College football is a business that lives to send people home disappointed. The game picks a winner and loser each Saturday and, multiplied by an entire fall, you end up with a whole lot of coaching staffs with no choice but to stew on a season that fell short of expectations.
Joining that group of disappointed coaches for the first time in a long time was the staff at Virginia Tech. The Hokies boasted an FBS-high eight consecutive seasons of 10 wins or more. In fact, one would have to go back to 1997 just to find a season where Virginia Tech won less than eight games. With a preseason ranking inside the top 20 and quarterback Logan Thomas returning after a 30-touchdown season, the good times were expected to keep on rolling in Blacksburg.
Fast forward to Nov. 12 in Chestnut Hill, Mass. Virginia Tech sits at 4-6 and faces a 13-3 halftime deficit at Boston College. The 10-win streak is officially over and, most importantly, the Hokies stand very much in danger of missing the postseason altogether for the first time since 1992, Frank Beamer's second year on campus.
Thomas accounted for two touchdowns in the second quarter, and Virginia Tech rallied for a 30-23 overtime win. The Hokies beat Virginia a week later and won a 13-10 decision over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl for a 7-6 final record, but the bitter taste from losing four times in a five-game span from late September to early November never went away.
"It was hard," Hokies running backs coach Shane Beamer told ESPN.com. "I think it was a good wake-up call for a lot of people that, No. 1, to win 10 games or more eight years in a row is just insane. You see how hard it is to win a game, period, but to be consistent and do it eight years in a row, 10 or more is just amazing. It puts that in perspective. I know it does for me, because you find out last year how hard winning is with the parity there is in college football now."
Beamer has not personally experienced a losing season since 2006 as the running backs coach at Mississippi State. Last year's experience took him close enough to the pit to remind him that he didn't want to fall in.
"We as coaches, our players -- some programs you go there to compete for bowl games and things like that. When you come to Virginia Tech, you come to compete for championships, period. To not be in that mix last year was really disappointing and hard for all of us, but at the same time, to be sitting there at 4-6 and losing at halftime up at Boston College, to come back and win that game and beat your rival for the ninth year in a row and win your bowl game, we took a lot of pride in that, and the kids we have in our program and the way we finished."