2015 Hokies looking for 2004-style resurgence

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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 2003 Hokies were so bad they actually lost this game to Virginia. True story!
The 2003 Hokies were so bad they actually lost this game to Virginia. True story!

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).