There’s one more bowl to breakdown, but first, a quick note: Georgia State hired Trent Miles of Indiana State to be its head coach, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Virginia Tech running backs coach Shane Beamer was reportedly in the discussion. It’s unclear if Beamer interviewed for the job or not.
On another note, I’ve gotten repeated questions about whether or not there have been any changes to the coaching staff. There have not been any, at least from my discussions with people who would know. That’s not to say that there won’t be. But as of now, nothing. If history is an indicator, Frank Beamer wouldn’t act until later in the process anyway, like after the bowl game.
Music City Bowl
** When: Dec. 31, noon (ESPN)
** In ACC bowl pecking order: No. 6
** Hokies history at bowl: Beat Alabama 38-7 in 1998 in the inaugural game
** Possible opponent: The SEC’s No. 7 selection. Let’s see: the SEC will get two BCS teams from Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Also take LSU, Texas A&M and South Carolina off the list. That leaves Vanderbilt and Mississippi State as the teams vying for the sixth/seventh spots. SEC No. 6 goes to the Gator Bowl. No. 7 to Music City. MSU was in Jacksonville two years ago. Plus, Vandy is a red hot team right now, at least in terms of perception with James Franklin at the helm. And who knows if Nashville would want a hometown team to be in the game? It’d probably help ticket sales, but it certainly wouldn’t fill up hotel rooms. It seems like Vandy to the Gator and Mississippi State to the Music City would make sense. Either way, those are the options.
** ACC competition: Really, it’s whoever is left. The ACC only has six bowl-eligible teams this year. And the Music City Bowl gets sixth pick. Georgia Tech can’t fall this low (because ACC rules say the title game loser can’t go below the Sun, provided the Yellow Jackets, you know, lose the title game), so it comes down to who is left of N.C. State, Virginia Tech and Duke. If the Russell Athletic Bowl feels a need to take a team with a winning record and goes with the Wolfpack, that’d leave VT and Duke. The Belk Bowl might like Duke for its proximity and uniqueness. That’s really the only way the Hokies fall to Nashville.
** Pros for Virginia Tech: It’s a six-hour drive from Blacksburg and a fun city that Virginia Tech fans haven’t been to in a minute. I’d guess that of the bowls, this one would have the most fans travel to see it.
** Cons for Virginia Tech: I’m not quite sure Virginia Tech will fall this far. It’s a program with a pretty good travel reputation as far as bowl games — recent BCS showings notwithstanding — and is in a position for the first time that some of these second-tier bowls have a chance to nab it. The Russell Athletic Bowl has never hosted the Hokies. The Sun Bowl hasn’t since 1947. The Belk Bowl has never had them. It would take all three passing on them for Nashville to get a shot. I’m not sure how likely that is to happen.
** Flight price (leaving Dec. 30, coming back Jan. 1, per Orbitz): From Roanoke — $404, from Norfolk — $265, from Newport News — $288, from Lynchburg — $629; from Richmond — $475, from D.C. — $366, from Greensboro — $330
** Roadtrippin’ it? 414 miles from Blacksburg to Nashville. Six hours and 9 minutes, according to Google maps.
** Tourist attraction of note: The Grande Ole Opry, or, if you’re looking for a fun time, whatever bar you step into on Broadway
** Beat writer happiness level: Very high. I’ve enjoyed all three of my previous trips to Nashville quite a bit. It’s not too bad of a drive to get there. The game is at noon, so it wouldn’t interfere with any New Year’s Eve celebrations. And speaking for my wife, who is a big fan of the new TV show “Nashville,” this is the bowl trip that she’d want to go on the most.
** Follow on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/MusicCityBowl
OK, that’s all of the bowl possibilities. Where will Virginia Tech go? All indications that I’ve gotten is that the Russell Athletic Bowl is a very real possibility against Rutgers. Of course, nothing can be finalized until the ACC championship game is decided (if Georgia Tech wins, that means the Russell Athletic Bowl has to take either FSU or Clemson). All the dominoes will fall once the league decides who is going to the Orange Bowl.
Here are a few projections that are out there for Virginia Tech:
- Jerry Palm, CBS Sports: Music City vs. Vanderbilt
- Stewart Mandel, Sports Illustrated: Russell Athletic vs. Rutgers
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN: Music City vs. Vanderbilt
- Brad Edwards, ESPN: Russell Athletic vs. Louisville (made before Big East champ decided)
- Bill Bender, Sporting News: Belk vs. Cincinnati
- Heather Dinich, ESPN (ACC only): Russell Athletic
- Jason Kirk, SBNation.com: Russell Athletic vs. Rutgers