell me another one.
Those who breathe the rarified air of D-I athletics aren’t known for telling the absolute truth. If talk of Virginia Tech’s secession has reached national radio, chances are that dog is going to hunt. West Virginia and Clemson have been mentioned too, but neither would be as valuable an SEC asset as Virginia Tech.
When Weaver said, “The ACC is the best fit for Virginia Tech,” he meant it’s a conference Tech can dominate, but the ACC is more of a hindrance for the Hokies. There’s not much football glory to be had in the ACC, and if Tech wants to compete on the national stage (any fan will assure you they’ve been repeatedly robbed of that opportunity), they’re going to have get while the getting is good. And right now the getting is better than good.
If Tech does join the SEC, their immediate reality would be vastly different from the cushy position they have held these past seven years. Years of crushing Duke, Wake Forest– and yes, Virginia– doesn’t exactly prepare a team for Georgia, Alabama, LSU, and Auburn. Jim Weaver can’t be ignorant of that and neither can Frank Beamer.
Leaving the ACC would expose Tech’s weaknesses and undoubtedly elicit more than a few whimpers. Still, the SEC can offer Virginia Tech far more exposure and opportunities than the ACC can, so despite Jim Weaver’s protestations, you can bet Blacksburg is plenty interested in jumping ship.
What then for the ACC? Right now the conference is nicely rounded out with twelve teams and two major rivalries (Tech and Virginia, UNC and Duke). With its ranks and reputation diminished, it’s more likely the ACC would lose another team (Boston College, anyone? They never fit in anyway) than woo another football powerhouse. As loath as I am to admit that Virginia Tech is the only school that lends viability to ACC football, I must. Without Tech, ACC football is about as formidable as baseball's AL Central.
Many ACC teams would happily give Tech a pat on the rump on its way out. Tech’s exit would spare many future whippings– but would also remove any chance for football glory other ACC schools may have had. So if a certain someone is right, and UVA has a chance of beating Tech this year, please Virginia, go ahead and do it while an ACC title still means at least a little something.
Juanita lives on a farm in Charlotte County with her husband, son, and many dogs.