Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech Football: 10 Facts About the Battle of the Techs
The Battle of the Techs between the Virginia Tech Hokies and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets has quickly become one of the ACC's biggest and best rivalries.
This is a young rivalry that only started becoming popular a few years ago, but it still provides fans with a great game every year.
While the two teams haven't played each other enough to develop much tradition, quite a few interesting things have happened when these teams have met.
10. Georgia Tech Fans Affectionately Refer to the Hokies as VPI
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On second thought, affectionately is probably not correct.
Contrary to what many believe, Virginia Tech is not the actual name of the Hokies' university. It's called the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, but that's quite the mouthful and I'm sure TV announcers are glad the school decided to shorten it.
However, Georgia Tech (real name: Georgia Institute of Technology) fans have taken to calling Virginia by their school's real name in an attempt to get under VT's skin.
Apparently, calling the Hokies VPI or VPISU is meant to belittle the school's technical and institutional prowess. I guess that works, but you'd think they could think of something a little more clever.
9. The First Game Was Played in 1990
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As I said in the introduction slide, this rivalry is pretty young by college football standards. It only began 21 years ago, but even then, the teams gave the fans a great game.
The 1990 contest ended with Georgia Tech on top, 6-3, in a hard-fought game that came right after GT knocked off No. 1 Virginia.
The Yellow Jackets would go on to win a split national championship with Colorado, while Virginia Tech would finish 6-5 in their last season as an independent.
8. It Was 14 Years Before They Played Again
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Following the 1990 season, the Virginia Tech Hokies entered into the Big East conference and that forced the VT-GT rivalry to be put on hold for a while.
The two teams were finally set to face each other in the first week of the 2000 season. Unfortunately, that game was cancelled because of terrible weather and the rivalry was on hold once again.
Finally, in 2004 the Hokies joined the ACC and the rivalry could really begin. Virginia Tech would win the '04 contest on the road in Atlanta and, with that, the Battle of the Techs had truly begun.
7. 2008 Is the Only Year Neither Team Was Ranked Going In
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One of the reasons this rivalry is so highly thought of is because at least one of the teams usually comes into the game ranked in the Top 25 and, more often than not, both are ranked. However, in 2008 that wasn't the case.
Virginia Tech started that season ranked as the 15th-best team in the nation but would lose to East Carolina in the opening week and fall from the rankings.
Georgia Tech didn't make the preseason rankings and couldn't crack them before they played the Hokies in Week 3.
Both teams would end the season ranked in the BCS Top 20, but their matchup that year would mark the only time that neither team came into the game ranked.
6. Calvin Johnson Dominated the Hokies
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When Calvin Johnson was in college, there might not of been a better wide receiver in the nation. He played well in almost every game, but he saved some of his best efforts for the rival Hokies.
Johnson's career against VT started out decent enough. In a 2004 loss, he had four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown. The next year Georgia Tech saw themselves blown out 51-7, but Johnson played well in snagging five passes for 123 yards and a score.
His final year as a Yellow Jacket was also his best against Virginia Tech. In that game, he had six catches for 115 yards and two scores. More importantly, his team won 38-27, largely because of Johnson's effort.
In three games, Johnson had 15 catches, 289 yards and four touchdowns. Not a bad showing against one of your program's biggest rivals.
5. Kam Chancellor Returned the Favor
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Kam Chancellor doesn't have the same name recognition as Calvin Johnson, but he had a huge presence in this rivalry from 2006-2009.
The Hokies secondary as a whole has generally had success against the Yellow Jackets. In fact, guys like Brandon Flowers and Victor Harris have put up flashier numbers than Chancellor, but no one has been more important than Chancellor to VT's success against GT.
Chancellor didn't play against Georgia Tech in his freshman season, but he did manage to grab an interception in addition to his six tackles in his sophomore season.
His next two years saw him become the player Bud Foster needed to slow Georgia Tech's triple-option offense.
Chancellor was asked to be a quarterback spy and, while the Yellow Jackets still racked up rushing yards, it was Chancellor's play that gave the Hokies a win in 2008 and kept them in the game in 2009.
4. Bud Foster Can't Stop the Triple-Option
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As I alluded to in the last slide, defensive coordinator Bud Foster has had lots of trouble stopping Paul Johnson's triple-option in the past.
Last year, his defense gave up 346 rushing yards to the Yellow Jackets, and the year before they let Georgia Tech run for 309 yards.
Foster has gone to great lengths to find a way to stop the triple-option. First, he basically told Kam Chancellor to just stick to Yellow Jackets quarterback Joshua Nesbitt for the entire game. That worked well enough to get them back-to-back wins in 2008 and 2009, but then Chancellor left for the NFL.
Foster has yet to find another guy who can cover the triple-option as well as Chancellor. In hopes of figuring out this offense, he visited with Iowa's coaches, whose squad held GT to 155 yards last year in the Orange Bowl. Only time will tell if that visit paid off.
3. Al Groh Is 1-7 All-Time Against Virginia Tech
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Speaking of defensive coordinators, Georgia Tech's Al Groh hasn't had much success when his squad plays against Virginia Tech.
Before becoming the Yellow Jackets defensive coordinator, Groh was the head coach at Virginia for nine seasons. Groh put together a few good seasons while there, but he was never able to compete with in-state rival Virginia Tech on a consistent basis.
Groh is 1-7 all-time against the Hokies, with his lone win coming in 2003. Besides that win, his teams were routinely dominated by Virginia Tech, losing by double digits almost every other year he was there.
2. Virginia Tech Owns the Series
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The Hokies currently hold a 5-3 advantage in the series. Obviously, the rivalry hasn't been around for very long and neither team has had a chance to prove itself the dominant team.
Both teams have shown they are going to be competitive. The last three games have all been decided by fewer than seven points, and with both teams ranked this year, it looks like that streak will continue.
The intensity of this rivalry has quickly made it one of the best in college football. It doesn't have the tradition of something like Michigan-Ohio State, but it has given fans an exciting game to look forward to every year.
1. The ACC Coastal Champ Comes Through Here
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Another reason this game has been elevated so quickly is because the winner of this game has gone on to represent the ACC Coastal Division in the league's championship game since the ACC switched to a division format.
With that kind of weight behind the game, it was sure to become hugely important to everyone in the ACC. There aren't many rivalry games that consistently matter this much to an entire conference.
Considering that these two teams currently sit on top of the ACC Coastal standings, I think it's fair to say that this game will likely decide who represents the division in the championship game again this year.