— After an excruciating 237-day wait since the Bowl Championship Series title game, the 2010 college football season began Thursday, putting the Earth back into its proper alignment.
However, even though 77 games involving Football Bowl Subdivision teams have been completed in Week 1, the 2010 campaign really doesn't begin until No. 3 Boise State and No. 10 Virginia Tech collide in Landover, Md., on Monday night.
Beyond the obvious importance as it relates to the current Top 10, that matchup is absolutely dripping with heavy ramifications from several tangents.
This is not to say that we don’t fully appreciate what teams such as Jacksonville State, North Dakota State and Oregon have already given us, but all that was just the undercard.
Coty Blanchard, Rob Bolden, Denard Robinson, Kenjon Barner and Mark Herzlich were certainly fun to watch in their lid-lifters, but Kellen Moore, Titus Young, Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Williams are up next in the main event.
As is always the case at this early juncture, there’s no shortage of compelling questions floating over the national college football landscape. We’ve got some big ones. Is “The U” back? Is Monte Kiffin on Lane Kiffin’s hotseat? Is Michigan at Notre Dame relevant again? Is it OK to say we’re proud of North Carolina?
But answers will be delivered at FedEx Field, and they will be of great importance to matters across the game’s elite level.
It’s really hard to imagine the stakes being any higher on each side.
Frank Beamer’s diligent work at his alma mater over the past two decades has established Virginia Tech as a perennial powerhouse, but his Hokies haven’t been able to reach the pinnacle.
Seasons with double-digit victories has become the norm, with Virginia Tech able to reach that watermark in each of its past six seasons as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Unfortunately another constant has been an inability to come out on top when competing on the big stage.
Virginia Tech shockingly has won only once in its past 26 games versus top-5 opposition. Oddly enough, that lone victory, a 31-7 shellacking of No. 2 Miami (Fla.) in 2003, didn’t have much impact during what was the Hokies’ last season in the Big East, which ended at a paltry 8-5.
Fans in Blacksburg would have much rather seen their team come through after the 1999 regular season in the Sugar Bowl against Florida State for the national championship.
This game against Boise State represents an opportunity to turn that trend around right from the start and embark on the remainder of this season with an invigorating new perspective. There would be no better way to announce yourself as a primary threat to the BCS title.
That would mean the world to Virginia Tech, but it’s also supremely vital for the ACC, which would kill to claim its first BCS title since ... well, since Florida State beat the Hokies 11 years ago. With the age of the SuperConferences fast approaching, this sort of positioning is crucial for every league without “Southeastern” in its title.
Boise State enters through a different sort of door. Saddled with its highest ranking ever, the Broncos have to wonder if this sort of opportunity will ever present itself again in Idaho.
Even though they’re the premier BCS-buster, the Broncos have to be pinching themselves, realizing that they’re tabbed as a 5-to-1 shot to win the national championship, ranking way up there with the likes of Ohio State, Alabama, Florida and Texas.
There’s no doubt that the stars are aligned for Boise State at the moment. Suddenly, all things are possible.
In recent years, the Broncos have grown accustomed to fighting their way up the ladder to earn a BCS berth. This time, they’re already there and have shifted their focus to getting all the way to the top of the pile.
With nearly every starter back from last season’s 14-0 campaign, you have to wonder when that’s ever going to happen again.
One thing is clear, though. Following this season, Boise State never will have the luxury of coasting through another Western Athletic Conference schedule, due to its graduation into the Mountain West Conference in 2011.
The time is certainly now.
Moore, the Broncos’ uber-accurate junior quarterback, already has won 26 games in his collegiate career and will tack on several more, but if he doesn’t notch this one, it’ll be the game he’ll always lament.
The same holds true for all the players on both sidelines. With a table uniquely set for each side, this gigantic game isn’t your usual Week 1 fare. We are indeed fortunate.
Let the season really begin.