Virginia Tech must beat the Clemson Tigers.

One of the biggest games in the ACC will be Saturday at 6 PM, between two top 15 schools, the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Clemson Tigers. Virginia Tech has been the class of the conference since they’ve joined the ACC in 2004. That’s 4 ACC Titles in 7 years, 7 Straight years of 10 wins or more, and 7 straight years of finishing in the top 20. Hokie coach Frank Beamer is well respected in the ACC and across the country for being one of the best in the business at maximizing his talent. It’s all pretty impressive stuff, but there’s something lacking.

In spite of all the success the Hokies have had they’ve really only had legitimate shot at national title. That was way back in 1999 when a guy named Michael Vick was the quarterback. In all honesty, this isn’t the Hokies best team since 1999, but because of a pillow schedule they won’t have many better chances to run the table and possibly have a shot at the national title than they do this year. The high-octane Clemson Tigers provide one of the few opportunities to impress voters for Virginia Tech.

Clemson comes in a roll. They’ve defeated the defending national champions, the Auburn Tigers, and the defending ACC Atlantic Division titles Florida State Seminoles. They are 4-0, and if there were any questions about the direction of the Clemson Tigers, they’ve been answered. I felt in the off-season that Clemson needed to win at least 1 of the 3 consecutive games with Auburn, FSU, and Virginia Tech to prove that Dabo Swinney had the Tigers program moving forward. By winning the first 2, the Tigers have done that. They don’t “have” to beat Virginia Tech. Sure it would be nice, and I think that possibility exists. The Tigers have enough weapons on offense to cause anybody including the Hokies plenty of headaches, but a win would be a bonus, and no Clemson fan barring a complete blowout will feel much was lost. The Tigers would still control their own destiny in winning the Atlantic.

The Hokies on the other hand “have” to beat Clemson. A loss doesn’t mean they can’t win the ACC, but from the Hokies point of view, it should be a been there done that type mentality. If there’s been one criticism of the Hokies in recent years, it’s that Frank Beamer may have reached a ceiling in what can be done at Virginia Tech. Sure they’ll win 10-11 games and compete for ACC Titles, but they always seem to fall short nationally. Just last season even with an ACC Title there were losses to Boise St., an embarrassing loss to James Madison, and a total meltdown against Stanford in the Orange Bowl.

Clemson is for real no question. We will find out if Virginia Tech is Saturday. If the Hokies win and they are at home, they’ll likely head to Georgia Tech on November 10th 9-0, probably ranked in the top 6 or 7 in the country with a shot at a truly magical season in Blacksburg.

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