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   Welcome to TSLMail #128 - Friday, May 14, 2004    
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   Featured Items TechLocker.com!


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   Tech Sports News

Going to Dinner This Weekend? Visit Beamer's and Get 15% Off!
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

If you've got dinner planned this weekend, be sure to stop by Beamer's Restaurant in Christiansburg or Roanoke, where you can get 15% off, using our exclusive TechSideline.com coupon!

Enjoy a great meal surrounded by all things Hokie! Serving two locations in Roanoke and Christiansburg, Beamer's serves everything from burger and sandwiches to fresh seafood and their famous Prime Rib. Click here for a complete menu and details on a special 15% off coupon for TSL community members.


The VT/North Carolina Football Rivalry
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com

Virginia Tech/North Carolina isn't your typical football rivalry, for two reasons. Number one, it is renowned (among Tech fans anyway) not for what has happened on the field, but what happened off the field. And number two, these two teams played 26 times in the first 52 years of the rivalry ... and just once in the next 57 years.

From 1895 to 1946, these two teams played 26 times, with the Hokies holding a 12-8-6 edge. But after a 14-14 tie in 1946, they wouldn't meet again for over 50 years.

What happened off the field, as Tech football fans from the early 80s know, is that UNC once shut VT out of a Peach Bowl bid. In 1983, a powerful VT team that featured Bruce Smith, Mike Johnson and Ashley Lee on defense went 9-2, plowing through nearly every team on the schedule, with the exception of a season opening loss to Wake Forest and a midseason 13-0 defeat at West Virginia.

Meanwhile, UNC was having a stellar season also ... to a point. The Tar Heels started out 7-0 and went as high as #3 in the rankings, only to lose three straight games, including a defeat at the hands of Virginia that dropped UNC to 7-3, out of New Year's Day bowl consideration ... and right towards the Peach Bowl, where VT was headed.

According to a Roanoke Times article that was written prior to VT's season ending game with UVa, an unidentified Peach Bowl official said the 7-3 Tar Heels refused to play the 8-2 Hokies in the Peach Bowl.

"North Carolina says it's not in the same class with Virginia Tech," the Peach Bowl official said, implying that UNC felt they were too good to play against VT. UNC, which had success recruiting in the state of Virginia, especially in the Tidewater area, wanted no part of playing the Hokies and possibly losing prestige in the state that fed many good players to their program.

The Peach Bowl had a choice for the host team -- North Carolina or Virginia Tech -- and they chose North Carolina. Since the Heels refused to play the Hokies, the Peach Bowl matched UNC up with Florida State instead. The Hokies, who plastered Virginia 48-0 to finish the season 9-2, sat at home and fumed.

The bad off-the-field blood between VT and UNC goes farther back than that. Some surmise that it goes all the way back to 1953, when seven schools left the Southern Conference to form the ACC, leaving VT and many others behind. One theory holds that UNC played in bowl games in 1948 and 1949, sending them over the Southern Conference-allowed limit of ten games per season, and that VT was among a handful of Southern Conference teams that pushed to get UNC reprimanded by the league.

Whether that's true or not, UNC hasn't scheduled a regular season game with the Hokies since 1946 and voted no every time VT was up for ACC membership. Then came the 1983 Peach Bowl snub, and Hokie fans simmered about that for 15 years, until the two teams finally clashed at the Gator Bowl after the 1998 season.

Unfortunately for Tech fans, the '98 Gator Bowl was a disaster for the Hokies. An injury-riddled VT team was fading fast that year and limping to the finish line, while UNC boasted a BCS-caliber team, especially on defense. The Tar Heels annihilated the Hokies 42-3 in a game that had a men-against-boys quality to it.

This fall, the two teams will meet during the regular season for the first time in almost 60 years, despite being just 200 miles apart. But it wasn't necessarily ACC membership for VT that brought them back together. Even before the Hokies were extended a membership invitation, the two teams were scheduled to play against each other in 2004 (in Chapel Hill) and 2007 (Blacksburg). So maybe that long standing dispute, whether real or imagined, was already over.

Be sure to catch the Nov. 6th game between VT and UNC in person or on the television, because a regular season clash between these two hasn't happened since just after the end of World War II.

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-- Will Stewart

   TechSideline.com Updates From the Past Week


Wide Right: The Ten Toughest Hokie Football Players
by Jeff Cockey, 5/14/04, 10:30 am
A while back USA Today published their Ten Toughest Athletes list. This list was comprised of athletes from every possible sport, from horse racing to golf to ice hockey. While I donít disagree with their choice for number one, Mr. Brett Fah-va-ra, I do have to take umbrage with putting Allen Iverson at number two. Really, Iverson?
in TSL Pass

New ACC TV Deal Vindicates Swofford, League
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 5/13/04, 3:00 pm
The ACC's fat new football TV deal, coming almost one year after ACC expansion, meets or exceeds expectations and gives evidence that the messy, acrimonious expansion process the league went through paid off in the end.
in News and Notes

Hokies Poised to Match Finances With Rest of the ACC
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 5/12/04, 11:15 am
A mere two years ago, Virginia Tech's athletic revenue and expenditures lagged far behind that of their future ACC brethren, but Lane Stadium expansion, increased donations and ACC revenue sharing have the Hokies poised to enter the ACC on a level financial playing field with their fellow conference members. This bodes well for Tech's future ability to compete with the rest of the ACC not just in the big money sports, but in Olympic sports as well.
in TSL Pass

A Gym Rat's Notebook #17: Recruiting Hits Final Stretch
by Elijah Kyle, 5/11/04, 10:35 am
The close of the spring signing period is rapidly approaching, and Seth Greenberg and his staff are waiting for some key decisions to be made soon by several players that will determine how much larger, if any, the 2003-04 recruiting class becomes. With interest in any available inside player increasing daily, as schools see players transfer from their programs, the Hokies are finding themselves running up against many of the same schools, in pursuit of a handful of players.
in TSL Pass

The Ten Most Important Hokie Football Players for 2004
by Will Stewart, TechSideline.com, 5/10/04, 3:20 pm
There's a popular school of thought that almost every football game comes down to a handful of plays, just a few moments that determine the outcome of a game that is played for sixty minutes. In the same manner, it's true that every football season comes down to a handful of players. In this article, we're going to name the ten players that we think will make the 2004 Hokie football season one to remember Ö or one to forget.
in TSL Pass

Once More Into the Zone
by Jim Alderson, 5/7/04, 4:15 pm
The Kentucky Derby provided a clue. I was engaged in the consumption of my usual Saturday morning routine of breakfast and a second pot of coffee while scouring the Net for most any diversion that would take my mind off the undeniable fact that my lawn badly needed cutting. A few drops of rain solved that problem by convincing me that I could not possibly cut grass in this deluge, and entirely too many sites I was perusing were requesting a credit card number. Not wishing to contribute to the Chechen economy I gave up on the Internet and flipped on the television and discovered that one of the ESPN family of networks was treating me to breakfast at Churchill Downs. It was a shame I had already eaten.
in TSL Pass

 
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