Virginia Tech Coach Frank Beamer told reporters two weeks ago that if anything happened in terms of conference realignment this year, he believed the ACC “would be right in the middle of it.” His words were proven true this weekend when the conference announced the addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh, a move that is causing reverberations throughout the world of college athletics.
So on Monday during his weekly teleconference with reporters, Beamer applauded the proactive stance taken by the ACC.
“They did it quickly and did, in my opinion, the right thing,” he said. “And so I think we’ve really done well as a league and solidified our league. . . . I’m proud of the way our people handled it.”
But Beamer never expected to be reunited with a couple rivals from Virginia Tech’s days in the Big East. The Hokies’ football schedule included games against both Syracuse and Pittsburgh for 11 straight seasons (1993-2003), and the result was a fair share of memorable matchups with each school, especially in the not-so-distant past.
Remember the last time the Hokies traveled to Pittsburgh in 2003, when wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald helped lead the Panthers to a come-from-behind 31-28 victory in the waning minutes? And I’m sure none of you have forgotten that legendary 1998 thriller at Syracuse, when quarterback Donovan McNabb threw across the field for a game-winning touchdown on the final play of the game.
“I thought I had my last trip there,” Beamer joked of the Carrier Dome, since he’s won just one time in seven tries at Syracuse since coming to Virginia Tech in 1987. Beamer is 13-12 overall against Pittsburgh and Syracuse during his 25-year tenure in Blacksburg.
As for what this means for the college football landscape, Beamer agrees with many observers that the ACC’s expansion to 14 teams is only just the beginning.
“It looks like we’re headed to four conferences and 16 teams, and I don’t know, maybe even more,” Beamer said. “But 16 teams seems to be the number everyone throws out, so it seems like that’s the direction it’s going to be headed. I think we’ll know more today after what happens in the Pac-12. Or is it the Pac-16 now? I think that’s just the way it is and that’s the direction it’s moving in.”
When asked whether he thought all this conference realignment was good for college athletics, Beamer would only say, “I think that’s where it’s going, and I haven’t had a lot of time to think about it.” . . .
Instead, Beamer’s mind has turned to Virginia Tech’s second road game of the season this weekend at Marshall. The Thundering Herd are coming off of a 44-7 loss at Ohio that dropped them to 1-2 this year. Marshall started the year with a 34-13 loss at West Virginia, but beat Southern Miss, 26-20, at home two weeks ago.
“I think Saturday [at Ohio] they turned the ball over and got out of it early and it just affected their whole football team,” Beamer said. “I think you turn on the film against West Virginia and they’re taking it right to West Virginia and hanging in there. That’s the team we’re gonna see Saturday.”. . .
On the injury front, wide receiver Dyrell Roberts underwent surgery Sunday after breaking his arm on the opening kickoff of Virginia Tech’s 26-7 win over Arkansas State. Roberts wrote on Twitter Sunday that he plans to take a medical redshirt and return as a fifth-year senior in 2012.
Left tackle Andrew Lanier’s MCL sprain is not serious, Beamer said, and simply requires some rest during the week. Lanier is initially being listed as probable for Saturday’s game.