Reflections on a Championship Season

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With 11:51 remaining in the second quarter of an unremarkable October 13th
game against Duke, Sean Glennon trotted onto the field to fill in for the
injured Tyrod Taylor. It had been an up and down season for Virginia Tech
football, to say the least. No one knew it at the time (and a painful home loss
in the next game to BC would obscure it for a while), but when Glennon entered the
huddle, Tech’s season turned on a dime. Seven weeks later, the Hokies would
capture the 2007 ACC championship, the result of a coaching job that ranks as
one of Frank Beamer’s best.

admit saying that the season “turned on a dime” at Duke makes for a
catchy opening paragraph, but it’s not truly accurate. Virginia Tech’s ACC title
came about as the result of a number of turning points and critical decisions,
some of which were foreseen and intentional, others which were not. As always,
it was how the players and coaches responded to adversity that put the Hokies on
the path to the championship.

Virginia Tech has won five conference championships under Frank Beamer, and
all five title seasons (with the exception of the 1999 season) share a common
thread: an early-season setback, sometimes more than one, followed by leaders
responding and carrying the team through the rest of the season.

  • In 1995, VT suffered season-opening losses to Boston College and
    Cincinnati, only to rebound and win ten straight, including the Sugar Bowl.
  • In 1996, a Hokie team that had won 13 straight games ventured up to
    Syracuse and was dismantled by the Donovan McNabb-led Orangemen, 52-21. Tech
    responded by winning seven straight games, including four big victories at
    the end of the season, and capturing the Big East title.
  • In 2004, the Hokies lost two of their first four games, including an ugly
    ten-sack defeat at the hands of NC State. Tech bounced back under Bryan
    Randall and won eight straight to win the ACC and go to the Sugar Bowl.

In 2007, the LSU Tigers provided the Hokies with their first real sign of...