The trip here was more than a family vacation for Shane Beamer, son of Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer.
The younger Beamer, an assistant at Mississippi State, observed his father and the Hokies staff as they prepared for Monday night's game.
"He's sat in on all of our meetings and been to all of the practices," the elder Beamer said. "He's really interested in becoming a better football coach, and I like that. He has a good background, I think he knows the business, and I think he's going to be good."
After graduating from Virginia Tech, where he was a long snapper and a wide receiver from 1996-99, Shane Beamer started as a graduate assistant at Georgia Tech. He then spent three seasons at Tennessee, coaching kickers, punters and long snappers.
When Sylvester Croom became coach at Mississippi State, he hired the younger Beamer.
"They have a bright, bright future over there," the elder Beamer said. "Watch out, they're going to be good in a few years."
But don't be surprised if the Beamers end up back on the same team someday.
"There's one person that's pretty close to me in my house _ and that's my wife _ who says we need to bring him back here," Frank Beamer said.
ANOTHER ORANGE BOWL: Though Auburn was left out of the Orange Bowl, where USC and Oklahoma will decide the BCS champion tonight, the Tigers played in what literally looked like a giant orange bowl at the Superdome.
Auburn and Virginia Tech use a similar bright orange as part of their color schemes, and the resulting confusion was good for a few laughs. One Auburn devotee called out the school's "War Eagle" chant to a group of fans in orange shirts, only to realize they were Tech supporters when they yelled back, "Roll Tide," a reference to Auburn's archrival, Alabama.
"Them's cuss words where we come from," said a man in an orange Auburn sweater vest.
Trey Laubenthallnoted fans like himself had a feature on their shirts that Virginia Tech fans lacked, then pointed to a list of Auburn's 2004 opponents on his back: "We've got 12-0."
_ TIMES WIRES