by Mary Desmond, Freddy Mesmer–
The Virginia Tech football team is preparing for a trip to Orlando, Florida to compete in the Camping World Bowl game. This is familiar territory for the Hokies.
“For us, it was really nice to be playing in the Camping World Bowl, which is where we played last year for the ACC Championship, so it was nice to kind of remember being there and doing this and that,” Danielle Bartelstein, senior director of Football Operations, said.
The Hokies also have been in Orlando for the Russell Athletic Bowl back in 2012 against Rutgers. The Hokies won this matchup 13-10 in overtime.
The Hokies have a significant history in Bowl games. They currently lead the NCAA with twenty-five consecutive bowl games. According to the Hokiesports website, the Hokies are one of only six programs in college football history to go to a bowl in at least 20 straight years (Nebraska, Michigan, Florida State, Alabama, Virginia Tech and Florida).
It started back in 1993 when the Hokies traveled to Shreveport, Louisiana where they took on the Hoosiers of Indiana. Virginia Tech downed the Hoosiers 43 to 20 at Independence Stadium. They have played at Independence stadium three times over the years. Once in 1984 and again most recently in 2015 for a matchup with Tulsa where the Hokies came out on top in a high scoring affair, 55-52.
During former head coach Frank Beamer’s time in Blacksburg, he led the Hokies to twenty-three straight bowl games. His overall bowl game record was 11-12. Beamer brought the Hokies to a total of five BCS Bowl games.
These games are the most highly rated of the bowl games and are typically played on New Year’s Day. This exposure helped shape Virginia Tech football into the program it is today. Retiring in 2015, he ended his coaching career in Shreveport with the win over Tulsa.
With the end of an era with Coach Beamer, the athletics department hired current head coach Justin Fuente. Fuente has led the Hokies to consecutive bowl games in his first two years at the helm. In his first season in 2016, Fuente found himself coaching a ten win team.
The Hokies capped off the 2016 regular season by winning the ACC Coastal division and playing Clemson for a shot at the ACC championship. The Hokies fell short of this goal but ended up pulling off a miraculous comeback in the 2016 Belk Bowl.
The Hokies go into the final game of the season hoping to finish strong. The team will play Oklahoma State on Dec. 28, 2017 on ESPN.