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  TSLMail #364- January 9, 2009    
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 Tech Sports News

Good Finish to 2008 Means Big Expectations in 2009
by Chris Coleman,

The final Top 25 rankings of the season were released on Friday, and the Hokies finished in the Top 15 in both the AP Poll and the Coaches' Poll. Since the beginning of the Beamer Bowl Era, this has been a common occurrence.

The Hokies just played in their 16th consecutive bowl game. They have been ranked in the AP Poll after the bowl game 13 out of 16 times, and 14 out of 16 times in the Coaches' Poll. That's a pretty impressive streak.

Here's a quick table that shows you how the rankings have been through the years.

Postseason Rankings
Year AP Coaches
1993 22 20
1994 NR 24
1995 10 9
1996 13 12
1997 NR NR
1998 23 19
1999 2 3
2000 6 6
2001 18 18
2002 18 14
2003 NR NR
2004 10 10
2005 7 7
2006 19 18
2007 9 9
2008 15 14

In the 13 years Virginia Tech has ended the season ranked in the AP Poll, their average ranking has been 13.23. In the 14 seasons they've been ranked in the Coaches' Poll, the average sits at 13.07.

As a result of their top 15 ranking to end the season, and the fact that they return 18 of 22 starters from the Orange Bowl, Virginia Tech will likely be a preseason Top 10 team heading into 2009. The Hokies will open the season in the Georgia Dome against Alabama, a team that also returns most of their starters and who is likely to be a preseason Top 10 team as well, if not higher. The ESPN hype machine will be back in full force.

So far, a couple of very early 2009 preseason rankings have been released. Mark Schlabach of gives the Hokies an early #7 ranking, while he puts Alabama at #5. Tony Barnhart of the Atlanta Journal Constitution gives the Hokies a #8 ranking and places the Crimson Tide at #4. If those rankings hold up over the spring and summer, this is going to be a big-time football game.

With a Top 15 finish in both polls, that means the Hokies finished the season ranked higher than they started it. They started the year 17th in the AP Poll and finished 15th, while they jumped up from 15th to 14th in the Coaches' Poll. Overall, the pollsters had the Hokies pegged very accurately back in August when the first set of rankings were released.

In fact, the Hokies' preseason and postseason rankings have been similar for each of the last four seasons.

Preseason/Postseason Rankings Comparison


A.P. Poll Coaches' Poll
Year Preseason Postseason Preseason Postseason
2005 8 7 7 7
2006 17 19 16 18
2007 9 9 9 9
2008 17 15 15 14
Average 12.75 12.5 11.75 12

As much as the analysts get laughed at by fans from every school, they've been very accurate with Virginia Tech's preseason rankings. Particularly in 2007, when both polls had the Hokies at #9 in the preseason, and that's exactly where they ended up.

Overall, Tech has finished slightly higher than expected in the AP Poll, and slightly lower than expected on the Coaches' Poll. Overall, it's a wash. The pollsters have been as dead on as they could possibly be.

If we judge by the last four seasons, 2009 should be pretty good. It appears that the Hokies will start off this coming season in the Top 10, and if that ranking is as accurate as the preseason rankings of the last four years, we should be in for another great season. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week
TSL Audio: The Jerry Miller Show, 1/5/09
January 9, 2009
Chris Coleman and Jerry Miller kicked off 2009 this past Monday (sorry we're so late getting it posted!) by discussing the ins and outs of VT's Orange Bowl win over Cincinnati (WMA format, approx. 3.0 MB, approx. 13 minutes long).
The Jerry Miller Show appears on The Sports Addict Radio Network every afternoon from 1:00-3:00 pm in Blacksburg (1430 AM), Charlottesville (840 AM), and Bluefield (1050 AM), and from 2:00-4:00 in Martinsville (1160 AM).

Barber to Enroll Next Week
January 9, 2009
Ben Barber stayed close to the Virginia Tech program last fall, attending a junior college near Tech. He will officially become part of the program when he enrolls in Blacksburg next weekend, 11 months after signing a letter of intent with the Hokies.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Virginia
January 9, 2009
After starting out 0-1 in ACC play with the loss to Duke, Virginia Tech has a very important ACC matchup on Saturday with in-state rival UVA. The Hokies can't afford to begin conference play 0-2, and they need to find a way to win this game in Cassell Coliseum.

FB Recruiting Overview: One Month to Go
January 8, 2009
Less than a month remains until 2009 Signing Day and Virginia Tech currently boasts 18 verbal commitments in the 2009 football recruiting class. Targets remain on the board and the situations with commitments/2008 signees remain unsettled, so there certainly is more action to come before the first Wednesday in February arrives.

2008 Football Review: The Offense
January 8, 2009
With another successful season of Virginia Tech football in the books, it's time to take a look back. There were many storylines on both sides of the ball this year, but today we'll focus on the offense. Slow starting as usual, the Hokie offense turned into a competent unit by the end of the season.

Martin All Set to Arrive at VT
January 7, 2009
Former Hylton (Woodbridge, VA) standout tight end Eric Martin will arrive at Virginia Tech later this month, just under a year after signing a letter of intent with the Hokies. Martin signed a letter of intent last February and grey-shirted, so the long road to Blacksburg is almost complete.

Orange Bowl Game Analysis: Practice Makes Perfect
January 7, 2009
As I was walking to the car last Thursday night, I reflected on the accomplishments of the 2008 Virginia Tech football team and tried to think of some way to capture them in my article. But so much has been said and written on the subject already...there is very little I can add. The fact that this team (of all the past Tech teams) won a BCS Bowl game and captured the Orange Bowl trophy is still hard to believe several days later. But they did it. In beating Cincinnati, the Hokies broke through several barriers - Dolphin Stadium isn't cursed after all - and salvaged some pride for the beleaguered ACC. And now with the Orange Bowl trophy in hand, this young group of Hokies has set themselves up for a quite a season in 2009.

Boggs Talks Injury, Recovery
January 6, 2009
Ben Boggs' high school basketball career came to an abrupt end on December 4th, when he suffered a broken right tibia and fibula on a baseline drive against Northside. A month later, the 6-4, 180-pound Hidden Valley (Roanoke, VA) star is in a more positive frame of mind and very much on the road to recovery.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 1/5/09
January 6, 2009
The show switched to its one-hour format Monday night, and the lone guest was head men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg, who talked about the loss to Duke, where he thinks the team is right now, and Saturday's game against Virginia.

Monday Thoughts: Orange Bowl Champs
January 5, 2009
What a season, and what a finish. What a pleasure it is to face the month of January coming off a bowl win, without any drama. It's the first time since 2002 that the Hokies finished with a win and didn't stomp somebody in the leg doing it. As many gaps, injuries, problems and youth as this team had, they still did what no Tech team has done since 1995: win a conference championship and a BCS Bowl.

Chancellor To Return in 2009
January 5, 2009
Starting free safety Kam Chancellor told the media following the Orange Bowl that he will be returning to Virginia Tech for his senior season. Chancellor, a junior, played free safety this year. It was his fourth position on the team in three years, if you count the few days he spent at quarterback when he first arrived.
Also: Hokies lose three to attrition, Defense finishes in the Top 10 again.

More on Tyrell and Tariq Edwards
January 5, 2009
On Christmas Day, Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.) wide receiver/tight end Tyrell Edwards came back on board with Virginia Tech, recommitting to the Hokies and accepting Tech's offer of a grey-shirt opportunity. Edwards' father, Bo Campbell, spoke about his son's recommitment and updated the recruitment of his other son, Tariq.

Hokies Lose Big in Durham
January 5, 2009
Virginia Tech played solid defense in Sunday night's game in Cameron Indoor Stadium, but they managed just 13 second half points in a 69-44 loss to #5 Duke. The Hokies must now use the rest of the week to regroup before returning home to face UVA on Saturday.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at #5 Duke
January 2, 2009
On Sunday night, we'll find out exactly how good Virginia Tech is. The Hokies travel to Cameron Indoor Stadium to take on the Duke Blue Devils in their ACC opener on Sunday night. They'll have to play their best game of the season if they hope to walk away with a victory.

VT, UVa Continue to Eye Stanton
January 2, 2009
Robinson (Fairfax, VA) defensive end Jordan Stanton, a 6-4, 240-pound prospect with sub-4.6 speed in the 40, took unofficial visits to Virginia and Virginia Tech in late November, checking out UVa's home finale against Clemson and Virginia Tech's victory over Virginia. Stanton boasts official scholarship offers from James Madison and Old Dominion, but has either of the two in-state ACC programs come through since those visits?
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