Commentary

Hokies are safest BCS title bet

If Virginia Tech gets past Clemson on Saturday, its path to the title game is clear

Updated: September 30, 2011, 3:59 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Frank BeamerGeoff Burke/US PresswireThe schedule sets up nicely for Frank Beamer's Hokies this season.

In his 1987 Baseball Abstract, Bill James told an interesting story about Kansas State basketball coach Jack Hartman.

Hartman had something of a contrarian tack when it came to acquiring talent. While other coaches would go for players who could run fast and jump high, Hartman would go after those recruits who had more specific basketball talents such as being able to box out on rebounds or consistently sink free throws.

Hartman did this because he figured that if he had players with those specific skills, he could develop them in a system that would accentuate their value and thus allow his recruits to effectively compete with the larger, faster players on other teams.

As successful as Hartman's Wildcat teams were (six Sweet 16 appearances), his approach came with something of a downside. His teams never made it to the Elite 8, a sign that his system could close the talent gap only so far, and that limitation was one reason his teams never won a national championship.

Virginia Tech Hokies head coach Frank Beamer is in many ways a modern-day college football equivalent of Hartman, but with one potentially big difference -- his 2011 team has a very good shot at making it to a national championship game.

The biggest reason why is that the Hokies have the clearest path to the title game.