On Saturday, Virginia Tech defeated East Carolina 17-10, giving Frank Beamer his 200th career win as head football coach for the Hokies.
On September 3, Coach Beamer and Virginia Tech agreed to a contract extension that would make Beamer the head coach through the end of the 2016 season.
Beamer, second among active coaches in Division 1 FBS wins, has certainly accrued an impressive resume during his tenure in Blacksburg. There is work to be done, however, and the new contract extension proves Beamer is as hungry as ever for a return trip to the National Championship game.
Here are 10 predictions for Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies through the 2016 season.
I hate to start off on a negative note, fellow Hokie fans. However, this 2011 Virginia Tech team is just not consistent enough on offense to win the Atlantic Coast Conference.
By Bud Foster's lofty standards, the defense appears to be much improved over last year's down season, giving up only 10 points and 112 total yards to an ECU squad that scored 37 points the previous week against South Carolina.
Virginia Tech's offense looked great against Appalachian State but only average against ECU. It managed 332 yards of offense in the latter game, with only 91 yards through the air. East Carolina made Logan Thomas beat them, and he struggled mightily.
Look for similar results over the rest of this season, Tech fans, with the result being another trip to Atlanta for the bowl season. Thomas is simply a year away from being a consistent passing threat to opposing defenses. The coaches will have to simplify the play calling throughout the season to avoid misreads from the inexperienced QB.
The improved defense and a talented David Wilson are enough to win most games against a weak schedule. Against talented teams such as Florida State, however, the Hokies will struggle and therefore fall short of an ACC title.
It is extremely difficult to come out of nowhere to win the Heisman Trophy. Virginia Tech fans are all well aware of the explosiveness and star power that David Wilson possesses in the backfield.
The rest of the college football nation? Not so much.
That will change this year.
Wilson is already off to a fantastic start with with 300 yards rushing in only two games. The only problem is, Wilson is not as well-recognized as other running backs such as Marcus Lattimore and LaMichael James. Unless Virginia Tech runs the table and makes a National Championship run, Wilson will not generate enough media hype to be a Heisman contender in the 2011 season.
By next year, on the other hand, Wilson will be a household name around the nation. Thomas will be a much-improved passer, giving Wilson more room to accumulate stats.
Most importantly, a more experienced Virginia Tech team will be in a better position to make a dent in the national spotlight, allowing Wilson to have a magical season leading to the first Heisman Trophy in Virginia Tech history.
Vincent Fuller, DeAngelo Hall, Jimmy Williams, Brandon Flowers, Jayron Hosley. These names sound familiar? All are outstanding corners in a line of outstanding defensive backs performing under the tutelage of Defensive Backs Coach Torrian Gray. By the way, that list doesn't include stalwarts at the safety position.
After Jayron Hosley leaves, Kyle Fuller will carry the torch as the next outstanding corner for the Virginia Tech defense. In limited playing time last year, Fuller had 32 tackles, a forced fumble, and showed flashes of the talent his older brother Vincent had during his time in Blacksburg. This year, Fuller already has an interception and eight tackles.
This year, teams will avoid the 2010 nation's leader in interceptions, Jayron Hosley, as much as possible. This means more opportunities for Fuller to showcase his talents as a developing NFL-caliber defensive back.
In a rematch of the closely contested 2009 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, Virginia Tech will look to reverse the recent trend of losing highly anticipated match-ups against highly ranked teams.
And this time, they will.
Given the success of these two teams in their respective conferences, this game will showcase two ranked teams in a prime-time game. In recent years, the SEC's elite have possessed better athletes on the defensive side of the ball and more play makers on offense.
By 2013, Virginia Tech will have had better recruiting classes than in past years. Shane Beamer's arrival has already paid dividends on the recruiting trail with a promising 2012 recruiting class. Add to that a senior starting quarterback in Thomas, and Virginia Tech will have the star power to win a marquee matchup.
Critics of Virginia Tech and Frank Beamer cite lackluster performances in big games as a reason the Hokies fall short of "elite" status. A reason for coming up short in those games is lack of blue chip recruits.
Let's face it: no coaching staff is better at finding average-rated players and turning them into NFL players. (See walk-on safety Cody Grimm) In close-knit games, the difference is as small as that tenth-of-a-second difference in 40-time between the 5-star receiver and the 3-star corner.
Answer: Shane Beamer. Remember the No. 1 rated high-school player Jadeveon Clowney now starting for South Carolina? Yep, Beamer helped bring him in prior to leaving for Virginia Tech. The aforementioned 2012 recruiting class is already showing the coach's son is making a difference.
Get excited, Hokie fans. No longer will you have to sit silent as your SEC buddies brag about all of those big-time players they are bringing in on signing day. Your day will come soon enough.
I have debated on this one over and over; I even considered flipping a coin to decide.
Ultimately, Virginia Tech will remain in the Atlantic Coast Conference through the year 2016. The ACC has reportedly considered increasing its buyout for member schools who depart. However, that's not the only reason. The ACC will not completely disband because—even though many fail to realize—college basketball plays a part in the equation.
Perennial football underachievers such as Duke and North Carolina have extremely prestigious basketball programs and therefore cannot be left without a seat when the music stops. The ACC will continue to exist—even if it is just to save the prestigious basketball schools.
The ACC will do all in its power to hold on to the football powers it does have, however, and Virginia Tech will remain as one of those representatives along with Florida State. Eventually, look for four "super conferences" to exist in four regions. Pac-12 in the West, Big 10 in the Midwest, SEC in the South, and the ACC in the East.
Like the first prediction, this one pains me to write. What's the lunch pail without Bud Foster? However, Foster will depart as defensive coordinator for a head coaching position before 2016.
And you know what? He should. He deserves it. If Beamer has been the No.1 reason for Virginia Tech's ascension into relevance, Foster is No. 1A. For years, no fan of Virginia Tech has gone into a season wondering if the defense will be championship material. They are. They will be next year. And they will be until Foster is gone.
Foster's loyalty to this program is unquestioned. He has turned down multiple offers for defensive coordinator positions at prestigious schools such as Georgia. He has turned down lesser head coaching jobs.
If the right opportunity comes calling though, Foster needs to do what's best for his career and jump at the opportunity—although he will be sorely missed.
If you keep knocking on the door, it will eventually open.
Virginia Tech is the definition of knocking on the National Championship door. Seven consecutive 10-win seasons. The Hokies stand alone in that category. The last time Virginia Tech ended the season without 10 wins, Outkast's Hey Ya was the No. 1 hit. Need I say more?
What will it take to get to that level? The importance of the Shane Beamer hiring cannot be overstated. Recruiting. Recruiting. Recruiting. It is undeniably the importance of recruiting when looking at recent National Champions. The last 5-star recruit the Hokies brought in? A player by the name of Tyrod Taylor. The Hokies need more of those players—and Beamer has the "it" factor that lures recruits into Lane Stadium.
Combine that with a brand new indoor practice facility project, a raucous game-day atmosphere like no other, a history of progressing players into the NFL, and consistent winning, and the best players will be donning the maroon and orange before long.
Tech fans, the time is coming when the crystal football will make its way to Blacksburg.
There is one accomplishment missing from Beamer's resume: a National Championship trophy. That is what prevents him from being mentioned nationally as one of the greatest coaches of all time.
Once he gets it, retirement will not be far off. During his 25-year Virginia Tech career, Beamer has amassed seven conference titles, 200 wins, and an active 18 consecutive bowl streak. He has 241 wins total, second behind Joe Paterno on the active wins list.
The feeling around Blacksburg is that Coach Beamer wants nothing more than that elusive crystal ball. It would be fitting for Beamer to go out on top, leaving the Virginia Tech football program in a place nobody could have envisioned 25 years ago.
Either way, hats off to Coach Beamer.
Frank Beamer relishes his Virginia Tech program too much to leave it in the hands of a coach he does not fully trust. Who better to step in than his own son, Shane Beamer?
For years, it has been rightly assumed that Bud Foster was the coach-in-waiting at Virginia Tech. And he has been. Only Frank Beamer has decided to stick around longer than some predicted, and Foster's opportunities to be a head coach will not last forever. As previously mentioned, Foster will have taken another offer by this stage.
That leaves Shane Beamer. A rising star in the coaching industry, the current running backs coach will bring a much-needed fresh voice to the football program while preserving all the great things that grew the program from scratch.
Frank Beamer will fill an assistant position to the Athletic Director once he is finished coaching, per his contract. Leaving the headset to his son will make for a seamless transition and ensure that "Beamerball" will be around for years to come.