Saturday was very much a taking-care-of-business game for the Hokies. With
the Coastal Division bid sewn up, the to-do items for the Hokies were to extend
domination of the series with Virginia (notice I didn’t say “rivalry”)
and to finish undefeated in regular-season play in the ACC. The Hokies
accomplished both without breaking a sweat.
I hope you all aren’t disappointed in me, but I have not yet watched a replay
of this game. My Sundays are pretty busy, and this one was no exception. I
generally rewatch the football game on Sunday night, but with the Hokie
basketball team in action against UNLV at 9:00 PM Sunday night, and the football
game having been such a blowout, I watched hoops instead.
I might rethink that decision, given a second chance and the foresight of
knowing that VT lost to UNLV. But, what’s done is done.
My interest in this game isn’t really what happened on the field, anyway. The
games against Georgia Tech, UNC, and Miami were all intense battles that had a
lot of twists and turns, but this game? Not so much.
As I reflected on the game Saturday and Sunday, instead of thinking about
what happened on the field, I thought instead about how uninspired I’ve become
by the Virginia Tech-Virginia rivalry. I touched upon this in my section of the
game preview, saying “I miss the days when this rivalry used to make my
stomach churn with anxiety.”
I think what I really meant to say is that I miss the days when a victory
over Virginia meant something. There’s no question that in the last decade, this
series has taken a back seat to the Hokies’ other rivalries, and Virginia Tech’s
quest to win big non-conference games against the likes of USC, Alabama, LSU,
and even Boise State.
Think about the last ten years, and the stirring victories the Hokies have
had. None of them were over Virginia. Think about the last ten years, and the
painful losses the Hokies have absorbed. None of them were to Virginia. Virginia
has beaten Virginia Tech just once in those ten years, and although the loss was
aggravating at the time, it has simply been filed away in the “Bad 2003
Hokie Football Team” folder, along with losses to WVU, Pitt, BC, and Cal,
right beside that narrow win over Temple. Most Hokie fans I know get a chuckle
out of Heath Miller’s ridiculous 13 catches in that game. It’s almost comedy,
whereas for example the 2005 Miami game and 2010 Boise State game will never
be thought of as amusing in any way.
No last-second drama. No pitched battles between two ranked teams. (Yes, the
2004 and 2007 games were between ranked teams, but I’ll bet you didn’t know that
off the top of your head, did you? UVa certainly didn’t play like a ranked team
in either instance, losing 24-10 and 33-21.) No conference titles on the line in
a titanic season-ending tilt. (Yes, the 2007 game was actually for the Coastal
Division crown, but how many of you recall that fact?) No conference pride on
the line, because, well, the two teams are in the same conference now.
Nothing but one good team whipping up on one bad team.
So, what am I saying? That I want the Cavaliers to beat the Hokies a few
times, to restore the luster to the rivalry? Uh, no. No, no, no, no, no. I guess
I’m just looking for the exhilarating high of the 1990 win (38-13 over a
Virginia team that had been ranked #1 earlier in the season), the back and forth
drama of the 1993 road win (a 20-17 thriller, the first time both teams were
ranked at game time), or the 1995 Druck-to-Holmes comeback classic.
Perhaps I’m just pining for lost youth. That’s probably closer to the truth.
The three games I just listed took place when I was 25, 27, and 29 years old,
when I really got into the rivalry. Now … it’s hard to get into it.
Crunching the Numbers
Enough of that. We’ve established that I wasn’t really piqued by this game,
which was very workmanlike and kinda frigid. I hope you got more of a thrill out
of it, and that beating UVa still gets you really jacked up. For me, it has
become more of a statistical exercise. 11 out of 12 is damned impressive, almost
as impressive as VT’s coin-toss streaks of the last two seasons. This season’s
streak was broken at ten straight coin toss wins, when Virginia
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