1. Has Tech officially bottomed out as a program?
Frank Beamer quickly became an Internet meme this week when a still shot of him vigorously celebrating following Wake's missed field goal at the end of regulation to preserve a 0-0 tie. The Hokies are 5-6 and in serious danger of missing a bowl game. Most of the team is hurt. Things are bleak.
Despite all that the possibility remains that yet another streak ending. Tech has beaten rival Virginia 10 consecutive seasons. UVa comes in with an identical 5-6 record and if the 'Hoos to beat the Hokies in Lane Stadium to make a bowl, keep Tech out of one and give Frank Beamer his first losing season since 1992 would be the ultimate embarrassment.
2. Can J.C. Coleman keep it rolling against a better defense?
J.C. Coleman seems built to dominate Duke. Two seasons in a row he's had highlight reel performances against the Blue Devils and this week he added a strong performance against Wake Forest. He's had 95 and 98 yards in consecutive outings, but this will be the best defense Tech has face in that stretch. Virginia is 26th in total defense and 15th in rushing defense. The much maligned Tech offensive line will have its hands full attempting to open up holes for Coleman.
3. Can Tech move the ball against UVa?
It's going to be extremely difficult.
Shane Beamer on #UVa: "This is the best defense we've played since Ohio St." Called this Mike London's best team since he got to VT in 2011.— Hokies Journal (@HokiesJournal) November 25, 2014
#Hokies assistant Shane Beamer on Wake loss: "We laid an egg on offense. We were awful."— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) November 25, 2014
Tech failed to achieve much on offense the past couple of weeks and the Cavaliers have a very good defense as outlined above and as Greg outlined earlier this week.
4. Who can provide a spark to lead to a Tech win?
It probably has to come from the defense, and the coaches say Chase Williams will start at linebacker. Williams hasn't played since getting injured at Pittsburgh. He will be among the Hokies making their final appearances at Lane Stadium on senior day. One of the seniors could easily be the emotional boost that puts Tech over the hump in what should be a close game.
5. Is this the end of the Frank Beamer or Mike London eras?
The future of football in the Commonwealth of Virginia is at an interesting crossroads. Mike London is wrapping up his fifth season at Virginia where he's compiled a 23-37 overall record. In his second season he lead the 'Hoos to an 8-5 record and a loss in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Like Al Groh before him, London has assembled lot's of talent in Charlottesville, but wins have been tough to come by. London has never beaten Virginia Tech.
On the other end is Frank Beamer. A living legend under fire for the third lean season in a row. He'll likely be back, but the voices for change are getting louder. Shane Beamer has reportedly interviewed for the head coaching position at Troy, so change of sorts may be coming in one form or another. These programs both have talent, but the results haven't been there in recent years. The winner of this game has a leg up in the race to return to prominence.
Editor's note: A few minutes after I posted this I saw on the bottom line of the Tech basketball game that Virginia has announced that Mike London will return next season. I'm sure the enormous buyout on his contract had nothing to do with the move.