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|Tech Sports News|
In 2005, all 13 Virginia Tech football games were televised, the first time that has happened since 2000 and just the second time in school history. The Hokies have appeared often on the major college football networks since the beginning of the Beamer Bowl Era.
A look at the Virginia Tech Football Television History link on hokiesports.com provides an interesting read, and it shows just how far Virginia Tech has come with regards to being on television.
Virginia Tech played in their first televised game on Oct. 10, 1959. The Hokies hosted Florida State that day, and WSLS broadcast the game, a 7-6 Seminole victory. Tech wasn't on TV again until 1966, when they played FSU again. The game was in Blacksburg again, but this time it was carried by ABC and the Hokies came out on top 23-21.
Tech also made the Liberty Bowl in 1966 and 1968, and both of those games were televised nationally by ABC. However it would be another decade (1978) before Tech would be on TV again, and it would not be until the mid-1990s that they would appear regularly.
As you can see, the Hokies have appeared on the ESPN networks more than any other network throughout the history of the program. But that hasn't always been the case. Tech's Independence Bowl loss to Air Force in 1984 was broadcast by the Mizlou Network and ESPN, but the first time ESPN chose Tech for a regular season game did not come until the Virginia game in 1990.
Despite the success of that game (a soldout crowd and a 38-13 victory for Tech), ESPN did not carry the Hokies again until the 1993 Independence Bowl victory over Indiana, and game that would have been carried by ESPN whether or not Tech was involved.
ESPN picked up the VT-WVU game in 1994 and scheduled it for a Thursday night. The Hokies won big, and ESPN has televised at least one Tech game every year since then. ESPN2 came into the picture in 1996 when they televised two Tech games against East Carolina and West Virginia.
The first time ESPN carried more than one Tech game in a season was 1997. ESPN picked up Tech games against Rutgers, Syracuse and Virginia. The Hokies also played Miami on ESPN2 that year. Since then, the Hokies have been a regular on the ESPN networks. They even played their first game on ESPNU this past year against Ohio, a 45-0 victory.
Joining the Big East helped Tech's television marketability greatly. Besides playing in 25 games televised by The Big East Network during their stint in the conference, the Hokies also much more likely to land games on ABC, and later CBS.
Because of the Big East's TV deal with ABC, the Hokies were televised twice on that network in 1994, and two more times in 1995. All four games were regional broadcasts. The 1995 Sugar Bowl was also televised by ABC.
In 1996, the Big East began a new TV deal with CBS. The Hokies played Syracuse and Miami in regional games on CBS that year, while the UVA game was nationally televised. The Orange Bowl against Nebraska was also broadcast nationally by CBS.
Despite the Big East's deal with CBS, the Hokies only got one regional broadcast in 1997, and none in 1998. CBS fulfilled most of their obligations to the Big East by broadcasting games such as Notre Dame vs. Pitt or Syracuse vs. Michigan rather than actual Big East games.
In 1999, Tech played nationally televised games on CBS against West Virginia and Boston College. The Michael Vick effect got them a split national game on CBS in 2000, a regional game against Pitt, and a national game against Miami. After the 2000 season, the Big East moved back to ABC.
ABC immediately made efforts to capitalize on the growing Virginia Tech-Miami rivalry. They scheduled the 2001 and 2002 games to be the last game of the season on national television, expecting both teams to be national title contenders. It didn't quite turn out that way. The 2001 game was a classic that Tech fans will always remember, despite the fact that Miami won 26-24. But the Hokies weren't quite the team people thought they would be for those seasons, and that lessened the intrigue for two straight years.
Four Virginia Tech games in 2006 have already been scheduled for television. The Boston College and Clemson games will both be Thursday night ESPN telecasts. ESPN will also carry the UNC game at noon. The Duke game will be carried by Lincoln Financial Sports/Raycom, which replaces Jefferson Pilot Sports.
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