ACC Football Isn’t What I Thought It Would Be

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Bryan Randall dives for a touchdown in Virginia Tech's first ever ACC game, vs. Duke on Sep. 18, 2004.
Bryan Randall dives for a touchdown in Virginia Tech’s first ever ACC game, vs. Duke on Sep. 18, 2004.

Twelve years ago, when Virginia Tech was invited to enter the ACC, the basketball draw was obvious. But the football side of the house was intriguing and exciting, as well.

The Hokies were invited in the summer of 2003 to enter the nine-team ACC along with Miami, to boost membership to 11 teams in 2004. Boston College was invited shortly thereafter, and the ACC was up to 12 schools in 2005.

That looked like exciting stuff. Tech was going from an eight-member conference with no football championship game and mostly unattractive road trips, to a 12-member conference with a championship game and many prospects for Tech’s fan base, located heavily in the states of Virginia, NC, and Maryland, to travel to nearby road games.

VT had built some excellent rivalries in the Big East in 11 seasons of round-robin play. A shared history with WVU, Miami, and even Pittsburgh and Syracuse had been established. But the ACC offered up something really exciting: a conference matchup with Virginia, and games against teams the Hokies had played in the past and considered regional rivals, and even one who was a national power. The prospect of contests against Maryland, UNC, NC State, Clemson, Georgia Tech, and especially FSU was thrilling, and the Hokies even got to bring their main rival from the Big East days, Miami, with them.

The ‘Canes and Florida State were national powers, and the thought of trying to knock those schools off their perch while going up against the Terps, Heels, Pack, Jackets