Hokies and Wahoos playing for more than bragging rights

With 8 seconds left on the game clock in Doak Campbell Stadium Florida State kicker Dustin Hopkins lined up for a 43 yard field goal attempt that would give the Seminoles a victory over the Cavaliers of UVA. For only the 4th time all year Hopkins missed the kick wide right. The impact of this missed field goal could be felt not only in the Sunshine State but also in the great state of Virginia 625 miles away in Blacksburg. The impact can be characterized as both one of joy and one of fear. Joy because it means that the annual game between VT and UVA will have bigger implications than in recent years. Fear because of what can happen to the Hokies season with a loss to UVA, something that hasn’t happened in 2,550 days (That’s 7 years ! )

Davon Morgan and friends celebrate 2010 Cup win

Last years game as seen in the photo above was played in Blacksburg and won by the Hokies 37 – 7. Even though the Hokies have dominated the rivalry a lot has changed since the last time these two met. In the off season UVA and coach Mike London dominated the state of Virginia in recruiting. Taking recruits like CB Demetrious Nicholson , RB Clifton Richardson and WR Dominique Terrell from the tidewater/ Virginia Beach region of the state that the Hokies have been controlling for years. Nicholson has been the most productive of the group with 50 tackles and 2 interceptions coming into Saturdays game. This early production is only a sign of whats to come of the Hoos 2011 recruiting class.

Nicholson is one of many players thriving in Mike London’s defensive scheme that is ranked 28th in the nation for points allowed per game(20.1). Led by junior LB Steve Greer, who has 94 tackles on the season, the Cavs have used speed and athletisim to mess with the opposing QB especially in the red zone. Another bright spot for UVA has been the play of QB Mike Rocco and RB Perry Jones who have each provided sparks when their team needs them most. Look for Jones to have a tough day going against a Hokies defense that has allowed and average of 3

Perry Jones

.3 yards per carry this season. UVA will have a shot to upset their hated rivals and win more than just the Commonwealth Cup.

For the Hokies to avoid the upset and the embarrassment that the Cavs are planning to give them they must do 3 things perfectly.

  1. Don’t go for the big hit just make the tackle: The Hokies have struggled with wrapping up ball carriers this season and it has lead to big runs and plays. Fortunately this only happens a few times over the course of a game but it usually results in a score for the opposition.
  2. The O-LINE must buy some time for Logan Thomas: In Tech’s Thursday night win over UNC Logan Thomas was outside of the pocket more than he was inside of it, Sure he works well on edge and utilizes his feet but he would benefit greatly with a few extra seconds to make a clear decision on where to throw the ball. A sloppy game by the big boys up front would be fatal to Techs chances.
  3. Don’t be complacent: So many times when a team is ranked highly and predicted to win by many experts they become happy or content with what they have and don’t strive for more. It’s what knocked my own High School team out of the playoffs this year and its what can certainly destroy any hopes that the Hokies have of an ACC Championship and a BCS Bowl appearance.

The Hokies should win this game with the play of David Wilson and Logan Thomas in recent weeks. Sure UVA’ s defense has been pretty good and they have a lot of momentum building to the game but they have yet to see a QB of Thomas’ size, speed and athleticism. Tech will have to play perfect and score early silencing the Wahoowaa in Charlottesville and crushing any hopes that they have of an upset.

My prediction is that the Hokies will win over UVA for the 8th straight year but it will be very very close and could come down to the final minutes of the game. Techs special teams will give them the slight edge and the leg of Kicker Cody Jounell will show the country that the Hokies do belong (something that Oregon, Oklahoma State and Alabama failed to do).

In addition to predicting this game I also have some picks on the other rivalry games of week 13

Arkansas will beat LSU on their home field.

Auburn will beat Alabama in Auburn in what will be the best Iron Bowl to date.

Oklahoma State will beat Oklahoma in Bedlam

If my 1st two picks are right look for the Hokies to move into the top 3 with a realistic shot at a BCS Championship game berth. But for any of that to happen Tech must 1st take care of UVA and maintain control of the Commonwealth Cup.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and enjoy your football weekend !

 

BCS Shakeup

Yesterday during Part 1 of the 2 weeks of “Rival Week” there were 4 great games. I went 2-2 in my picks but I still picked the upset of the year. Thats right I picked Nevada over Boise! My other correct pick was Nebraska’s win over longtime rival Colorado. The other games I took Pitt and Bama who both came close but just couldn’t get it in the end. And I still think that this BCS Shakeup is just beginning with (8)Ohio State hosting Michigan, (5)LSU going to (12)Arkansas and (13)Oklahoma taking on  (9)Okie State. Of those 3 match ups the highest chance of upset appears to be the Battle for the Golden Boot (LSU vs Arkansas)simply because of the Razorback offense and gunslinger QB Ryan Mallet and his ability to find the open receiver down field. Another reason especially in the SEC is the factor of home-field advantage with the game at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock where the 54,000 Arkansas faithful will be giving LSU all that they can handle. 

T-Mobile

 My other game that I have a good pick for is my Hokies over the Wahoo’s who haven’t touched the Commonwealth Cup since 2003 (There only win vs Tech in the last 10 years). Another reason I want to keep an eye on this game (which will be available to those of you down in ACC Country on Raycom but for people up North like myself we must use ESPN3 or ACC Network online) is that it is Senior Day in Blacksburg and it will be Tyrod Taylor’s last run out to Enter Sandman and his last time touching the Hokie Stone. Because if this I expect a very motivated and productive Taylor in the Hokies win today! With the shakeups in the real BCS I have some changes to my rankings and I can now put some bowl projections out. I still have the top 3 as follows: 1. Oregon 2. Auburn 3.TCU then at 4-10 there are a few changes. 4 LSU 5. Wisconsin 6. Stanford 7. Ohio State 8. Oklahoma State 9. Michigan State and 10. Nebraska

Now here are my BCS Bowl Projections:

BCS Championship. : Oregon vs Auburn

Sugar Bowl: LSU vs Ohio State

Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State vs West Virginia

Rose Bowl:Stanford vs Wisconsin

Orange Bowl: TCU vs Virginia Tech

BCS Rankings to be released

Even though we all hate it the BCS can be fun. One of the big parts of it being fun is this coming weekend when the rankings begin and the real contenders will start to appear right before our eyes. We had some serious shakeups this week with Bama going down to the “Old Ball Coach” and his Gamecocks in Columbia,SC. Two other story lines are the undefeated teams that still remain. I mean having 10 undeleted teams is no biggie but the way that these teams are all of opposite styles, conferences and even caliber is just amazing. Take a look at lets say Ohio State and Oregon the AP’s top 2 teams (As of 10/13/10). You’ve got new school Oregon versus the old school Ohio State. Power I vs Spread, West Coast vs Midwest, 2 Jerseys vs 73 combinations. The list goes on and on ; But when all is said and done both teams play tough conference opponents (Unlike Boise State and TCU) who play teams like Hawaii of SMU for a conference title. Aside from the 4 that I have mentioned there are 8 other teams (Oklahoma,Nebraska,LSU,Michigan State,Missouri,Nevada,Utah and Auburn). unfortunately for Nevada and Utah who like Boise State and TCU don’t belong to a power conference a shot at a national title or a BCS Bowl at all is a true long shot.

If you look at it by conference the Big 12 which is in its final year with two of the undefeated Nebraska and Missouri have 4 of the 12 unbeatens in their own conference. Next is smaller mid majors who combined make up another 3rd of the grand total. Then you get to the Big 10 and SEC who each have 2 teams without a loss including the number 1 Buckeyes. Lastly the PAC 10 has one representative the Oregon Ducks who I think should be numero uno among the leaderboard. Here is the official MB Sports Haven Rankings for the BCS National Championship going into week 7.

  1. Oregon Ducks: Explosive on both sides of the ball and alotta fun to watch
  2. Ohio State Buckeyes: On the verge of being number 1 but look beatable
  3. Nebraska Cornhuskers: have young freshman sensation Taylor Martinez calling the shots and beating defenses with both his legs and his arm
  4. Boise State Broncos: Great team that plays bad teams it’s that simple I just don’t see them getting to number 1 without the help of one of the other big dogs
  5. Oklahoma Sooners: Landry and stoops lead a sooner team that will be contesting with Nebraska for the league title
  6. TCU Horned Frogs: Similar to Boise State but I think they will rise a little bit especially when they play in Salt Lake City against rival Utah
  7. LSU Tigers: Undeafeted in the SEC enough said
  8. Alabama Crimson Tide: Had set back against the gamecocks but still very much in the hunt are the tide.
  9. Michigan State: Sparty’s looking strong after 6 weeks and a monster win over Michigan
  10. Auburn Tigers: Another undefeated in the SEC and look good for matchups against Arkansas , LSU and the iron bowl vs the Tide                         

National Championship Picture

Well with every week the image of the BCS championship gets clearer and clearer. As of right now in week 8 their are many teams that are playing in extremley crucial games. Who woulda thought that there would be 4 Big 12 schools in the top 10 of the BCS standings. Another big suprise rhis year has been the Penn State Nittany Lions. Coming into the season they were #22 now look at them if they win tonight in Columbus against the Ohio State Buckeyes they might play for a national championship. Remember that coach Mike Gundy who went on a rant in a press conference saying “I am a man I am 40” well Gundy this year has led is team of to a 7-0 start. I however think that after their trip today to Austin,TX the Cowboys will be 7-1. I don’t even want to get into Hokie talk right cause in the last 4 games . My National Championship game right now would have to be Texas vs PSU. I know what your all thinking “why doesn’t he have an SEC team in there.” Well I’m gonna quote Lee Corso and say “Not so fast my friends” I just don’t see Bama outlasting their tough schedule. I chose Texas because their only challenge is when they go to Texas Tech this week. I wrote PSU because I think that on Saturday they proved to the whole entire country that they were for real.Their next couple of games are basically push overs @ Iowa , then finish the year at home against Indiana then Michigan State. The reason that I am not picking USC is because of guess who The Oregon State Beavers!!! But that ain’t the only reason I mean sure they beat Ohio State but so did Penn St. The Trojans will play in the Rose Bowl probalby in a rematch with the Buckeyes. This week I also got to watch Texas Tech for the 1st time and boy oh boy was I impressed. Graham Harrell the kids a monster 5 TD’s I mean it’s just a freak of nature and even better Michael Crabtree he should be in the NFL in has the potential to be a top-5 pick!!! At the bottom of this post I want all you guys to submit your BCS National Championship game.