Frank Beamer is retiring. At this point, most of us not only know that now, but have started to come to grips with that fact. It doesn't matter if you wanted him to coach for another year or you thought he should have retired earlier, the fact is he is leaving at the end of the season and there are either three of four more games where he will be the coach of the Virginia Tech Hokies. In honor of all that he has done for the program, the school, Blacksburg, the surrounding areas, and college football as a whole there are many things that should be done for him, most notably being put into the Hall of Fame, but there is one thing that can and should be done for Frank now. ESPN's College Gameday should be in Blacksburg for Frank Beamer's final home game as coach of the Hokies. Here are the Top 4 reasons why.
#1. College Gameday didn't become relevant in the landscape of sports in America until they came to Blacksburg in 1999 twice
Many college football fans, including myself, were big into Gameday before the first two visits to Blacksburg, but what Hokie fans, with the help of coach Beamer and Michael Vick, did was to break all the records that Gameday had for attendance to the show. And not only did Hokie Nation break the records, they destroyed them by thousands. Just ask Chris Fowler.
#2. Thursday Night College Football (Along with Tuesday and Friday Nights) Wouldn't be a Thing Without the Hokies
While College Gameday is a big money maker for the folks at ESPN, the addition of games on days other than Saturday, and the ability to air them almost exclusively on ESPN, is thanks in large part, if not completely, to what Virginia Tech did in those games to bring up the popularity. It is not only the 20-9 record or the 11-5 record at home in Thursday night contests that has been so important, but it's also that so many of the games the Hokies played in were important and exciting. Rarely did the Hokies not put on a good show and rarely were they not ranked, even ranked highly at the time. There are few other programs who would so consistently put themselves in short week situations and still be a program that people really wanted to see. Few other than Virginia Tech.
#3. The Other Options, With One Exception, Don't Have Large Barings on the College Football Playoff
Yes, Baylor at Oklahoma State is looking as though it is an important game and there are reasons, especially with the tragedy in Stillwater, why Hokies fans especially would understand Gameday going there, but the biggest game for Oklahoma State may well be coming later in the season against Oklahoma. The other games (Michigan State vs OSU, LSU vs Ole Miss, and TCU vs Oklahoma) have recently had one of the teams losing and thus taking away a lot of the luster of the matchup. While there is some thinking that ESPN will want to have a marquee matchup so they can talk even more about the College Football Playoff, looking back at reasons number one and two should keep the Hokies in the running.
#4 Records Would be Broken and the Energy Electric
Virginia Tech fans have shown on many a Gameday and Thursday night why they are among the best in all of sports. Add to that having the most beloved figure in the school's history in his final home game as coach and you are asking for a serious celebration. To give an example of this, I go to the #Gameday4Frank craze that has caught on. Not only have I made it my own Twitter name, along with many others, but as of Sunday morning #Gameday4Frank has had 55,636 total tweets. If you don't think that Hokie fans want this and will show up on November 21 in a way that has never been seen before by college football fans, then you still don't know what it means to be a Hokie.
If Gameday decides not to come, the celebration of Frank Beamer will still happen. There will still be large events and amazing surprises in store for one and all, of that you can be sure. But seriously, Frank Beamer and College Gameday are joined at the hip and for one last time they need to make it down I-81 to Blacksburg, Va. And if you don't believe that it can happen, all you have to do is remember as Lee Corso says "I don't know what a Hokie is, but God is one of them. Go Virginia Tech!" Couldn't have said it better myself Lee, now put on that Hokie mascot head one more time and give us a wave my friend.