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HTS 2019: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The Techmo Bowl returns to Atlanta.

Georgia Tech v Virginia Tech
They sure blew it last year...
Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Can I dub these guys Tech’s newest rivals? Is that fair? I kinda like that. We play a tight series with them. The matchup has a couple names, common in some circles. It’s almost always a game to circle on the calendar with (usually) divisional championship connotations. Let’s get to it.

Virginia Poly_echnic Ins_i_u_e and S_a_e Universi_y Hokies

Opponen_ Background:

  • Conference: A_lan_ic Coas_ Conference (2004 - presen_)
  • Location: Blacksburg, Virginia
  • All-_ime Record: 750-475-46 (.608)
  • Home S_adium: Lane S_adium (Capacity: 66,233)
  • Na_ional Championships: N/A
  • College Foo_ball Playoff Appearances: N/A
  • New Year’s Six Bowl Games: 11 (Sugar: 4, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2012 Orange: 4, 1996, 2007, 2008, 2011 Peach: 3, 1980, 1986, 2006)
  • Conference Championships: 10 — (South A_lan_ic: 1916, 1918 Sou_hern: 1963 Big Eas_: 1995, 1996, 1999 ACC: 2004, 2007, 2008, 2010)
  • Division Championships: 6 — 2005, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2016
  • 2018 Season Record: 6 - 7 (4 - 4 ACC)

Past Results:

  • Team Head-to-Head Record: 7-9-0 (.438)
  • Recent Meetings:
    2015 - 23-21 Virginia Polytechnic and State University (Atlanta, GA)
    2016 - 30-20 Georgia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
    2017 - 28-22 Georgia Tech (Atlanta, GA)
    2018 - 49-28 Georgia Tech (Blacksburg, VA)
  • Coach Head-to-Head Record: 0-0-0 (N/A)
  • Tech record in this week’s venue: 3-5-0 (.375)

2019 Football Schedule

Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes Attendence
Date Time (if known) Opponent Conference Historical Record Venue Result Notes Attendence
August 29 8:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Clemson (1) Atlantic Coast 51-32-2 Memorial Stadium, Clemson, SC 14 - 52 L Rivalry 79,118
September 7 2:00 p.m. (ACCN) South Florida American Athletic 1-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 14 - 10 W Group of Five, Whiteout 46,599
September 14 12:30 p.m. (ACCRSN) The Citadel SoCon 10-1-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 24 - 27 L (OT) FCS 42,871
September 28 3:30 p.m. (CBSSN) @ Temple American Athletic 0-1-0 Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA 2 - 24 L First Meeting, Group of Five 31,094
October 5 4:00 p.m. (ACCN) North Carolina Atlantic Coast 30-22-3 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 22 - 38 L Family Weekend, Hall of Fame Game 45,044
October 12 12:30 p.m. (ACCNX) @ Duke Atlantic Coast 51-35-1 Wallace Wade Stadium, Durham, NC 23 - 41 L 21,741
October 19 12:00 p.m. (ACCN) @ Miami (FL) Atlantic Coast 13-12-0 Hard Rock Stadium, Miami Gardens, FL 28 - 21 W (OT) "54,106"
November 2 4:00 p.m. (ACCNX) Pittsburgh Atlantic Coast 5-9-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 10 - 20 L Homecoming 41,219
November 9 12:30 p.m. (ACCNX) @ Virginia Atlantic Coast 21-20-1 Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA 28 - 33 L 44,596
November 16 3:30 p.m. (ACCNX) Virginia Tech Atlantic Coast 7-10-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 0 - 45 L Rivalry, Heroes Day 43,263
November 21 8:00 p.m. (ESPN) NC State Atlantic Coast 19-10-0 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 28 - 26 W 38,198
November 30 12:00 p.m. (ABC) Georgia Southeastern 44-68-5 Bobby Dodd Stadium, Atlanta, GA 0 - 0 TBD Rivalry, Senior Day, Toy Drive
2019 Football Schedule Jake Grant

This One Time There Was a Rainout

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University has a long and storied football existence dating back to 1892, coincidentally the origin of the Tech team as well. Their first game was against a Radford boys school that was “about as level as a side of Brush Mountain,” whatever that is. One can assume that it was not, however, very flat. They first wore the colors burnt orange and Chicago maroon in 1896, a combination they tout as being unique at the time, though, clearly some other, more accomplished and famous school was already using one of the two. This author will save his rant about University of Chicago football for another day. Anyways, they had several one-loss teams around the turn of the century, all three of them losing their single game against their rivals, the University of Virginia. In 1909, they were first referred to as the Gobblers. As is the age old question, what is a hokie, anyways?

In 1932, they beat the school in Athens. There’s not much to add, that was just a nice thing for them to do.

Their first bowl game was when the 3-3-3 1947 team was the third choice selection for the Sun Bowl. Their only undefeated season, at 8-0-1, came a few years later, and somehow did not get invited to a bowl. Go figure. In 1981, they were officially dubbed the Hokies, derived from an old cheer, or so the story goes. The football teams were largely mediocre, committing sanctionable violations, or both during this period, and the tenure of coach Bill Dooley was marked with exceptional strife. After his departure, Virginia Tech would attempt to hire Maryland’s Bobby Ross, but instead of hiring Ross, they were stuck with Frank Beamer, a former letterwinner for VPISU. Ross would lead Georgia Tech to its fourth national championship in 1990, beating the Hokies in Atlanta 6-3 along the way in their first-ever meeting, and Beamer, in almost three decades in Blacksburg, would bring the Hokies tantalizingly close to one of their own several times. They are still searching.

Beamer, for as close as his program came to success, is largely to credit with them being there in the first place. He took a middle of the road independent, got them into a major conference, and climbed that ladder to an ACC invitation a decade later. Now, they are one of the better schools in the conference and have six league titles to their name. Not too bad for a new-blood school from a small-ish Virginia town.

As far as Tech football history goes, From the Rumble Seat has been taking a look at it since May 2018 over at Rearview Mirror. The short version is that Tech football began ignominiously in 1892. A game up in Athens in 1893, which Tech won, set the stage for one of the fiercest rivalries in the sport and also is one of the mythic origins of the Ramblin’ Wreck nickname. If that wasn’t enough, it’s also how Tech got its colors. Apparently gold is a color for cowards, if the residents of Athens are to be trusted. Tech was pitiful, to put it nicely, for quite some time until one man, Frank Turner, started an initiative to hire a bonafide legend as a football coach. That resulted in John Heisman. Heisman, innovator and champion, saw much success on the Flats until he dramatically left town as part of his divorce. The old man was replaced by William Alexander, who was known for his team’s strong academics and his own 1928 national championship.

Coach Alex was, in turn, replaced by his own protegé, Bobby Dodd. By the end of Dodd’s tenure, Tech had amassed three national championships, twelve conference championships, including five in the Southeastern Conference, which just mean more. What’s more, Dodd and Institute president Edwin Harrison had decided to go independent to make a stand not only for football principles, but its intrinsic academic ideals as well. Dodd and Tech would not sacrifice student-athlete education and well-being. The independent years were lean for Tech and did not result in the dream of a “Notre Dame of the South” status.

Eventually, Tech joined the Atlantic Coast Conference. By the end of the decade, coach Bobby Ross brought the Jackets from the utter depths of football irrelevance to win a national championship, Tech’s fourth. It is hard to overstate just how terrible Tech was at its nadir. Since then, the Jackets have seen average-to-great years, the most recent excellent year being 2014, when Tech was a few plays from the inaugural College Football Playoff. Tech’s years of triple option play - the heights of an Orange Bowl win to the lows of a three win season - would come to an end following the 2018 season. The Jackets have an all-time record of 738-507-43.

For all the fun it is to face off against the Hokies, the two teams have still only played one another fifteen times, which seems weird. The first matchup came in 1990, with Bobby Ross and Tech barely edging out Frank Beamer and the Hokies. Another early matchup was cancelled due to ridiculous weather. Since 2004, when VPISU joined the league, the two schools have met annually in what has been dubbed the Battle of the Techs, or, more fun, the Techmo Bowl. The winner of the matchup regularly goes on to play in the conference championship game, and the contest is often fun and memorable. There is not a team on the schedule I look more forward to playing due equal parts to the pleasure of a good game of football and the spiritedness of rivalry than the annual tilt with the Hokies. It is a matchup that only grows with fervor with the addition of that special ingredient - familiarity.

Tomorrow, Tech hosts Virginia Tech in yet another blessed non-noon kickoff game. Should be beautiful weather for a football game, too. Add in a healthy rivalry aspect, and you’ve got yourself quite a contest. The game will be shown on ACC Network Jr. (ACC Network Exta, Fox Sports Southeast over the air) and can be heard over the radio in the usual suspects, 680 AM / 93.7 FM and the Georgia Tech IMG Sports Radio Network, featuring the voice of the Yellow Jackets, Andy Demetra, as always.

With the appearance of the historical matchup preview, that means it’s after Friday at 10:00 AM and that concludes From the Rumble Seat’s regularly scheduled pregame content. Tune in tomorrow starting at 6:00 AM for How to Watch continuing through the gameday thread and the postgame recap. Less than 36 hours until toe meets leather! As always, go Jackets!