This feels like 2003. I think. I hope.
That year, there was a palpable, slightly inexplicable sense that it was our turn this time. Tech had the better record and was ranked, but they were in free-fall, having peaked at #3 and dropped all the way to #21 by the time Thanksgiving weekend rolled around. I drove to Michigan on Wednesday and drove back on Friday, knowing I wouldn't miss this game for the world. Matt Schaub and company did not disappoint, scoring four touchdowns in the second half. Excitement built up in a crescendo, but it included a certain air of inevitability. Why shouldn't this be happening? It's been four straight losses in this rivalry. An eternity.
Obviously, things haven't gone as planned since. The wave of optimism that Al Groh brought in the first half of his tenure broke on the shore and petered out. Mike London out-recruited Tech early on, but had no clue how to coach. And for the most part, UVA-Tech games have had one of two storylines: the margins of loss have either been canyon-wide, or sliver-thin. The quality of UVA's team has no bearing on which it happens to be. Bad Mike London teams found ways to make it close. The one good London team got curbstomped. The Hoos were crappy in 2008, but Groh inserted Vic Hall as a wildcat QB and flummoxed the VT defense.
But in none of these years was there ever the feeling that it was our turn again. Not til now. 2003 may have been slightly inexplicable; this one is not. Not with the Hoos favored on the road. Not with the Hoos already bowling and VT paying Marshall a fully guaranteed million-plus to play a please-roll-over game in order to get there - if they beat UVA. Not with Tech on a four-game losing streak with a combined loss margin of 85. (More than three touchdowns a game, for the non-math-inclined.) Not when Tech has a defense that gave up 49 points to Old Dominion.
And not when most Hokie fans think their team quits on most games. Maybe they do; I'm not one to judge. I'll believe they quit on this game, though, when I see it. There's something about fourteen years that turns convictions into jelly. Everything points to this being the year. I think it is. I hope it is. It had better be.
(note: this content produced entirely without quotes from players.)