Virginia Tech looks to 'ring' in new year with Sun Bowl win

Virginia Tech looks to ring in new year with win

SOCORRO, Texas - Success has a nice "ring" to it -- just ask ABC-7's Collin Carroll. His four years as Virginia Tech's long snapper left his fingers covered in championship rings, and each one has a story.

"I wear this ring a lot," said defensive line coach Charley Wiles. "Oh, yeah."

It's a good thing the fake diamonds are outlived by the memories.

"People, faces, experiences, emotions," Wiles said.

But not every bowl-ring tale ends happily. Though all end vividly.

"Boom, it just flashes back," Wiles said. "It just comes all right back, what happened there. We gave the game away."

A loss to Kansas in the 2008 Orange Bowl. That after evening the season series with Matt Ryan and Boston College for an ACC title ring.

"We split 50-50," said head coach Frank Beamer, "but I liked our 50 better than their 50."

Beamer's 21-straight bowl berths have brought untold amounts of ice.

"I've got them all there, I just have not counted them lately," Beamer said.

He said there'll be time enough for counting when the remodeling's done.

"I've got it all figured out," Beamer said. "It's going to be a very proud place in my house."

The NCAA caps the amount a team can spend on a bowl ring to about $300, said Deputy Director of Football Operations Bruce Garnes. And with more than 120 players on a team, plus coaches and support staff, stacking bling ain't cheap.

"We get designs from Jostens," Garnes said. "And now we get a group of seniors and let them decide if they like it or not. If they don't like it, we make changes based on what they want."

Don't forget what recruits want.

Senior defensive lineman Derrick Hopkins has lost track of time since the win over Florida State in the 2010 ACC title.

"Four years ago," Hopkins said. "It's like, hmm, I actually played in this game."

"It's probably going to mean more to you as you get older, and you look back on what you've done," said senior defensive lineman James Gayle.

Coach Beamer's lone design request for this year's ring: Sun Bowl Champions.

"Yeah," Beamer said, "that's the one word we need on there."

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