Had a soft non-conference schedule prepared Tech for a quality opponent? Were the Hokies as good as their national ranking?
The answer was emphatic. No.
Clemson 23, Virginia Tech 3.
Special teams: inept.
Defense: worn down.
Beamer is right, of course. All Tech (4-1, 0-1) need do to win the Coastal Division and return to the ACC title game is run the table.
That would require exponential improvement in the passing game and special teams.
Already last in the ACC in net punting, the Hokies averaged 29.4 yards on eight kicks Saturday, which certainly should jeopardize Scott Demler's job.
Here's how poor the passing offense was: Clemson's Tajh Boyd, a sophomore from Phoebus High, completed 40.6 percent of his attempts (13-of-32) and threw a pick, but was the best quarterback on the field.
Yes, it was that kind of night for the Hokies' Logan Thomas, one that was inevitable for a first-time starter. He went a credible 15-for-27, and the pick he threw bounced off receiver Jarrett Boykin's hands, but Thomas looked a step slow throughout, with his movements and decisions.
"I thought overall he played well," quarterbacks coach and play-caller Mike O'Cain said of Thomas.
That seems a charitable evaluation, and it came with Thomas sitting next to O'Cain in the interview. So take it for what it's worth.
O'Cain was harder on himself for not calling more downfield passes, and here he may have a point.
"It may be me, it may be the play-calling," O'Cain said. "I'll go back and assess. … I never felt like I got into a very good rhythm."
Problem is, downfield passes require solid protection, and once the 11th-ranked Hokies fell behind by two scores, the 13th-ranked Tigers were free to rush at will.
Hokies left tackles Andrew Lanier and Nick Becton made Clemson end Andre Branch look like Bruce Smith. He had three of the Tigers' four sacks, the most dominant performance by an opposing defensive lineman that I can recall since Syracuse's Dwight Freeney harassed Michael Vick for a Big East-record 4.5 sacks at the Carrier Dome in 2000.
The XL difference is, Tech won that game.
With a second-and-goal at the 2, the Hokies were poised to score the game's first touchdown before halftime. But Clemson stuffed tailback David Wilson (123 yards) for no gain, and left guard Greg Nosal false-started on third down, forcing Tech to settle for a tying field goal.
Beamer, O'Cain and Thomas all cited the Hokies' band for playing during that snap and causing the penalty. Really guys?
Wiley Brown's personal foul on the ensuing kickoff gave the Tigers (5-0, 2-0) possession at the Hokies' 48, and nine plays later, Andre Ellington scored the game's first touchdown from a yard out.
"Defensively we were good for the most part," Beamer said.
Yes they were. Clemson entered the game averaging 37.8 points and 502.8 yards. The Tigers gained 323 Saturday.
And Clemson's stats were not the product of a timid schedule. The Tigers were fresh off wins over Auburn and Florida State, and now they're the first ACC team ever to beat top-25 teams in three successive games.
The 20-point margin is Clemson's largest over a ranked team on the road, and Saturday marked the first time Tech had failed to score a touchdown at home since a 16-0 loss to Cincinnati in 1995.
And look what's next for Tech: a home game against Miami.
The 2-2 Hurricanes are better than any of the Hokies' four September victims: Appalachian State, East Carolina, Arkansas State and Marshall.
"I don't think the schedule had anything to do" with Saturday's result, Beamer said.
Maybe it didn't. Maybe Tech just isn't that good.