It was only a few minutes after Virginia Tech’s 54-10 loss to Maryland that the question arrived on my phone via text.
“Do you think,” asked the text, “that this was the most unsatisfying season you’ve seen as a Hokie fan?”
It’s an interesting question. It didn’t ask if this was the worst season. Or biggest disappointment of a season. Just if it was the most unsatisfying.
Since I’ve seen more than 50 seasons of Hokie football, I had to think for a few moments. That season in 1973 when the team went 2-9 and lost to Alabama 77-6 was a pretty bad one, particularly in light of the team under Charlie Coffey having a winning season the year before. But in that situation, I was a new Hokie fan – so I didn’t have much to compare it to – and change was immediate. Coffey had a bad year, and the next year he wasn’t the coach.
Then there was the famous Frank Beamer season of 2-8-1 in 1992, where just about every close game went against them. A 50-49 loss to Rutgers was that team’s version of the 77-6 loss to Alabama 19 years prior, and the Hokies only beat two teams – James Madison and Temple.
But even then, I can’t say it was unsatisfying. In at least 5 of those games, Virginia Tech had a better than average chance to come out the winner, no matter whether you wore orange and maroon colored glasses or not. You could see the potential, and when Beamer made some changes on his staff, the next year began the streak of 27 consecutive bowl game appearances.