One more time, for Sting Coach!
After an agonizingly painful game which saw the Hokies best UVA for the 12th consecutive time, Virginia Tech finishes the regular season at a sparkling 6-6, meaning that Virginia Tech has all but secured their place in one of the 40 Bowl games to be played around New Years. This means Frank Beamer’s retirement is prolonged yet one more game, even after it’s already been announced that following Frank begins the audition* for Justin Fuente, now formerly of Memphis.
*I say “audition” due to the fact that in modern sports, contracts are irrelevant, and barring immediate and sustained success will henceforth be rephrased as “an era,” otherwise the coaches are vilified after their first negative season and immediately fired.
Regardless, in spite of just how stressful the game was, I was happy to see Tech pull out the victory over the Hoos, I was happy to see that Frank Beamer’s bowl streak continued all the way to the end, and this is where I’d say that I was happy to see that Frank Beamer’s career doesn’t end on a loss, but make no mistake, there’s a very, very, very high chance that at whatever Bowl Virginia Tech makes it into, they’re probably going to lose.
Long gone are the days of perpetually making it into a “good” Bowl, like the Sugar, Gator, Orange or Peach Bowls. Despite the forced importance of bowl eligibility for Virginia Tech, the reality is that Virginia Tech is going to get into a very known second-or-third-tier Bowl game, and Bowl games are where Frank Beamer simply does not have a very great record.
I’m not going to pretend like I know how Bowl invitations work out, but I’m going to immediately rule out the (Hyundai) Sun Bowl, the Russell Athletic Bowl and the Military Bowl (presented by Northrop Grumman), based solely on the fact that these are the three Bowls that Tech has already played in within the last three years. That being said, there’s still a variety of Bowls, named more after sponsors than anything else, that the Hokies will likely be playing in:
- New Era Pinstripe Bowl (vs. Big 10)
- Quick Lane Bowl (vs. Big 10)
- Camping World Independence Bowl (vs. SEC)
- Belk Bowl (vs. SEC)
- Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl (vs. SEC)
- TaxSlayer Bowl (vs. SEC)
Given the fact that Virginia Tech’s likely Bowl opponent will be a Big 10 or an SEC school, they’re pretty much fucked.
As far as the Big 10 is concerned, there are basically five ranked schools, and seven total schools with better records than Virginia Tech; only so many of them will get into upper-tier Bowl games, meaning that there’s a high probability that like a 9-3 Michigan will be slated to play against Tech in a Bowl game, and give me negative flashbacks to the fucking 2012 Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech’s best chances lie if whatever Bowl committee likes the idea of pitting Frank Beamer against a reputable program like Penn State (7-5), and maybe ol’ Frank can work some magic against the weakest bowl eligible program out of the Big 10.
If it’s an SEC school, I may as well just finish out writing Frank Beamer’s professional eulogy. Sure, there’s zero percent chance that Frank Beamer will ever have to play against Alabama again, since they’re pretty much already in the College Playoffs, and it’s safe to assume that Florida is headed to a top-tier bowl. But out of 14 SEC schools, ten of them have equal or better records than Virginia Tech does, and the entire SEC West division is Bowl eligible. The most favorable matchups, I would have to say would be Arkansas or Auburn, since technically they’re the weakest records among the ten Bowl eligible teams, but if I had my pick, I would prefer to see a matchup against Tennessee, since the Vols seem to be the one SEC school that Tech has faired positively against historically, and despite my fatalistic view, I really would like to see Frank Beamer go out on top. Worst-case scenarios would be Georgia, LSU or Texas A&M, as all of those schools are way better than their records, would probably win any other division outside of the SEC, and are more than capable of hanging 63 points on the Hokies.
My hope: Virginia Tech vs. Tennessee at the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, with Tech winning 24-17 🙂
More likely: Virginia Tech vs. Georgia at the Music City Bowl in Nashville, with Georgia winning 52-10 🙁
Either way, it’s hoping for the best, expecting the worst, and wishing as much good mojo for Frank Beamer’s last game as possible.