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Brent Pry thinks Virginia Tech is the state’s ‘flagship’ football school: Analysis

Chris Graham
brent pry
Photo: ACC

Brent Pry seems to think he was hired to replace Frank Beamer as the head football coach at Virginia Tech in 2012, instead of 2021.

We found this out when Pry, at last week’s 2023 ACC Football Kickoff, was asked a rather dumb question, which isn’t news there – reporters often ask dumb questions.

The dumb question, in this case: “I have some family down in Virginia. What’s the landscape of the Commonwealth of Virginia, with all the good football teams like JMU and VMI? How is it with you trying to compete with those good programs?”

“All the good football teams like JMU and VMI.”

I didn’t catch who it was poking around this one with that phrasing.

I mean, JMU is fine – the folks who vote on such things have the Dukes winning their division in the Sun Belt this year, and I’d expect Madison to give Virginia everything and more in their Week 2 matchup in Charlottesville.

VMI … was picked to finish in last in the SoCon, which is in the FCS.

You could go with Liberty, ODU – which has beaten Tech in two of their last three meetings.

UVA is back to being a laughingstock, but still.

Dumb question.

Pry’s astonishingly dumber answer: “We’re the flagship school in the state. There’s no question about that. You’re talking about a program with eight straight years at ten-plus wins and played for a national championship. So, I’m not completely sure about your question.”

Woo, boy, where to start here.

The eight straight years at ten-plus wins ended in 2011.

Since, Tech is 76-63.

The Hokies are on a streak of three straight losing seasons, and they’re 14-21 over that stretch.

Virginia, as bad as things are there, is 14-18 over its last three.

“I’m not completely sure about your question.”

Dude, I’m not completely sure about your answer.

Naturally, another reporter at the Kickoff event confronted UVA coach Tony Elliott with what Pry had to say.

“He’s supposed to say that. He’s supposed to say that,” Elliott said, smiling, with a chuckle. “And probably when I say the same thing, he’s going to be asked, do you take that as a shot?”

Elliott, for the record, never went on to actually say, We’re the flagship school in the state, but that may have been only because, nobody followed up to ask him if he thinks that.

Let’s be fair here: there is no “flagship school” when it comes to college football in Virginia right now.

A look at the ESPN Football Power Index preseason rankings, the closest thing I can think of to an unbiased look at things, assuming the FPI computer doesn’t play favorites, does have Tech as the highest-rated team, but that’s only relative – it has Tech at 63.

Virginia is next at 72, followed by JMU at 91, Liberty at 97, and then ODU all the way down at 115.

So, while Virginia Tech has the best number there, ranking 63rd out of 133 schools in FBS wouldn’t seem to meet the definition of “flagship,” which Merriam-Webster tells us is “the finest, largest, or most important one of a group of things.”

Being 63rd out of 133 and also at the same time the first out of five is less “the finest, largest, or most important one of a group of things” and more “the nicest guy in prison.”

Then there’s the little matter of Tech, in Pry’s first season, went, gulp, 3-8.

When you’re 3-8 in Year 1, and the goal in Year 2 is to avoid sending your program to its first four-season streak of losing records since the early 1950s, the word “flagship” should be the last dumb thing to come out of your mouth.

Go out and win some football games, then talk.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].