In the last three seasons, Hokie fans have seen their football team fall to depths they didn’t imagine possible.
If that statement sounds a little dramatic, let me present it to you another way: after the 2011 season, which saw VT go 11-1 in the regular season and rise as high as #5 in the rankings, did you ever imagine that in the next three seasons, Tech would go 22-17 overall, and a middling .500 (12-12) in the ACC?
I know I didn’t see it coming. I was pondering Tech’s rapid fall from grace recently, and I had a flashback … to the days after the 2003 season ended.
That was a tough time. For three seasons in a row, from 2001-2003, the Hokies started out strong, cracked the top five in the rankings, and then flamed out spectacularly each season.
- 2001: 6-0 start, #5 ranking … 2-4 finish.
- 2002: 8-0 start, #3 ranking … 2-4 finish.
- 2003: 6-0 start, #3 ranking … 2-5 finish.
By the end of the 2003 season, when the Hokies finished unranked for the first time since 1997, Tech had become a bit of a joke in college football: an overrated, national champion wannabe who choked at the end of the season.
The program was at a crossroads. They hadn’t cashed in on the Michael Vick years, Frank Beamer appeared to have lost his touch, and even Bud Foster’s once-stellar defense was beaten like a drum, falling to a 2003 ranking of #51 that stands as Bud’s second-worst defense since he took over as VT’s coordinator in 1996. (He was co-coordinator with Rod Sharpless in 1995).
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