When the Atlantic Coast Conference decided to expand in 2004 with football in mind, it turned to then-two Big East rivals Miami and Virginia Tech. The two programs had dominated the Big East which was created in 1991. The move by the ACC was to improve its balance of power with its football centric schools with its basketball dominant programs.
Miami and Virginia Tech joining Florida State, Clemson, and Georgia Tech was set to make a super football conference that could compete with the Big Ten and SEC. Miami was coming off back-to-back BCS Championship Game appearances in 2001-2002, winning the title in 2001. Virginia Tech had legend Frank Beamer as its coach and had one appearance in the BCS title game following the 1999 season.
However, as time would play out only one of those teams have been the dominating force many suspected. Virginia Tech, who may not have the national appeal on the levels of Miami, Florida State, and Clemson, has been the most consistent football program in the ACC since 2004, the Hokies inaugural season in the conference.
Saturday night’s showdown against Miami will feature two top-15 ranked programs. Miami is undefeated at 7-0 and ranked No. 10 in the College Football Playoffs ranking. The Hokies are not too far behind at No. 13 with a 7-1 record. The winner will keep its hopes of making the four-team playoffs alive as well as have an inside track on the ACC Coastal Division title and a spot in the ACC Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Charlotte.
The game against Miami will be the Hokies’ 110th as a member of the ACC. Their 78 wins are second to no other program in the league since they joined in 2004 (Clemson also has 78). No other program has won more conference titles or appeared in more conference championship games (6). The Hokies won the ACC crown in their first year in 2004. They went on to win in 2007, 2008, and 2010, giving them four titles in their first seven seasons.
While, Florida State and Clemson have been the focal of the league the past six seasons with each winning a national championship during that timeframe, the Hokies’ dominance from the onset of joining makes them one of the more consistent programs in the conference over the past 13 years. That goes back to Beamer’s era and has carried over into the Justin Fuente era.
A win on Saturday gives them their ninth win over Miami in 14 meetings since both joined the ACC. There are huge implications on the season for both teams. But, Saturday’s outcome can go a long way towards the tale of history of the two in the Atlantic Coast Conference.