In 2005 Virginia Tech left the Big East, vacating a seat at the top of that conference. It took with it a legacy of feared defense and scary-good special teams, and has since become the only team to win the ACC championship game twice. During that stretch, the Cincinnati Bearcats have clawed and clawed, finally earning their first BCS bowl bid. Tonight, the No. 12-ranked Bearcats take on the No. 21-ranked Hokies in an Orange Bowl game that's as much about beating VT as it is proving Cincinnati belongs among the major conferences' elite. It'll be a tough task for the Bearcat offense and quarterbacks Tony Pike and Dustin Grutza, who will face ballhawk cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris and a Hokie defense that has played like supermen all year (they've tugged along a bizarro offense that has seldom carried its own weight.)
Kickoff is at 8:30 p.m. at Dolphin Stadium, located at 2269 Dan Marino Blvd. in Miami Gardens. Tickets start at $110. For more information, visit orangebowl.org, or call 305-623-6100.
Thu., Jan. 1, 8:30 p.m., 2009