The Old Dominion football betting scandal of 1919 was one of the great sports scandals of the decade, and it’s still the most infamous incident in school history. On September 20 of that year, the freshman football squad from nearby Virginia Military Institute (VMI) traveled to Richmond for a game. VMI, an all-male military academy, was a prominent NCAA school at the time, and they didn’t want to let their new neighbor down. The game was tied at 14-14 with 12 minutes remaining in the third quarter when several VMI players went into the crowd and started a riot. The players were trying to get themselves extra time by throwing the football into the stands, and some of the spectators reacted violently. Flames engulfed the whole area, and dozens of people were injured. Eventually, VMI was found guilty of five charges, including violating state law by forming a professional sports team. Their star player, Marion Spottedcuff, was banned for life from college football.
That was 107 years ago, and although VMI has changed their name and moved a few times, the school still goes by the name of the “Fighting Gobblers.” Football is now a popular sport at the school, with teams for both sexes competing in the Southern Conference. One of the more famous alumni is John Glenn, the American astronaut who went on to become the first American to orbit the Earth. The school has also produced many professional football players, including Jim Brown, who played for the Cleveland Browns and was named NFL MVP three times, and Merlin Olsen, who played for the Chicago Bears and won the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award in 1969.
The fact that a small college in Virginia was able to screw over a big school like VMI just goes to show how much corruption was going on in college football. When you look at how the game has evolved, it’s clear that some coaches and sportswriters knew what was going on, and they wanted to keep it a secret. In fact, many people still don’t believe that VMI cheated in the first place. However, regardless of whether you believe that VMI cheated or not, they clearly did something that was against the rules. What happened was wrong, and the fact that it’s been so long since the scandal happened shows how much it’s hurt Virginia Tech’s reputation. When you play against VMI, you know that they’ll always have an extra man or two on your team, and that’s probably not a good thing.
While college football has dealt with its share of corruption and scandal, it’s still considered one of the more honest and straightforward sports. However, this year’s Virginia football season is proving to be different. On September 13, 2019, the Virginia Tech Hokies opened their season against William & Mary, a small school located in Williamsburg, Virginia. The game was expected to be close, and it was — the score was 28-27, in favor of the Hokies. After the game, William & Mary head coach Steve Addazio said, “We did some things really well. We were creative and we were smart about it. We did some things that I’m not sure that anyone else could have done, and we’ll have to see if that helps us moving forward.”
This was no ordinary season opener. In fact, it was a battle of the unbeatens, as both teams were undefeated coming into the game. The fact that Virginia won the game by 24 points shows how dominant they were this year. This is a team that hadn’t lost a football game in 12 years, so it was no surprise that they were able to pull off an upset victory against a top-notch Division I opponent. What happened next was even more surprising.
Tech fans and players were stunned when, two days later, the Hokies lost to Georgia Tech by a score of 27-17. After the game, Tech head coach Justin Fuentes said, “We had our chances, but we just couldn’t find a way to win. There are no excuses. This is on us.” Fuentes then tried to put a positive spin on the loss by saying that his team learned a lot from the game and that they were able to grow from it. The Virginia Tech athletic director, Marty Brouwer, also tried to play it cool, but he seemed more frustrated than anything else. He said, “We’re devastated. I’ve never been more proud of a team than this one. To tell you the truth, I feel like we underperformed. I think we were a little overconfident coming in. But that will never happen again.”
Can You Beat The Vegas Odds?
One of the things that has made Tech football so special is the ability of the team to pull off amazing comebacks. The 2019 season has already seen multiple comebacks, and it’s still early in the year. Just last week, Tech defeated Miami (OH) by a score of 32-30 in overtime. The Red Raiders went on to win six games in a row and keep themselves undefeated.
Tech has always been known for their incredibly talented defense. However, this year, the offense has also stepped up and taken the lead. Quarterback Joshua Jackson had a fantastic year, leading the team in both passing and rushing, and he earned the nickname “Hurricane Joshua” for his uncanny ability to take over games. Wide receiver Jerry Smith, Jr. had 11 catches for 132 yards and a touchdown against Miami (OH). He became the first player in Tech history to have more than 100 yards receiving in a game.
Georgia Tech wasn’t the only team that Tech beat. The Red Raiders also beat North Carolina, Appalachian State, Boston College, and Virginia. There isn’t any question that Tech is back, and this year’s team has a real chance to go all the way. Everyone, from the coaches down to the players, seem confident that the team can pull off an undefeated season. What would be the equivalent of an undefeated season in basketball? Winning the ACC championship!
Virginia Tech is currently 5-0 ATS (against the spread) and has racked up an impressive 21-point comeback against the spread in 2019. In addition to being an undefeated team themselves, the Hokies have also covered the spread in four of their five games. This is a team to keep an eye on.
Tech’s Dominance On The Mound
Another reason why Tech is considered an elite football program is their amazing record on the mound. The Tech baseball team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament eight times in the last 11 years and has won more games than any other school in the country. The tennis team also has a phenomenal record, having never finished below third place in the ACC. In fact, the entire athletics program is consistently among the top 10 in the country.
It’s not just the men’s teams that have performed well. The women’s volleyball and softball teams both qualified for the NCAA Tournament this year, and the women’s golf team has won four ACC titles since 2013. Even the men’s basketball team has been quite successful, coaching Sigi Wanja (RIP) and Mac McGuffie to several ACC championships. Wanja went on to become the first black soccer player in American history to score a hat trick, and his three-pointer against Duke helped the Hokies to a 79-73 win in 2015.
What’s interesting about this year’s Tech teams is that, even though they are historically strong, they seem to be better than ever before. The men’s basketball team even returned three starters from last year’s squad, which was the first time in 10 years that they’ve made the tournament. One of the biggest reasons for Tech’s success is their stellar recruiting. They’re able to attract some of the best talent from all over the country, and it shows. Their players consistently rank among the best in the country and are known for their high levels of both sportsmanship and competitiveness.
The Future Of Tech Football Looks Bright
Even though the 2019 football season has been a rough one thus far, the future of Tech football looks incredibly bright. Not only do they have the potential to finish with an undefeated season, but they have multiple coaching changes and a new quarterback, which is always a recipe for success. The offensive line and defense have talent and appear to be improving every week, so it won’t be long before the fans start to enjoy some high-scoring football once again.