5,000 Days

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Virginia Tech’s dominance in their rivalry with UVA has been impressive, but it has also taken the fun out of the rivalry. (Photo by Ivan Morozov)

It was a long ride back from Charlottesville.  I sat in the back of a small SUV next to my best friend from high school, who was a student at UVA.  In the front were his dad and his uncle, converted UVA fans because my friend was going to school there.  It was November 29, 2003.  UVA had just beaten Virginia Tech for the first time since 1998, and they were excited.  It seemed as if Al Groh was going to quickly turn around the advantage Frank Beamer had built over the aging George Welsh.

Virginia Tech had beaten UVA four years in a row from 1999 through 2002.  That type of dominance in the rivalry was almost unheard of at the time.  The Hokies won four times in a row from 1980 to 1983, and they did it pretty easily: 30-0, 20-3, 21-14, and 48-0.  George Welsh took over in the middle of that run, in 1982, and he quickly had UVA on the right track.  Still, UVA didn’t start routinely beating Tech until the Hokies went on probation in 1987.  From 1987 through 1994, here are the results…

1987: 14-13 UVA
1988: 16-10 UVA
1989: 32-25 UVA
1990: 38-13 VT
1991: 38-0 UVA
1992: 41-38 UVA
1993: 20-17 VT
1994: 42-23 UVA

Things evened up after that, with Tech winning games in 1995 and 1996, and then UVA winning in 1997 and 1998.  UVA fans who came up during the George Welsh era were used to enjoying plenty of success at Virginia Tech.  Then the Hokies recruited guys like Michael Vick, Lee Suggs and Corey Moore, and things started going south for UVA.  Tech won every game from 1999 through 2002, and three of them weren’t even competitive.  From a talent perspective, the