Thursday, July 31, 2008

Paging Dr. Goforth

ESPN's Heather Dinich has a post about Virginia Tech trainer Mike Goforth's new injury hotline. Reporters can call a phone number and receive injury info along with quotes about each player listed.

Dinich lists all of Tech's injuries going into the first days of fall practice on her blog.

Pretty cool of the Hokies to do this. Coach Beamer seems pretty laid back when it comes to giving out injury information. This goes one step further than the ACC-mandated injury report.

I don't mind Dinich not giving out the hotline phone number. As long as she and other media sources post the injury info for the general public to see, that is.

Less than 1 month away...

I couldn't agree more. Previews begin maƱana.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Odds to win the ACC

Yesterday I touched on team and player prop bets that were posted by Bodog, the official illegal online gambling site of furrer4heisman. Here's Bodog's odds to win the ACC championship game:

Clemson: 9 to 5
Virginia Tech: 5 to 2
Florida State: 4 to 1
Miami: 9 to 2
Wake Forest: 7 to 1
North Carolina: 8 to 1
Georgia Tech: 15 to 1
Maryland: 15 to 1
Boston College: 20 to 1
NC State: 30 to 1
Virginia: 50 to 1
Duke: 100 to 1

If you're like me and you love long-shots, Virginia at 50 to 1 isn't a bad bet. They've still got some talent, they are pretty good at the skill positions, have a good O-line and are in the weaker division. All they would have to do is get lucky in the ACCCG and you've got a pretty good pay day. No real surprises with the odds, except Wake being 7 to 1. I figured they would be closer to 4/1 or 5/1, like FSU is. Guess Bodog feels the same way about FSU that Phil Steele does.

Here are the ACC teams' odds to win the national title, according to Bodog:

Virginia Tech: 20 to 1
Clemson: 22 to 1
Florida State: 50 to 1
Miami: 60 to 1
Boston College: 100 to 1
Georgia Tech: 100 to 1
Maryland: 100 to 1
North Carolina: 100 to 1
NC State: 100 to 1
Virginia: 100 to 1
Wake Forest: 100 to 1
Field (Duke): 25 to 1

Riddle me this, oddsmakers: Clemson is the odds-on favorite to win the ACC, but the Hokies have better odds to win it all? Doesn't make a lot of sense to me. A couple of bets I like here are Clemson at 22/1 and Wake at 100/1. The Tigers have a lot of talent and could conceivably win a national title this year. 22/1 is a great bet. And Wake? They have a favorable schedule and a veteran team. I could see them running the table in the regular season and getting a shot at the championship. A $5 bet gets you $500 if it happens. I'm putting $5 on the Deacs and $20 on the Tigers.

Foster Among Top Assistants

Coaches Hot Seat has listed both Virginia Tech coordinators among its list of the Top 100 assistant coaches in college football.

Defensive coordinator Bud Foster came in at No. 8, right behind Florida State offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher, who was the highest-ranked ACC assistant. Foster is the third defensive coordinator on the list, behind Texas' Will Muschamp at No. 3 and Ohio State's Jim Heacock at No. 4.

Offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring was No. 44 in the rankings.

Ranking the 2008 ACC Players

Here is a quick power rating of the top players in the conference:

1. Cullen Harper - Clemson - QB
- Had a ridiculous 27-6 TD to INT ratio in '07. Will need to duplicate that feat or defenses will be able to focus on Davis and Spiller.

2. Alphonso Smith - Wake Forest - CB
- I'm a huge fan of Wake's defense. Smith is the lead ballhawk for the Deacs. He had eight picks and four forced fumbles last season.

3. Michael Johnson - Georgia Tech - DE
- Is a freak at defensive end and will give opposing QB's fits all year.

4. James Davis - Clemson - RB
- The better overall back between he and Spiller. When he's on, he can't be stopped.

5. Sergio Render - Virginia Tech - OL
- Maybe the best guard to come through Tech. The Hokie line will be solid this year.

6. Brian Toal - Boston College - LB
- BC had one of the best defenses in the country last year. Without Toal. Scary.

7. Macho Harris - Virginia Tech - CB
- Will be able to impact games as a return man more in '08. Tied for the team lead in picks last year.

8. Aaron Kelly - Clemson - WR
- Led the ACC in TDs by a wide margin last year.

9. CJ Spiller - Clemson - RB
- Lots of speed. The Tigers have tons of talent at skill positions. But how will the O-line and D hold up?

10. Eugene Monroe - Virginia - OL
- Has a pair of good backs to open holes for this season.

11. Riley Skinner - Wake Forest - QB
- All he does is win.

12. Hakeem Nicks - North Carolina - WR
- Led the conference in YPC last year. Good deep threat.

13. Ron Brace - Boston College - DT
- Main reason BC was among the best against the run last year.

14. Clint Sintim - Virginia - LB
- Had nine sacks as a linebacker last year. Will he be able to repeat that number without Howie Long's son getting double-teamed this year?

15. Sean Glennon - Virginia Tech - QB
- Maybe the most accurate passer in the conference. Doesn't make dumb mistakes. Improved his TD to INT ratio immensely last season.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Ranking the 2008 ACC Games

The Oklahoman ran a similar feature Sunday ranking all the games involving Big 12 teams. I thought it was a good idea. But then I tried to rank every ACC game, but then decided to limit it to a Top 25. Here they are, with pithy comments.

1. Alabama vs. Clemson (Atl. - Aug. 30)
- We find out pretty quick how good Clemson is.
2. Virginia Tech at Nebraska (Sept. 27)
- Finally, we get a chance at revenge for the 1996 Orange Bowl! BWAHAHA!
3. Clemson at Wake Forest (Oct. 9)
- The CU-WF-FSU round robin will be fun to watch. This Thursday-nighter is the best of the bunch.
4. Virginia Tech at Florida State (Oct. 25)
- First trip to Tally since 1990 for Tech.
5. Notre Dame at North Carolina (Oct. 11)
- Two teams that are supposed to be among the most improved in 2008. A win here would be huge for the ACC.
6. Clemson at Florida State (Nov. 8)
- Why hasn't anyone mentioned that Clemson's three toughest games are away from Death Valley?
7. Miami at Florida (Sept. 6)
- Could get ugly in a hurry. Or could the 'Canes call upon the ghost of Brock Berlin to pull off the upset?
8. Wake Forest at Florida State (Sept. 20)
- Yup, the Deacs have won two in a row against FSU.
9. Southern California at Virginia (Aug. 30)
- I'll be taking USC and the points.
10. Miami at Texas A&M (Sept. 20)
- Another trip to Big 12 country for the ACC.
11. North Carolina at Rutgers (Sept. 11)
- No Ray Rice for Rutgers. Can UNC return the favor after Rutgers won in Chapel Hill?
12. Virginia Tech at North Carolina (Sept. 20)
- The VT-UM-UNC round robin will likely decide the Coastal. Tar Heels luck out and catch the Hokies early.
13. California at Maryland (Sept. 13)
- Another Pac 10 at ACC match up. Like the first one, likely won't be close. If Maryland had a quarterback, they would be scary.
14. Virginia Tech at Miami (Nov. 13)
- Hard to believe it won't be in the Orange Bowl.
15. Wake Forest at Miami (Oct. 25)
- Wake's last trip to Miami was 2004 when the Deacs lost, 52-7.
16. South Carolina at Clemson (Nov. 29)
- I think the Gamecocks will be the spoiler of the SEC. Could they also spoil Clemson's season?
17. North Carolina at Miami (Sept. 27)
- Miami's biggest inter-division games are at home.
18. Connecticut at North Carolina (Oct. 4)
- Another Big East contest for the Heels.
19. Mississippi at Wake Forest (Sept. 6)
- Should be a great Week 2 match-up.
20. Mississippi State at Georgia Tech (Sept. 20)
- We'll know by Week 4 how well GT's offense works. It gets a big test against the SEC.
21. Colorado vs. Florida State (Jax. - Sept. 27)
- Both teams are supposed to be vastly improved from last year.
22. Virginia Tech vs. East Carolina (Char. - Aug. 30)
- Upset alert?
23. South Florida at NC State (Sept. 27)
- USF is supposed to be a contender in the Big East.
24. NC State at South Carolina (Aug. 28)
- First game of the season.
25. Boston College at NC State (Oct. 4)
- TOB faces his old team a year after losing big to them.

By the Numbers

Conf Games: 9
OOC Games: 16

BC: 1
CU: 4
DU: 0
FSU: 4
GT: 1
MD: 1
UM: 5
UNC: 5
UVA: 1
VT: 5
WF: 4

Some 2008 VT Prop Bets

Bodog, the official illegal online sports book of furrer4heisman, has released its 2008 NCAA future and prop bets. The Hokies are favored to win more than nine games this year. Take a gander:

O/U Total Wins: 9
Over (-135)
Under (+105)

Tyrod Taylor to win Heisman
60 to 1

Other lines of note to ACC fans:

Over/Under win totals:
Clemson: 9.5
Over (-145)
Under (+115)

Florida State: 8
Over (-150)
Under (Even)

Georgia Tech: 5.5
Over (-110)
Under (-120)

Miami: 7.5
Over (Even)
Under (- 130)

To win the Heisman:
James Davis, CU: 50 to 1
Cullen Harper, CU: 25 to 1
CJ Spiller, CU: 50 to 1
Field: 8 to 1

Bets I like:

Over/Under Win Totals:
Auburn over 9 wins at -130
Iowa under 7 wins at +120
Penn State under 8.5 wins at +105
USC under 10.5 wins at +120
Texas Tech over 9 wins at -115
Washington over 6 wins at +250

To win the Heisman:
Noel Devine, WVU: 30 to 1
Mark Sanchez, USC: 40 to 1
Michael Crabtree, TTU: 10 to 1

Why Wake Forest Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.

Wake Forest

Why Wake Forest won't win the ACC in '08:

1. Coach is a 'Hoo.
2. Mascot is an old man who rides a motorcycle.
3. Sold out and named stadium for a bank.
4. Players want to blow up campus.

Wake Forest's One Redeeming Value:

Will return to mediocrity when Grobe leaves.

Queer Eye for the Wahoo Guy

[/scene: Int. Club 216 in Charlottesville, Va. Cavman and two UVa. football players enter the club.]

Cavman: Seriously, guys, I come here all the time. It's the best bar in C-ville.

: Brah. I really don't think this is our kind of party. And Roberts is completely out of control.

Roberts: Wooooooooo! Col-lege! Wooooooooo!

Barker: Roberts, shut up. You don't want to draw attention to yourself.

Wooooooooo! Ladies of Charlottesville, Roberts is in the hizz-ouse! Wait a minute. Barker, where are the ladies. You told me there would be ladies. That's why I why I dressed for the occasion.

[/points to neckline]

Barker: That's a little over the top, brah. And I know there are no ladies here. I think Cavman brought us to a ...

Cavman: Oh boys, come meet my friends!

Barker: Actually, brah, we were just about to leave and ...

Cavman: Don't be silly. The party is just getting started! Cosmopolitans for everyone!

Roberts: Whatever, dude. I just got us a bunch of Mic Ultra.

Barker: How the hell did you get those? You don't have any cash.

Kyan Douglas: Oh this will not do! Look at that hair. You look like the bastard child of Prince and Sinead O'Connor! After I'm done with it, they'll definitely be saying, 'Nothing compares to you!'"

Don't touch the 'do, brah! I'm telling you.

Carson Kressley: And you, my dear. Those shirts have got to go!

Roberts: What are you talking about? This look always helps me score at the horsetrack!

Carson Kressley: Honey, I know this is Charlottesville, but that's over-doing it just a little, don't you think.

Roberts: No way, man. You gotta look classy to score in this town. That's why the polo shirt's on top. Don't tell anyone, but the other 14 collars are all from Tar-jay.

Barker: Dude, Roberts, where the hell did you get that beer? I think the bartender is pissed.

Roberts: I told you man, I just picked it up out of the free beer trough.

Barker: They don't have free beer troughs here, brah. Oh, shit. The cops.

[/and ... scene]

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ranking the ACC Stadiums

I have been to half of the football stadiums in the ACC. For someone who lives West of the Mississippi, I consider this to be an accomplishment. Therefore, in fairness, I'll give two sets of rankings. The stadiums I've been to will be ranked on ambiance (10%), tailgating (30%) and game experience (60%). The ones I haven't been to will be ranked on team's home record (1%), perception (9%) and bias (90%). Oh, all grades are objective. Enjoy. Hopefully by the end of 2008 I can add North Carolina and Florida State to the list of stadiums I've been to.

ACC Stadiums I've Been To:

1. Virginia Tech - Lane Stadium
- In reality, this is probably a toss-up with Clemson, but I'm a Hokie, so guess which one's getting moved to the top of the list? The tailgating is better at Tech in my opinion, but the bar scene is better at Clemson. Lane's louder, but Memorial has more energy, if that makes any sense at all.

2. Clemson - Memorial Stadium
- I wish we played at Clemson every other year. I also wish I could get the chance to visit Memorial Stadium for a non-VT game and root for Clemson. This place is what college football is all about.

[/huge gap]

3. Boston College - Alumni Stadium
- Tailgating was fine, atmosphere was fine, Boston's a great town. Surprisingly involved student section.

4. Georgia Tech - Bobby Dodd Stadium
- It didn't help that their team got shellacked, but the crowd at Bobby Dodd Stadium was subdued for most of the night. Tailgating is fair.

5. Wake Forest - Groves Stadium
- It's small and those of us in the Tech section were packed in like sardines. The stadium looks like a smaller version of Lane before it was renovated.

6. Miami - Dolphin Stadium
- The 'Canes didn't exactly pack the Orange Bowl the last two seasons. I've been to two Orange Bowls and while the stadium itself is nice, I can't see this being a very good place to go watch a regular season game. They do sell beer there, so cheers!

ACC Stadiums I Haven't Been To:

1. Florida State - Doak Campbell Stadium

2. NC State - Carter-Finley Stadium

3. Maryland - Byrd Stadium

4. North Carolina - Keenan Stadium

5. Virginia - Scott Stadium

6. Duke - Wallace Wade Stadium

Why Miami Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.


Why Miami won't win the ACC in '08:

1. No more O.B.
2. Inexperience
3. Lost six of final seven games last year. They're like a 2002-03 era Virginia Tech.
4. Stadium will look even more empty now. But, hey, that's even more seats for Hokie fans when we play there.

Miami's One Redeeming Value:

Women of South Beach.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Why Maryland Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.


Why Maryland won't win the ACC in '08:

1. If you have two good quarterbacks you have no good quarterbacks. But what if you have two no-good quarterbacks?
2. Basketball school.
3. Coach too fat.
4. This:

Maryland's One Redeeming Value:

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ranking the ACC Mascots

The ACC helmets were ranked earlier this week. When they came out, someone E-mailed asking me to rank the mascots. So, here'tis. I've tried to rank them based solely on the physical mascot. I tried not to let the teams' nicknames factor in. If your team has a boring or over-done nickname, it's tough to have a good or creative mascot. So, for the most part, they're ranked strictly by the costume. However, personal biases did factor in heavily.

1. Virginia Tech - Hokie Bird
- Hokie Bird is the greatest mascot ever. Period.

2. Clemson - The Tiger
- Yes, "Tigers" is extremely overdone and no, it's not the best-looking mascot ever. But I've seen The Tiger in person a number of times and he's an excellent mascot. Very good at getting the crowd involved.

3. Georgia Tech - Buzz
- Buzz is a pretty cool-looking mascot, both in logo and foam.

4. Florida State - Chief Osceola and Renegade
- I hate human mascots. Willie the Wildcat at K-State is the worst mascot ever and for the most part, I think all human mascots are lame. But a Seminole warrior with a flaming spear riding a horse? That's something I can get behind. It's all about intimidation, people.

5. Boston College - Baldwin
- Would be better as an actual eagle, which BC used to have. But Baldwin is a solid alternative.

6. NC State - Mr. Wuf
- Not a very intimidating name, but Mr. Wuf is a good-looking mascot. And, he's currently the only ACC mascot that's getting some.

7. North Carolina - Rameses
- This mascot has come a long way. It used to be atrociously ugly. After this, it's all downhill. And yes, it was difficult to not make a dead mascot joke here (10 hell points).

8. Maryland - Testudo
- Lame.

9. Duke - The Blue Devil
- Little known fact: The Blue Devil and Cavman were the inspiration for The Ambiguously Gay Duo.

10. Miami - Sebastian the Ibis
- "But our shenanigans are cheeky and fun. And his shenanigans are cruel and tragic."

11. Wake Forest - The Demon Deacon
- Old men don't work too well as mascots.

12. Virginia - Cavman
- Even UVa fans hate Cavman. Terrible mascot.

Why UNC Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.

North Carolina

Why North Carolina won't win the ACC in '08:

1. Urban legend? UNC had to call a TO at HOME against VT in 2004 because Tech's fans were so loud in Keenan Stadium.
2. Basketball school.
3. Butchie is overrated.

4. Unproven at most positions.

North Carolina's One Redeeming Value:


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Why Boston College Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.

Boston College

Why Boston College won't win the ACC in '08:

1. No Boston sports fans will know the team is playing until early November.

2. By November, this team will have four losses.
3. No Matt Ryan.
4. Coach Jagoffaduzumszinski is the new Chuck Amato. One good quarterback does not a good coach make.

Boston College's One Redeeming Value:

The game's in Boston this year. I'm told I had a good time there in '06. Somehow, I managed to rack up an $86 tab at Cask 'n' Flagon. Good thing there's a Dunkies on every street corner on the next day would have been a struggle. Yes, I run on Dunkin'.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Ranking the ACC Helmets

ESPN is doing a "Helmet Clash" and letting online visitors vote for the coolest helmet in CALLLAGE FOOTBAWL. The voting is done in bracket format and unfortunately the two coolest helmets around are paired in the first round: Ohio State and Florida State.

Miami and Clemson are also included in the bracket.

Here are my rankings of the ACC helmets. All images are from Helmet Project.

1. Florida State
- Fear the Spear. They don't even need to put the school's name or initials on it. You know it's the 'Noles.

2. Clemson
- Classic look. Again, you know it's Clemson just because of the orange with the tiger paw.

3. Georgia Tech
- Another helmet that has stood the test of time. Although I liked the throw-back white helmet they wore against UVa a couple years ago much better. I usually hate white helmets, but those looked sweet.

4. North Carolina
- I'm a big fan of Carolina blue and the Tar Heels' helmets.

5. Virginia Tech
- Simple and bold. Tech took off the helmet stripes in the late 90s to give the team a more "professional" look. Personally, I like helmet stripes. Mainly because this is college, not the pros.

6. Duke
- Here come the white helmets, starting with Duke. I like this one a lot more than when they had "Duke" in script across the side of the helmet.

7. North Carolina State
- Really, all the white helmets could be tied for sixth. I think NC State's would look better if it were red. This one looks too much like Stanford's. What if they just put "State" in script on a red helmet?

8. Maryland
- Again, it should be red, like when Frank Reich was there.

9. Miami
- DA U! Too much white. Yes, it's recognizable, but its boring and green-on-orange doesn't do it for me.

10. Virginia
- As much as I make fun of them for being Dopey Scissors University, UVa's logo is pretty cool. Get rid of the orange half-stripe and this is a Top 5 helmet in the ACC.

11. Boston College
- Notre Dame. Navy. Army. Boston College? One of these things is not like the other. Put your logo on your damn helmet. No one knows who you are.

12. Wake Forest
- Like UVa, one slight alteration would make this a Top 5 helmet. Make it to where I can read your logo. Make it gold with a white outline or white with a gold outline. As it is now, I can't read your logo when I'm sitting in the nose bleed seats at the stadium or watching on TV.

Why Virginia Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.


Why Virginia won't win the ACC in '08:

1. Fan base cares more about academics.
2. Best players on both sides of the ball are gone.
3. "We're playing with 2015's team."
4. Best assistants have been gone a while.

Virginia's One Redeeming Value:

Plenty of tickets available when Tech plays there.

2008 VT Preview - Schedule

This isn't the best schedule for a young team to have. All of the toughest games are on the road and a lot of them come relatively early in the year. The schedule is one of the Hokies' biggest enemies in 2008.

Aug. 30: vs. East Carolina (Charlotte)
- This won't be easy. The Pirates gave the Hokies all they wanted to open the 2007 season and with so many new faces starting for VT, this could be a game the Hokies drop.
Sept. 6: Furman
- The Hokies will wear throwback white uniforms when they face the I-AA Paladins.
Sept. 13: Georgia Tech
- The Yellow Jackets will be running a new triple-option offense. It cold take a few years before Paul Johnson has the right personnel to run it in the ACC.
Sept. 20: at North Carolina
- The first true road game for the Hokies comes against a team many think will be their biggest challenge for the division title.
Sept. 27: at Nebraska
- The Hokies travel to the sea of red to face the Huskers and first-year coach Bo Pelini. Pelini was LSU's defensive coordinator last year when the Tigers beat the Hokies, 48-7. Tech has more talent, but the Huskers will have them beat on experience.
Oct. 4: Western Kentucky
- Homecoming will be a nice rest for the Hokies before heading back on the road for two more.
Oct. 18: at Boston College
- The Hokies have lost two straight against the Eagles. BC will be thin on offense, but still have the same strong defense.
Oct. 25: at Florida State
- Tech's first visit to Tallahassee since 1990. Tech finally got over their Spear Fear when they beat FSU last season. However, this is the fourth road game in five games. It will be tough for the Hokies.
Nov. 6: Maryland
- Blacksburg on a Thursday Night. Nothin' better.
Nov. 13: at Miami
- Another Thursday game, this time at Dolphins Stadium. This game could decide the division.
Nov. 22: Duke
- Things finally start to calm down for the Hokies as they close with the Devils and 'Hoos.
Nov. 29: Virginia
- Tech has won eight of its last nine against the Wahoos.

Considering the Hokies' inexperience, this could be the toughest schedule they've faced in the Beamer Bowl Era. Its a perfect year for the division to be down for the Hokies. However, winning the division will be tough.

Cheeseman Favors 2-QB System has an interview with running back Jahre Cheeseman. Cheeseman is expected to be the Hokies starting tailback when they open the season against ECU.

The only comment that jumps out at me is Cheeseman likes the two-quarterback system, unlike Coach Beamer. Cheeseman makes an excellent point that the two-quarterback system brings out the best in both Tyrod and Glennon.

Other than that it's a pretty innocuous interview. However, it will be interesting to see if there's any reaction to Cheeseman breaking from what has so far been the company line that one of the two quarterbacks needs to establish themselves.

Cheeseman interview at

Monday, July 21, 2008

ACC Nation Interviews Glennon and Martin

ACC Nation has a nearly 10 minute interview with Sean Glennon and Orion Martin from ACC media days in Greensboro, Ga. Among the topics discussed:

- The youth of the team
- Playing for Coaches Beamer and Foster
- The two-QB system
- Orion Martin's leadership role
- The Nebraska game

Take a listen

Hokies and Tigers Expected in Tampa

The 2008 ACC football preseason media poll was released today at ACC media days in Greensboro, Ga. Not surprisingly, Virginia Tech and Clemson are expected to win its respective divisions with the Tigers picked to be ACC champions.

The Hokies and Tigers had the same number of points in the voting, although the Hokies received 58 of 65 first-place votes in their division and the Tigers received 59. Clemson also received 51 of 65 votes to win the ACC.

Since the ACC added BC in 2004 and split into two divisions, the Hokies have been picked to win the Coastal three of four seasons. The lone exception was 2006 when the media pegged Miami to win the division.

This is the first time Florida State has not been picked by the media to win the Atlantic. The Seminoles are picked third, behind Clemson and Wake Forest.

Why NC State Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.

NC State

Why NC State won't win the ACC in '08:

1. No quarterback
2. Terrible defense
3. Only 10 returning starters
4. Inferiority complex to both Clemson and UNC

NC State's One Redeeming Value:

Rid us of Chuck Amato (it's hard out there for a coach), his man-boobs and Dorothy-inspired footwear. Thank you, NC State.

2008 VT Preview - Secondary

To steal a phrase from the PGA Tour, these guys are good. Despite losing one of the best cornerbacks in Hokie history, Brandon Flowers, the secondary will still be the backbone of the defense in 2008.

Senior Macho Harris flirted with the NFL draft before deciding to come back for one last season. Harris tied for the team lead with five interceptions in 2007. He moves from field to boundary corner this season, meaning he will be needed more often to stop the run.

Sophomore Rashad Carmichael, freshman Cris Hill and junior Stephan Virgil will battle for the field cornerback position. Virgil is also expected to backup Harris. He and Carmichael are the leading contenders for the starting job.

Both saw time in all 14 games last season and both will see significant time in 2008. I would put my money on Carmichael to win the job with Virgil backing up both Harris and Carmichael.

Junior Kam Chancellor moves from rover to free safety for 2008 and there's no one else I'd rather have quarterbacking the defense. Chancellor is athletic, instinctive and can deliver crushing hits.

Rover will be either junior Dorian Porch or sophomore Davon Morgan. I was impressed by Morgan last year and think he'll take the starting spot over Porch, who backed up Chancellor at rover last season.

If the defensive ends can make life hell for opposing quarterbacks and force them to make mistakes, this unit will capitalize. Harris and Chancellor are playmakers and I expect the secondary to be good enough to allow the linebackers to be more focused on stopping the run.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Virginia Tech Jerseys Unveiled has photos of the new jerseys the Hokies will wear starting next season. For the most part, I like them. Sad to see the orange trim on the collar go, but there's a lot more orange than there was before.

I'm interested to see how both jerseys look with maroon pants, as well. I think the away ones look especially sharp.

You'll see the away jerseys on the field for the first time Aug. 30 vs. ECU in Charlotte. However, the home jerseys won't make their debut until Sept. 13 vs. Georgia Tech. The Sept. 6 home game against Furman will see white throwback jerseys as part of the White Out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Why Duke Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.


Why Duke won't win the ACC in '08:

1. They're Duke.
2. The courts have ruled that the Blue Devils are awful.
3. They're Duke.
4. Does this guy look like a winner?:

Duke's One Redeeming Value:

Guaranteed win.

2008 VT Preview - Linebackers

The Hokies are very green at linebacker, just as they are on the defensive line. The Martin brothers, Cam and Orion, are the only two returning starters among the Tech front seven.

The Hokies will try to avoid the results they had in a disastrous 2003 campaign when they were thin in the front seven, allowed opponents to run on them all day and lost four of their last five games.

The good news is the talent and depth of the 2008 Hokies is light-years ahead of the 2003 team. The bad news is the opponents talent and depth is also a lot higher than that year. If anything, it will be interesting to watch.

Tech's problem in 2007 was it was unable to run the ball. The problem in 2008 could be an inability to stop the run.

The Hokies lost two of the best linebackers in school history when Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall graduated. The only returning starter is junior Cam Martin, but it doesn't mean Tech lacks experience at linebacker.

Other expected starters Brett Warren and Purnell Sturdivant are both seniors. They are used to Bud Fosters defense and should be able to step in and be solid players. However, they lack the freakish athleticism and instinct of Hall and Adibi.

The same can be said for senior Jonas Houseright. Houseright will be the utility infielder of the linebacking corps this year. He can play just about anywhere to give the starters a breather and is not a big step down in talent.

Overall, I like the linebacking corps, but we won't see them make any outstanding plays like we did last year or be the kind of ballhawks they were last year. The job of this year's linebackers is get in and stop the run.

The secondary is good enough that the defense will be able to get away with cheating the linebackers toward the line more to stop the run. You'll see a lot of guys in the box this year. They'll need to in order to control the ground game.

I think in the past, Hall and Adibi had enough speed and skill they could play away from the line and still make the play. That isn't the case this year.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Update on 2009 Opener

Several news outlets have reported that Alabama as Tech's opponent in next year's opener in the Georgia Dome is far from a done deal. The Tide apparently don't want to open with the Hokies with a rookie quarterback and are thinking about opening the 2010 campaign against Duke in the Georgia Dome.

So what happens if the Hokies don't play the Tide? Here's some speculation on my part:

Jim Weaver told The Virginian-Pilot's Kyle Tucker that if Alabama backs out, the opponent would be a Top 25-caliber opponent. That' doesn't exactly narrow it down in the SEC, but when you start looking at the 2009 schedules in the conference, some likely candidates pop up.

LSU, Georgia, Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas already have 12-game slates for 2009.

However, both South Carolina and Auburn have an open date to fill. South Carolina already has two ACC teams on its 2009 schedule, NCSU and Clemson, so they're likely out.

That leaves Auburn, who's non-conference schedule in 2009 includes West Virginia, Southern Miss and Furman.

Unless another team from the SEC moves a game like the Hokies did with Cincinnati, it looks like Virginia Tech will be facing Alabama or Auburn. The Hokies lost to Auburn in the 2005 Sugar Bowl.

Either that, or Weaver considers Kentucky, Mississippi State, Ole Miss or Vanderbilt to be Top 25-caliber. Mississippi State has a full slate for 2009 while Kentucky appears to have openings.

Who do I hope we end up playing? Here's my ranking in order:
1. Tennessee - Would love get a shot at the Vols.
2. Florida - They're Florida.
3. Georgia - Rematch of Peach Bowl. Won't have Stafford.
4. Alabama - Big-name drawing power.
5. Auburn - Rematch of Sugar Bowl.

Who do I think it will actually be? Again, with rankings:
1. Alabama - Already in negotiations.
2. Auburn - Room on schedule.
3. Kentucky - Room on schedule.
4. Florida - Has games that can be moved.
5. South Carolina - Room, but already two ACC teams.

B'ham News: Alabama Unlikely to Play VT
AJC: Alabama at Dome in 2009 far from done deal
V-P: Tech-Tide deal hits snag

Why Florida State Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.

Florida State

Why Florida State won't win the ACC in '08:

1. Bobby Bowden is too old to be doing this.
2. Suspended players will miss the Wake Forest game.
3. The cowgirls have moved on to bigger and better things.
4. Drew Weatherford is the best you've got to offer?

One Redeeming Value:

It's not the cowgirls anymore. The helmets are pretty cool. Yeah, we'll got with the FSU helmets as their One Redeeming Quality.

2008 VT Preview - Defensive Line

Defensive end will be a strong point for the Hokies in 2008, while defensive tackle definitely will not.

The only returnees on the defensive line with significant experience are the ends. Senior Orion Martin is the only returning starter on the line. The brother of Cam Martin had 6.5 sacks in 2007.

Sophomore Jason Worilds was the star of spring and fall practice last year and is expected to the be the next in line of great Hokie DEs. Worilds has shown instinct for getting to the quarterback. A key for the Hokies will be getting pressure on the quarterback to produce turnovers.

Junior Nekos Brown was a pleasant surprise last season. He recorded 4.5 tackles for loss, including three sacks in 2007. I like having three solid defensive ends to rotate and keep guys fresh. The Hokies have that with Martin, Worilds and Brown.

The Hokies are very thin in the middle and getting thinner. Junior Cordarrow "Taco" Thompson lost a lot of weight in the off-season, both a positive and a negative for defensive tackles. I like defensive tackles to be large and built a little lower to the ground.

However, Thompson and sophomore John Graves aren't the largest of defensive tackles. They do have a lot of mobility, though. Graves is the only returner at DT to get much time last year. He was the No. 4 DT on the depth chart in 2007 and recorded 11 tackles, 2.5 for loss.

The rest of the options at defensive tackle are very young and very inexperienced. An injury at DT would be a disaster for the Hokies.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

VT vs. SEC in Atlanta Next Year

Unexpected and exciting news out of Blacksburg today.

The Hokies have agreed to play an SEC opponent to open the 2009 season in the Georgia Dome. Tech's scheduled season-opener at Cincinnati will now take place in 2012.

Tech's likely opponent will be Alabama, according to a release from the university. The Crimson Tide will also open this season with a similar game in the Georgia Dome against Clemson.

Should the Tide back out unexpectedly, a new SEC opponent will be found for the Hokies. If it happens, my vote would be to play Tennessee.

This is the third time the Hokies have been scheduled to appear in a made-for-TV season opener. The 2000 opener against Georgia Tech was canceled due to lighting. The Hokies lost to USC to open the 2004 season at FedEx Field in the Washington, DC, area.

The Hokies last faced Alabama in the 1998 Music City Bowl in Nashville, Tenn. The Hokies won, 38-7.

This is great news for the Hokies. The game will increase their national exposure, allow for more build-up to the 2009 season and give us another crack at beating an SEC team.

However, it means the Hokies will open with a neutral-site game for the second consecutive year. They open with ECU in Charlotte this season on Aug. 30.

Tech is 1-3 against the SEC since beating the Tide in the Music City Bowl.

Goin' Clubbing: Cricket Teaches Unity

A quick look at the roster for the cricket club team at Virginia Tech wouldn’t reveal a lot of diversity to an American. None of the players have Anglo names, although some are Americans.

But once you look at the nationalities of the players, you realize why this is the most diverse club sport at Virginia Tech. There are Sri Lankans, Indians, Pakistanis, Bangladeshis and players from the West Indies. The culture and politics of each country is very different.

“In Pakistan and India, cricket is a religion just like football is in America,” senior Ejaz Khan said. “People can die for the love of this game in both countries. In America, not many universities include a cricket club as one of its recreational sports. As a Hokie, we all are very lucky that we are given chance to play our favorite sports and to represent our university at highest level no cost to us.”

Khan is a biological systems engineering major from Spotsylvania, Va., and was born in Pakistan. He is one of several Pakistanis on the team.

There are also several players from India on the team, including Annirudh Roy. He is an alumnus of Virginia Tech playing on the team. His love of cricket brought him to Blacksburg.

“I was excited about the club even before I had arrived at Tech,” Roy said. “I had done my research about the club before I joined the school, and it was a major reason I chose to go to Tech.”

Khan and Roy are both Hokies first when it comes to cricket. While history divides the Pakistanis and Indians, cricket brings them together. At Virginia Tech, a cricket team is teaching the rest of us about togetherness and understanding.

“Peace is the Key to Success”

The diversity of the cricket team brings a lot of positives, Khan said. According to him, each nationality is known for having a specific cricket skill. He said Pakistanis are good fast-bowlers, Sri Lankans are good spin-bowlers, Bangladeshis are good fielders and Indians are known for being skilled batsmen. Together, they make Virginia Tech a solid cricket squad.

The supposed drawbacks, arguments and disagreements based on cultural and political differences, are non-existent on the team.

“Players that come from India and Pakistan to the United States are broad-minded people and know that living together in peace is the key to success,” Khan said. “Fighting is not the solution for anything. When players from both the countries play on a cricket field they represent one university, VT, and not their respective country.”

Zaki Malik, a PhD candidate from Lahore, Pakistan, said he embraces the different cultures represented on the club. Without the cricket club, he may not have been exposed to the cultures.

“Diversity is essential and provides wonderful learning opportunities,” he said. “First-hand experience regarding a culture and its people is better than reading or hearing about it, as you can learn a lot more. Good people are everywhere, in any culture, even in your political enemies. You can make good friends with people you may never think of meeting otherwise.”

No Airing of Grievances

Pakistan and India have had political and religious differences since the two became separate countries in 1947. Pakistan is predominantly Muslim and India is predominantly Hindu. Tensions have lessened in the last couple years, but the scars remain.

But none of those scars come to light when talking to members of the Hokie cricket club team.

Muhammed Mansoor, an electrical engineering major from Rawalpindi, Pakistan, said any argument between club members is confined to issues facing the club and those are resolved amicably.

Other differences have their place and time to come out and be resolved.

“Off-field rivalry through political or cultural differences are never brought up to create any tension,” Malik said. “For that we have the PSA (Pakistani Student Alliance) and ISA (Indian Student Association) that organize an inter-country cricket match annually. All tensions (if any) are released there.”

Tensions eased, the players return to the field united in their orange and maroon uniforms. Khan said the club has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to player behavior.

“You have to be a little bit careful not to cross the line and not to hurt each other’s feelings,” he said.

Said Roy: “Once you start playing for a team and a cause, which in this case happens to be VT, the animosity goes away. We play as a unit for VT.”

Teaching the Rest of Us

So how is the team able to stay united and keep their differences from causing strife and disagreement? Easy. They’re Hokies.

“I think it’s the Hokie spirit and the honor of being Hokies that keeps us together,” Mansoor said.

That togetherness among people of such contrasting beliefs and cultures can teach others. It’s already taught the players of the Virginia Tech cricket team. While they are teaching us about togetherness, they are also teaching each other.

“It has helped remove preconceived notions from my mind about other countries,” Roy said.

Our preconceived notions that the players on the Hokie cricket team aren’t very diverse have been removed as well. Not only is the team the most diverse at the university, it is also thriving.

The club would not be able to grow and develop if in-fighting were allowed to exist. Therefore, the players will continue to practice understanding and use a sport not many Americans understand to teach us about diversity.

“India and Pakistan have had major political issues in the past, but the fact that the students don't even think about it on a cricket field speaks volumes about this sport,” Roy said. “The VT community needs to ensure that this sport is given more priority because it is a great ambassador of the power of unity.”

More Resources
Virginia Tech Cricket Club

Why Georgia Tech Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.

Georgia Tech

Why Georgia Tech won't win the ACC in '08:

1. The new offense won't work in the ACC.
2. Paul Johnson isn't a fan of fans.
3. Nesbitt couldn't beat Fresno State.
4. Seriously, this whole triple option thing? Bad idea.

Georgia Tech's One Redeeming Value:

Within walking distance of The Varsity. "What'll ya have?!?!"

2008 VT Preview - Quarterbacks

During almost his entire Virginia Tech career, fate has conspired against senior Sean Glennon. Now, when it seems he's finally won the starting job. When he's finally convinced everyone he's a worthy starting quarterback and super-human, super-sophomore Tyrod Taylor should be used for a change of pace or only in certain situations, it appears fate has duped him once more.

With Virginia Tech's lack of playmakers and experience at running back and wide receiver, it appears Taylor will see more action in the fall because the Hokies need his ability to make defenders look stupid.

I won't argue that Taylor is the Hokies QB of the future. He'll likely be Tech's starter next season and he'll likely be an excellent one.

But Glennon has earned this season. He saved the Hokies last year and led them to a title. He improved game-by-game and is the Hokies' best option as the conductor of the offense.

He's had two bad bowl games, but Taylor wasn't exactly spectacular against Kansas, either. That's why until he proves that he's a better leader of the team than Glennon, he should be utilized only in situations where the Hokies need to throw a curveball to the opposing defense.

And Taylor will get his chances, as well. Glennon doesn't have much mobility and was injured against Florida State last year.

But this is Glennon's team. Give him a chance to have one last season and see what he can do with the reins.

My guess is Tyrod will get a lot of playing time early on while guys are establishing themselves at wide receiver and running back. I just hope this doesn't turn into a situation like some baseball teams go through where the "blow the team up" and play all the young guys.

Is it possible the coaches would play Tyrod, Ryan Williams and Dyrell Roberts to get them experience with an eye toward 2009? Sure. But I have more faith in the coaching staff than that. I expect Glennon will still get most of the snaps. He's the team leader. He's earned the right to play his senior season.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Saunders in the All-Star Game

Former Hokie and current Angel Joe Saunders pitched a scoreless third inning in the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium. He faced four batters, gave up a hit to Hanley Ramirez and threw 12 pitches, 8 for strikes.

2008 VT Preview - Wide Receivers

It looked like junior Brandon Dillard was going to be the Hokies top playmaker at wide receiver in 2008 after a brilliant spring game performance. Then the sky fell.

On paper, wide receiver is a train wreck for the Hokies. There are a lot of freshmen and sophomores and a couple of former quarterbacks competing for playing time. None have much game experience since Tech's top four receivers from last year were lost to graduation.

Before getting to the train wreck, lets look at the bright spot of the passing game - tight end. The Hokies have the best stable of tight ends in the conference and one of the best in the nation.

Junior Sam Wheeler was becoming a favorite target of Sean Glennon's before tearing his ACL against Georgia Tech. Another former quarterback, junior Greg Boone, was given a bigger role and thrived.

Boone is known more for his blocking ability, but turned out to be a solid pass-catcher. He's a big dude who may even see time at fullback this season.

The coaches expect sophomore Andre Smith to have a break-out season as well. He has shown to be a good run and pass-blocker, so will likely see time in 2008. How much time will depend on his hands. If the passing game needs help from the tight ends, Wheeler and Boone will see more time.

Now for the receivers. The two former-QBs, senior Cory Holt and junior Ike Whitaker, have the advantage going into fall practice because they have the most experience. However, the Hokies need sophomore Zach Luckett and true freshman Dyrell Roberts to earn playing time in the fall.

Whitaker made a nice grab for a touchdown in the spring game and could be a possession receiver. Same for Holt. At 6-4, Holt is a tall target that could provide match-up problems for some of the cornerbacks the Hokies will face.

Luckett could be the fastest wide receiver the Hokies have now that Dillard is lost for the season. Roberts is a highly-ranked prospect, a VHT as Phil Steele would say, and is expected to be a playmaker.

I think if Luckett and Roberts see a lot of time on the field, the Hokies will be fine. However, if they aren't able to produce and the quarterbacks or guys like freshman Danny Coale and sophomore Prince Parker and seeing the field, then we're in big trouble.

Why Clemson Won't Win the ACC in '08

This is part of our preseason breakdowns of the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech. I'll tell you why all the teams that aren't the Hokies are colossal failures that won't win the ACC. I'll also give each of them one redeeming value.


Why Clemson won't win the ACC in '08:

1. The Tigers have a tendency to wear purple-on-purple. It doesn't look good, guys.
2. Tommy Bowden has not won a significant game in his tenure at Clemson.
3. Their offensive line could follow the lead of the 2007 VT offensive line and be all kinds of terrible.
4. Clemson women like the wear overalls. Attention women of Clemson: Orange overalls are not a good look.
5. QB's name is Cullen. You don't win titles with QBs named Cullen.

Clemson's One Redeeming Value:

Tommy Bowden's daughter, Lauren, is smokin'. Don't believe me? Look to the left.

I've been told there are very NSFW pictures of Lauren available on the Internet. If you search hard enough, you'll probably find them. I recommend Google Images.

2008 No. 1 - April 16 Remembered

We're counting down the Top 10 moments in Virginia Tech sports from the 2007-08 season. The moments are judged on level of pride it brought to Hokie Nation, how great the accomplishment was and how much attention it brought the Hokies.

No. 1

Our top moment(s) from the 2007-08 sports seasons at Virginia Tech are the first football game of the year vs. East Carolina and the Hokies-Yankees baseball exhibition. I know its cheating to combine these moments, but so be it.

The ECU game was cathartic. It was a way for Hokie fans to complete the grieving process and come together as Hokie Nation. The Yankees game was an excellent way to honor the victims.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Your ACC Team is Terrible

We're going to have something new starting Tuesday here at Gobbler Country. I'm not going to give an in-depth breakdown of each team's strengths and weaknesses.

Instead, you'll get quick reasons why the ACC teams that aren't Virginia Tech are colossal failures that won't win the league title this season. It won't be a complete hate-fest. I'll give every ACC team One Redeeming Value.

We'll start Tuesday with Clemson. Hope you enjoy.