The Gator Bowl and Decision Time
By Patrick Campbell (Die-Hard Hokie), 1/8/01

After ringing in the New Year until obscene hours of the morning, it was nice to sit down and have a lazy day of football to ease into 2001.  I joined my partners-in-crime from college at one of our friend's houses to watch the Gator Bowl.

Oddly enough, I watched the game in a basement decked out in Irish gold.  There were Irish championship banners, Irish helmets, Irish candles, Irish newspaper clippings, Irish. . . well, you get the picture.  It's a good thing they're Virginia Tech fans as well, considering what happened later that evening in the Fiesta Bowl.

I'm not going to delve into the details of the game itself, as it was pretty cut and dry.  Virginia Tech controlled the game from beginning to end, and it was never really in doubt.  Michael Vick had a solid day, and probably looked pretty good to pro scouts (unfortunately).  Read all about the game in's Recap and Analysis.

I will take a moment to say this about the game:  the defense looked surprisingly good.  They're very young, and with some strength and conditioning training in the off-season, along with Bud Foster's continued guidance, they could be excellent next season.  If Vick stays, Tech could very well make a run at the National Championship.   Which segues nicely to. . .

Will He Stay or Will He Go?

Look out, Hokie fans.  Life could get real interesting this week.  Michael Vick now has four days (until January 12, 2001) to decide whether or not to declare himself eligible for the 2001 NFL draft.  I discussed this subject ad nauseam with several people leading up to and on the day of the Gator Bowl.  Let me make a long story short: I think Mike should stay for football reasons, but I would understand if he left for personal reasons.

Now, let me make my short story long.  Michael Vick not only needs to mature as a football player (which I believe he does) before he heads to the NFL, he also needs to mature as a person.  Let's face it, he's what, 20 years old now?  It's my opinion that while he seems very mature, every extra year of life-experience that he has is going to help him deal with the whole new set of issues and pressures that he's going to be faced with when he begins his NFL career.

On the football side of things, next year Michael Vick has the unique opportunity to make a run at College Football's two most prestigious accomplishments: winning the Heisman Trophy and the National Championship.  While there's no guarantee that he would accomplish one or both of these things, I believe Michael Vick would be well served  to take another shot at these goals in 2001.  Virginia Tech's favorable schedule and strong supporting cast make both of these goals attainable next year.

The bottom line is that there are many factors that must go into Mike's decision.  We, as fans, can only hope that he will return, and wish him the best of luck if he decides to leave.

So we begin another long offseason of waiting.  Will it be filled with speculation about who the starting quarterback will be next year?  Or maybe we will attempt to fill our Saturdays with baseball, basketball, hockey, and other inadequate college-football substitutes, while the most exciting discussion on the TSL Message Board centers around the latest high school recruit and what type of uniform he will wear when he plays for Tech.  While the first option will definitely lead to more lively offseason discussions, I, for one, hope I'm bored out of my mind.


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