Monday, August 18, 2008

Anatomy of a Program: Our Peers

This is part of a series of posts just before the season that will go over certain aspects of the football program I find interesting. There will be posts on the Virginia Tech football team's peers, strengths, weaknesses and fanbase. It won't just be on-field related issues, either.

The easiest way to define a program is to compare it to others. What programs are similar to Virginia Tech's? Well, the Hokies have a rabid fanbase that considers the program to be on the up-swing. However, the Hokies have never won a BCS bowl despite usually being in the picture for the conference championship. Here are the teams in other BCS conference that I think the Hokies resemble:

Conference: Big East
Comparison: West Virginia
Both teams are fairly close geographically and have rabid fans, WVU's just have more of a predilection toward violence. I don't believe for a second WVU is above the Hokies as far as level of the programs, but I'll give it to the Mountaineers that they've won their share of big games recently. Of course, they've also lost their share of big games (just like the Hokies).

Conference: SEC
Comparison: Auburn
Both programs are usually in contention for a conference title. The Tigers haven't won a national title since 1957, but did win a BCS bowl game (against the Hokies in 2005). Fits the mold of consistent winner with a passionate fan base that hasn't gotten over the hump yet. Close second would be South Carolina.

Conference: Big Ten
Comparison: Wisconsin
The Badgers have won BCS bowls, but not since 2000. Both the Badgers and Hokies have tremendous game-day atmosphere and a tradition that includes a lot of winning, but no national titles. Second place: Iowa.

Conference: Big 12
Comparison: Kansas State
The Hokies and Wildcats started emerging as college football powers around the same time in the mid-90s. Though K-State has fallen on hard times recently, the Wildcats are usually in contention for a conference title and have a passionate fan base.

Conference: Pac 10
Comparions: Oregon
Hostile home crowd? Check. Crazy fanbase? Check. Recent success? Check. Inability to make the jump from "Cute Up-And-Comer" to "National Power"? Check. Ducks, turkeys. Same difference. Second place: Oregon State.

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