Before it could return to the Terror Dome, No. 8 Virginia Tech had to take care of business on a rare October trip to Charlottesville. Since 1990, the Commonwealth Clash has been played no earlier than November 17, except once: In 1999, when the Hokies and Wahoos met on October 2.
Virginia had beaten the Hokies two consecutive years, and the mood in the coaches’ offices on the second floor of the Jamerson Athletics Center was tense. Frank Beamer and his staff knew they really needed to win this game. Publicly, he was fond of saying how, in the recruiting wars, there were “Virginia” kids and “Virginia Tech” kids, and that the outcome of the game didn’t really impact their decisions. But privately, he knew better. Three losses in a row to George Welsh’s Cavaliers would damage in-state recruiting—at a time when the ACC had a better overall reputation than the Big East.
Frank Beamer’s staff meeting on Monday reflected the tension. There was none of the usual joking and banter. When Beamer ended the session with his usual “Go...
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