Here at Virginia Tech, we get very excited about particular things. We love waking up on Sundays and going to brunch at West End, we love the smooth pilsner taste of Natural Light, but most importantly, we love football.
Game days are the most exciting days of the year. The change in atmosphere around campus is undeniable. Everyone is wearing Virginia Tech gear and starting “Let’s Go!” chants, planning to go insane when “Enter Sandman” starts.
The game a few weeks ago, however, was an exception. Sure, tailgates started at 8 a.m. for the 1:30 p.m. game against Austin Peay, a relatively unknown school from Tennessee. But there was no real excitement.
Coming off the thrilling overtime victory in the first overtime game at Lane Stadium against Georgia Tech, Hokie fans were ready for another amazing game, but instead, we gotmake an easy 42-7 steamroll against a school that had no business being here.
Easy games are part of every college football team’s schedule. I understand that. These games allow small colleges to get national attention, especially if they can pull out an upset, and more generally, these small schools get paid a lot of money to come and get beaten. But at what cost? Who really wants to see these games? It is like when your older sibling played you in video games. It was not a fair match-up.
I will be the first person to tell you that I want Tech to have an undefeated season and win the national championship game, but when I see thousands of students and fans leave a game at halftime, receive multiple emails that say tickets are still available, and that the price of tickets is comically low, I wonder if it is really worth it. I paid good money for season tickets, and every game should be of equal value.
Not every game on the schedule is going to be an easy one. We still have to face Cincinnati, Miami, Clemson and Florida State. Those games will be tough wins, but I do not think it is good for the team to be preparing for these games by facing teams like Austin Peay and Bowling Green. No offense to either of those schools, but they cannot compare with the top teams in the ACC.
I would rather us face consistently good teams, so we constantly have to keep our foot on the pedal. Sure, we might lose games, but over time we would be getting better, not to mention the games would be fun to watch.
Imagine if we played teams like Alabama, Oregon, USC, Ohio State and Texas. These games would bring packed houses and be televised nationally. We would be able to show these teams what it is like to play against the Hokies, especially in Lane Stadium. The school would probably be able to raise tickets prices because these games would be guaranteed sellouts.
I understand we have to play conference games, and not every team in the conference is necessarily a good team. But for our non-conference games, we should be playing bigger schools. This will ensure no one wants to leave the game at halftime. Instead, students will be clamoring for season tickets and to win the student ticket lottery.
At the end of the day, these easy games help no one. Sure, Austin Peay got a lot of money from us, but for what? Just to be another notch in the belt of a hopeful college football team? More importantly, these easy games seem to be affecting our team negatively.
I was fully prepared to watch a glorious romp through Pittsburgh’s defense, but instead, what I got was a frustrating game. The offense failed to get into any sort of rhythm and the defense got its pants pulled down by a freshman running back.
Are all these things to blame on playing Austin Peay? I cannot be certain, but if we started having a tougher schedule, with consistently good teams, we might avoid getting beaten by an unranked 0-2 team again.