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March 2, 2007
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The traditional powerhouses of the Atlantic Coast Conference could easily dismiss Wake Forest's championship football season of a year ago as once-in-a-blue-moon fluke. They might fully expect the Deacons, who in 2006 won their first ACC championship in 36 seasons, to fall back into mediocrity.
But that wouldn't be wise. Some of the most powerful programs were once among college football's also-rans. Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech need only to review their own histories.
Miami has won five national championships since 1983, but in a 12-year span from 1968-1979 the Hurricanes never posted more than six victories and endured nine losing seasons.
Florida State had managed four victories in three seasons and just two bowl victories in its history until Bobby Bowden arrived in 1976 and quickly transformed the Seminoles from dormant to dominant.
Virginia Tech has a current streak of 14 consecutive bowl appearances, but the Hokies enjoyed just three winning seasons in the '70s and endured four losing seasons in coach Frank Beamer's first six years in Blacksburg. The Hokies never won more than six games in that span.
While Virginia Tech had its fourth double-digit victory total in five seasons last year, Miami and Florida State struggled to 7-6 finishes.
However, if the Hurricanes and Seminoles settle their quarterback issues it's no stretch to assume they can immediately climb back among the nation's elite.
They just shouldn't be surprised if Wake Forest is still there, too.