Sunday, November 30, 2008

Tech Wins Fifth Consecutive Commonwealth Cup

With only small sparks of light on offense, the defense once again stepped up to ensure the Hokies clinched another win this season. They did so in one of the most, if not the most, important games of the season. Surprisingly, the game had Coastal Division implications and with the 17-14 win over the University of Virginia, the Hokies shored up the Coastal title and will once again face Boston College in the ACC Championship game on Saturday. What more, the game was against our in-state rival for the coveted Commonwealth Cup which the Hokies will hold on to for another year. The Commonwealth Cup has now been in Virginia Tech's possession for an entire class's tenure and then some. Even, redshirted Wahoo players will not have the knowledge of what it feels like to beat the Hokies. How sweet is that? What's sweeter is that the loss eliminated the Cavaliers from bowl eligibility.

The rivalry aside, the Hokies defense stepped up to contain the Cavaliers to just 249 yards, only 77 of which were through the air. Early on the Cavs had some success with the freshly introduced Wild Cav play putting CB Vic Hall in at quarterback. Hall was able to run effectively and led the Cavs to an opening drive touchdown. After that drive, the Hokie defense shut down the Cavs until late in the second quarter when the Cavs used Hall again to score another touchdown. Outside of these two drives, the Cavs only managed to make five first downs. Two of these came on a late fourth quarter drive with the Hokies up 17-14 during which the Cavs were marching down and appeared that they would either tie or go up on the Hokies with under three minutes to go. True to form, the Hokie defense stepped up with a crucial turnover. Rover Dorian Porch picked off QB Marc Verica's pass in the end zone. With just 2:15 left in the game the Hokies simply needed a first down to ice the game...

Which brings us to the other side of the ball. The offense started the game with similar originality and creativity that they had starting the Maryland game. They used the Wild Turkey with Greg Boone; they used misdirection to create lanes for Darren Evans and Tyrod Taylor to run down; they used quick and precise packages to let Taylor see down the field and hit Danny Coale and Jarrett Boykin. Boykin caught his second touchdown pass in as many games on the drive. However, the most important thing the Hokies did is stick to what they're good at. They established the run with Evans, Boone, and Taylor which made the few passes that Taylor needed to make easier.

The second Hokie drive had much of the same. The Hokies efficiently used the run to open up the pass. The drive stalled and Dustin Keys missed an easy 22-yard fieldgoal so the Hokies would fail to go up on the Cavs.

Then reality set in and the Hokies offense fell back to their old ways. Taylor once again reverted to some of his old behavior. On second down, Taylor was flushed from the pocket and seemed to have all the confidence drained from him. That drive went three and out. Taylor opened the last drive of the first half with some success but was pulled for Sean Glennon. Despite stating that Taylor would be the quarterback, it seems that the coaches believe that Glennon had a better two-minute drill. Whatever the reason, replacing Taylor as his confidence began to slip would surely kill whatever confidence he had left. The announcers called Glennon a crutch and Taylor would be without it when Glennon graduates next year. I totally agree and Taylor will have to learn to play without the crutch sooner or later. This was just another lame-brained decision by the coaches. Glennon had no rhythm to bring to the table and the result would be three passes thrown off his back foot. The last of which went right into the hands of a waiting receiver.

The second quarter opened with a humongous play from Taylor. Taylor is an amazing athlete but his 73 yard was aided by the Cavs' defense caught out of position as well as poor tackling. The play would set up a run in by Greg Boone to tie the game at 14.

The next Hokie drive ended with me almost throwing my phone and laptop into the TV screen. Sitting with my family, I got so angry I had to leave the house to go outside and scream. The Hokies were driving again, thanks mostly to ground game. Taylor hit Coale for a 20-yard pass and Boone for 17. The drive came to a first and goal from the eight. Evans picked up three on first down but lost them on second. Taylor was able to run to the one-yard line, but it brought up fourth and a half yard. With the defense playing extremely well, I found myself screaming "KICK THE FIELDGOAL!" at the TV. And yet, knowing Beamer, it's not in the playbook. It's like something changes inside of him. explains this phenomenon best. Okay, after calming down enough [we had the time out] to watch the play [after all it was only a few inches], I once again exploded as they decided to run the Wild Turkey which takes forever to get set and completely unnecessary in the situation. Needless to say the play was stopped.

The Hokies would eventually get that field goal in the fourth quarter. Keys hit a 28-yarder with 6:37 left in the game. The Hokie defense stepped up as shutdown the Cavs offense on the next drive with the interception mentioned above.

With two minutes to go, the Hokies failed to convert for a first and allowed the Cavs one last chance. Thankfully, the Hokies were able to hold the Cavs punctuating it with an exclamation point on the 4th and nine attempt with a Purnell Sturdivant sack.

The Hokies have managed to win two games in a row despite mediocre play. Up next is a rematch with Boston College. This time there is no Matt Ryan thriller to try to avenge.

The BCS - Screwing up national championships since 1998

Reason # 278 that the BCS is insane - it has Oklahoma ranked # 2 over Texas. The reason this matters? The BCS standings are the tiebreaker needed to sort out who would represent the Big 12 South in the title game - Oklahoma, Texas or Texas Tech. How did this happen? In this case it was the computer rankings. Four of the six computer rankings used in the BCS don't have Alabama as the number one team and three of the six have Oklahoma as number one, meaning that Oklahoma gets the overall #1 ranking from the computers. If Alabama was properly ranked number one in the computer polls, Oklahoma would not have had enough points to pass Texas in the overall BCS standings. 

When the only remaining undefeated BCS team isn't ranked number one in a computer poll this late into the season, it proves at best we have a flawed system. But when the only undefeated BCS team isn't ranked number one in the MAJORITY of the computer polls used in the rankings, it proves the system is nothing short of ridiculous. Forget the Oklahoma-Texas argument for a second - on what possible basis, could any human or computer ranking decide that, after 11 games, Oklahoma is a better team than Alabama when Oklahoma lost on a neutral field and Alabama won all of their games in what is normally regarded as one of the top two toughest conferences? 

Previous years have exposed many flaws in the BCS, but each year college football seems to find a new way to prove the stupidity of the whole thing. Even though the problems change, the solution stays the same and this year's problem of ranking Oklahoma ahead of Texas in the BCS is no different. It would be solved if we just had a simple 8 team playoff because then, both Texas and Oklahoma (and possibly Texas Tech as well) would be in it as well as the winner of Alabama-Florida (possibly the loser, too if the loser was Alabama in a close game), USC, Penn State, and you'd even have room for your non-BCS conference contender in Utah. Hell fans would be happy with just a plus-one system (we've proposed it as TSF) where the Alabama-Florida winner, Oklahoma, Texas and USC were seeded 1-4 and allowed to play in the BCS bowls with the winners playing in a true national title game. College football would nearly reach NFL/NASCAR heights in terms of ratings and advertising dollars. And it would benefit the fans. It sickens me that we do not have a system like this to determine the national title in college football. 

As it stands now, we are faced with an incredibly ironic possibility. If Oklahoma loses to Missouri in the Big 12 title game, the national title game would be between Texas and the Alabama-Florida winner and if Texas won that game, the BCS would crown Texas the champs even though the BCS decided they weren't even the best team in their own DIVISION of their conference. Who designed this BCS anyway - Bryan Stinespring (oh you knew I'd tie it back to the Hokies somehow)?

3 Key Plays - VT vs. UVa

1) On the Hokies' first possession, down 7-0 to UVa, Tyrod Taylor completed a 3 yard TD pass to Jarrett Boykin to tie the game up at 7. This was enormous for three reasons - it was the first time the Hokies have scored on their opening possession this season, it was a needed answer to Virginia's opening drive to give the defense time to get together on the sideline to solve the UVA Wildcav formation, and it was Taylor's first TD completion to a receiver, restoring his confidence in himself after a poor performance against Duke. 

2) Trailing 14-7 on the first drive of the second half, the Hokies faced 3rd and 7 deep in their own end (from their own 18). UVa was about to capture all the momentum. As he has done throughout his career, Taylor calmly ripped off a 73 yard run to the UVa 9 and turned the game on its ear. To those of you who have been trying to say Glennon should be the guy, both Tyrod Taylor and I have this to say to you - "Good day sir". 

3) Defending a 17-14 lead with the hated Cavs down to the Hokie 25 yard line, Dorian Porch perfectly timed a Marc Verica pass, intercepting it in the end zone and returning it to the Hokie 40 yard line. Not only did this end the scoring threat, but it allowed the Hokies to burn UVa's remaining timeouts and then pin UVa deep on the punt, essentially eliminating the chance for a comeback. Chalk up another victory opportunity sealed by the Hokie defense (making Foster's unit 14 out of 17 chances when defending an 8 point or less lead with the game is on the line - amazing). 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

EhhTee's Picks (Week 14)

Not such a good week last week. Still wondering what possessed me to pick Michigan over Ohio State. This is the last full week before we get into Championship Week. Rivalry Week is always a hard week to pick.

Notre Lame @ USC

Ack, not the game I'd like to pick, but that's what I get for waiting until 24 minutes before the games start on Saturday. Wanted to pick last night's game...

Pick: Even the media dissed Lame 3 - No Matt Leinert 44.

Auburn @ (1) Alabama

Tradition. Bama-Auburn is laced with it. The definition of rivalry. Auburn has won the last five matchups. Bama wins and they continue their quest for perfection...

Tide rolls easy, Pick: Needs an OC, we've got one for ya 10 - What does the elephant have to do with anything? 35.

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State

Panic! 10 minutes to go and I think the Cowboys win. But I can't pull the trigger... Okay now 1 minute... I'm going against Lee Corso... Bedlam!!!!!

Alright I'm doing it Upset Special, Pick: ChOUke 41 - Bullgirls 45.

Georgia Tech @ Georgia

The Yellow Jackets have just the Wahoos to root for. The Dogs are locked into position. This one is for peach pride...

Atlanta Power, Pick: Buzz Cola 21 - Ugliest Dog Ever 17.

Florida @ Florida State

Sorry Bobby...

Florida chomps, Pick: Tevo 52 - Gator Bait 10.

Oregon @ Oregon State

Another rivalry game that defines rivalry. Win and Oregon State goes to the Rose Bowl. Lose and USC will be sniffin' flowers...

Quack! Pick: Webbed Feet 27 - I just had it stuffed 17.

Maryland @ Boston College

Boston College needs a win to win the Atlantic division. Maryland is not at home...

Turtle soup to go with pumpkin pie, Pick: Under Armor stock just went down 9 - Why can't I find anything funny to say about the Eagles? 27.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Question

I posted this as a comment to our hero Kyle Tucker. I post it here to see what you think.

I went back and did some quick research on this. There has never been a BCS Conference champion (going back to the first year of the BCS: 1998) that has been unranked coming out of the championship game. As it is right now, the Hokies are currently not ranked (not even a vote) in the AP and have 2 votes in the USA Today poll.

Assuming we win, a win against a 5-6 Virginia won't impress many voters. A win against a Boston College or Florida State may, but it depends on by how much and the circumstances of the game.

What do you think of this possible first?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

From all of us at TSF to all of you - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!

Just remember, those who think eating turkey as Hokie fans is sacreligious, those turkeys you're eating are not Hokies. Those are the weak turkeys that weren't able to battle the farmers and hunters to a standoff. The real Fighting Gobblers still roam the farms and countryside, free and proud.


Wednesday, November 26, 2008

EhhTee's Picks Results (Week 13)

Texas Tech 51 Texas Tech 21 0-1 39-31
Oklahoma 35 Oklahoma 65
Ouch… talk about a demolition. Almost as bad as Florida over Citadel.
Brigham Young 10 Brigham Young 24 1-1 40-31
Utah 35 Utah 48
If Tech somehow makes the BCS and plays Utah, be prepared to cry in your beverage all night.
Michigan State 21 Michigan State 18 2-1 41-31
Penn State 28 Penn State 49
The Nittany Lions got to hate themselves over that Iowa loss.
Michigan 31 Michigan 7 2-2 41-32
Ohio State 10 Ohio State 42
I don't know what possessed me to pick Michigan.
Pittsburgh 10 Pittsburgh 21 3-2 42-32
Cincinnati 27 Cincinnati 28
Cincinnati is in if they can take care of the juice.
Florida State 14 Florida State 37 3-3 42-33
Maryland 17 Maryland 3
What a mess…
Clemson 15 Clemson 13 3-4 42-34
Virginia 24 Virginia 3
See above.

Week Thirteen TSF Poll is Up

It's unanimous. Alabama is our unanimous number 1.

1Alabama (3) 75
2Texas 71
3Oklahoma 70
4Florida 66
5USC 59
6Texas Tech 58
6Utah 58
8Boise State 54
8Penn State 54
10 Oklahoma State 45
11 Ball State 43
11 Georgia 43
13 Cininnati 39
14 Ohio State 37
15 Missouri 36
16 TCU 32
17 Georgia Tech 25
18 Florida State 19
18 Oregon State 19
20 Michigan State 17
21 Boston College 14
21 Brigham Young 14
23 West Virginia 11
24 Northwestern 8
25 Pittsburgh 3

Game Preview - VT vs. UVA

Man, I hate UVa. That thought is always somewhat present in my head, but it comes to the forefront every year during this week. Put it this way, if you've never been to a football game at UVa's Scott Stadium, don't go. Let me save you the trouble - it's more like attending a polo match but not as loud. 

In fact, I think I can explain the Virginia Tech-UVa rivalry best because I didn't grow up in Virginia. When I came to Tech, I had no notion of disliking the Cavaliers. I went to football games all freshman year and loved Lane Stadium (it was smaller then, by a lot, but still so loud for it's size and even at only half full). The tailgating was just fun and crazy and the games were even crazier. The crowds got bigger all season and it was just a rock 'em, sock 'em good time. Then came the UVa game. 

The Cavaliers were ranked at the time, and just a few years prior had been competing for a national title. This was the peak of UVa football and the game was at UVa against their big in-state rival. But the parking lots for tailgating were only half full even leading right up to kickoff. And I know it sounds cliched, but the students really honest-to-God, were drinking Zima and having pretzels and cheese dip. Not just the alumni, but the students! And half of them were dressed up in shirts and ties. And during the game, the home crowd was a joke. It was not loud at all, and the students would clap politely when their team did well, but in the end the Hokies upset the Cavs 20-17 and the Hokie fans were going nuts. After the game, there was all this passive-aggressive behavior towards us Hokie fans, saying stuff like "SOME people know how to win with class" and faking like they were going to run us over in the parking lot with their Volvos. I realized then why the rivalry existed - UVa is a bunch of PANSIES. And pansies don't get along very well with regular folks. This notion has only been reinforced for me over the many years that have passed since then.

Which brings us to the game on Saturday. Last year, the Hokies went to Charlottesville, it was the Wahoos Senior Day and they were playing for the ACC Coastal championship. And the Cavs lost the game. This year, the shoe is on the other foot and it is the Hokies who are having Senior Day, the game is in Lane Stadium and if they win the game they win the ACC Coastal. But the Cavs are going to play hard as they hate the Hokies, they want to ruin the Hokies' season and they are playing to be bowl-eligible. So I don't want to hear about the intangibles this year, because that's not going to win the game for Virginia Tech.

Unlike many times in years past, the analysis for this game is very simple. Which defense can dominate the inept offense it faces more thoroughly? The Hokie defense is really starting to come into it's own, just as the UVa offense has become a turnover factory so I really think the Cavs will struggle to score more than 13 points. Unfortunately, the Hokie offense is, in a word, pathetic. It is very possible that, just as what happened against Duke, the offense won't be able to score more than 13 points to beat the hated Cavaliers. 

Let's take a closer look at the Hokie defense vs. the Wahoo offense. The Wahoos do have a serious running back in Cedric Peerman, who has never played against Virginia Tech due to pansy injuries. But he is a good runner. The QB was 3rd string at the beginning of the season, but he has a whale of an arm and is mobile enough. Marc (of course the UVa QB spells Marc with a "C") Verica's downfall has been his decision making and accuracy which has led to a great many interceptions. Of course, UVa always has a good tight end, who has a big game against this Hokies and this year the TE is senior John Phillips, one of the best in the ACC. Worst of all, the Wahoo offensive line has two NFL caliber players on it, which means that Verica should have some time to throw the ball. But that leads me to the one key area that will break down UVa's offense in this game - the Hokies secondary should dominate this group of wide receivers, forcing Verica to have a hard time finding open wide-outs until the protection breaks down, likely forcing him into a few turnovers. If those turnovers occur deep enough in Virginia's end of the field, the Hokies might actually be able to convert them into a FG or two.

So I expect the Hokies to key on Cedric Peerman to shut down the running game and leave it to the secondary to shut down the wideouts in man-to-man coverage. If that works, UVa is in trouble. If Peerman breaks loose or the wideouts make a few plays, UVa might be able to score, again assuming they are able to eliminate turnovers, which seems unlikely to me.

Unfortunately, the UVa defense matches up well against the Hokie offense, and that's simply because the Virginia defense is average. They have the 40th best defense in the country and are in the middle of the ACC pack in both pass and run defense. But an average defense appears fully capable of dominating this laughable (if it wasn't so damn sad) offense. Duke's defense was 59th in the country and the Hokies were unable to do anything in the 2nd half against the Blue Devils.

The only way I see the Hokies being able to score some points is if the Wild Turkey formation proves effective. We all know that the Cavs are going to bring 8 men against the run (though someone better get the memo to Coach Stinespring just to be sure), and for reasons we have gone over ad nauseum, the normal pass game for the Hokies struggles miserably. But a well mixed-in version of Wild Turkey with a few different runs and even one or two passes could be just the tonic this team needs to put up 17-20 points which should be enough to win the game. 

It is possible that the Hokie offensive line plays the way they did against Nebraska and Maryland and executes cleanly, pushing the Cavaliers off the ball every time. It is also possible that Jessica Biel cans her photographer and needs me to come immediately to Fiji to handle her photo shoot for the 2009 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. But when I check the Magic 8 Ball on both points it tells me "don't count on it" (although if any representatives of Ms. Biel happen to be reading, I do have the next few days off and I'm willing to fly coach).

Perhaps the game changing moment will occur on special teams and maybe even a defensive score to ice this game. The Hokies haven't blocked a punt all season, and this week would be a great time for that. Tech certainly has the edge in field goal kicking as Dustin Keys is going to be an All-ACC kicker and the Wahoos are only making 60% of their kicks. And defensive scores are what the Hokies do for offense these days. Those areas seem to favor Virginia Tech.

So there is hope. Virginia Tech won't need its best offensive game of the season, but they will need a better effort than we saw against Miami and Duke or this season is going to end worse than Hokie Superfans will have seen in a long time (going back to 2003), sending Tech into a tailspin for what seems sure to be a crazy offseason. Let me pull that Magic 8-ball back out again.

GO HOKIES!!!!!!!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Game Review - VT vs. Duke

Wow, who woulda thunk it, huh? The Hokie defense rose up and shut down an opponent to preserve a win where the offense had 5 turnovers, scored 7 points total and had 109 yards in the second half? 

Needless to say, the Hokies 14-3 win against Duke was a microcosm of the season only worse. The one good offensive weapon (Tyrod Taylor) the Hokies had played poorly and was pulled from the game.

The good news is that the Hokies WR's got their first TD reception on the final drive of the 1st half when QB Sean Glennon hit Jarrett Boykin for the score. Boykin seems to be the only guy able to make plays at the WR position right now. Danny Coale is dependable and Dyrell Roberts has more explosiveness but he can't hang on to the ball. Boykin is making catches and playing very hard, but he's rarely open. And that goes to what I'd like to talk about with the offense.

Not only did the offense not build any momentum after their one scoring drive to end the first half, but in the 2nd half they were worse than the first. Now you may be thinking "Mad Jay, how can you be worse than 5 turnovers?. Well the turnovers were bad, don't get me wrong, but in the 2nd half the Hokies had no turnovers, and STILL managed to not get within FG range with a grand total of 109 yards for the half. AGAINST DUKE!!! Here's why

It comes down to something that LB Purnell Sturdivant admitted in an interview with Aaron McFarling early last week. The defenses know what's coming. Now I don't like a player speaking out like that to the media - that stuff should stay in the locker room - but P-Stump as the players call him, is right. While Coach Bryan Stinespring's offensive playcalling is not very good and the level of execution he gets out of his players is downright horrible, it is his gameplanning and play design that are his real downfall as a coordinator. All you have to do is watch the game film (actually my Calm and Beloved Reader, all you have to do is read TSF, since we watch the game footage several times for you). 

The bottom line is that it's very hard to run when the defense knows right where you are running. There was clear evidence of this all season, and it happened again on Saturday as Duke's LB's were moving themselves and shifting the defensive line before the snap to the spot where the run was supposed to go. Yes, Darren Evans got 100+ yards, but he is a good running back and the offensive line was able to get by on simply being bigger and stronger than Duke (minus defensive lineman Vince Oghobaase who is a future NFL'er). The Duke players certainly knew where the runs were going. 

Now pass defense is a little more complicated but not much. Basically what teams do is jump the Hokies first read and check down routes. The first read is just what it sounds like - where the QB looks to throw the ball first in his progression. If that's covered he usually looks to a 2nd read (in the NFL there's often a 3rd read as well) and if that's not open either, he goes to a safe route called a check down. This is usually a tight end in the middle of the field or a running back out in the flat. 

Based on the Hokies' formation, and game film, Duke (and most other teams this year as well) usually knows exactly who the QB's first read is and where the check down will be. They try to double cover the first read and then send a safety or LB to run with either the RB in the flat or the TE over the middle to either force an incompletion or a short gain. The way to beat this of course is to get to your 2nd read since that player will typically be in man-to-man coverage or be open in a zone. What happens is with Taylor in there, he's not always 100% on making his progression plus he has a tendency to want to run it anyway so he rarely gets to the 2nd read. With Glennon, teams rush more and worry less about contain, often eliminating the chance he has to get to his 2nd read (this happened some against Duke but it happened a lot against Miami, leading the coaches to give Taylor most of the snaps in that game). By the time Glennon would be ready to throw to his 2nd read he'd either be sacked or under heavy pressure, or the receiver wouldn't beat their man (this is Boykin's one problem area).

Now in the instances where the QB has time and finds his 2nd guy, the play can be very positive (like the TD at the end of the first half against Duke, where young Boykin did beat his man very nicely). And when Taylor gets better at reading defenses he will be a more effective weapon as well at fighting that. But that's where QB Coach Mike O'Cain has really failed this team in my view. He hasn't developed Taylor's ability to read defenses. And again, Stinespring hasn't done either QB any favors but failing to design pass plays that offer more flexibility in a formation so that teams don't always know where the pass is designed to go. Taylor's two interceptions against Duke were incredibly tightly covered (although Boykin made a much better effort on the pass thrown his way than Andre Smith did. Half of that interception on the pass intended to Smith falls on big ol' #88). 

Earlier in the season, the receivers weren't reading defenses correctly, and that has certainly improved. The overall execution by the offensive line still leaves a lot to be desired, but they have shown against Maryland and Nebraska that they ARE capable of getting the job done. But until the offensive gameplan isn't easily deciphered by defenses, the offense is going to have a very tough task considering Duke was the weakest defense they will face the rest of the season.

The Hokie defense on the other hand, well what else can you say that hasn't been said? The offense committed 5 turnovers in the first half and the Hokie D held Duke to 3 points. Sheesh. In fact, the Hokie defense has taken the field following 15 turnovers by the offense this season and given up a grand total of 19 points. That is just amazing. The defense gets put in a bad spot by the Hokie offense, the other team has all the momentum and BAM the defense almost always shuts them down to keep the game from spiraling out of control. It makes Coach Foster's achievements this year that much more remarkable. Oh and by the way the Hokie defense scored a TD of their own against Duke and created 4 turnovers and limited the Blue Devils to 136 yards for the game. I know that Duke was missing it's starting QB and starting RB, but wow, that was an impressive defensive performance.

Ironically this win over Duke might have sealed the fate of both coordinators. Coach Foster showed yet again that his ability to coach a defense is unparalleled and Coach Stinespring showed that his inability to coach an offense is only matched by 6 other coordinators in college football - the 6 coordinators whose offenses have a worse average ranking since 2006 than Coach Stinespring. 

Hopefully we will see the offense play at a level like they did against Nebraska and Maryland when the Cavaliers come to Blacksburg on Saturday. That being said, the defense will certainly need to be at their best, because a trip to Tampa hangs in the balance and if I'm the defense, I'm not counting on the offense for anything right now.


Friday, November 21, 2008

The Coastal Mess

Obsessed by the ubiquitous mess in the Coastal Division I've spent a little time devising a definitive guide to who'd go to the title game in the various scenarios. There are six games left involving Coastal Division teams and other ACC teams (I'm excluding the Georgia/Georgia Tech game as it does not factor into any scenario.)

These games are:
  • Duke @ VT
  • UVA @ VT
  • NC State @ UNC
  • UNC @ Duke
  • Clemson @ UVA
  • Miami @ NC State
That means there are 2^6 (or 64) possible outcomes to the Coastal race.

  • The winning ACC record will be 5-3.
  • Georgia Tech is done with ACC play and they are currently 5-3 in the ACC.
  • Statistically, Georgia Tech has the best chance of getting to the title game as there are 26 possible scenarios in their favor
  • Miami has been eliminated. Even if they get to 5-3, who they have lost to factor them out.
  • Virginia Tech is one of two teams that controls their destiny. Win both games and they are in.
  • Of the 64 scenarios this happens in 16 scenarios so, statistically they have 1/4 chance of achieving this.
  • UVA is the other. Win out and they're in.
  • Georgia Tech would needs the most help with at least one loss by each of UNC, VT, and UVA.
  • UNC would need to win out and a loss by UVA and VT.
If anyone wants to see the giant matrix I created for this I'd gladly show it to you!

Duke Preview

The Blue Devils come to Tech as the only team in the Coastal Division that can't get to 5-3 in the ACC. They and Miami have officially been eliminated from the Coast Division title (more on Miami in my next post.) They are also one of four teams (Duke, NC State, UVA, and Clemson) in the ACC that is not already bowl eligible. That said, if UVA and Clemson can win one and Duke and NC State can win both their remaining games, ALL twelve of the ACC teams would be bowl eligible! Talk about parity.

The Blue Devils have been surprisingly spunky this season. With a somewhat potent offense the Blue Devils have been able to put up good points on their oppenents even in defeat. The Blue Devils excluding a shutout loss to Georgia Tech are averaging 24.2 points per game (21.8 with the shutout). That's not too shabby for a basketball school.

The offense was led by Thaddeus Lewis a Junior quarterback. He's avergaing 189.3 yards per game until an injury in the Clemson game sidelined him. Backup quarterback Zack Asack came in and despite being decent (10/22 61 yards, 1 TD) he still turned the ball over twice on interceptions. Lewis is listed as questionable for tomorrow's game so it looks like Asack will get the start. This may be good in that Asack is an untested starter for the Blue Devils, but it can also be bad as there is probably little film on his play.

Regardless of who's running the offense, they'll be throwing to pretty much two guys. Senior Eron Riley and freshman Johnny Williams seem to be the main targets. Riley has 630 yards this season and seven touchdowns. Williams has 301 yards and no touchdowns.

Behind the quarterback, Duke lines up a two running back platoon each with about equal yardage. Senior Clifford Harris and freshman Jay Hollingsworth (noticing a pattern?) both have over 300 yards rushing on the season.

Lets face it folks, these guys are high powered, but other than Georgia Tech these guys really have not faced a defense worth spitting at. And Georgia Tech shut-em down completely. [One might argue, what about Miami? They put up 31 on their defense. My response, see last night's Georgia Tech-Miami game.] Bud Foster's defense should have no trouble with these guys.

Which brings us to the Duke defense. The Duke defense has allowed over 350 yards per game. 200 of those through the air. But I wouldn't expect a Maryland style breakout game for Darren Evans. Tyrod Taylor will likely take the helm tomorrow (and hopefully keep it.) Will the offense find some identity and simply score enough points to offset the brilliant play of the defense is very much a good question. The weather will be cold and the ball will be an ice brick so ball control will be a factor.

Game time is 26 hours!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Bully Pulpit - Can it deliver BCS playoffs?

Halftime of Monday Night Football on Election Day Eve, 2008:

Chris Berman: "If there was one thing you could change in sports, what would it be?"
Barak Obama: "I think it's about time we had playoffs in College Football"

Yes, that's right, love him or hate him, Barak Obama threw fuel on the fire of the long running debate in College Football about whether the BCS should move to a playoff system. I'm going to go out on a limb here and stipulate that a majority of our TSF readers would like to see some sort of playoff system in place of what the BCS has now. Maybe some think it should have two rounds, maybe others say three, dare I say some think four? Whatever the case, the seemingly routine debate that surfaces every season has an extra dimension this year. The President Elect of the country has made it known that he wants to see a playoff system.

So will the Obama endorsement provide the extra umph needed to eventually make this happen, or will the BCS committee quash it as it routinely has in the past? On Monday of this week, Obama did an interview on 60 Minutes where he stated that he will use his influence ("throw my weight around") as President to push for an eight team playoff. He said, "If you've got a bunch of teams who play throughout the season and many of them have one loss or two losses, there's no clear, decisive winner." If Obama really wants to turn the heat p on the NCAA, there are several measures he could take to escalate his influence. He could attempt to impose an executive order on the NCAA. He could also use the Department of Justice to investigate whether the BCS violates ani-trust law. Ultimately, however, the NCAA as a private enterprise would rightfully win those battles, but it would do so at a potential price. That price could consist of public opinion growing and developing stronger feelings about the matter, maybe to the extent where the BCS committee would have no choice but to do something. But Obama has his most potent weapon in influencing the BCS in something far more simplistic: the Bully Pulpit. He currently has a great deal of popularity, and he can use his voice to motivate the masses of College Football fans to put pressure on the committee. He also has a class warfare style argument he can make to get public opinion to rally behind his cause. ESPN has recently outbid Fox for coverage of the all the major bowls. That means eventually those games will only appear on pay-for cable rather than on freely available broadcast. This no doubt upsets many consumers who don't think viewers should have to foot the bill for cable just to watch major sporting events. Overall, Obama has a few avenues he can travel to twist some BCS arms.

Now, let's move on to the other side of the issue. The BCS officials have congratulated Obama on his victory and followed that directly up with an assertion that College Football has the most compelling regular season in sports and that the BCS system does produce a national champion. Agree with it or not, the committee's has made that statement. Who makes up the BCS committee, anyways? It consists of commissioners of each of the major conferences and and organizers of the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, and Orange Bowl. And of course the commission has the primary responsibility of turning the best profit possible for the BCS. Strange as it may seem, the NCAA doesn't control the BCS. Obama's informal proposal suggests shortening the regular season, something against which the NCAA would protest because that means less revenue for the schools that don't qualify for the eight team playoff than those teams would get under the current system.

Several seasons ago, back when TSF only existed as a newsletter sent over email to a listserve, Mad Jay and I both laid out each of our separate ideas for how to fix the BCS. (Maybe I'll dig that up from the old TSF archives and post that article as a supplement just for old time's sake.) In my humble opinion, both of us proposed good solutions that fans would like and from which the BCS would benefit financially. Those aside, I think the current system isn't tooooooo bad, and that the BCS could fix it with one minor change: put the top four teams into a two round playoff.

As an avid follower of politics and College Football, this debate will make an interesting saga for me to watch over the course of the next few seasons. Realistically, the only way I see this happening is consumers threatening the bottom line of the BCS. That means fans get so angry about the system that they begin to look elsewhere to invest their time, attention, and energy into other sorts, which hits the BCS where it hurts, their wallets. If the BCS get's the feeling that will happen, we'll assuredly see a College Football playoff system.

EhhTee's Picks (Week 13)

It'll be hard to top 6-1 this week especially with the "WHOA NELLY!" of a game in Norman at 8:00PM! As it looks like there won't be a preview of the Duke game -- we were all uber busy this week -- The Duke v. Hokies gametime is 5:30PM. It can be seen on ESPN U.

#1 Texas Tech @ #5 Oklahoma

Oh my God! I'm excited. I'll be booking it across campus to Big Al's to catch this game after the Tech game. Texas Tech has been a tremendous force putting up a gazillion points. Guess what so has Oklahoma...

Another Big Twelve Shootout, Pick: Better than the Black Raiders 51 - Okeylahomey 35.

#18 Brigham Young @ #7 Utah

The battle of the big state that looks like a hanging chad...

Utes remain Pick: LDS 10 - 35.

#15 Michigan State @ #9 Penn State

JoePa's miracle finish to his career came crashing down, but they're still in the hunt for Roses...

The Spartans come up shy of slaying the lion Pick: This is Sparta! 21 - Happy Gilmore Valley 28.

Upset Special
Meeechigan @ #14 Ohio State

The auto industry is going down the tubes. Michigan will not go to a bowl game for the first time in 33 years. Can nothing go right for the state of Michigan?

YES, Pick: General Motors 31 - NUTS 10.

#20 Pittsburgh @ #17 Cincinnati.

I'm currently flipping between the Miami destruction and the Steelers v. Bengals game...

Too bad the Penns weren't playing Columbus, eh Ice?, Pick: Penguins 10 - Blue Jackets 27.

Florida State @ #21 Maryland

Two teams also in the hunt for the Atlantic Division. Win an Maryland clinches the Atlantic Division Maryland is at home and is at home...

It just gonna happen again! Pick: Bobby 14 - Turtles 17.

Clemson @ Virginia

Believe it or not one of these teams will become bowl eligible this weekend. At 5-5, each team need a victory in their next two games...

Virginia too much for Tigers, Pick: Clemzone 15 - Boohoos 24.

Hokies Control Destiny... Again.

Wow! Just when you thought the ACC couldn't get any crazier, it does. With the Miami smack down of 41-23 in Atlanta doled out by the Yellow Jackets tonight, the Hokies are once again in control of their destiny. Win out and (coming out of a four way tie) the Hokies will be the Coastal Champions. How? See here.

Monday, November 17, 2008

EhhTee's Picks Results (Week 12)

Woohoo! Finally a good week! Six out of Seven ain't bad. And I came pretty darn close on some of the scores.

Cincinnati 31 Cincinnati 28 1-0 34-29
Louisville 18 Louisville 20
Cincy's is in control and have Pitt at home for the Big East championship. Oh, and I was five points off the total score!
S. Carolina 21 S. Carolina 6 2-0 35-29
Florida 44 Florida 56
Florida is looking unbelievable as they crushed the Gamecocks
UGA 38 UGA 17 3-0 36-29
Auburn 10 Auburn 13
Georgia struggled a little but pulled this one off.
UNC 10 UNC 15 4-0 37-29
UMD 15 UMD 17
Wow! Can you believe the ACC race this year!? Oh, again only 7 points off here!
BYU 24 BYU 38 5-0 38-29
Air Force 21 Air Force 24
BC 24 BC 27 6-0 39-29
FSU 17 FSU 17
Damn I'm good! A fieldgoal off! Terapins all over are fans of BC now!
Duke 35 Duke 7 6-1 39-30
Clemson 24 Clemson 31
Clemson finally showed some offense in my one wrong prediction this week.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Week Twelve TSF Poll is Up

No major changes in the top fifteen. Boise State solidified their top ten status. Florida State, North Carolina, Tulsa, South Carolina, and East Carolina fell off of the bottom with Florida State dropping the most. TCU and Cincinnati bounced up to number sixteen and seventeen respectively. Maryland, Miami, Boston College, and Northwestern join our top twenty-five. It's mildly amusing and mostly disgusting how week-in and week-out two to three ACC teams will drop as two to three will join.

1 Texas Tech (2) 74
2 Alabama (1) 73
3 Florida 67
3 Texas 67
5 Oklahoma 63
6 USC 60
7 Utah 56
8 Boise State 52
9 Penn State 50
10 Oklahoma State 48
11 Georgia 43
12 Missouri 41
13 Ball State 39
14 Ohio State 37
15 Michigan State 35
16 TCU 29
17 Cincinnati 26
18 Brigham Young 23
19 LSU 21
20 Pittsburgh 20
21 Maryland 14
22 Miami 11
23 Boston College 7
24 Oregon State 6
25 Northwestern 5
25 Oregon 5

Both Hoops Teams Start off Strong

Both the men's and women's hoops teams won their season openers on Friday. The two teams played a double header in Cassell Coliseum the evening after the football team struggled in Miami.

The men beat the Gardner-Webb Runnin' Bulldogs 65-62. A.D. Vassallo and Jeff Allen both led the team with19 points. Vassallo led the team in rebounds with nine. Malcolm Delaney had 15 points with six rebounds and four assists. Up next for the men is Mount Saint Mary on Monday.

The women defeat UNC Greensboro 59-53. The ladies were led by Utahya Drye with 15 points and Lindsay Biggs with 14. The Lady Hokies have good ole Radford next on Tuesday.

Still in the hunt?

Wow! Just wow! MadJay mentioned at the end of his review that every Hokie SuperFan should cheer for Georgia Tech to beat Miami next weekend. So I decided to take a look at that scenario in particular. The following assumes that the Hokies can handle Duke and manage a victory against UVA. It also assumes that all other games go in favor of the four teams involved.

In this scenario, there would be a four way tie for first place in the ACC Coastal Division! Miami, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, and Virginia Tech will all be 5-3.

The official ACC divisional tiebreak procedure calls for looking at a combined head to head record first.



A loss to Georgia Tech would actually eliminate the Hurricanes! Leaving two teams with a 2-1 record against tied divisional leaders.

Since we have only two teams we go back to head to head against UNC. Advantage Virginia Tech. So bottomline, if Georgia Tech beats Miami and Virginia Tech can manage to pull itself together for two home games, the Hokies will be going to Tampa.

Follow up

My Calm and Beloved Reader,
One point I made in my game review below was the huge disparity between the effectiveness of the Virginia Tech defense at the end of games and the ineffectiveness of the offense at the end of games in 2008. It inspired me to do some extended research. Now thanks to a lot of beer and staying up way too late, I have calculated a statistic that is going to blow your mind.

Bryan Stinespring has been offensive coordinator since 2001 so let's look at the Hokies from 2001 up through the Thursday night game in Miami. 

In that timeframe, the Hokie defense has taken the field with a lead of 8 points or less at the end of the game (but always with more than 1 minute left, meaning that the opposing offense has a legitimate chance to tie or win) a total of 16 times. They stopped the opposing offense a total of 13 times and let the opponent tie or win the game 3 times. They are successful 81% of the time and it's a testament to Coach Foster and that defense.

In that same timeframe the offense has taken the field either tied or within 8 points of the lead, at the end of the game (again I only counted situations with at least 1 minute or more left in the game) a total of 12 times, needing a score to win or send the game to overtime. In those 7 years, the Hokies have scored 1 time (against Miami in 2006 to win 17-10). That is a success rate of 8.3%. 

When the game is on the line during Coach Stinespring's tenure, the Hokie defense has been, literally, 10 TIMES BETTER at winning the game than the offense. On Coach Beamer's radio show earlier this season, he told a caller named Jason from Arlington that Jason was "out of whack" for pointing out the relatively poor performance by the offense. Coach Beamer, I think if you look at the stat I just came across you will see what is truly "out of whack" here.

Game Review - VT vs. Miami

First of all, thanks to those of you who emailed or called to check and see if I was alright after watching the Miami game. As you might imagine, watching the rotating QB's, only one play run out of the Wild Turkey formation, and -11 yards of offense in the 3rd quarter, resulted in MadJay not doing so well. In fact, those who know me might think that I popped a vein or threw myself off of my roof. I am pleased to report that the worst case scenario is that I might have an ulcer, but more likely just a very bad case of acid reflux. Watching this Hokie offense ought to come with a Surgeon General's note that says: "Warning, if you are a TechSuperfan, this may cause unbridled frustration marked by brief fits of rage and indigestion. Could be hazardous to your health".

In a formula that is all too familiar, the Virginia Tech defense again stomped an opponent, holding Miami to 247 yards and 3 inspired goal line stands keeping the Canes to 3 FG's after their opening TD. It was not enough, as an offense as devoid of identity as you will ever see couldn't muster enough points in a 16-14 loss in Dolphin Stadium on Thursday night. The ACC Coastal Division, thanks to a loss today by UNC, is now in the hands of the Miami Hurricanes and it very clearly belongs there after the display I saw on Thursday night. Note that this will not be a pleasant recap of the game, so if you haven't found your "happy place" and come to terms with the game yet, proceed at your own risk.

Let's just jump right in with the opening series.

Both Tyrod Taylor and Sean Glennon made excellent plays for 20+ yards to WR Danny Coale on the opening drive. Ok now let me just stop right there. That sounds exciting right? Well maybe so, but it makes no sense. Both guys showed they were capable of playing. Why not pick your guy and give him the game right then? This insane QB rotation is not a gameplan. Yes, Stinespring made it work temporarily for those two guys and the team in 2007 (until the Orange Bowl), but it cannot be a winning strategy for so many reasons. There is no clearly defined leader on an offense that needs one in the worst way, both on the field and in the locker room. It doesn't allow either QB to get into a rhythm in the game (Hall of Fame Miami QB Jim Kelly commented on this at halftime - admittedly talking about the Hurricanes QB rotation - but the concept holds true). Neither QB knows when they are going in or out and in the 4th quarter, the Hokies played the hot hand with Taylor for the entire 4th quarter anyway.

WHEN WILL COACH BEAMER AND STINESPRING AND O'CAIN GET IT THROUGH THEIR THICK SKULLS?!?!?! When you try and have two QB's, you end up not having one. This just has the feel of O'Cain trying to give Glennon snaps in his senior year and as the game progresses, Beamer over-ruling him and playing who he thinks gives the team the best chance to win by going with Taylor. It happened at Furman and it happened against Miami. The entire thing is stupid and broken. It keeps the offense from forming any sort of identity and could very well have cost the Hokies a shot at the ACC title this year. Ridiculous. And for those of you who might be new to TSF and think I'm just beating this drum because the QB rotation failed last night, allow me to refer to you a whole host of posts about this point from 2007 in our archive on the left.

Ok, now back to the game. So the Hokies get down to 3rd and 3 at the Miami 20 yard line on this nice opening drive and suddenly a wave of terror struck me. I told the Blonde "oh my God, we are not going get the first down on this play and Beamer is going to go for it on 4th down instead of kicking the field goal and it's going to be a run up the middle that's going to get stuffed." How on earth did I know that? Am I some sort of savant? A football genius? A gridiron Nostradamus? Well, those might be debatable points, but no, in this case, you only have to look at what has happened in recent Hokie history. At Boston College on a Thursday night in October 2006 and at Georgia Tech in October 2004, the Hokies had the ball on 4th and 1 at around the opponents 20 yd line in the 1st quarter of a scoreless game. Both previous times the Hokies tried to run for a first down and both times got totally stuffed. 

This is insane. On the road, you need the lead. Take the crowd out of it. Give the players confidence. EVEN IF YOU MAKE the first down at the 20 yd line, you have no assurance of scoring a TD. I can see going for it on 4th and goal from the 1, because the opponent will be backed way up even if you fail. But at the 20 yd line, this is just an inexplicable, poor decision. I mean, what did the coaches think? This Miami game would be some sort of high scoring shootout where field goals would be of little consequence? Tell that to the FINAL SCOREBOARD. Oh and the running play - up the middle to Darren Evans. How creative! Is there a remote chance that the Canes' might have possibly expected that play? If you are going to make this awful decision to go for it in that position, what is the Wild Turkey for? Maybe Greg Boone could get a yard? Or maybe, you line up in the Wild Turkey and with the entire stadium expecting a run from Boone you play action and throw the most wide open touchdown pass in college football history. By the way, the play on 3rd and 3 that led to the 4th and 1? An option run by Sean Glennon. Seriously. You have decided to play rotating QB's and you have Tyrod Taylor on the sideline and Sean Glennon on a gimpy ankle. Yeah, give Glennon the option keeper on 3rd down. Another great call by Stinespring. More on this later.

So later in the first quarter, the Canes have a 3rd and 5 at midfield and DE Orion Martin breaks free and hits Miami QB Robert Marve, who just chucks the ball downfield to his receiver as he gets hit. It's actually a nice throw but the receiver can't hold on so the Hokies get the ball.......oh wait, there's a flag. Personal foul on Orion Martin? It couldn't have been late, so it had to be a hit to the head. The replay clearly shows Martin hitting Marve in his upper chest and non-throwing shoulder just after he throws the ball and Martin's helmet never even touches Marve. Where was the penalty? Blown call. Then a fumble later in the drive bounced right to Cane Laron Byrd for another first down. Things just went Miami's way on the drive and they scored a TD as a result. It would be their only TD of the game. 

The Hokies defense began punishing Miami and eventually forced them to punt from their own end zone. The offense capitalized on the great field position and Taylor took a broken play and rushed 14 yards for a TD to tie the game midway through the 2nd quarter. But the real killer happened at the end of the 2nd quarter. The Hokies had completely recaptured the momentum and Jarrett Boykin had just made a phenomenal catch to put the Hokies on the Miami 25 yard line. On 2nd down the Hokies had a perfect pump and go for a TD and as Glennon pulled back to throw the ball he got blasted by Miami DE Marcus Robinson. You know Robinson right? He's the Miami freshman who prior to the Thursday night game had 3 tackles and no sacks ON THE SEASON. He ended up getting 3 sacks in this game, none bigger than this one as he blew past Blake DeChristopher and knocked the Hokies back enough to force a 51 yard FG attempt by Dustin Keys, which missed. Between this and the opening drive fiasco, that's two FG's that Virginia Tech left on the table. This momentum shift just before halftime ended up being huge. 

In fact, the Canes who were averaging 1.7 sacks/game ended up with SIX!! That's right, the Hokies offensive line that everyone loved so much last week, gave up 6 sacks to a defense not known for getting to the QB. Three of those plays were situations where both Glennon and Taylor had time to throw and didn't, but three of them were simply the Hokies' linemen getting abused. This was nothing short of horrible and embarrassing. I keep coming back to execution and when you watch the game footage, the regression from last week's performance is nothing short of inexplicable. The offense does not execute. How much more plainly can it be put? The playcalling raises eyebrows, the establishment of an offensive philosophy or identity is nonexistent and the execution in all areas on offense is not even NEAR the level it needs to be to compete at the top of college football. 

Then came the third quarter. Both Taylor and Glennon got one series in this quarter. One series lost 5 yards and the other lost 6 yards and both were three and outs. Darren Evans' longest run in both series was 1 yard. The defense rose up like champions and held Miami to two FG's in the quarter, but a key factor in the Hokies losing this game occurred during the first 15 minutes after the half. If the Hokies could have moved the ball one time and given the Canes a long field, it would have prevented one FG and that was the difference in the game. Disgusting to say the least.

The fourth quarter began with the Canes finishing off another short drive to kick their third FG and go up 16-7. The Hokies and Canes went back and forth not doing much and then with 7:43 left in the game, Tyrod Taylor decided to take it upon himself to try and win the game. Anyone who says Taylor isn't an accurate passer needs to watch this series. His deep throw to Dyrell Roberts was nearly as perfect a 55 yard throw as can be imagined. It hit Roberts in the hands on the run in a position where the defensive back had no chance to make a play on the ball. Roberts ran a great route and then...........dropped it. Roberts' second deep ball dropped this season and this one, though not as costly since the Hokies would score on the drive anyway, still hurt. I feel badly for Roberts, but damn kid, you have to catch that pass in Division I-A football. You just have to. Undaunted, Taylor used his legs and arm to lead the Hokies down the field. He hit Macho Harris from the pocket and then hit Greg Boone on the run and both balls were as good as one can throw it. Taylor closed the drive out from 6 yards out with a run to bring the score to within 16-14 with 4:15 left in the game.

And now for the part of the game that defines Virginia Tech the past several years. There was little doubt in any Superfan's mind that the Hokie defense was going to hold Miami and give the offense a chance to win the game. Sure enough, Foster's bunch delivered with a three and out. And the tragic part is that there was also little doubt that, despite all the momentum, and the ACC Coastal title on the line, the offense would NOT deliver. And sure enough, they did not. 

Why would Superfans feel confident in the defense, but not at all in the offense? Well just take a look at this season - the Hokies defense has been on the field with the game in the balance with 3:00 or less left in the game 6 times this season. They only failed to stop the opponent one time and that was against Florida State when the Hokies were already down by 7 points. The offense has been on the field with 3:00 or less to go with the game in the balance 5 times this season and they have only succeeded one time - against Nebraska, and that was when they were already ahead by 5 points. Every time, the Hokie defense has needed to get a stop to protect a lead and win the game they have done it. Every time the Hokie offense has needed to score to win the game, not only have they not done so, THEY HAVE NOT EVEN PICKED UP A SINGLE DAMN FIRST DOWN in those situations!!!!! The coaches always say "all we want is a chance to win the game". Well, in all 4 losses this year, the Hokies have had a chance to win on offense at the end and haven't even come close a single time.

So let's break down what happened against Miami. First down with 2:57 left, Taylor hit Greg Boone with a nice throw to make it 2nd and 2. On 2nd and 2 they tried a deep throw to Boykin but it was well covered and was incomplete. So far so good. I liked the play calls and I figured with timeouts left and all this time left in the game, the entire field is available. On either third or fourth down, one would expect a run/pass option with Taylor, rolling him out of the pocket to give the Hokies their best chance to get the first down. After all, Taylor on broken plays was the entire offense in the 2nd half. So third down sees a draw play. Interesting attempt to catch the Canes sleeping, but the odd part here is that Dustin Pickle is the guy carrying the ball. Now in the first few games, I understand why Dustin Pickle is your two minute offense guy. He's a senior who plays hard on special teams and he knows the offense. But by the 10th game of the season, hasn't Darren Evans shown that he a) doesn't fumble and b) is your best running threat with the ball in his hands? Why on earth wasn't Evans in there carrying that ball? But the real kicker is that on 4th down another drop back pass was called and Taylor got sacked. No roll outs, no quick hitters to the middle of the field. Just a handoff to a 4th string running back and a deep dropback pass. That's how the offense ended the game and took the loss.

The coaches spend a lot of time talking about how young this team is and how they've overcome injuries and played their tails off, etc. Those are fine points to bring up, but the coaches' jobs are to give the players a chance to win the damn game. From Beamer's blown decision at the beginning of the game, to the coaches' ridiculous insistence on the QB shuffle, to the development of a Wild Turkey formation that has great success against Maryland and was then used one time against Miami, to the playcalling at the end of the game, the coaches are NOT giving these players the full chance they deserve. This will be - statistically - the 110th best offense in the country at the end of 2008, meaning that the average offensive ranking from 2006-2008 will be about 103rd and it will have gotten worse every year.

I think it's a fair question to ask Coach Beamer - what measuring stick is Coach Stinespring being evaluated against? At what point does he say - ok this is no longer acceptable for the program I care so much about? We've just witnessed in Miami on Thursday night another example of what NOT making a change has cost this program. It may also very well be what causes Bud Foster to leave the program, even if it's for a school he might not normally consider leaving for. I bet Foster doesn't get the Clemson job (though he certainly does deserve it), but he may take the head coaching spot at one of these lesser programs because he's just got to be so sick over the offense at VT not carrying their weight. How much collateral damage is Coach Beamer willing to tolerate to the Virginia Tech football program in order to remain "loyal" to Coach Stinespring? I'm tired of watching the offense's ineptitude, I'm tired of writing about it and I bet a lot of you are, too. Let's hope a change occurs in the 2008-09 offseason. As it stands now, we have to all cheer for Georgia Tech to beat Miami next weekend and keep VT's hopes alive for an ACC Coastal Division title!