Sunday, November 18, 2012

Virginia Tech Football: The Beamer Ball Legacy

Was Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer disappointed with the Hokies' 2012 season?  Probably even more than the most rabid VT football fanatic.

But is Beamer ever worried about his job security? Every fall, the Hokies have high expectations that don't pan out. Usually, coaches are judged harshly for falling short in too many consecutive campaigns. The elites like Urban Meyer, Brian Kelly, and Nick Saban fly above scrutiny as long as they're winning. We quickly forget past failures when success is more recent.

Tech came closest to college football's Promised Land back when Mike Vick was still playing. Since then, Virginia Tech has played below preseason predictions. No serious sports fan cares that they've dominated the weak ACC football scene for ten years.

Remember when Tech lobbied so hard to move from the Big East, petulant over the fact that Miami and Boston College had decided to jump to the Atlantic Coast Conference? Hey, we wanna join too! It was like the friend who wasn't invited to the party, knew his name had purposely been omitted, but showed up anyway. Tech actually filed a lawsuit to get in, pretty much guaranteeing that I would root against all of their sports teams in perpetuity.

In subsequent years, the Big East has been stronger, top to bottom, than the ACC. Tech likely would have done better to stay where they were, given how things have shaken out. Even Big East basketball has given perenially-tough ACC hoops a run for supremacy, since 2000.

Frank Beamer, though, has apparently earned the privilege of leaving on his own terms. Think about it: We never even hear it suggested that Beamer is underperforming. This ain't the SEC, where a few subpar seasons gets even the Mississippi State coach canned.

Football is simply not as important in the ACC, or in Virginia, though Hokie fans probably believe otherwise. If it was that crucial in Blacksburg, Beamer wouldn't still be here. The "usual" 10-3 season, which Beamer normally produces and which is an outstanding record, would bring cries of Why can't he reach the next level? down south.

The question is, Will his son Shane stick with VT for life? Young Beamer is on the coaching staff for now. There's no way to read his heart. But here's hoping he pulls away from Frank's shadow, and crafts a place for himself. For the sons and daughters of legends, that is usually best.

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