TAMPA, Fla. -- On the surface, it elicits a sense of deja vu. Maroon and orange nation has been here before.
The No. 21 Virginia Tech Hokies (9-4), by virtue of an easy 30-12 win over the Boston College Eagles (9-4) on Saturday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium, captured the ACC Championship for the second straight year -- earning a return trip to the Orange Bowl in Miami.
It's their third championship in five years of conference existence.
Yes, it's becoming commonplace. But ask any player, ask any coach -- the route that 2008 took to return here doesn't exactly resemble anything Tech has seen.
There were injuries to key components: Brandon Dillard, Kenny Lewis Jr., as well as both quarterbacks going down in the loss to Florida State.
There were team dismissals: Brandon Ore, Zack Luckett and Ike Whitaker.
There were coaches under duress: Defensive coordinator Bud Foster was courted by Clemson, while offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring was continuously under fire for "predictable" play calling.
A successful season -- in most fans' eyes -- appeared in question after an opening-game defeat to East Carolina, and unlikely after dropping three of four. After a loss to Miami in Dolphin Stadium on Nov. 13, not many would have predicted that the Hokies would be taking that very same field for their season finale on New Year's evening.
Even a squeaker over Duke didn't do much to silence the doubters.
Well, they're mute now.
In a year in which nothing came easy, Saturday's win did.
Going into the game, Tech's average margin of decision was just 7.3 points, ranking lowest in the nation.
However, the Hokies learned from their previous mistakes against BC this year, beating the Eagles in the 2008 redux and letting their head coach exhale easy as the clock wound down.
"I don't care how we win them," Frank Beamer said. "These guys find a way to win, close or by a bunch. It was good to be able to breathe at the end of the game for a change."
It was Tech's most complete win of the season and a "team victory," as Beamer emphasized after the game.
All three phases played a role -- most notably the offense.
His stats may not look impressive, but quarterback Tyrod Taylor's impact overrides any numeric value.
In capturing the game's Most Valuable Player award, Taylor scored a pair of first-half touchdowns on third-down situations in the red zone that helped the Hokies seize momentum early in the game.
Both touchdown runs were initially designed as passes, including the second one in which he avoided a blitzing Mike McGlaughlin.
"I was going to throw it," Taylor said. "The guy reached for my leg and clipped me. So I either had to get rid of the ball or get up field quickly."