With Virginia Tech’s big Thursday night ESPN win over West Virginia, ABC opted to televise its upcoming game with Syracuse regionally, marking the Hokies’ first network television appearance in 11 years—and another $360,000 in the athletics coffers.
Things were changing rapidly for the program. Less than two years prior, Virginia Tech was in the throes of a two-win season. Now, for the first time, ESPN and CNN showed Virginia Tech highlights regularly. The big networks recognized that the Hokies were nationally relevant.
Just before the Syracuse game, the USA TODAY sports section ran a cover story on Virginia Tech. Wrote sportswriter Harry Blauvelt: “Move over, Miami. Virginia Tech might be the emerging bully of Big East Conference football. Playing defense with a barroom brawler’s abandon, Frank Beamer’s Hokies are 4-0, their best start since 1981. Their No. 10 ranking is their highest, surpassing No. 14 in 1954.”
But when the Orangemen have a competitive football team, winning in the Carrier Dome can be an arduous task. With Syracuse athletics director Jake Crouthamel chain-smoking cigarettes in the Carrier Dome pressbox, the Orangemen scored a pair of late touchdowns...
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