If you looked at the Atlantic Coast Conference, you'd be hard pressed to find two schools more indicative of the culture clash of their fan bases than Boston College and Virginia Tech.
On one hand is our beloved Eagles. Boston College isn't close to the #1 draw in their backyard, and their attendance reflects it. Situated in an affluent northern city, it's one of several institutions of higher education within a five mile radius, but the city doesn't base its identity in college or university studies. Boston is a thriving hub of cultural diversity, a metropolitan Renaissance of a city. There are modern amenities, and it's as liberal as it is progressive.
And then there's Blacksburg, home of the Hokies. Blacksburg has as many people in its city proper as a suburb city of Boston. The city has a downtown, but it resembles small-town America. There is art culture, but Blacksburg isn't a big city. The main institution making up the city, Virginia Tech, contributes roughly 60% of the city's population with its student base. Virginia Tech is also by far the city's employer.
At Virginia Tech, football dominates the scene. Its fans are rowdy, passionate, and 100% all-in on their team. They live, eat, sleep, and breathe the Hokies. When they travel, they tend to dominate the stadium sections they sit in, and they make sure to let you know that they're better fans than you are. Every other year, Virginia Tech shows up on the BC home schedule, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't circle the date with a pit feeling that their fans would, at some point, crap all over us in Boston for being so culturally different.
For what it's worth, it's that type of difference that helps create a rivalry. Despite holding a 15-7 series edge and having won five in a row before last year's loss at home, it doesn't feel like the Hokies are a team that dominates the Eagles. Even during the Spaziani years, BC competed with Virginia Tech. And despite being a "perennial power," it sure feels like Virginia Tech is beatable.
Virginia Tech fans will tell you about "Beamer Ball," their next guy who should win a Heisman Trophy, and how they're going to climb back to the days when they won back-to-back ACC championships over the Eagles. Boston College fans will wisely point to the fact that the Coastal Division is an unmitigated disaster right now, that Logan Thomas won as many Heisman Trophies as Chase Rettig, and that Virginia Tech, despite beating Ohio State this year, promptly lost to ECU.
It's Virginia Tech week. This oughta be fun.
PS - What's a Hokie?
Weekly Storylines (Rolling Stones Edition)
Gimme Shelter. Boston College is 5-3 with bowl eligibility right in front of them for the taking. All it takes is one more win. For their sake, it would be great to get that sixth win out of the way sooner rather than later. I thought BC would be 6-2 at this point, then lose their last four games to finish 6-6 (thereby causing our fans and readers to explode). But at 5-3, BC is on the verge of putting together one of its finest seasons to date for the simple fact that this is a blue-collar, yeoman's effort by a bunch of cast-offs and youngsters who simply don't have the resume of Jameis Winston or (GASP) Beamer Ball.
That said, BC still has to win that last game. They're going to have to battle for it. It's right there for the taking, but nobody is going to hand it over. Win #6 must be taken by sheer blunt force and perseverance. Strap in because ooooh, children, it's just a shout away.
Satisfaction. I have no idea how BC is 5-3. There are times I feel they should be 3-5, and there are times they should be 7-1 or 8-0. At this stage of the game, beating USC isn't as impressive (okay, it probably is) given how the Trojan season's gone, but losing to Colorado State isn't nearly as bad since the Rams are 7-1. BC could've beaten Clemson, could've lost to Wake, and Pittsburgh's turning into a disaster. So I have no satisfaction on the way this season's gone.
I guess that's what makes it exciting. There's not a single game on the schedule we can look at and assume BC is an automatic win or loss. I wish I could, and I try, and I try, and I tryyyyyyy... I can't get no. No. No. No.
You Can't Always Get What You Want. I would love to sit here and tell you that what we saw out of the Boston College passing game last week is going to be the beginning of a trend. I'd love to tell you I think the Eagles are going to turn into an all-around offense, that Shakim Phillips touchdown catch is the start of some great usage for him, that Tyler Murphy's passing ability has evolved. But you can't always get what you want.
What you might is sometimes, though, you get what you need.
I wouldn't put too much stock in throwing the ball as well as they did against Wake Forest; the Deacons are a horrible football program right now. Virginia Tech is going to be better, which means it's back to basics for the offense. I imagine watching this team run the ball the same way they did in the opening parts of the season, but at least we know that if they have to, Murphy has the capabilities to put the ball in the air and at least do some damage.
Matchup Fun Facts
School Name: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
All-Time Record: 701-441-46
Claimed National Championships: 0
Conference Championships: 10
Bowl Games: 27
Postseason Record: 10-16
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
Years at School: 28th
Head-to-Head with BC
All-Time Series: Virginia Tech leads, 15-7
Streak: BC, 1
Last VT Win: 2012 (VT 30, BC 23 in OT at BC)
Last BC Win: 2013 (BC 34, VT 27 at BC)
First Meeting: 1993 (BC 48, VT 34 at BC)