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  TSLMail #361- December 19, 2008    
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 Tech Sports News

Alabama Game Could Put Tech Back on the Map 
by Chris Coleman,

The Virginia Tech-Alabama game in the Georgia Dome is now official. The two teams will meet on September 5 in a game that will be nationally televised by either ABC or ESPN.

Alabama spent part of this season #1 in the rankings before losing the SEC Championship Game to Florida. They will most likely be a preseason Top 10 team again next year. The Hokies should also have some hype surrounding them heading into 2009, and this should be a game that the college football world will be watching.

You have to like that, as a Tech fan. This is a chance to defeat a premier program of the SEC in Atlanta, which is the heart and soul of SEC country. However, there are things not to like about the game as well, such as Virginia Tech's record against SEC teams.

We'll take you back to 1987, Frank Beamer's first year as Tech's head coach. The Hokies have played 13 games against SEC foes under Beamer, and they haven't fared very well.

Frank Beamer vs. the SEC
Year Opponent Result

South Carolina

40-10 L


14-7 L

South Carolina

26-24 L

South Carolina

17-17 T


18-0 W

South Carolina

35-24 L

South Carolina

28-21 L


45-23 L


38-7 W


26-8 W


16-13 L


31-24 L


48-7 L


24.2-19.4 L



That's a tough mark. Before the Beamer Bowl Era began, the Hokies played South Carolina every year from 1987 through 1991. In those five meetings, Tech was 0-4-1 against the Gamecocks. During that stretch before 1993, Tech also lost to Kentucky in 1987, though they did manage to beat Vanderbilt in 1989.

Since the Beamer Bowl Era began in 1993, the Hokies have faced an SEC opponent six times. Each time has either been in a bowl game, or has come against a team that went on to go bowling at the end of the season.

In 1994, Virginia Tech went to the Gator Bowl, where they had to face a very good Tennessee team that featured Peyton Manning at quarterback. The Hokies didn't finish the year off very well, so most people were expecting a loss, and that's what they got. Tennessee beat Tech easily 45-23.

The Hokies got a chance at another SEC team in the inaugural Music City Bowl in 1998. Tech faced the Alabama Crimson Tide, and most analysts thought this would be one of the best bowl matchups of the year. It turned out to be anything but good, as Tech shut down All-American running back Shaun Alexander and routed the Tide 38-7. This was a big win against an SEC program with a big name.

Virginia Tech got their chance against LSU in Lane Stadium in early 2002. This was a big game featuring two Top 20 teams, and ESPN's Lee Corso had actually predicted the Tigers to win the National Championship that year. However, they were virtually eliminated from the race following a 26-8 loss in Blacksburg in the second week of the season. Tech had won their last two games against the SEC, and had an overall record of 2-1 since the Beamer Bowl Era began.

However, that's the last time the Hokies have managed to defeat an SEC school. They have lost their last three games against the SEC, two of which came in embarrassing fashion.

Tech faced off against an undefeated Auburn team in the Sugar Bowl following the 2004 season. The Hokies represented quite well, but ultimately lost a tough 16-13 game that featured four first round NFL picks for the Tigers: Jason Campbell, Cadillac Williams, Ronnie Brown and Carlos Rogers.

The last two games against SEC teams haven't gone as well. After leading Georgia 21-3 at halftime in the 2006 Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Hokies blew the game in the second half, losing 31-24. They followed that up by getting bombed 48-7 at LSU in the second week of the 2007 season.

Over the last six quarters of football against SEC teams, Virginia Tech has been outscored 76-10. That doesn't exactly inspire confidence heading into a game with a big time opponent like Alabama.

Despite all that, this game should be heavily hyped by ESPN. If Tech wins the Orange Bowl, this could be a matchup of two preseason Top 10 teams. ESPN will cover the event all week, and it will likely be even bigger than last year's Clemson-Alabama game. This is a chance for the Hokies to get back on the map, after being mostly ignored during the 2008 season. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week
Tech and Alabama to Play in Atlanta
December 19, 2008
Finally, it's official. Virginia Tech will meet Alabama on September 5, 2009 in the Georgia Dome in the Chick-fil-A College Kickoff. The game will be nationally televised by either ESPN or ABC, and kickoff is scheduled for 8pm.

Aeropostale Holiday Festival Preview
December 19, 2008
Virginia Tech is in New York City over the weekend to defend their Aeropostale Holiday Festival championship. They'll play two games in Madison Square Garden, and two wins on a neutral court could give them some momentum heading into 2009.

The Latest on the Edwards Brothers
December 19, 2008
Marlboro County (Bennettsville, S.C.) brothers Tariq and Tyrell Edwards verbally committed to Virginia Tech earlier this summer, accepting January 2010 gray-shirt opportunities. One of the brothers has now publicly de-committed from Virginia Tech, although he is still considering the Hokies offer.

A Retraction
December 18, 2008
This morning, we posted an article analyzing possible changes to the Virginia Tech football coaching staff. A good portion of the analysis was based on a quote attributed to Coach Frank Beamer that appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. There's only one problem: The quote was from Tech center Ryan Shuman, not Frank Beamer.

Top Tech Recruits Impress Last Week
December 18, 2008
Two Virginia Tech recruits enjoyed special days last week. Both prospects play running back for their respective high schools, but only one projects as a running back for the Hokies. TSL caught up with George Washington (Danville, VA) star David Wilson and Seventy-First (Fayetteville, NC) standout James Hopper to talk about their recent accomplishments.

Harris Named to All-American Teams
December 18, 2008
With the end of the college football season, All-American lists are beginning to be released, and senior cornerback Victor "Macho" Harris is being included on many of them. He was recently named a First Team All-American by The Sporting News, and he was also a member of the AP's Second Team.

Quarterback Recruiting Reaching a Critical Point
December 17, 2008
Key quarterback recruit Kevin Newsome chose Penn State over Virginia Tech on Tuesday. Individually it's not a huge loss, but when you combine Newsome with all of the other quarterbacks the Hokies have missed out on the last two years, it really hurts.

Four Finalists for Bolling
December 17, 2008
Brookville (Lynchburg, VA) offensive lineman Devin Bolling has narrowed his list to four schools and has three official visits left before he plans to make his college decision. The finalists include Boston College, Connecticut, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest, and the 6-5, 270-pound prospect will make the second of four official visits this weekend.

Newsome Headed to the Big 10
December 16, 2008
Virginia Tech will have to look elsewhere for a quarterback in the 2009 class. Chesapeake (VA) native Kevin Newsome, Tech's top target at the quarterback position in 2009, announced Tuesday night that he will attend Penn State University, choosing the Nittany Lions over Boston College and Virginia Tech.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 12/15/08
December 16, 2008
Last night's show was packed, with four guests: head men's basketball coach Seth Greenberg; defensive coordinator Bud Foster; athletic director Jim Weaver; and head football coach Frank Beamer.

Mark Shuman Continues to Add Offers
December 16, 2008
Fork Union Military Academy offensive tackle Mark Shuman is proving to be one of the most coveted juniors in the state of Virginia. The 6-6, 270-pound prospect boasted seven official scholarship offers in September and has since continued to enjoy success on the recruiting trail.

Newsome Decision Coming Today
December 16, 2008
One of Virginia Tech's top targets - if not the top target - in the 2009 recruiting class will announce his decision later today. Kevin Newsome, a 6-3, 205-pound quarterback recruit out of Chesapeake, Virginia, plans to make his college decision known at 5:30 p.m. He will choose from Boston College, Penn State and Virginia Tech.

Ankrah Leaning Towards December Decision
December 15, 2008
Quince Orchard (Gaithersburg, MD) defensive end Jason Ankrah has scheduled an official visit to Virginia Tech for the weekend of January 24th. The problem as far as Tech is concerned is that the 6-4, 240-pound senior is leaning heavily towards making a college decision before then.

TSL Poll: Why Aren't You Going to the Orange Bowl?
December 15, 2008
VT fans aren't exactly chomping at the bit to attend the January 1 Orange Bowl against Cincinnati. As detailed in the Roanoke Times this weekend, VT has sold just 4,000 Orange Bowl tickets, versus 8,000 at the same point a year ago. So interest is down. There could be all sorts of reasons for this, but here's what we're really looking to find out: If you usually go to Tech bowl games -- say, more than 50% of them -- why aren't you going to this year's Orange Bowl?
To vote, head over to our blog section by clicking here. Anyone can vote, so tell us your opinion!

Hokies Use Big Runs to Beat Longwood
December 14, 2008
Virginia Tech got a big double-double from Jeff Allen and defeated Longwood 79-57 in Cassell Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. The win puts the Hokies at 6-4 on the season. They'll take the remainder of the week off before traveling to New York to defend their Aeropostale Holiday Festival championship.
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