Editor’s Note: This is part of The Athletic’s Tales from Bowl Season series exploring some of the best and most original stories from past bowl games.

Being an avid watcher of The Weather Channel, especially in a less connected era in 1998, had its perks.

Christmas was approaching, with Virginia Tech set to perform in Alabama at the inaugural Music City Bowl on December 29, and what Hokies long snapper Shane Beamer was seeing on TV worried her: An ice storm was hitting her down. on Nashville.

This was the first year that Virginia Tech had let its players go bowling on their own rather than traveling as a team, allowing them to pocket some extra travel money. Beamer, showing instincts that would later serve him as a head coach, knew that if he didn’t hit the road right away it would be a hell of a time journey, so he informed the offensive linemen. Dwight Vick, Derek Smith and Tim Schnecker, he was leaving ASAP and packing if they came.

They piled into a car around 10 p.m. and drove through the night, with Beamer at the wheel the entire way, entering town just before winter.

“I walked into Nashville and slept all day while the rest of the organization weathered the ice storm to get there,” Beamer wrote in a text this week.

That was about the only thing that went well in the bowl’s debut, a 38-7 victory at Virginia Tech which remains the second most lopsided playoff loss in Alabama history. It was the Hokies’ only victory over the Crimson Tide in 13 tries and helped set the stage for Frank Beamer and Tech’s run to the National Championship game the following season.

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