Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Your Move, Coach Beamer

From EDSBS comes this news from the University of Kentucky that I wish Virginia Tech had thought of first.

UK coach Rich Brooks has his own collectors edition bottle of bourbon. And it's for charity.

Building on the past success of the Maker’s Mark/Keeneland charitable bottle series that supports projects at the University of Kentucky, Maker’s Mark and Keeneland are continuing the program with the celebration of UK football coach Rich Brooks, whose likeness will be featured on the bottle label. Coach Brooks has led the Wildcats to multiple wins in bowl competition and is the first coach to win three consecutive bowl games in UK Athletics history.
Maker’s Mark will donate its proceeds from the sales – estimated to be about $200,000 from 18,000 bottles – to an extension program bringing the UK Symphony Orchestra and students from the UK School of Music into public schools and communities throughout Kentucky. UK is in the process of securing matching grants that, if sales of the bottles are successful, may create funding for this unique program in excess of $1.2 million.

Get rid of those White Out shirts Beamer has us buy to help Herma's Readers. I want a bottle of Wild Turkey with ol' Fancy Gap Frank's face on it. I can think of no better way to help the yutes of Virginia learn to read than by getting invisible.

More Tide Comments Over at the AJC

The best and brightest the state of Alabama has to offer has again enlightened us on this September's VT-Bama game. Tony Barnhart had a blog post today on ACC spring practice and the first item for discussion was the Hokies' opener with the Tide. Take it away, Tony:

1. Virginia Tech begins with Alabama on its mind: Virginia Tech finished 10-4 last season, won another ACC championship, and beat Cincinnati, a slight favorite, in the Orange Bowl. With 15 starters from that team coming back, the Hokies are getting some early love as a potential dark horse for the national championship. Spring practice begins today in Blacksburg (ed. note: Wednesday) and coach Frank Beamer knows that he won’t have to wait long to find out if he’s got a contender. That’s because the Hokies open the 2009 season in Atlanta against Alabama, which will be in everybody’s preseason Top 10. “When you play a big game early—and we’ve done that in the past—it focuses you team better in the spring and in the summer,” Beamer told me when the Sept. 5 game at the Georgia Dome was put together. “You can’t ease into your season. You’ve pretty much got to hit the ground running.” One of the top priorities of the spring is to find a backup to QB Tyrod Taylor, who has a history of getting banged up.

The last time Virginia Tech opened with a game this big was 2004 when the Hokies played Southern Cal and lost 24-13 in Landover, Md. The Trojans went on to win the national championship.

SEC fans, your rebuttal?:

Saint Nick: "The only people that will “hit the ground running” are Richardson and Ingram!!!! Bama wins VERY comfortable!!!!"

Otto: "No VT just another ACC team with alot of preseason hype sorta like Clemson…..oops"

Saint Nick: "Bama’s QB situation will be addition by subtraction. McLeroy has been in this offense for three years. Bama won’t have to depend on the RB’s as they did last year, they will have a much improved passing attack. Last year all Bama fans heard were JPW will be the weak link, and that Bama can’t match up against Clemson’s skill positions. Clemson had 0 yds rushing and no Offensive touchdowns. This year is just more of the same, New ACC team, same hype, same result!!!RTR!!!!"

Otto: "VT has played SEC teams before and more time than not comes up short. VT is a best of the rest team playing in a 2nd tier football conf. Maybe the MWC should take the ACC’s automatic BCS bid."

gatorsam: "Does anyone really care what happens in the A.almost C.college C.conference, or if you perfer: A. association C. Community C. Colleges"

Huh?: "If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times. Virginia Tech is one of the most overrated football programs in D-1. Look folks, they win alot of games because they’ve played in the crappy Big East and ACC. Out of conference they’ve done about jack diddly squat. Their bowl record is atrocious. Their record against top 25 out of conference teams is atrocious. They just aren’t that great. Good, but never great. Nevertheless, they always find themselves in the preseason top 10 and they’re always a “dark hourse national title contender” every year. I’m sorry but I just don’t get it. OVERRATED.

With that said, I don’t think Bama will be anything special this year. VT might actually do the unthinkable and beat a ranked SEC team. Has that ever happened? I doubt it has."

I think "gatorsam's" comment was my favorite. The irony of an SEC fan calling ACC schools community colleges is just fantastic. Fortunately, there are people out there like commenter "Bo Williams":

Gatorsam, why are you so venomous? Were you not accepted into UNC, Duke, WF, or UVA? With a degree from Gainesville, you can always be a lifeguard



- Annette thinks Tyrod is the best household name in the ACC. (ESPN)
- The back-up QB situation is a huge question for Tech this spring. (Roanoke Times)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- The response out of Hooville to the Bennett hire is similar to Auburn's response to the Chizik hire. (From Old Virginia)
- Dane wouldn't mind being Cooper Taylor's father in law. (The Legacy x4)
- FSU's defense is having trouble with non-traditional offenses. (Tomahawk Nation)
- Who's the better Tournament coach, Izzo or Roy? (Carolina March)

Stuff Only I Care About

- College football nerds can rejoice in this look at zone run blocking. (Rocky Top Talk)
- Ohio Stadium's "drunk drivers" are finding new ways to get there. (ESSBS)
- More commenting stupidity. (Holly)
- Rob Ray's Mind? Blown. (Willful Caboose)
- Miller could be the difference... in finishing 9th instead of 10th. (Die by the Blade)
- That's a pretty stacked lineup if you ask me. (Extra Bases)

Monday, March 30, 2009

A Sam Wheeler Sighting and Spring Depth Chart

Annette has the Hokies' pre-spring depth chart over at the Four-Letter Blog. Remember that there are a number of players, especially on the offensive line, that won't be participating in spring drills. Here 'tis:


SE Jarrett Boykin -- Austin Fuller
LT Ed Wang -- Nick Becton
LG Greg Nosal -- Will Alvarez
C Beau Warren -- Michael Via OR Richard Graham
RG Jaymes Brooks -- Vinston Painter
RT Blake DeChristopher -- Andrew Lanier
TE Greg Boone -- Chris Drager OR Sam Wheeler
QB Tyrod Taylor -- Ju-Ju Clayton
RB Darren Evans -- Josh Oglesby OR Ryan Williams
FB Kenny Jefferson -- Kenny Younger
FL Danny Coale -- Dyrell Roberts


DE Nekos Brown -- Steven Friday
DE John Graves -- Isaiah Hamlette
DT Demetrius Taylor -- Kwamaine Battle OR Courtney Prince
DT Cordarrow Thompson -- Antoine Hopkins OR Dwight Tucker
OLB Cody Grimm -- Jeron Gouveia-Winslow OR Alonzo Tweedy
ILB Barquell Rivers -- Bruce Taylor
ILB Jake Johnson -- Quillie Odom
FC Rashad Charmichael -- Cris Hill
FS Kam Chancellor -- Lorenzo Williams
ROV Dorian Porch -- Davon Morgan OR Matt Reidy
BC Stephan Virgil -- Eddie Whitley


FG Matt Waldron -- Justin Myer
KO Justin Myer -- Tim Pisano
P Brent Bowden -- Brian Saunders
LS Colin Carroll -- Matt Tuttle

One of the first things I noticed was Sam Wheeler listed as a co-No. 2 at tight end behind Greg Booooooooooooone. Wheeler was last seen being a general bad ass before tearing his left ACL at Georgia Tech in 2007. In my mind Wheeler was Sean Glennon's most reliable target in 2007 before the injury.

He didn't see a lot of playing time in 2008 because he wasn't all the way back from knee surgery. Hopefully he's 100 percent and can earn playing time in the spring and summer. I was a big fan of Wheeler's in 2007 and he's a solid pass-catching tight end.

It also appears Vinston Painter has been moved back to the offensive line. The argument could be made that this is just to provide depth to a depleted offensive line during the spring, but spring drills would be a crucial time for Painter to grow as a defensive lineman. My guess is this move is permanent.

No real surprises on the defensive side of the ball. It'll be good for the younger guys to get more reps at linebacker with Cam Martin out for spring practice. I like the group we have at linebacker, they're just all very green with the exception of Martin and Cody Grimm.

Beamer in the Blogging Business... Sort of

BeamerBall.com has a new blog on its Web site, but no RSS reader which means I'll check it about as often as I call my mom. I know, that's terrible and I should call her more often, I'm a bad son, blah, blah, blah.

Right now it's a glorified Twitter feed, but the big news on there today is Brandon Dillard is cleared to practice this spring less than nine months after rupturing his Achilles' tendon. The other big news is Beamer played 36 holes of golf at Augusta over the weekend. This was one week after he raced at Bristol. Must be nice.

JP Giglio is an Ass Hole

Actually, I like Giggity, but this little snide remark rubbed me the wrong way in his "Final Four cheering guide for ACC fans":

Clemson, Florida State, Maryland: UNC
Conference pride!

Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College: UConn or Villanova
Conference pride!

"Hardy-har-har, those invaders used to be in the Big East so they must want their Big East brethren to win. Doopy-doop-doop." For the record I'm rooting for Sparty because Carolina AND the Big East can eat my ass with a spoon.

Hockey > Hoops

I caught former OU signee Scottie Reynolds' shot to beat Pitt (yay) and Carolina's smackdown of my alma mater (boo), but most of my weekend was spent either A) cooking dead animals, B) watching college hockey or C) both. What's that? You missed the NCAA Hockey Tournament because you're uncultured? Well, let me recap it for you:

- 3 of the 4 No. 1 seeds lost in the first round.
- 3 of the 4 No. 2 seeds lost in the first round.
- No. 4 seed Air Force shocked Michigan 2-0 despite being out-shot 44-13 to kick off the Tournament.
- Minnesota-Duluth scored two goals in the final 40 seconds to force overtime with Princeton in the first round and then won in OT. The tying goal came with 0.8 secs left.
- New Hampshire scored a pair of third period goals, the last one coming with 0.1 secs left to force OT with North Dakota in the first round and then put away the hated Sioux in the first minute of OT.
- Cornell scored three unanswered goals, the last one with 18 seconds left, to knock off Northeastern, 3-2 in the first round
- No. 4 seed tiny Bemidji State crushed hated Notre Dame in the first round.
- Miami U. held off another last-second comeback by UM-D to advance to its first Frozen Four.
- Vermont punched its ticket to the Frozen Four by beating underdog Air Force in OT on a goal that went through the net and was then reviewed for 20 minutes before being counted.
- BU scored with 15 seconds left to beat UNH to advance to the Frozen Four.
- Tiny Bemidji State completed the Forzen Four with another huge upset of Cornell. The Beavers became the first team from outside a Big Four (Hockey East, WCHA, CCHA, ECAC) to advance to a Frozen Four. Oh, and the Beavers have no clue what conference they'll be in next year because theirs is disbanding after this season.

It was wild, it was unpredictable and I can't wait for the Frozen Four in two weeks. I just wish that I was going. Last year's trip to Denver was outstanding.



- The softball team won its series with UVa. (HokieSports)
- Bourbonstreet has his Top 10 things to watch in spring practice. (Blogsburg)
- Defense was the downfall of this year's Hokie hoopsters. (Tech Hoops)
- Vote Fraggle. (The North End Zone)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- I now hate Seth Curry. (ACCSJ)
- Miami had its spring game this weekend. (All Canes)
- What FSU WR Taiwan Easterling will experience after tearing his Achilles. Good read that makes me really impressed with how Dillard has recovered. (Tomahawk Nation)
- UVa won a 7 OT lacrosse game that kept me from seeing the first period and a half of UNH-North Dakota. (Good Ol' Blog)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Linebackers Will be Key for Hokies this Spring

For the second consecutive season, Virginia Tech has to replace two linebackers lost to graduation. Also for the second consecutive season, the Hokies will have to replace the same two linebacker positions.

"Mike" linebacker Brett Warren and "backer" Purnell Sturdivant stepped in as seniors for the departed Vince Hall and Xavier Adibi, respectively. While the duo was not as good as the pair they replaced, the end result was the same: An ACC championship.

The "whip" linebacker positions will again be filled by Cam Martin, who will be a third year starter for the Hokies. Joining Martin will be two players who will be a lot fresher faced than Warren and Sturdivant. It will be important for the Hokies to find replacements at linebacker who do at least as well as Warren and Sturdivant last year.

In addition to the two linebacker spots, it's important for the Hokies to develop depth on the defensive line and find a second cornerback. I don't think Rashad Carmichael is the answer at corner.

LB Jake Johnson

Barquell Rivers (who started in the Orange Bowl) and Cody Grimm (who recorded 7.5 sacks last year) are expected to take over at mike and backer. Hunter Ovens pushed Sturdivant at backer last year and saw some playing time. However, I'm most interested to see what Johnson can do after a year of redshirting and getting whipped on a daily basis by S&C coach Mike Gentry. Johnson is supposed to be a beast and will either add much-needed depth at linebacker or push for significant playing time this year.

CB Eddie Whitley

Whitley is most remembered by Hokie fans for his roughing the punter penalty against Florida State that led to a game-changing touchdown for the Seminoles. However, Whitley improved as the year went on and earned progressively more playing time. I'd like to see him pass Carmichael for the cornerback spot opposite Stephan Virgil this year. I think if Whitley puts on weight and muscle from the 179 pounds he was listed at last year, he could jump into Macho Harris' boundary corner role and keep Virgil at field corner.

DT Vinston Painter

Painter was a highly regarded recruit coming into preseason practice last year. He switched from offensive to defensive line and is expected to be a great player for the Hokies. I'm eager to see what he can do during his first set of spring drills. Hopefully he can add depth to the defensive line.

Get your questions in

Spring practice for the Hokies starts April 1. The Hokie bloggerati will be doing a roundtable to preview spring ball, but we need your help. There are three ways to submit questions to us: In the comments section of this blog post, by E-mail to gobblercountry-at-gmail-dot-com or on Twitter to @gobblercountry. I look forward to hearing from you.



- BCO looks at next year's basketball roster and how it could include Seth Curry (this isn't going to die, is it?). (Beer Control Offense)

- CGB and Al Groh are here to improve your life. (College Game Balls)

- The North End Zone thinks the second coming is not just nigh. It's here. (The North End Zone)

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Apparently when Tech's season ends, basketball doesn't stop. Who knew? Joe Ovies and the ACCSJ gang talk to SN's Mike DeCourcy about The Tournament and the UVa job search. (ACC Sports Journal)

- Annette reports on how UNC spring footbal practice and its new offensive coordinator. (ESPN)

- GT's passing game is still a work in progress. Good thing they don't really need it. (The Legacy x4)

- Maryland has a lot of issues to work out on defense during spring practice. (Turtle Waxing)


- Former WVU kicker Pat McAfee is doing something similar to pro wrasslin'. (Dr. Saturday)

- Some tough matchups in the second round of Ogle Madness. I went with the upset and voted for Kristen Chenoweth even though she's guaranteed a loss. (The Lost Ogle)

- Bring back Trot! (Globe's Extra Bases)

- Wooooooofuckinhooooo! Wait, we're still how far out of the playoffs? (Die by the Blade)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Why Can't the Hokies Scrimmage Other Schools?

One thing that perplexes me about college football is teams aren't allowed to scrimmage during spring or summer practices. This makes absolutely no sense.

High school teams are allowed to scrimmage prior to their season. And in my state, non-district games have no bearing on whether or not a team makes the playoffs, so those might as well be exhibitions.

NFL teams not only scrimmage, but play meaningless preseason games as well. There's no reason for the level between high school at the NFL to not have scrimmages.

I think it would be in the sports best interest to let teams scrimmage. If not in August, then at least during spring drills. Virginia Tech would get a much better bearing on its players and be better prepared for Alabama if it was allowed to scrimmage Liberty or another team that's close by prior to the season.

This part is probably just a pipe dream, but it might also cut down on the number of teams who load up on I-AA teams out of conference. I'm sure a lot of coaches choose to play cupcakes so they have a better idea of what they need to fix before conference play starts.


Seth Curry

- Tech Hoops looks at the odds Seth Curry will end up at Tech. Spoiler alert: Not bloody likely.

- A-Line on The Wahoo coaching search, Seth Curry and the NCAA Tournament.

- Joe Ovies has an interview with Dave Telep that goes over the Curry situation.

Atlantic Coast Conference

- All Canes looks at the effect firing Art Kehoe has had on Miami's offensive line.

- Annette reports Wake cornerback Brandon Ghee has a torn MCL.

- Clemson's coaches aren't All In apparently.

- From Old Virginia has thoughts on the early days of UVa's spring practice.


- BCO needs a team to bid on in the Sweet 16. My original pick of Memphis is available, but looking at my bracket he may want to avoid it.

- When Brazilian waxing meets Goodfellas.

- Hockey, pierogies and sexual tension.

- George Kottaras will be Tim Wakefield's personal catcher this year. Once, in Portland, Ore., I saw Kottaras take a foul ball ... um ... below the equator, writhe around on the ground in pain for 10 minutes, get up and finish catching the game. Like a champion.

Don't Forget

- Submit your questions for our Spring Football Roundtable either in the comments or by E-mailing gobblercountry-at-gmail-dot-com. Thanks.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Submit Questions for a Hokie Spring Football Roundtable

Several Hokie sports blogs have agreed to participate in a roundtable to preview Virginia Tech's spring football practices. However, we need help from you all.

Please submit questions for us to discuss by leaving them in the comments or E-mailing them to gobblercountry-at-gmail-dot-com. Please try to limit the questions to Hokie football or the concept of spring football.

We'll pick five or six questions they will be answered by our panel. The roundup will be posted here after all the bloggers have chimed in.

Participating blogs:

Beer Control Offense
College Game Balls
The North End Zone
Tech Super Fans
Virginia Tech Fan

Watch Williams, OL During VT's Spring Practice

The Hokies lose only three offensive starters from last year's team. However, there are still a lot of fresh faces that I'm looking forward to hearing about when Tech starts spring practice April 1. The biggest key for Hokies will be developing depth on the offensive line. They'll get the chance to do so as only two returning starters (LT Ed Wang and RT Blake DeChristopher) will participate in spring drills. Guard Sergio Render had surgery on his left shoulder and won't be available.

RB Ryan Williams

This is a no brainer. Hokie fans are excited to finally see the redshirt freshman in action. Williams was redshirted last year because he was unable to earn enough playing time at running back to justify playing him in his first year. Williams had trouble with pass blocking, which will get you on Billy Hite's bad side quickly.

Williams will at least return kicks for the Hokies next season and is expected to provide the lateral-moving shifty type running style in the backfield that complements the hard-nosed running style of Darren Evans. I think you could also see Williams line up in the slot a lot next year as well.

WR Brandon Dillard

Dillard was the star of last year's spring game but tore his Achilles’ tendon in July and missed the 2008 season. I'm interested to see if Dillard's speed is anywhere close to what we saw last spring out of him.

The Hokies need a speedy wide receiver and Dillard can provide that if he's back. If he isn't, hopefully he can at least provide much needed depth at the position.

OL Jaymes Brooks

Brooks played well during the Orange Bowl against Cincinnati for the ineligible Nick Marshman. I'm interested to see which guard position he plays during spring practice. In the Orange Bowl, he played right guard and Render moved to the left spot. We'll find out if that move is permanent this spring.

The key for the Hokies will be maintaining the chemistry and progress the offensive line made toward the end of last year. They have to replace the main cog in center Ryan Shuman, who graduated, and if they can do that they should be able to hit the ground running in 2009.

Who are you interested in seeing perform during spring drills?



- BCO welcomes a new writer in HokieJayBee. He announces his presence with authority.

- The A-Line looks at the ACC's postseason performance, including that of the Hokies.

- The North End Zone is glad Tech's basketball season (and the weekend) is over.

Atlantic Coast Conference

- The Legacyx4 has an in-depth look at Georgia Tech's first day of spring practice.

- Brendan at From Old Virginia gives his thoughts on the guys at the top of UVa's bball coaching search.

- Impressive research by Tomahawk Nation. Leonard Hamilton does a much better job of improving his players than another hoops coach I know.

- David Glenn at ACCSJ interviews Aaron Curry.


- South Park will have a Jimmy Buffett influence tonight.

- An Oklahoma team claimed a hoops national title.

- Burnt Orange Nation took a trip to G'boro for the NCAA Tournament.

- OMG! Miller's back! Too bad the season's dead. However, one Sabres fan still enjoys going to the games. Is she a fellow masochist?

- If The Captain can't hit OR field, what was the point of bringing him back?

Monday, March 23, 2009

An Interesting Way to Boost Attendance

The VT women's lacrosse team hosts North Carolina at 4 p.m. Wednesday at Thompson Field. The struggling Hokies are 4-10 overall and 1-2 in ACC play. I don't think I ever remember a point where the women's lacrosse team was any good, but that doesn't mean it won't see a big attendance figure Wednesday.

Wednesday's game will feature something called the "Greek Challenge" where the fraternity or sorority with the most members in attendance receives a $100 gift card to the business of its choice. My guess is you'll see a lot of greeks at Wednesday's game because from what I experienced in college greeks get excited about any opportunity to beat other greeks at anything.

Whether its raising money or drinking terrible 3.2 beer, greeks get a kick out of being the best at it. Hopefully it means a spirited atmosphere for the game against the 7-2 Tar Heels.

Attendance to women's lacrosse games are free at VT, but I assume the increased attendance will mean increased concession sales. And if the Hokies were smart and got that $100 gift card donated, it's all profit.



- Aaron McFarling has greater appreciation for the ADV era than I do.

- BCO really likes IPAs. I can't stand IPAs. To each his own.

- Tech Hoops gives its summer schedule.

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Enjoy it while you can boys. There's no spring break in the real world. /sobs uncontrollably. /applies to grad school.

- Jeff and Brian are too close to call in their Tournament pool. Jeff's only ahead because he had his wife pick his bracket.

- Pretty good motivational ploy by Roy during the LSU game.

- Apparently the near-empty Dolphin Stadium for Miami games isn't because 'Canes fans suck. It's because Miami fans suck in general.

- Spring practice starts at Georgia Tech.


- Looks like all that money the Virginia Lottery gives to Virginia Public Schools didn't help Percy Harvin.

- Giglio looks at Gonzaga's history in the NCAA Tournament.

- Sad face.

- It was a bad weekend to be a Sabres fan.

Barnhart Talks Coastal, Tide Fans Talk Tech

Tony Barnhart, a/k/a Mr. College Football, posted his "What we know and don't know" about the ACC Coastal this morning on his blog. Barnhart has forgotten more about college football than I know, so I was looking forward to this.

Here's what he said about the Hokies:

VIRGINIA TECH (10-4, practice starts April 1, ends April 25)

What we know: Bud Foster’s defense will be very good again. The Hokies’ defense was supposed to be in a rebuilding mode in 2008 but when the season ended Virginia Tech was second in the league in total defense (279.4 ypg) and first in scoring defense (16.7 ppg). Seven starters return but the losses were significant. Victor “Macho” Harris started 40 games at cornerback. Foster also has to find a couple of inside linebackers. According the figures recently released by the school, in the last five seasons combined, Virginia Tech has had the nation’s best defense (263.06 ypg). There is no reason to think that will change in 2009.

What we don’t know: Can QB Tyrod Taylor and RB Darren Evans keep it going? If so, the Hokies are going to be hard to handle on offense. Taylor, a rising junior, was dinged up a lot last season but still managed to record 1,774 yards of total offense (1,036 passing, 738 running) in 12 games. Evans set an ACC record for the most yards rushing by a freshman (1,265) last season. Virginia Tech has won the ACC championship in three of the five years (2004, 2007, 2008) it has been a member and played for the ACC championship (losing to Florida State) in 2005. The Hokies may be the closest thing the ACC has to a Top 10 team in 2009. Do they have a chance to upset Alabama in the Georgia Dome on Sept. 5?

Pretty simple and straight forward. Also, the same thing could have been said in 2006, 2007 and 2008 about Hokie football.

Naturally, Barnhart's suggestion that Tech might beat Alabama brought out the best and brightest the state has to offer in the comments section.

"Roll fuckin' tahde":

From MtnBama: "VT like everyone else will be lucky to score ten points against Bama this year."

From Saint Nick: "Yeah VT will have a decent defense, BUT, Bama will have a GREAT defense!!!! VT or anyone for that matter run on this defense. Scott moving to DB will help sure up the secondary, the front seven will be the best in the country. RTR!!!!!!"

From Got 12? (ed. note - you don't have 12, either): "Once again, by scheduling the marquee matchup of college football’s opening weekend, Bama has already won. This game is about national exposure, branding, and recruiting. One a side note, we will beat Virgina Tech."

From Bob: "Virginia Tech does not fare well in games like this. Their record against top 25 teams from OOC is less than impressive, and that’s being generous. I think they are one of the most overrated programs in the nation."

That is some inspirational shit right there. For those of you who don't speak Crazy Fanatic Internet Shorthand, RTR means "Roll Tide Roll". Of course, there was no mention from Bama fans about how they were actually going to move the ball this year or how this game being on opening weekend might hurt the team that's having to replace its QB, RB and best offensive lineman.

Looks like we're going to have five months of smack talk between Bama and Tech fans leading up to this soiree.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fitting End to Basketball Season

This year's Hokie basketball team was known for coming out flat and then having to regroup and make a comeback attempt. With the notable exception of the win over Wake Forest, this was S.O.P. for Tech.

So, naturally, the Hokies came out as slow and sluggish as they ever have against Baylor in the second round of the NIT and were promptly dispatched, 84-66 by the Bears.

It didn't help that Baylor couldn't miss from the field. The Bears shot 66.7 percent in the first half. Center Josh Lomers scored 12 points, all in the first half, to pace them early. Baylor made 10 of 21 three-point attempts in the game.

The Hokies were the polar opposite as they shot 32.4 percent for the game and 24.1 percent in the first half. Tech's "Big Three" of Malcolm Delaney, AD Vassallo and Jeff Allen combined to go 2 for 17 from the field in the first half.

It was an embarrassing opening 20 minutes from the Hokies. Baylor played excellent defense and forced Tech into poor shots. However, the Hokies hurt themselves by being generally lazy, especially while passing.

The entire game can be encapsulated into a stretch with just under four minutes to play. Baylor's Henry Dugat stole a lazy in-bounds pass and reset the offense. Baylor missed a three and Tech got the offensive rebound. However, another lazy pass at midcourt was again stolen by Dugat, who this time took the ball to the rim and jammed it home.

The Hokies were a horrible basketball team to watch this year. They were inconsistent and at times it seemed they were unmotivated. A very disappointing season that had a lot of promise in the preseason is thankfully over.



- Tech Hoops offers its take on the loss.

- BCO has an accurate visual representation of today's performance.

- VT Fan found it hard to get excited about the NIT.

- The North End Zone has joined the Twitter.

- The Hokie football team dished out some awards.

Atlantic Coast Conference

- As bad as Friday was for the ACC, Giglio says it could have been worse.

- The Buzz Blog says you only have to look at the coaches to see why some ACC teams are still dancing and some aren't.

- My thoughts on Tech's bball season are similar to All Canes' thoughts on Miami's bball season.

- Section Six sees a correlation between beating NCSU and winning in The Tournament.


- EDSBS has Erin Andrews naked.

- Anne at Sabretooth's House does her best furrer4heisman impersonation after last night's loss to Philly.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Hokie Baseball Gets 100 Percent More Awesome

Because the Hokies will be wearing this little number for their game against Georgia Tech at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at English Field. The Houston Astros starburst-style jerseys are a part of Disco Night and old school VT shirts will also be given away.

Yes, they're ugly, but that doesn't make them any less spectacular. I'll pay handsomely for one of those things.

Honoring the Original Hokie

O.M. Stull, who came up with the "Old Hokie Cheer" that eventually gave Tech its nickname, will be honored by the Roanoke Valley Hokie Club. A memorial and plaque will be placed at his grave in Lexington, Va., to honor his contribution to Hokie athletics.

Stull won the school-wide contest to come up with a new cheer (and its $5 first prize) in 1896. He said the word Hokie was just something he made up to draw attention to the cheer.

Hokie Face Baylor in NIT

I'll be having breakfast with the Hokies when they host Baylor at 11 a.m. Saturday at Cassell Coliseum on ESPN. Coach Greenberg is certain the fans will be loud despite the early start time:

We are excited about Saturday's game. It's another national television game and we want to show the country that the "Hokie Nation" is ready to go, 24/7. Regardless of whether it's a 10 a.m. or midnight tip, we are ready to go. Thank you for your support throughout the season and we look forward to seeing you in the Cassell on Saturday morning.

The key for the Hokies will be stopping Baylor point guard Curtis Jerrells. After watching Duquesne's Aaron Jackson drive to the hoop at will against Tech's awful perimeter defense, I worry the same will happen when Jerrells takes on the Hokies.

Jerrells won't put up the same 46 points Jackson had because he has a better supporting cast. If the Hokies can't contain Jerrells, he'll be able to drive, dish and dominate Saturday morning.

The Hokies will need a big game from Jeff Allen to win this one. He can make a difference inside against a Baylor team that isn't great on the boards.



- KT is in St. Louis covering the NCAA Wrasslin' Championship.

- Coach Beamer will compete in a celebrity NASCAR race Saturday in Bristol, Tenn.

- Tech Hoops thinks the Baylor game will come down to three-point shooting.

- Blogsburg thinks Baylor poses problems for us and is glad the game starts at 10 a.m. CDT.

- BCO gives it up to Aaron Jackson.

- TV Theme Madness continues at The North End Zone. Vote Fraggle.

Atlantic Coast Conference

- Tar Heel Fan is in G'boro cheering on the Heels.

- All Canes thinks Kirby Hocutt should keep his pimp hand strong when dealing with the Irish.

- BC faces BU in a critical hockey showdown this weekend.

- Joe Ovies and Adam Gold interview public enemy No. 1 in Chapel Hill, Jeff Goodman.

- Why didn't you tell me Barnhart was back in the blogging business?!?


- Doug thinks brackets can solve anything.

- Buffalo is actually talking about firing Lindy Ruff. I never thought this would happen.

- Ow-ah pitchahs cowntinue to dawminahte in Fahrt Meyahs.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

*cough, cough*

"Hey, boss, it's furrer4heisman. Hey, yeah ... um, yeah. There's NO way I'm going to be able to come into work today. I think I caught that 48-hour flu that's been going around. Yeah, the 48 hour one. It's like the 24-hour flu but like twice as bad. No. Yeah, I've been throwing up all morning. It's terrible. So, I mean, I'll try to come in tomorrow, but we're just going to have to play it by ear. What's that? Oh, does that start today? I had no idea!"

I'm at home today. And tomorrow. Yeah, there will be hell to pay on Monday, but it will probably be worth it. For every year except My Year In Hell, I've skipped school and or work to watch the first two days of The Tournament (notice the capitalization).

My favorite memory was 1998 when my parents called me in sick so we could go to the Myriad to watch the first round games. Boy am I glad they did:

We bought tickets on the street prior to the game and ended up sitting two rows up, across the court from the Valpo bench. There were a bunch of higher-ups from the school sitting around us and we all went nuts after Drew hit the shot.

What I remember most was that shot woke everyone up. The game started at 11:20 AM or so and the entire arena (which was about half-full) slept through most of the game. Until it started to dawn on us Valpo had a chance.

There were great games at the Myriad that year. Right after the Valpo game, Florida State upset TCU. Two days later, Valpo advanced to the Sweet 16 and Rhode Island joined them by knocking off Kansas, who a lot of people picked to win it all.

What's your favorite three-day work week or three-day school week memory?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Bracket

Here it is:

Those on Facebook are cordially invited to join The 4th Annual Teddy Dupay Memorial Basketball Pool.

Midwest Region

First Round

Lewwwwwvulllll over Whoever Won Last Night Morehead State
Siena over Ohio State
Arizona over Utah
Wake Forest over Cleveland State
West Virginia over Dayton
Kansas over NDSU
Boston College over USC
Michigan State over Robert Morris

Second Round

Louisville over Siena
Wake over Arizona
West Virginia over Kansas
Michigan State over BC

Sweet 16

Louisville over Wake
Michigan State over West Virginia

Elite Eight

Louisville over Michigan State

West Region

First Round

UConn over Chattanooga
BYU over Texas A&M
Purdue over Northern Iowa
Washington over Mississippi State
Utah State over Marquette
Missouri over Cornell
Cal over Maryland
Memphis over CS-Northridge

Second Round

UConn over BYU
Washington over Purdue
Utah State over Mizzou
Memphis over Cal

Sweet 16

Washington over UConn
Memphis over Utah State

Elite Eight

Memphis over Washington

East Region

First Round

Pitt over ETSU
Tennessee over OSU
Florida State over Wisconsin
Xavier over Portland State
Villanova over American
Texas over Minnesota
Duke over Binghamton

Second Round

Pitt over Tennessee
Florida State over Xavier
UCLA over Villanova
Texas over Duke

Sweet 16

Florida State over Pitt
Texas over UCLA

Elite Eight

Florida State over Texas

South Region

First Round

North Carolina over Radford
Butler over Elleshoe
WKU over Illinois
Gonzaga over Akron
Arizona State over Temple
Syracuse over SFA
Michigan over Clemson
Oklahoma over Morgan State

Second Round

UNC over Butler
Gonzaga over WKU
Arizona State over Syracuse
Oklahoma over Michigan

Sweet 16

Gonzaga over UNC
Arizona State over Oklahoma

Elite Eight

Arizona State over Gonzaga

Final Four

Memphis over Louisville
Florida State over Arizona State

National Championship

Memphis over Florida State

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stuff to Read While Drinking and Filling Out Brackets

It's St. Patrick's, so I'm doing what I do best all day today. It's not even Noon and I'm on my third Guinness. I'm not an alcoholic, I'm just honoring my heritage.

I'm also filling out what will likely be the worst bracket in the history of filling it out brackets. Seriously, this thing is terrible. I'll reveal my picks tomorrow so you can point and laugh at them.

Everyone has advice on the NCAA Tournament and how to pick it. Well, I can only offer two pieces of advice.

First, the serious part: Fill it out backwards. Look at each regional, select the team you feel is strongest or has the best match-ups to get them to the Final Four and put them in Detroit. Then, fill out the rest of the regional. If you start from the beginning, you're bound to put the strongest team in a tough match-up in the Sweet 16 and then go against your better judgment and pick against them. Well, more often than not, that Sweet 16 match-up doesn't happen and you're stuck when you're original team ends up in the Final Four.

Finally, the fun part: Pick one huge underdog and have them winning in the first round. This way, if you're like me and your team isn't in the field, you at least have one rooting interest on Thursday or Friday. It's an added bonus if the underdog you picked is playing a team you hate.



- TSL has the Labatt Hokie Hotline notes. Greenberg on the officiating: "It is what it is."

- Tech Hoops went to the ACC tournament and naturally visited The Varsity. "What'll ya have!?"

- Niemo also previews the Duquesne game.

- Blogsburg has its unique take on the Dukes. With cheerleader photo!

- A-Line wonders aloud why Tech fans are complaining about the officiating Friday's hoops game after the officiating in September's football game. Good point. [stereotypical Hokie fan] I'll take the football win over a basketball win any day. [/stereotypical Hokie fan].


- Joe Ovies and Adam Gold interview Tom O'Brien about Irish Christmas.

- Blogger So Dear has advice on filling out your bracket. Don't look at the RPI, folks.

- Jeff of BCI took time out from being a neutered married pussy to attend the ACC tournament.

- TrueCubbie of Tomahawk Nation takes a preliminary look at The Tournament.

- Probably the best read of the week (even if it's from a dirty 'hoo) comes from From Old Virginia with his take on Dave Leitao's ouster. Good stuff. You know, for a 'hoo.

- Doug dissects Dabo.


- Tulsa is finally better than OKC at something. Too bad it's making meth.

- Remember when Winfield of The Legacy x4 and I traded texts during the GT-Miami game last November? This is what it would have looked like if we were women. Notice the complete lack of swear words. And neither of them is drunk.

- Woo hoo!

- Double woo hoo!

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Fran Fraschilla Drinking Game

Living in Big 12 country, I have to watch a lot of basketball games involving ESPN color commentator and former New Mexico head coach Fran Fraschilla. What has amused me about Fraschilla's broadcasting the last few years is he seems to be interviewing for his next head coaching job throughout each telecast.

I'm sure there's a lot of color guys who do this, but Fraschilla is the most blatant. Well, as if you needed another reason to drink on Wednesday, Coach Fran will be calling the Notre Dame-UAB game at 9 p.m. on ESPN. If I'm conscious, I'll play along. But, I haven't lasted 'til 9 p.m. in many a St. Patrick's Day.

Fran Fraschilla Drinking Game


One Drink: Fran needlessly over analyzes a mundane situation with coach-speak.
Two Drinks: Fran draws up his own play in an end-game situation.
Three Drinks: Fran mentions he coaches at a lot of summer camps.

Sucking Up

One Drink: Fran mentions the AD of a team involved in his game.
Two Drinks: Fran mentions the coach of another sport of a school involved in his game.
Three Drinks: Fran praises the town/facilities/fans of a school involved in his game.


One Drink: Fran mentions a player as a conference award candidate.
Two Drinks: Fran mentions a player as a national award candidate.
Three Drinks: "I would have won a lot more games if I had (name of player) on my teams."
Finish your drink: Fran takes credit for improving a player at a summer camp.

So there you go. No complicated rules. Just straight forward drinking for when Coach Fran calls a hoops game. Enjoy.

Things that get me to football: Wii

This is a quasi-regular feature on things that help me make it from the BCSCG to Labor Day weekend and the start of callllllllage footbawl season.

Nothing beats kicking the shit out of middle schoolers online at Mario Kart Wii at 3 in the morning. To date, I have never lost on Moonview Highway.

For a while, Wii Fit was also pretty addicting particularly the penguin slide. We somehow turned Wii Fit into a drinking game, which I'm pretty sure defeated the purpose of Wii Fit.

"Dude, I kicked your ass on 'tree pose'. Drink!"

But now that we finally have Rock Band, that's taken up most of our time. Our band, "Tell Your Mom I Said Thanks," is currently touring Europe performing Rush covers.

Hokies Among 9 ACC Teams in Postseason

The Hokies are going to the NIT as expected and will host Duquesne at 7 p.m. Wednesday on ESPNU. The Hokies are the No. 2 seed in Auburn's corner of the bracket and if they keep winning, are going to get at least two home games on the road to MSG. Last year, the Hokies were one win away from a trip to New York before losing to Ole Miss.

Duquesne fell one game short of the NCAA Tournament, losing to Temple in th A10 final Saturday. The Dukes are 21-11 and 8-6 on the road this year. They don't have any impressive non-conference wins, but have faced Duke, Pittsburgh, West Virginia and Old Dominion this year.

Only one play from the infamous September 2006 shooting of five Duquesne players is still on the roster, guard Aaron Jackson. Jackson is the Dukes' leading scorer, averaging 18.5 points per game.

If the Hokies win Wednesday, they will face the Baylor-Georgetown winner. The Hokies match-up better against the Bears, but I'd love a shot at the Hoyas in the Cassell.

Pithy Thoughts on the Other ACC Postseason Teams

NCAA Tournament

North Carolina
1 Seed - South Region
vs. 16 Radford Thursday in Greensboro

I expect the Tar Heels to come out of the Memphis bracket and possibly win the national title. They sat Ty Lawson in the ACC tournament like UConn did with Emeka Okafor in 2004. It was a smart move. UNC will avoid the athletic guards that give them trouble until a possible match-up with Jeremy Pargo and Gonzaga in the Sweet 16.

2 Seed - East Region
vs. 15 Binghamton Thursday in Greensboro

I think the East region will see a lot of chaos. I don't trust Pitt or Duke despite seemingly easy roads to the Elite Eight.

Wake Forest
4 Seed - Midwest Region
vs. 13 Cleveland State Friday in Miami

Wake will either go to the Elite Eight or lose to Cleveland State. There is no in between with this bunch.

Florida State
5 Seed - East Region
vs. 12 Wisconsin Friday in Boise

Boise hasn't been historically kind to the Badgers. I think the Seminoles are a team that could make a Final Four run if presented with the right match-ups. I think a game between them and Pitt would be fun to watch.

Boston College
7 Seed - Midwest Region
vs. 10 USC Friday in Minneapolis

BC went to Minneapolis for a regional in 2006 and lost in the Sweet 16 to Villanova by one point in overtime. I think the Eagles will beat USC and possibly Michigan State if Tyrese Rice takes over.

7 Seed - South Region
vs. 10 Michigan Thursday in Kansas City

First-round exit.

10 Seed - West Region
vs. 7 California Thursday in Kansas City

The Terps are playing well and could beat Cal, but won't make it out of KC.


4 Seed - Florida Bracket
at 5 Providence Wednesday on ESPN2

The 'Canes have to travel to the Dunkies Center despite being the higher seed. They're a threat to make it to NYC if Jack McClinton is healthy.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The Day After

I thought that 24 hours after the Hokies lost the Tar Heels 79-76 I'd be more rational. I am not. I still put this one squarely on shoddy ACC officiating.

While I'm not convinced the Hokies would have won had a foul been called on North Carolina in the final seconds of yesterday's game, I am convinced it was a foul and the call made on the floor was wrong.

That hasn't changed. Neither has my new-found hatred of North Carolina and Tyler Hansbrough. I used to like North Carolina and used to root for it more often than not when it wasn't playing Virginia Tech. No longer. I already don't watch Duke-Carolina games because it's the most overrated rivalry in sports, but now I don't even have a rooting interest.

I despise Hansbrough as well. With the way he's treated by officials and the calls he gets, he is an honorary Duke Blue Devil in my eyes. His game is about initiating contact and getting calls. I can no longer tolerate the sight of him.

The Hokies were not a good basketball team this year. They were a team that consistently played to the level of their competition and in reality were never a threat to make the NCAA Tournament. They had one big win against Wake Forest doesn't look nearly as impressive now as when it happened. We were a mediocre team at best and the definition of an NIT team. Therefore, that's where we're headed.


- Joe Ovies has video of the foul.

- Orson also sees the Hansbrough-Tebow comparison.

- Giglio notes a few more questionable calls.

- ACCSJ thinks we're still on the bubble?

- Tech Hoops was impressed by ADV's play.

- BCO has calmed down a little [beer pun] and is no long hopping mad [/beer pun].

- But The North End Zone will not calm down, thank you very much.

- Tar Heel Fan is happy to survive and advance.

- Yes, Carolina March, Hansbrough did cost us the game. But he committed a foul to do it.

- TarEye or BuckHeel thinks it was the right call, but was made late.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Things that get me to football: Spring Football

This is a quasi-regular feature on things that help me make it from the BCSCG to Labor Day weekend and the start of callllllllage footbawl season.

Spring football practice is kind of a mystery to me. I don't know when college football teams started having spring practice sessions or when people started caring so much about them. But I do know that the whole thing has gotten so out of control that ESPN has started televising practices and intrasquad scrimmages.

King Football has become so big that the spring game has started to become a hot ticket. Alabama sold out its spring game two years ago. Tickets to Nebraska's spring game started popping up on eBay last year.

And yet, it's another one of those things that college football fans look forward to as much as the regular season, along with signing day and the first day of fall practice. I know a lot of Hokie fans who will tailgate for the spring game as if the Hokies were playing Miami instead of themselves.

What amazes me about the popularity of spring football is it isn't like baseball's spring training, which runs right up to the start of the season. After spring practice, we still have five months of dissecting before college football kicks off. It's a unique phenomenon.

However, it does allow us a taste of what's to come. Hokie fans were excited about Brandon Dillard after last year's spring game until he torn his Achilles' tendon in July. They'll be just as excited to see how Ryan Williams does in this year's game. OK, fine, I'm looking forward to seeing Williams in action, too.

Spring football gives us a taste of what we've been missing and what we can look forward to. In college football, hope springs eternal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Annette Talks to Stiney

Annette has a two-part Q&A with Virginia Tech offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring over at her blog. Part one is here and part two here. While its an interesting read, Annette never asks the obvious question: Whether or not Stiney feels the offense needs to make significant improvement in order for him to keep his job.

This is a make-or-break year for Stiney. He has the talent on offense capable of putting up bigger numbers than the last three seasons. Another sub-par year and Stiney's hot seat may reach its boiling point.

In the interview, Stiney points out that 2009 will be the first time since in three seasons the Hokies don't have a quarterback controversy going into the season. He said he's excited about the way the players are progressing going into spring practice and hopes the offense can become more consistent now that they are more experienced.

He didn't tip his hand when asked about Ryan Williams, only telling Annette that the staff is looking forward to finally seeing him on the field. He also said the staff might have played Williams last year had they known Kenny Lewis was going to get injured.

Also, the Hokies are already preparing for the Crimson Tide:

I'm not going to kid you. We've already taken a look. There's been some breakdowns already. I'm sure on their part, too. Once the game was signed, both schools exchanged film the day after, I think. Most of us understand the significance of this ball game. We certainly understand Alabama and how good they are and what this means for an early game. You want to be as prepared as you possibly can, but again, you're calling at a time of the season where you just come off recruiting, and you're gearing up to start recruiting the next class, and also still going back and still scouting yourself.

That's good to hear. Alabama came into last year's Chick-fil-a Kickoff prepared for everything Clemson was going to do on both sides of the ball. Hopefully the Hokies will be ready for everything the Tide will do.

While he wasn't asked directly about the criticism he faced last season, Stiney did allude to the roller coaster that was the 2008 campaign:

Speaking of the Orange Bowl, you guys win ACC titles like it's nothing ...

BS: Oh this one right here wasn't like it was nothing, (he laughed) this one was a grinder.

I hope Stinespring's ready for another grinder. I know there are a lot of people that refuse to give the guy any credit for anything this team does. Hopefully the offense improves enough to quiet his detractors because that probably means were winning most of our football games.


- Tech Hoops previews the ACC tournament and writes that Jeff Allen needs to have a better game against Miami.

- Beer Control Offense offers his own ACC awards. There's a surprise on the "All Douche Bag" Team.

- VT Fan is done with basketball.

- Kyle Tucker is back with a report on the Hokies off-season weight program. Hey Kyle, be sure to eat at Charlie Gitto's while you're in The Lou next week.

- Joe Ovies is skeptical about ACC realignment. He expects the conference to hold out hope for FSU and Miami playing in the ACCCG every year and keep the status quo.

- NC State fans aren't big fans of the rumored realignment.

- Finally some optimism.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

ACC Realignment Rumors

A modest proposal

College Game Balls pointed out yesterday that rumors abound about possible realignment of the ACC's football divisions. What he found was talk of Boston College and Maryland moving from the Atlantic to the Coastal with Miami and Georgia Tech moving from the Coastal to the Atlantic. This would create more of a true North-South division alignment.

I'm all for it as long as it means the Hokies don't have to play at Miami and at BC in the same season every two years. The new divisions CGB found would help a lot with travel and look like this:

Florida State
Georgia Tech
NC State
Wake Forest

Boston College
North Carolina
Virginia Tech

And my best guess for Interdivision Rivals:

BC -----> CU
DU -----> WF
MD -----> GT
NC -----> NCST
VA -----> FSU
VT -----> UM

If the Hokies continued to play Miami every year, the only real change to the schedule would be playing Maryland every year and playing Georgia Tech two out of every five years. The problem that arises is how to keep Tech from going to Boston and Miami every other year. The answer is simple. The Hokies will just need to do what Georgia Tech did when it played at Virginia Tech in consecutive years. I'm willing to have the Hokies travel to Boston back-to-back seasons in order for that to happen.

As Brian and Jeff at BC Interruption mention, none of this would happen until after the 2015 football season. But until then, it's fun to speculate.

BCI takes it one step too far

Brian's proposed division realignment looks similar to the one above, but he swaps UNC for Wake as well, which in my opinion would never fly because it makes too much sense. Brian backs up his proposal with all these "facts" and "numbers". But on paper, just looking at the names, the ACC South looks MUCH more difficult than the ACC North. Therefore, it would never pass inspection if it were ever voted on.

Brian's ACC Divisions:

ACC North
Virginia Tech (.781)
Boston College (.656)
Wake Forest (.563)
Virginia (.500)
Maryland (.469)
Duke (.031)

ACC South
Georgia Tech (.656)
Clemson (.563)
Florida State (.531)
Miami (FL) (.469)
North Carolina (.406)
NC State (.375)

Those numbers to the right of each school are winning percentages since BC joined in 2005. But if you factor in tradition and the average North Carolinian's perception of ACC football, Brian's divisions suddenly look like this:

ACC North
yankee invaders
wake forest
worst team evar

ACC South
DA U!!!

That doesn't seem like a balanced ACC now, does it? It'll never happen. So, while Brian's divisions would be nice, let's just hope for the first ACC South-North alignment that was discovered by CGB. At least then the conference doesn't have to worry about trying to explain why teams are in their current confusing divisions.

Why wait?

What I would prefer is for the conference to expedite the realignment. Just because it announced the football schedule through 2015 doesn't mean it has to let it run its course. Hell, the schedule's enough to figure out it could announce the schedule through 2050 it wanted to. The schedule repeats itself every five years. It's not the square root of pi.

The ACC should just do what everyone else in the country is doing. Blame the economy. But placing the blame on "travel budgets need to be scaled back" the conference can implement new North-South divisions without any batting an eye. Hell, it would be applauded. Get it done.

Putting it off seven seasons would hurt realignment. By then, Obama could have the economy fixed and ACC fans would forget why we were going to realign in the first place and put the kibosh on the whole thing. The ACC needs to act now in case a perfectly good excuse to fix the mess it put us in in the first place goes away (hopefully).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pop goes the bubble 'cause the bubble goes pop

Thanks to atrocious shooting and 63-53 loss to Florida State Sunday, the Hokies are officially off the bubble. Anyone who thinks this team is one of the 65 best teams in the country is certifiably insane.

Tech has lost six of its last seven and eight of its last 11 games. The Hokies, to continue our 3rd Bass theme, have been playing like derelicts of Diakite.

The good news is Tech will likely get a couple of home games in the NIT considering how well attended last year's NIT games at Das Casseell were. The bad news is unlike last year this year's trip to the NIT won't be considered a triumph.

Technically, the Hokies aren't completely out of the NCAA Tournament picture. If they win ACC tournament this week, they receive the league's automatic bid. Of course, no team has ever won four games in four days to capture the ACC tourney title.

Tech's first round opponent will be Miami, which is also on the bubble and also finished 7-9 in ACC play. Tech beat the Hurricanes earlier this year in Coral Gables and has a history of success against them. The Hokies also beat Miami in the quarterfinals of last year's ACC tournament and are 6-2 against the 'Canes since joining the ACC.


- BCO is just happy Dave Odom was wrong.

- A-Line thinks Coach Greenberg will again try to talk his way into The Tournament.

- Tech Hoops is getting annoyed by the slow starts.

- Brian at MGoBlog breaks down the bubble, including VT and Miami.

- The North End Zone's TV Theme Madness gets underway. Vote for The Elephant Show.

- Brad now has as many NCAA Tournament appearances as Seth.

- Who wants to fight Brian Burke?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Yet Another Must Win for Hokies

Virginia Tech Hokies (17-12, 7-8)
Florida State Seminoles (22-8, 9-6)
Tallahasse, Fla., 2 p.m., Raycom

Enough bubble teams, especially in the ACC, have lost in the last week that Tech's Tournament hopes are no longer a lost cause. If the Hokies beat FSU Sunday, get two wins in the ACC tournament and enough bubble teams blow it in the next week, they could make the field of 65.

But first, the Hokies have to go on the road and beat the Seminoles. Quite frankly, I have no faith in this team coming through in a must-win situation. They blew it enough times last year that they went to the NIT and have proven time and again down the stretch of this season they have no business being in The Tournament.

A loss Sunday in Tally would honestly do us all a favor by taking the drama out of the next seven days.


- Tech Hoops says the 'Noles are a one-man show.

- The North End Zone's girlfriend has a thing for dolphins.

- Bourbonstreet over at the newly-named Blogsburg notes that FSU actually wins its close games.

- Tech Sideline actually likes that this game is on the road.

- TrueCubbie at Tomahawk Nation is the best basketball blogger in the ACC. He breaks down the game here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Happy Birthday!

On this day one year ago, I realized I needed some sort of catharsis when it came to writing about sports and the Hokies. I combined the two into this blog. The first few posts were really horrible (OK, they've all been really horrible) but thanks for sticking with me and making it worth doing this. Without all you commenters out there (all three of you) I wouldn't want to churn out posts on Tech and the ACC from a thousand miles away.

Thanks again for indulging me. Without this blog, Tech would cost me at least $100 an hour in therapy. Here's to another great year of blogging on the Hokies, the ACC and all the cobwebs I have in my brain.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Things that get me to football: The NHL

This may or may not become a regular feature on things that help me make it from the BCSCG to Labor Day weekend and the start of callllllllage footbawl season.

Today we are 184 days and exactly six months from the start of Hokie football.

Wednesday night was one of those nights I'm glad I have three TVs with three separate DirecTV feeds in my living room. It was the day of the NHL trade deadline, the Hokies were about to play the Tar Heels and the slumping Sabres were about to face the hated Habitants Canadiens.

My attention and my loyalties were divided. As much as I love Hokie football, Sabres hockey ranks way above Virginia Tech basketball in my sports pecking order. The Sabres and Red Sox play the Twice A Prince and My Gallant to Hokie football's Secretariat. Why do I love the Sabres? Well, a lot of it has to do with this guy:

I don't know why I became so interested in hockey to the point I'm willing to drop the huge price tag DirecTV puts on NHL Center Ice. However, I can understand why most college football fans don't like hockey. It's pretty simple, most college football fans are in the South.

Hockey isn't covered by the media in the South and is seen as a niche sport, most of the southern teams are terrible, not growing up watching the sport means southern fans aren't familiar with the rules and most of them probably don't know how to pronounce Antero Niittymaki or know he's from Finland.

But I love the sport. I love watching guys like Alex Ovechkin and Patrick Kane make magic for Washington and Chicago. I love watching Marc Savard quarterback Boston's top line and Miikka Kiprusoff make sprawling saves for Calgary. I love watching Brian Campbell K.T.F.O. people with their head down in open ice. Even if he's doing it in Chicago now instead of Buffalo.

I love Hockey Night in Canada wondering what the hell Don Cherry's going to wear and who he's going to piss off this week.

The playoffs in the NHL are the best of the four major sports in my opinion. They're grueling and they have the incredible tradition of the Stanley Cup and getting your name engraved on it. And the only reason games on the East Coast go into the wee hours of the AM are because they last four overtimes. Not because they started at 9 pm EDT.

And oh yeah, there's fighting. A lot of fighting.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Hokies vs. Tar Heels Links

VT vs. UNC at 7 p.m. on ESPN

- Tar Heel Fan has a live blog.

- Tech Hoops emphasizes starting strong.

- Tech Sideline likes that UNC is last in the league in three-point defense.

- VT Fan hopes luck is on our side.

- The North End Zone is just enjoying the ride at this point.

- THF predicts a big win for UNC.

Hokies need redemption against The Hansbrough Child

Virginia Tech Hokies (17-11, 7-7) vs.
No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels (25-3, 11-3)

Time: 7 p.m.
Date: Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Place: Cassell Coliseum, Blacksburg, Va.

Last Meeting: Tyler Hansbrough's baseline jumper with a second to play was the difference in a 68-66 win for North Carolina in the semifinals of the 2008 ACC tournament in Charlotte...the Hokies played tough defense throughout the game, but were unable to hold on to a seven-point lead with six minutes to play.

Trends: The Hokies have lost four of their last five and five of their last eight games...UNC has won 11 of its last 12 games...Tech is 9-25 against AP ranked teams under Seth Greenberg.

What to Expect: The Hokies have not been good at starting games this entire season. In order to have a chance against the Tar Heels, they will need to start well, like they did against No. 1 Wake Forest earlier this year.

The Tar Heels face Duke this weekend and I expect UNC to at least have Duke in the back of their minds to start off the game. The Hokies better take advantage of this or it could get real ugly, real quick.

UNC has been without its best shut-down defender in Marcus Ginyard and several of the ACC's top guards have been able to have big games against the Tar Heels. If Tech wants to pull off the upset, Malcolm Delaney needs to have a huge game. However, Delaney is not at 100 percent, according to Coach Greenberg during Monday's Labatt Hokie Hotline.

I expect the Tar Heels to be at their best when in transition with Ty Lawson. Therefore, the Hokies need to have the same type of game they had against the Deacs. Tech was able to minimalize Wake's transition offense and Jeff Teague by taking quality shots and not letting Teague run the fast break.

Tech is not going to win the battle on the boards against college basketball's Tim Tebow and company. The key will be taking advantage of whatever second chances it gets with offensive rebounds because they will be few and far between.

As much as I want Tech to keep this game close and win it, I just don't see it happening. UNC is just too good. I expect the same type of game we saw over the weekend against Duke. UNC will keep Tech at arms length most of the game (eight to 10 points) and Tech may make a run late to make the final score close.

If Tech loses this game and beats FSU this weekend, it will have the same resume it had going into last year's NCAA Tournament. A loss on Wednesday means the Hokies will need another marquee win in the ACC tournament in order to be safe on selection Sunday. The Hokies would also have to hope teams that are out of The Tournament don't win automatic bids.

Hokies win if: UNC completely over-looks them and they are able to contain UNC's fast break.

Heels win if: It takes care of business and dominates the boards as expected.

Final Score: North Carolina 80, Virginia Tech 72

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Calm before the storm

Tomorrow's a busy day for my remote. There are things we both care about, such as the Hokies' game against the Tar Heels and their NCAA Tournament fate. But there are also things only I care about, like the NHL trade deadline, the return of Thomas Vanek and the Sabres' game against Ah Oui, Les Canadiens de Montreal. It will be an interesting day, to say the least. I'll have a full preview of Tech-UNC manana.

The roller coaster ride that is Hokie Hoops 2008-09 really needs this win. Without a victory over Duke or UNC, the Hokies essentially have the same resume for this year's Tournament as last year's. There are just too many teams with better RPIs and resumes than Tech for the Hokies to get into the field without a eye-popping win in the next two weeks.


- TSL has its weekly Labatt Hokie Hotline notes.

- The A-Line wonders aloud if Coach Greenberg is in a New York state of mind.

- BCO has his review of the Duke game and Bulls & Bones brew house.

- I don't think the VT game is on the minds of UNC fans.

- I'm not surprised.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Catching up on the Coastal

The Hokies are currently the favorite to win the ACC Coastal this fall, but they won't be without challengers. Miami has its perennial storyline of youth and potential. North Carolina has talent, but needs to replace its entire receiving corps (sound familiar?). Georgia Tech returns a high-powered offense, but lost a lot on defense.

Tech has the latest start (April 1) and is tied for the latest end (April 25 w/ BC) to spring drills in the ACC this year. So we'll have a good idea of the other teams in the league, particularly our division, are looking before we even hit the field.

Here's a look at our primary competition in the Coastal.

Miami Hurricanes
2008 Record: 7-6, 4-4
Spring Start: Feb. 24
Spring Game: March 28

The Hurricanes have two new coordinators for 2009. Mark Whipple becomes Miami's OC after spending last year on the Philadelphia Eagles' staff. The new DC is John Lovett, who previously was an assistant at North Carolina. Whipple's hire brings the most change to Coral Gables as he runs more of a pro-style offense. The Miami bloggerati is high on Whipple.

Whipple wants Harris making quicker reads. Release the ball quicker. Find #2 if #1 isn't open. Expose mismatches by lining running backs up against linebackers. For the first time in forever, running backs are learning more passing routes and will be more involved in the passing game. This is something that's been talked about at Miami for years (Who hasn't forgotten about Coker talking about Devin Hester or even Graig Cooper becoming "the next Reggie Bush"...)

Rivals/Yahoo! has its take on the 'Canes as well. Miami appears to be reevaluating its talent and trying to figure out how to put it to its best use. What a novel concept!

In off-the-field news, Miami took a stand against kids who are too big for their britches by pulling a scholarship offer to highly touted Wichita recruit Bryce Brown. I applaud Miami's decision.

North Carolina Tar Heels
2008 Record: 8-5, 4-4
Spring Start: March 2
Spring Game: April 2

Because it's March, the only person who really cares about UNC football is Annette.

The Heels' receiver situation mirrors that of Virginia Tech's going into 2008. If the Heels follow the Hokies lead, they'll let their run game do everything early on and let the defense hold on for dear life. It'll give you gray hairs and a drinking problem, but it will also give you the best chance to win when you have no passing game.

Shaun Draughn emerged as the go-to running back at the end of last year, so Greg Little may see more action through the passing game, so sayeth Rivals/Yahoo!.

I expect UNC's defense to be fairly stout next year. I'm a big fan of Quan Sturdivant and Deunta Williams, who were both all over the field last year against the Hokies.

Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
2008 Record: 9-4, 5-3
Spring Start: March 23
Spring Game: April 18

At the end of the regular season, the Jackets were playing better than just about any ACC team. However, their momentum was derailed in the Georgia Dome by an LSU team everyone expected to have no chance against Georgia Tech's option attack.

The Jackets were just learning their new offense at this time last year. Now they can work on adding new wrinkles over a year into the Paul Johnson era. It looks like they're going to show a lot of different looks out of the flexbone.

...but what if Nesbitt spends a little time at A-Back, even if only at practice? Not only will his reads improve, but what on earth does a defense do when it sees Lucas Cox at B-Back with Dwyer and Nesbitt at A-Back? Having Nesbitt throw out of a sweep play to Dwyer, Hill, or our favorite Demaryius Thomas, and we are seeing some exciting things happen with a scheme that most people write off as a football system of yore.

That all does sound scary. Johnson may have to employ all of those tricks next year because he's defense won't be nearly as potent as last year. Gone are Michael Johnson, Darryl Richard and Vance Walker from the defensive line and Jahi Word-Daniels from the secondary. Basically, their four best defensive players in my opinion. However, Sedric Griffin and Morgan Burnett are back, so all is not completely lost, just mostly.