2. Virginia Tech Hokies – 2010
Lost to James Madison Dukes 21-16
11-3 (8-0); ACC Champions; No. 16 AP; No. 15 Coaches; Orange Bowl appearance
Sticking with FCS losses, does anybody remember the 2010 Virginia Tech Hokies? Yes, they are on this list twice. This is another team that, if Tennessee football replicated its success, would have Vol fans everywhere celebrating.
Frank Beamer’s team opened the season with a heartbreaking loss to the Boise State Broncos. The next week, though, the bottom fell out. VT suffered a 21-16 upset loss at home to the James Madison Dukes. By the way, the Hokies were 33.5-point favorite in that game, and they had fallen to 0-2 with a loss to a mid-major, albeit a mid-major powerhouse, and an FCS school.
The season should have been over. But behind Tyrod Taylor at quarterback, the Hokies had one of the greatest turnaround seasons in college football history. It started with a win over the 2-0 East Carolina Pirates. Then they beat the Boston College Eagles, who were also 2-0, on the road.
The highlight came when they beat the No. 23 ranked N.C. State Wolfpack, who were 4-0 with Russell Wilson at quarterback, on the road. VT then cashed in on an easy schedule to beat the Central Michigan Chippewas, Wake Forest Demon Deacons and Duke Blue Devils. Back in the top 25, they then beat the defending ACC Champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets.
Suddenly, that 0-2 start with a loss to JMU turned into 7-2. Then came two key road wins over the UNC Tar Heels and Miami Hurricanes, and after beating the Virginia Cavaliers, they then shocked the Florida State Seminoles in the ACC Championship. All of a sudden, they were 11-2, in the top 10 and earned an Orange Bowl berth.
Now, the Hokies did lose that Orange Bowl to the Stanford Cardinal. But They still went 11-3 and had a top 25 finish and ACC Championship AFTER an 0-2 start and loss to the JMU Dukes. So who’s to say that Tennessee football can’t turn things around if the Hokies can’t?