When the Hokies play, my rooting interests are usually pretty set in stone: I am a fan of the opponent. However, rare instances exists where Hoos and Hokies have their interests align. Is Thursday night's ESPN-televised matchup between Virginia Polytechnic Institute and the Ramblin' Wreck in Atlanta one of these times?
The reason why we would possibly hope for a Virginia Tech win lies in our ACC Coastal race chances. In the preferred outcome, the Hoos beat Duke at home, win in Tallahassee against the Seminoles, finish with a home win over rival VT, and head to the ACC Championship (then win that and dominate a lame Big East team in the Orange Bowl, obviously). However, that @ FSU date looks daunting...and there are paths to an ACC Championship berth without winning it.
Since the "win out" outcome is irrelevant to tiebreakers and such, let's investigate how UVA wins the Coastal, even with a loss to Florida State (or Duke...but I'll assume that loss would be coming in Tallahassee).
If Virginia Tech beats Georgia Tech: We are in with a win over VT AND a win over Duke OR FSU AND a UNC win at VT.
If Georgia Tech beats Virginia Tech: We are in with a win over VT AND a win over Duke OR FSU AND a Duke win vs GT.
Basically, it comes down to whether you believe it is more likely for UNC to win in Blacksburg or for Duke to steal one from the Yellow Jackets. I don't think the latter is something I want to count on. While the Tar Heels haven't exactly looked like world beaters of late, they would be coming off a bye to play a Virginia Tech team playing on its second consecutive Thursday night and looking forward to a showdown in Charlottesville. UNC beat Tech last time they visited Blacksburg, and they have the potential to do it again.
Yes, it's no fun to root for the Hokies. Yes, seeing them lose to GT and have their Orange Bowl hopes fade to nothing would be fun. And yes, watching them beat us at home for a spot in the ACC Championship would be brutal. But as a UVA fan trying to see the Cavaliers in the best position possible to advance, I'll be hoping for a Hokie win tomorrow night.
If you can't bring yourself to pull for our hated rivals, remember that you are only doing so to see their hopes dashed, first by UNC at home, then by us at Scott Stadium. Then again, let's hope that all this nonsense is deemed irrelevant by 3 more November wins.