Virginia Tech's struggles vs. top five teams continue in Orange Bowl
Even if the Virginia Tech football team had managed to pull off an upset over No. 5 Stanford Monday night, its record facing top five opponents would have still been a point of contention. The Hokies were just 1-26 all-time -- and 1-18 during Coach Frank Beamer's tenure -- against top five opponents heading into this latest affair on the national stage.
But now that the dust has settled a bit on the Hokies' 40-12 Orange Bowl loss to the Cardinal, and the Virginia Tech haters come out of the woodwork, the potential for a 2-26 record sure sounds appealing.
Beamer addressed this issue a lot during the build-up to this game, saying Virginia Tech needed to start winning these games against elite opponents to to truly be considered one of the top programs in the country. But once again, the Hokies fell short when the national spotlight came their way -- this time courtesy of a 27-point second-half blitz by quarterback Andrew Luck and Stanford.
After the game, Beamer wasn't asked directly about one of the few blemishes on an otherwise remarkable resume. But he did speak about the burden of representing the ACC as its premier program, and whether he likes being the face of the conference almost every year in these big time bowl games.
"You know, I'm disappointed we didn't pull our end of the deal for the ACC. But again, I don't think it was a bad effort; it was just not as good execution as we need. I don't apologize for the effort we played with. I feel bad for our football team and for our fans and for the ACC that we didn't play better, that we didn't function better."
Now that this streak of falling flat against top five opponents has gone on for so long, there seems to be a growing debate among Virginia Tech fans. Beamer proponents like to emphasize that just about every team in the country has its fair share of losses to top five teams. They're in the top five for a reason, and as Stanford showed Monday, it's because they're really, really good teams. Dissenters say there aren't many coaches in the country that would keep their job long enough to have as many losses as Beamer does against elite opposition.
Whatever side you're on, I think both camps can agree that in almost every big game, Virginia Tech never can seem to take advantage of the opportunities it gets to further ingrain itself in the national consciousness.
But what I think many overlook is just how Virginia Tech, and Beamer, got to this point. The Hokies are now 1-27 all-time against top five opponents, and 1-19 under Beamer, but did you realize 10 of those defeats have come since Virginia Tech's national championship appearance in 2000?
Everyone knows the lone win during this streak came against No. 2 Miami in 2003, but were you aware that the first loss came all the way back in 1948 when the Hokies were beaten by No. 5 Army. How about the fact that just five of those losses have come in Blacksburg, or that the Hokies have been beaten by eight different Miami teams ranked in the top five?
Well, since this is likely going to be a topic of discussion throughout this offseason, I figured we might as well get the whole list out there. So without further adieu, here's how Virginia Tech came to be 1-27 all-time against top five opponents.
Oct. 30, 1948 -- at No. 5 Army: 49-7 loss
Nov. 18, 1972 -- at No. 2 Alabama: 52-13 loss
Oct. 27, 1973 -- at No. 2 Alabama: 77-6 loss
Oct. 28, 1978 -- at No. 3 Alabama: 35-0 loss
Oct. 27, 1979 -- at No. 1 Alabama: 31-7 loss
Nov. 8, 1980 -- at No. 3 Florida State: 31-7 loss
Oct. 15, 1983 -- at No. 4 West Virginia: 13-0 loss
Oct. 26, 1985 -- at No. 2 Florida: 35-18 loss
Nov. 14, 1987 -- at No. 3 Miami: 27-13 loss
Sept. 3, 1988 -- at No. 4 Clemson: 40-7 loss
Nov. 12, 1988 -- at No. 5 Florida State: 41-14 loss
Sept. 29, 1990 -- at No. 2 Florida State: 39-28 loss
Oct. 12, 1991 -- vs. No. 1 Florida State (in Orlando): 33-20 loss
Oct. 24, 1992 -- vs. No. 1 Miami: 43-23 loss
Sept. 18, 1993 -- at No. 3 Miami: 21-2 loss
Jan. 4, 2000 -- vs. No. 1 Florida State (in Sugar Bowl/National Championship): 46-29 loss
Nov. 4, 2000 -- at No. 3 Miami: 41-21 loss
Dec. 1, 2001 -- vs. No. 1 Miami: 26-24 loss
Dec. 7, 2002 -- at No. 1 Miami: 56-45 loss
Nov. 1, 2003 -- vs. No. 2 Miami: 31-7 WIN!
Aug. 28, 2004 -- vs. No. 1 USC (at FedEx Field): 24-13 loss
Jan. 3, 2005 -- vs. No. 3 Auburn (in Sugar Bowl): 16-13 loss
Nov. 5, 2005 -- vs. No. 5 Miami: 27-7 loss
Sept. 8, 2007 -- at No. 2 LSU: 48-7 loss
Oct. 25, 2007 -- vs. No. 2 Boston College: 14-10 loss
Sept. 5, 2009 -- vs. No. 5 Alabama (in Atlanta): 34-24 loss
Sept. 6, 2010 -- vs. No. 3 Boise State (at FedEx Field): 33-30 loss
Jan. 3, 2011 -- vs. No. 5 Stanford (in Orange Bowl): 40-12 loss
| January 4, 2011; 10:29 AM ET
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