Thursday, May 24, 2012
Hatin' on the Hokies
By Heather Dinich
Frank Beamer, the winningest active coach in the FBS, has yet to bring Virginia Tech a national title.
Let’s get one thing straight: It’s impossible to hate Frank Beamer. He is genuinely one of the good guys in the business.
He just hasn’t won a national title yet.
And Virginia Tech and ACC fans hate that.
It’s easy for the rest of the ACC to hate the Hokies because they win. Beamer is the winningest active coach in the FBS. His .778 winning percentage is the best in conference history. He has coached the Hokies to four ACC titles (2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010). He has had 10 or more wins in each of the past eight seasons -- the only school in the nation to accomplish that feat. Beamer has led his alma mater to 19 straight bowl games.
The real reason fans love to hate on Beamer, though, is not because he wins too much. It’s because he still hasn’t won enough.
They hate Beamer’s 1-5 record in BCS bowls.
They hate Virginia Tech’s 1-27 record against top-five opponents.
They hate Beamer’s loyalty to oft-criticized offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring.
But most of all, they hate the fact that despite four ACC championships, the program is still an afterthought in the national title conversation. Even more so, Virginia Tech fans hate the fact their program is still in the shadows of Florida State and Miami, which haven’t had nearly as much success in recent years but are still held in higher regard nationally because of their past elite status.
It’s not as if Beamer hasn’t played for a national title or come close -- he has done both. Virginia Tech finished the 1999 season 11-0 to earn a spot in the national championship game against Florida State. The Hokies led the Noles heading into the fourth quarter but lost, 46-29. In 2007, Virginia Tech finished No. 3 in the final BCS standings (four-team playoff, anyone?). Since joining the league in 2004, Virginia Tech and Beamer have been the best the ACC has had to offer.
But sometimes, your best just isn’t good enough.
Instead of improving upon the league’s dreadful 2-13 record in BCS bowls, Virginia Tech has only contributed to it. The 40-12 loss to Stanford in the 2011 Discover Orange Bowl was simply embarrassing. The 20-7 win over Cincinnati in the 2009 Orange Bowl was nothing to brag about. The near losses to Michigan, Kansas and Boise State will continue to sting.
ACC fans outside of Blacksburg are tired of the Hokies’ missed opportunities. They’re ready for someone -- anyone -- to represent the ACC on the big stage and win a BCS bowl. When Georgia Tech and Clemson were both undefeated last season, there was a new excitement buzzing within the conference. When Virginia Tech was selected to play in the Sugar Bowl as the league’s first at-large BCS bid, those within the program found themselves defending their position instead of embracing it. ACC fans were leery of another letdown.
This year, there are no big boys on the Hokies’ nonconference schedule. Matchups against Big East teams Pittsburgh and Cincinnati highlight the September schedule. For Beamer to get another shot at a BCS bowl, he’ll have to win the ACC title.
Been there, won that.
Once again, the Hokies should be a preseason top-25 team. They should be favored to win the Coastal Division. And they should find a way to win 10 games.
They’ll win more than they lose, but Beamer still won’t win on college football’s biggest stage.