This article will be published in an upcoming issue of Gaming Today News [ www.gamingtoday.com ]
Respect for Coach Frank Beamer as he looks to go out with a W at the Camping World Independence Bowl
By Michelle Sports X
“My thing is that the two football teams respect each other. I just hope the fans will do the same thing in the stands, show respect for everyone. I just hope that we keep respecting each other…” Frank Beamer
Back in 1993, the Virginia Tech Hokies had a record of 8-3 going in to the Independence Bowl. Their opponent, the Indiana Hoosiers also had a record of 8-3. The game was played on December 31st at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, Louisiana. Going into the game, VA Tech was favored by 3. The final score at the end of the first quarter was 7 all. At the end of the half, it was 28-7 VT, and remained so until the start of the fourth quarter. The final score ended up being 45-20. Most valuable player awards at the end of the game went to Maurice DeShazo (Offense, Va Tech) and Antonio Banks (Defense, Va Tech). Just goes to show that sometimes the odds that are set before a game have very little to do with the final outcome.
This game was the first bowl victory for Virginia Tech’s coach, Frank Beamer, which began a record streak of 23 consecutive bowl games.
This year, the Virginia Tech Hokies are 6-6 and the Tulsa Golden Hurricane is also 6-6. These teams will face off in the Independence Bowl in what will be Coach Frank Beamer’s last game. It’s no doubt to be an emotional game. Question is will Va Tech have what it takes to pull off a win for it’s beloved Beamer or will it fall and end the season on a losing note, ready and eager for Justin Fuente, Beamer’s successor to take over?
In my opinion, just because this is the final game for Beamer, and having it is at the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, the same place where he won his first bowl game for Va Tech is not reason enough to favor the Hokies. However, it could be that having Justin Fuente on deck might provide a bit of an advantage. This is because while Fuente coached Memphis, the Tigers beat the Golden Hurricane in the past, most recently in a game that ended 66-42 in October.
Three points have decided all VA Tech’s last three games against Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and rival Virginia. The final scores were 23-21. 30-27 and 23-20 respectively. VA Tech won two of the three games, losing to North Carolina on November 21st, but beating Georgia Tech and Virginia on the 12th and 28th of November. In all three of those games VA Tech scored less than thirty points, and prior to that scored just ten points against Boston College in a loss on October 31st to Boston College. Tulsa, on the other hand, has had a somewhat larger margin decide there past three games. It’s last game on November 27th against Tulane ended with a final score of 45-34 with the Golden Hurricane stopping the Green Wave.
There’s no shortage of information on this game. Information about how the Hokies forces lots of turnovers, thus having it be ranked second in the nation, with a total of 18 is something to consider. The Golden Hurricane has shown to have difficulty holding on to the ball. Yet, VA Tech’s defense has underperformed and Tulsa’s offense has scored over thirty points in five of its last six games.
So why is VA Tech favored by double digits when it’s most recent victories have been by relatively low scores? A look at Tulsa’s losses to Oklahoma, Houston, and Navy it’s obvious Tulsa is capable of losing by more than two scores. Yet, something tells me as long as the Golden Hurricane can hold on to the ball, it might manage to keep it close.
As many watch this game, mindful that it will be the end of an era at VA Tech, I will be thinking of my favorite memory of Coach Beamer. It was when I saw him with this team and the players were all wearing bracelets to share awareness about a non-profit organization founded in honor of former VA Teach student, Morgan Harrington, who was killed after attending a Metallica concert, at John Paul Jones arena. In my opinion, Coach Beamer is already a winning, having shown that college football players are not only about what matters on the field, but also showing that he has a heart and cares about putting energy into sharing awareness and uniting his players to give back to so many.
I’m going to shy away from choosing a side, because 14 seems like too much and I’m not even sure VA Tech will pull off the victory. In my life, I’ve learned not to underestimate hurricanes. I’ll be rooting for VA Tech, but betting on the Over to make a showing in this final bowl game coached by Coach Frank Beamer.