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ACC Championship Game: Virginia Tech, Florida State prepare for title bout

No. 15 Virginia Tech vs. No. 22 Florida State
When:
 7:45 p.m. Saturday, December 4, 2010
Where: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC
TV: ESPN, ESPN3.com

Since joining the ACC and leaving the Big East in 2004 the Virginia Tech Hokies have been one of the most dominant teams in the conference but there is one team they have yet to conquer. As luck would have it, that school is the only thing standing between the Hokies and another trip to the BCS. Florida State, winners of 13 of the last 14 meetings with the Hokies, will look to win their 13th ACC championship.

Virginia Tech and Florida State were each the preseason favorites in their respective divisions in the ACC so seeing them play this weekend should not be much of a surprise. The Hokies started the season with high hopes but saw any dream of a BCS championship get wiped out in the first two weeks with losses to Boise State and James Madison. Since then the Hokies have won ten straight games, winning all but one game but double digits.

The Hokies are led by the ACC’s Player of the Year, quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Taylor has thrown for 2,258 yards, with 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions this season. He also has completed a career-high 60.2 percent of his passes and also rushed for 613 yards and four touchdowns. “I’m more proud, though, of how this team responded from an 0-2 start,” Taylor said this week after being informed he had been voted the ACC’s Player of the Year. He continued by saying “now we have to finish things off Saturday in Charlotte against a tough Florida State team.”

“Florida State speaks for themselves,” said Virginia Tech tight end Andre Smith. “They always have great athletes on that team and they’re always a good team, always a solid team and they always bring their `A’ game.”

Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher has made it a point to restore the image of Florida State football after taking over the program from the retired Bobby Bowden. Speaking of Virginia Tech Fisher said, “They’re the team that everybody’s measured against.” That used to be the role Florida State had in the ACC. “That’s when Florida State started to slip a little bit,” Fisher said. Before that, Florida State was dominating, even more so than ever. Tech’s done a great job of taking that role.”

“They’re always competing at the ACC championship level and they’ve been to pretty much every ACC championship game, and so I think they’re ahead of us right now,” Ponder said.

“We’re trying to get ourselves back on the map and become relevant again,” Ponder said in reference to Florida State’s victories over Miami and Florida this season. “To beat Florida and win the state of Florida and make it to the ACC championship game, it would be big if we won it,” he said. “Obviously we want to make it to a BCS bowl and very few teams get to make that, so if we did, maybe people would start taking us more seriously.”

Both teams are pretty even when looking at the numbers. Virginia Tech’s offense averages 34.8 points per game and the defense allows an average of 17.9 points per game. Florida State averages 31.7 points per game while allowing 17.8 points per game.

Series Notes

Florida State leads Virginia Tech in the all-time series 22-11-1 dating back to 1955. The two schools played often in the mid-1950’s through the 1970’s. The schools played annually from 1955 through 1980 with only 1960 not having a game played. Since Virginia Tech joined the ACC the two have met just three times, with the first coming in he 2005 ACC Championship game, the first to be played in conference history.

The most notable game between the two in series history was the 2000 BCS championship game, when Virginia Tech was led by Mike Vick and was a member of the Big East. The Seminoles had the momentum with a 28-14 at halftime but Vick and the Hokies took a lead in to the fourth quarter after a 15 point third quarter gave Virginia Tech a 29-28 lead. The Seminoles though scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and shutout the Hokies offense to secure the national championship.

Florida State holds a 2-1 edge in the series history since the Hokies joined the ACC.

ACC Championship Game History

In the 2005 season Boston College switched from the Big East to the ACC, giving the ACC 12 teams and allowing them to hold a conference championship game for the first time in league history. The ACC Championship has been held in multiple locations since the first game was played in Jacksonville in 2005. After three seasons in Jacksonville the game was moved to Tampa for two seasons. This year’s game will be the second played in Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium.

2005: No. 22 Florida State 27, No. 5 Virginia Tech 22
2006: No. 16 Wake Forest 9, No. 22 Georgia Tech 6
2007: No. 5 Virginia Tech 30, No. 12 Boston College 16
2008: Virginia Tech 30, #20 Boston College 12
2009: No. 10 Georgia Tech 39, Clemson 34

About the Author

Kevin McGuire
Contributor to College Football Talk on NBCSports.com. Also a contributor to Athlon Sports and The Comeback. Member of Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. Follow on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.
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