I spent a lot of time thinking about the 1993 Independence Bowl this past week. Not really thinking about the details, because 22 years later I’ve forgotten most of them, but thinking about where I was as a person and a fan, and what the game meant … versus what this game meant.
I have to admit that I have very little interest in re-watching this game, and I mostly didn’t. Since Frank announced his retirement on Nov. 1st, I haven’t felt like analyzing the games in detail. I don’t even feel like re-watching them, because I knew all along, come the end of the season, a big RESET button was going to be pushed on the program.
It’s as if all the game-watching and all the analysis I’ve done over the years was strictly about how Frank ran the program, and little else. It was all watching, learning, and re-hashing, with an eye towards where he was eventually going to take the program, by the time it was all said and done.
After he announced his retirement, we knew where it was going: to another .500 season or so. His story was complete. There would be no more Coastal Division championships, no more ACC championships, no more new buildings, no more coaching changes or recruiting successes or failures. Just a few more games, with a few more things to try to achieve, on a smaller level.
The games became binary affairs to me: a one or a zero, a win or a loss. Keep the UVa win streak or not. Keep the bowl streak or not. Keep the winning records streak or not. A series of gates (in the Electrical Engineering sense, not a fence-gate sense), a series of yes-no answers.
Now we know. Frank is handing off to Justin Fuente a 12-game win streak over Virginia, a 23-year bowl streak, and a 23-year run of winning records. Frank did a lot of great things, but towards the end, those were the nuts and bolts of his accomplishments. His program faltered, but those were the basic things they always achieved, and they still did, right to the end. That’s what was most important to me, not the details of the particular games.
Memories of 1993
In 1993, I was different. I was 28 years old, living in Charlottesville. I wasn’t married, I didn’t have any children, and I cared about Hokie football more than I cared about most things. I didn’t golf — not much anyway, and not very well — I didn’t fish, I didn’t hunt, and I had almost no hobbies....
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