The High-Flying Hokies of Virginia Tech

If you want to follow a model for building a national powerhouse college football team, the story of Virginia Tech serves nicely. Coach Frank Beamer, an alumnus at VT, took over the program in 1987. Since then, Beamer has guided the Hokies to a place among college football's elite.

Virginia Tech has been one of the nation's most consistent college football teams in recent years. They flat out win.

Coach Frank Beamer has built the Hokies into a national powerhouse. Beamer has been a model of consistency in Blacksburg. Beamer is tied for second among active Division I coaches with 229 wins. He has a record of 187-92-2 at Virginia Tech. The Hokies have won eight or more games in all but one season since 1993. That is 16 out of 17 years. Only one team in the nation—Florida can match that level of consistency.

Further, there are four college football teams whose amazing winning tradition is highlighted with streaks of 10 or more years in winning eight games in a season. They are Georgia (13), Texas and Virginia Tech (12) and Boise State (11). Those four rank among the top 16 in the history of the game.

Beamer has guided his team to 17 consecutive bowl appearances and 14 Top 20 finishes in that time. Since 2004, Virginia Tech and Texas are the only schools in the nation to have won 10 games each year.

Virginia Tech has finished the season ranked 19th or higher in 9 of the last 10 years. The Hokies have finished in the top 20 in 15 of the past 18 seasons, including six top-10 finishes in the last 12 years. Beamer's Virginia Tech squad is one of just seven elite teams in the nation to finish in the Top 15 of the USA Today Coaches' Poll in six of the last eight years. Texas leads the list with a perfect eight finishes in the Top 15, while Ohio State and USC have seven finishes each. Georgia, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Boise State have six finishes in the Top 15.

Florida and Florida State are the only teams in the nation that can match VT's 17 straight bowl appearances. Ohio State, thought by many to be among the college football powers each year, has played in 16. Since 1993, Michigan, Tennessee, Texas, Texas Tech, Nebraska and Wisconsin have played in 15 postseason games, Miami of Florida, Clemson, Oregon and Georgia have played in 14 bowl games, USC, LSU, Penn State, Boston College and Georgia Tech have played in 13 while Alabama, Oklahoma, Iowa, UCLA, Utah and Auburn have played in 12 each. Boise State and Notre Dame have played in 11. Washington has played in just eight.

Under Beamer, Tech football has won three Atlantic Coast Conference titles, three ACC Coastal Division crowns, three Big East Conference titles, two Bowl Championship Series (BCS) bowl victories and played in a national championship game. Since the beginning of the 1995 season, only Ohio State and Florida have posted more wins than Virginia Tech.

Beamer, who is an alumnus of Virginia Tech, took over in January of 1987. The Hokies had just beaten North Carolina State in the Peace Bowl but had been hit with NCAA sanctions. Because of these, it took a while for Beamer to get his team going.

But VT finished 9-3 in 1993 with a 45-20 win over Indiana in the Indepedence Bowl. Tech was 8-4 the following season with an appearance in the Gator Bowl. Tech captured the Big East title in 1995 (9-2 with a 28-10 win over Texas in the Sugar Bowl) and 1999 and shared it in 1996. The 1996 team was 10-1 but lost to Nebraska in the Orange Bowl. Beamer was Big East Coach of the Year in all three seasons. Even though Virginia Tech was 7-5 with a Gator Bowl loss, they rebounded in 1998 with a 38-7 win over Alabama in the Music City Bowl that capped a 9-3 season.

Virginia Tech had reached a status in 1999 where Boise State would like to be this season, a full 11 years ahead of the Broncos. VT enjoyed the two winningest seasons in school history in 1999 and 2000 with the Hokies posting back-to-back 11-1 records. Tech registered its first-ever 11-0 regular-season record in '99 before losing its national championship battle with Florida State.

The Hokies played #1 FSU for the national championship and Beamer was recognized as the consensus National Coach of the Year, with eight individual national coach of the year awards. Although VT was not able to win that game, the Hokies earned unprecedented attention, respect and admiration and proved they belong among the elite college football teams. The Hokies followed that season with another 11-1 campaign in 2000. Their only loss was on the road to Miami of Florida. Everyone remembers the great Miami teams of the 90's and early part of this decade. Miami owned a 39-game regulalr-season winning streak until 2003. The team that beat them was Virginia Tech with a 31-7 victory over the Hurricanes. The Hokies rose to #3 that season and won eight games for the 10th time in 11 seasons.

Beamer steered Virginia Tech into the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2004 without missing a beat. The VT legend and his staff led a young team picked to finish sixth in the league in their inaugural year to an ACC title and Bowl Championship Series Bowl. Virginia Tech won their final eight games of the regular season, including three wins over nationally-ranked teams (#6 West Virginia, #16 Virginia and #9 Miami). In 2005, the Hokies were 11-2, won the ACC Coastal Division title and earned a spot in the ACC championship. Beamer was named ACC Coach of the Year both years. The 2006 Hokies were 10-3 with an appearance in the Chick Fil-A Bowl. In 2007, Beamer led VT to another ACC title, an 11-3 record and Orange Bowl appearance. Beamer was a finalist for both the Paul "Bear" Bryant and Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year awards.

Virginia Tech continued its amazing ride in 2008 with one of the youngest teams in its history. They tackled a tough schedule and emerged a better team for it, winning yet another conference title and a victory over Cincinnati in the Orange Bowl. Last season, Tech won 10 games and whipped Tennessee in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Virginia Tech's success was noticed in the national polls. They reached #2 in both 1999 and 2000 and climbed to No. 5 in the 2001 Associated Press poll. In 2002, the Hokies reached No. 3 after consecutive wins over #14 LSU, #16 Marshall and #19 Texas A & M.

Last season, Virginia Tech rallied to win 5 consecutive games at the end of the year, blowing out Tennessee 37-14 in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. Tech scored 33 rushing touchdowns last season to just 10 for opponents. In short, they dominate the line of scrimmage. They like to end games before halftime, outscoring opponents 232-102 in the first half last year.

Even though the Hokies lost nearly half their starters from last season's team, don't think this team won't be in the thick of the hunt for major bowl games because they will be. The 2010 Virginia Tech team will feature one of the game's most electrifying offenses and a backfield that is second to none. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster has a way of working magic with his unit and he will have his troops ready for the Battle in the Capital September 6 vs. Boise State. In fact, Foster, renowned as one of the game's top DC's, says that his unit this fall is as fast as any he's ever had.

You wouldn't expect anything less from the high-flying Hokies.

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