Heather Dinich is correct, we need this win in a bad way. However, she doesn't have a lot of space to write in her cover-it-all blog, so she's missed some reason why the Hokies have to beat the Bearcats.
Conference braggin' rights
Yes, a win would be big for the ACC. The conference's record in BCS bowls (one-and-a-lot) has been well publicized. A loss by the conference champ and Big East defector to the current Big East champ and CUSA defector would look undo any progress the ACC made during the regular season in the eyes of the public.
But winning this game for the conference probably really only matters to the coaches. I doubt the players feel any responsibility to the other teams in the conference to win this game.
Tech's own bowl blunders
To complete what Kyle Tucker said in his lede from his story earlier this week, it was Freud who defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Well, by Freud's definition, I'm insane for going to this football game.
I said last year I wouldn't go to another Hokie bowl game. Not after experiencing the loss to that damn basketball school last year. Guess what? We're playing another basketball school with similar players, similar offense and similar season to the Jayhawks.
Beating Cincy would not only give Tech a win in a major bowl for the first time since 1995, it would make all fans believe in our coaching staff again. Coach Beamer has said several times (and so have the players) that we're treating this one differently. That this year's Orange Bowl isn't a reward. If we play against Cincy like we did against Kansas, it means it was all lip service.
It was announced after the ACCCG that Bryan Stinespring will be returning to Blacksburg next year. Bold move considering he still has one more shot to throw away all the progress the Hokies' offense made in the last five games.
Then again, they did the same thing last year before reverting to poor execution and poor play calling in the bowl game, giving fans eight months to complain about how bad the offense (and Stinespring) are. If the same thing happens again this year, it won't be pretty. If you thought Stiney got bad-mouthed leading up to this season, you have no idea the venom that will spew from Hokie fans over the next eight months.
Hope springs eternal
The outcome of the Orange Bowl will determine how these young Hokies will be viewed by the rest of the country and in the minds of Hokies fans leading into the 2009 season.
With a win, Tech could very will be considered for a spot in the Top 10 next season. If they lose to Cincy, I wouldn't consider them for any spot above No. 20 in next season's preseason poll.
Any way you slice it, this team needs to win this game in the worst way. That includes everyone: The conference, the coaches, the players, the fans. Win and the Hokies can hang their hats on another 10-win season. Lose, and it's just another long off-season.