Now who could ever forget that? It is possibly the memory I think of most when discussing Marcus Vick. Well that and giving West Virginia fans the bird and his antics on the sidelines in 2005. But that's beside the point, because the 2005 team was most likely the last truly great Virginia Tech Football team Hokie fans have seen.
Tech started off the season hot, ranked eighth in the polls. The team won eight straight games which consisted of wins over #16 Georgia Tech and #18 Boston College. But then the game everyone hates to mention: the run-in with the fifth ranked Miami Hurricanes that horrible night in Lane Stadium. The Hokies climbed their way to third in the BCS polls behind USC and Texas and had National Championship aspirations. They just had to win out and pray for number one or two to lose. But that never came to fruition, as Tech lost to the Canes 27-7 in front of the Hokie faithful and everyone watching on ESPN.
But the Hokies would go on to win their last two regular season games and face Florida State in the ACC Championship with a BCS Bowl bid at stake. Unfortunately, their efforts failed again as they lost 27-22 to the Noles, ended up ranked #12, and faced the #16 Louisville Cardinals in the 2006 Gator Bowl, which is where we started this discussion:
The Cardinals came into the 2005 season after an 11-1 campaign in 2004 and came into '05 11th in the preseason rankings. But their starting quarterback, Brian Brohm suffered a season ending knee injury versus Syracuse and missed both games versus Connecticut and Virginia Tech. Back-up, Hunter Cantwell took over from there. Meanwhile, Virginia Tech came into '05 with equal aspirations after finishing 2004 with a record of 10-3 and a loss to Auburn in the Sugar Bowl with Bryan Randall under center. Then came the MV2 era, which had been delayed a bit due to some off-field decisions that caused him to have to sit for the 2004 season, thus sparing Hokie fans a second consecutive year of coaching indecision at the position.
This was a very entertaining ball game to watch from a Virginia Tech perspective. The game featured a lot of defense from the Tech greats: Vince Hall, Xaiver Adibi, James Anderson, Chris Ellis, Jimmy Williams, Aaron Rouse, and Brandon Flowers. And other than the "Dumervil Stomp (throughout which older brother and renowned dog fight promoter Mike Vick railed on about how Marcus was a changed man for his year off)," Marcus Vick showcased his skills pretty well with throwing and scrambling around versus Louisville. The pump fake at 1:54 is just down right nasty by the way.
You can listen to Mike voice over the stomp here....yep, Marcus was a changed man alright, he went from potentially getting paid to broke with that singular move right there:
It was a close game until late in the fourth quarter, despite Louisville missing their promising quarterback, Brian Brohm. A pick-six by James Anderson and another interception by Brandon Flowers sealed the victory as Tech won 35-24. But overall, this game marks the pinnacle of Virginia Tech versus Louisville and a height that Virginia Tech still hasn't been able to reach since then.
But let's be honest with ourselves. Tech probably couldn't have cared less about facing Louisville in the Gator Bowl. The 2005 team had their sights set on the crystal ball filling the vacant trophy case and took out their frustrations on the Cardinals, hence that great photo of Hunter Cantwell with gauzes stuck up his bloody nose.
Blast from the past:
Virginia Tech and Louisville have squared off seven times in history, with Tech getting the better of Louisville with a 5-2 record (0.714 winning percentage). The two met first in 1979 in Louisville and the Hokies won a nail-biter/barn-burner of a game by a score of 15-14. Tech won the next two games in '83 and '85 before losing to the Cardinals in '88 by a score of 13-3. Then in '91 Tech won again but lost in '92, only to meet for the last time in the 2006 Gator Bowl.
But what about versus the ACC as a whole?
Louisville is 13-11 versus the ACC, The average score: Louisville 26.3 - ACC 19.9.
In bowl games, Louisville is 2-2 with the average score of Louisville 27.0 - ACC 22.0.
Versus particular ACC Schools?
North Carolina: 4-3
North Carolina State: 2-1
Florida State: 1-1
Virginia Tech: 0-1
Wake Forest: 1-0
Louisville versus Pittsburgh and Syracuse? (Not members of the ACC until last season).
Pittsburgh: 8-8 with and average score of Louisville 22.9 - Pittsburgh 29.4
Syracuse: 6-6 with an average score of Louisville 22.3 - Syracuse 23.9
With all that said, Louisville looks to be on an even playing field with everyone in the ACC all except for maybe Florida State and Clemson. Although, Tech and Louisville won't play one another this season, we can anticipate entertaining future match-ups in the years ahead.
But without further ado, here's Louisville's first ACC regular season schedule:
Mon, Sept 1 vs Miami (FL)
Sat, Sept 6 vs Murray State
Sat, Sept 13 @ Virginia
Sat, Sept 20 @ FIU
Sat, Sept 27 vs Wake Forest
Fri, Oct 3 @ Syracuse
Sat, Oct 11 @ Clemson
Sat, Oct 18 vs NC State
Thu, Oct 30 vs Florida State
Sat, Nov 8 @ Boston College
Sat, Nov 22 @ Notre Dame
Sat, Nov 29 vs Kentucky
Louisville's first season in the ACC will be a tough one to say the least, facing top dogs: Miami, Clemson, and Florida State, and not to mention a visit to Notre Dame in late November. But other than that, I say the Cardinals have a shot at an 8-4 season, barring any slip-ups or miscues.
Here's to Louisville joining the ACC and here's to the Atlantic Coast Conference, hopefully getting better year in and year out from this point on.