Painful mailbag

Well, the House of Pain project is coming to a close. But not before we use this space for you to vent. Virginia Tech fans filled up the HOP mailbag with the torturous memory of Matt Ryan's improbable comeback.

Hurley, in Arlington, Va., couldn't go into details, writing "it's still too soon."

Just ask Sam F. in Lynchburg, Va., who wrote plain and simple: Virginia Tech's loss to Boston College was one of the most painful moments of my life.

What goes around, comes around, Sam.

John in Bronxville, N.Y., writes: The most painful loss I witnessed was Boston College vs. Florida State in 2007. FSUwon at Chestnut Hill 27-17. With that loss BC lost its No. 2 ranking (which it saved the week before in the Miracle at Blacksburg), its national title hopes, its perfect season, and, eventually, a second Heisman winner.

Consider me your bartender today, guys: I'm here to listen.

Andrew McCord, in Spartanburg, S.C., writes: In 2000, a game I saw in person, Clemson had risen to #4 in the Coaches Poll at 8-0 as unrankedGeorgia Tech came into Death Valley. George Godsey threw a 16 yard TD pass with 7 seconds left in the game to beat Clemson 31-28 to ruin Clemson's run at perfection, crushing Tiger Fans' hopes of a 1981 repeat.

Wayne in Tallahassee writes: All I have to say is WIDE RIGHT........... UUUUUUUUUUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Adam in Atlanta, Ga., writes: 2002 National Championship, Miami v. Ohio State. The only football game that I have ever cried over in my entire life. Miami was absolutely dominant over the previous two seasons, and back-to-back national championships was the perfect ending. Never again should McGahee's injury be shown again. Terry Porter should never be allowed to have a yellow flag ever again. To this day I will not watch a replay of that game simply because I will break something. Thankfully, redemption is coming, but the hole in my heart can never be fixed.

Corey in Tampa, Fla., writes: Miami's sixth national title, the one the refs took from us. After watching our great team play the worst game they had in years, we thought we had won the championship. I remember leaping into my dad's arms celebrating, then i saw the flag (which was thrown by a referee from across the field.) I could go into how much it hurts but I don't want to.

Steve in Arlington, Va., writes: Seriously, asking a UVa fan shouldn't be fair, because there were just so many of them in the last two decades, most of them in choke-aliscious fashion. While Tennessee in the Sugar Bowl and Georgia in the Peach Bowl are both up there (both losses after leading 21-0), the 1995 game at the Big House wins (um, or is that loses?). Up 17-0 to start the fourth. Predictable final score, Michigan 18-UVa 17.

Chop in Columbia, S.C., writes: Good stuff, Heather. I am a UVa fan and I agree that those two last-second losses in 1995 were brutal, but without question the toughest loss in UVa football history was November 3, 1990 against Georgia Tech. The Hooswere 7-0 and ranked #1 in the nation (for the only time in school history) with two Heisman candidates -- Shawn Moore at QB and Herman Moore at WR. The Hoos blew a lead and ended up losing 41-38 on a last-minute field goal. The loss started a downward spiral for UVa in which they lost to Maryland, Virginia Tech, and Tennessee (blew a huge lead and lost by one in the Sugar Bowl). It was UVa's best team ever (despite the pedestrian 8-4 record). The loss sent UVa on a downward spiral and catapulted Georgia Tech to a share of the national championship. I still think UVa had a better team that year, but maybe I'm just bitter.

MSWILLIS in North Carolina writes: As a N.C. State fan, it is hard to forget the 2001 and 2003 N.C. State vs. Maryland games. Both were in Raleigh and bothended withMaryland wins. In 2001, Shaun Hill threw a TD pass with 41 seconds remaining. After that, the Maryland fans littered the field with oranges. In 2003, Philip Rivers was playing his last home game. N.C. State held a 24-10 lead in the 4th. T.A. McLendon fumbled and Maryland won on a field goal with less than 35 seconds to play. Talk about the pain....

Luke in Warner Robins, Ga., writes: How about how painful it was to watch Reggie Ball play for Georgia Tech. No one can forget how much it hurt to watch him play, especially against the bitter rivals to the East. Remember in 2004, when it was 4th and 21 with the Jackets down by 6, and Reggie Ball threw the ball OUT OF BOUNDS?! Those were sad days for Georgia Tech football.

Chris in Beaufort, S.C., writes: The Puntrooskie Game of 1988 between FSU and Clemson. Clemson dominated the ACC during the 1980s, having won a national championship in 1981. Entering the game at number 3 in the nation, the Tigers needed to beat the Noles at a noisy, rainy Death Valley. One fake punt in the fourth quarter was the difference, as Deion Sanders and Bobby Bowden left Tiger Town with the win. Though FSU wouldn't join the ACC until 1991, it was a symbolic passing of the torch for the top team in the ACC.

Rod in High Point, N.C. writes:Gameday was in Chapel Hill for UNC vs. Florida State 1997. Mack Brown always seemed to lay down versus his alma mater, but this was the year we get over the hump. Not to be. Oscar Davenport broke his ankle and our hearts as the 'Noles thumped us 20-3. We were 10-1 and #7, but still lost out on an Alliance bowl bid somehow!

Tim in College Park, Md., writes: November 22, 2008: Florida State @ Maryland. The Terpscame into the game with a 4-2 ACC Record and had a shot at a Conference title for the first time since 2001. The crowd celebrated Senior Night by blanketing Byrd Stadium in black. The Seminoles responded by annihilating the Terps 37-3. Maryland would lose the following game to Boston College and settle for a trip to the Humanitarian Bowl. The following season, the Terps went 2-10 and the future looks bleak for football fans in College Park.

Zach in Winston-Salem writes: 2006 Wake Forest vs. Clemson. The late (and great) Gaines Adams grabs a botched field-goal snap and takes it the other way starting a 24 point fourth quarter comeback to halt the Deacons' chance at upsetting the Tigers and perhaps get a sniff at the Top 10 later in the season.

Patrick in Clemson, S.C., writes: After defeating then No. 10 Miami in their own place, in overtime when we were slated to have no chance, we have the luxury of following up that win with a win at Duke ... so we thought. LOSING 16-13 THE NEXT WEEK WAS MY BELOVED CLEMSON TIGERS. To DUKE! It was dismal, the worst feeling ever ... all 12 of Duke's band members rushed the field. That scar will never heal.