Friday, September 30, 2005

Friday Quarterback

Okay so last week was awful on just about every count. Seems I picked the spread correctly in only 6 0f 20 top 25 games, but here on my ACC watch I went an awe-inspiring 3-3, making the overall mark a respectable 11-5. Now it's time to take things nice and slow, get back to winning weeks:

Navy at Duke:
Alrighty so here's the deal. Duke is not very good. Navy is even worse. Duke should get win number two, but I am tempted to call it close seeing as Navy has given teams like Maryland trouble this year. Let's just hope my ACC pride doesn't blind me here.
PREDICTION: Navy 17 Duke 27

Utah at UNC
Now I just can't get a handle on UNC. I try and I try, but I don't even think they know how good they are. UNC pulled off a big win at NC State, played close with GT and lost to Wisconsin that just beat Michigan. Utah is coming off an undefeated season but they lost their star QB and their coach. I don't want to be made a fool again, but UNC plays well in the ACC...not elsewhere.

Ball State at #21 Boston College
Ok this just in, Boston College is good. Ball State will not just lose, they will lose pretty badly. Let's just hope the Eagles get overconfident when the Cavaliers come to down (By the way, do they ever play road games???)

Clemson at Wake Forest
Oh my, remember when the Demon Deacons were scaring people two years ago. Now all the progress Jim Grobe made seems to be going downhill. I personally like and respect WF, but Clemson is much better than most people want to admit and this one will be over before you can say, "Bring on the Bowden Bowl".
PREDICTION: Clemson 31 WF 7

South Florida at #9 Miami
On a scale from 1-10 on the interesting-o-meter, last week this game was a -2. Now with South Florida's incredible upset over's a 3. Miami will not lose this game, but at least we can see if these guys are for real. I mean, no one said you had to be good to win the "new" Big East. Let's just grab some popcorn and enjoy the beatdown.
PREDICTION: SF 10 Miami 41

Syracuse at #6 FSU
Another game of some interest. Last year Syracuse almost pulled off the huge upset in the Carrier Dome, giving Virgina fans hope that was soon dashed in Tallahassee. The problem is this game is back to Seminole country now. The Orange are not as good, and FSU is...marginally better. Therefore...

#18 Virginia at Maryland
Okay, so I think by now you understand. This game really means something to these teams. For Virginia it is a must win to keep ACC championship chances alive. For Maryland, it is a must win to stop all the negative energy feeding into the program. I see this game being uncomfortably close. I would not be shocked (but pretty saddened) for Terps to win in an ugly rivalry game but...this year I've got higher hopes.
PREDICTION: UVA 27 Maryland 24

#3 Virginia Tech at West Virginia
Rivalry games are always nice to watch. Two years ago, the Mountaineers ruined the Hokies season with a 28-7 drubbing. The Hokies are better now and the Mountaineers are much worse. I would love to pick an upset but WVU barely beat East Carolina. VT is too loaded right now, but that doesn't mean I don't want to be proven wrong.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Is the Fridge facing the heat?

Before Virginia Tech stole the party last year, only one team had won the ACC championship outright in football, and not been named Florida State. In 2001-2002, the Maryland Terrapins went 10-2. Their only losses to FSU and Miami in the Orange Bowl. Ralph Friedgen was considered a genius, he won the NCAA Coach of the Year. The times however, they are a changin.

Last year, without star QB Scott McBrien, coach Friedgen had some major trouble finding an offense. Despite a huge 20-17 victory over FSU last year, Maryland struggled and finished with a 5-6 record. This year has started out with a similar tone, 2-2. Coach Friedgen was not brought in to be mediocre, he was supposed to take the Terps to the levels they achieved just 4 years ago.

So now with #18 Virginia coming into town in this year's homecoming game. The question is, can the Fridge get the Terrapins back in gear?

"If we can get a win this week, I think it will give our guys the confidence to go on for the rest of the season. " Friedgen said.

He realizes that Virginia is a dangerous team.

"It's a very big game coming up. We're playing a fine team in Virginia, they're undefeated. It's important for us to get some momentum going into the last half of the season...It will be a very tough game for us, but it's our Homecoming and it should be an exciting game."

To get some excitement, Maryland must find a way to ignite a stagnant offense. That means big contributions from junior QB Sam Hollenbach. Last week against Wake Forest he went 12-22 for 169 yards and one interception. Ball control will be critical for both teams, as Virginia QB Marques Hagans has had some shaky outings as well.

Maryland's bread and butter remains their tough and aggressive defense. Virginia must find a way to put points on the board, which means patient passing. Maryland has only allowed 494 yards of passing in 4 games, that means Virginia will have to look to the trenches if they want a victory.

Last year was a debacle for Maryland, getting shut out 16-0 in Charlottesville. The Virginia defense created two interceptions and RB Wali Lundy scored both touchdowns in a rather ugly game that time around, and he hopes to get back in form this week after a poor return effort against Duke.

This year however, the rivalry goes back to College Park, a place where Virginia head coach Al Groh has never won. Fans still have alot of respect for The Fridge, but it certainly seems that this game might mean more than just any ACC game. It is homecoming and fans need to a rivalry win. After losing to WV for the second straight year, and an absolute implosion against the Hokies last year, Maryland football has had little to hold it's hat on. Time will tell what this game will do for both of these teams's respective seasons but one thing is for certain: Glory fades, but hope never dies.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Road Warriors

It's a term Al Groh used after defeating Syracuse 24-21. He wants his team to be "road warriors". The Cavaliers will prove if they are in fact road warriors the next two weeks, in two ACC games that may make or break the 2005 UVA football season.

First up is Maryland. College Park to be exact. Now Maryland is 2-2, and there two wins only against the likes of Navy and Wake Forest. By all honest accounts, the Terps are in a low. The problem is Al Groh is so far 0-2 in Byrd Stadium. Virginia has not won there since 1999 and got beat up last time by a score of 27-17. Virginia may come in with the slight talent advantage, but one wonders if they have the mental edge when on the road.

When asked about his teams propensity to play better at home than on the road, Coach Groh replied. "I think part of it has to do with maturity. I don't think it should be that way... If you do a good job preparing for the issues that are at hand and you play better, then you win, home or away."

Virginia had better plan on an offense. The Maryland defense has been tenacious all year long. If OL D'Brickashaw Ferguson cannot make the start, Virginia will need masterful performances from senior RB Wali Lundy and senior QB Marques Hagans. Lundy had 10 carries for only 20 yards against Duke and had to be lifted up by junior Michael Johnson and freshman Cedric Peerman. Virginia will need all three of these men to be big contributors.

As if Maryland wasn't bad enough, a tough rival with a propensity for ruining Cavalier hopes. Then UVA stays on the road to take on Boston College. The Eagles, newest members of the ACC, have impressed so far. They are 3-1, their one loss being to the Seminoles of FSU. Virginia knows this game will go along way if they are to have any hopes of an ACC Divisional crown.

Why are these two games so important you ask? Well, one simple answer. If UVA wins these two matchups, they will be 5-0 when they take on FSU. Now this was the case last year before the Cavaliers were ambushed in Tallahassee. This year, the party is in Charlottesville, celebrating the 10th anniversary of UVA's dramatic 33-28 victory over the 'Noles, the first ACC team to ever do it. Virginia went on to win only their second ever ACC championship in football. If ever UVA had a chance to do it again, it would help to be 5-0.

No one knows yet how these two roads games will finish out, but one thing is for certain. You can't win an ACC championship in October, but you sure can lose it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Virginia is for Football

I've decided it's time to change the official state slogan:
Virginia is only for lovers of football.

Look no further than the Old Dominion if you want some high quality gridiron action. On one hand, you have the good old Cavaliers, 3-0 for the second straight year. Ranked nationally in the top 20, featuring a former NFL coach Al Groh. The Cavaliers had 7 players drafted in the NFL last year. They feature a "Sea of Orange" and over 60,000 people per game, be it Akron or Miami.

Alright, for some odd reason maybe UVA is not your cup of tea. Well then we got your Hokies. Ranked number 3 in the nation, home of the brothers Vick, Beamer Ball and an ACC championship. The Hokies and Hoos might not get along but together they bolster some nice accomplishments. The Cavaliers were ranked number 1 in the nation 14 years ago, while the Hokies have never been at the top spot they did reach the national championship game, losing to Florida State in the Sugar Bowl.

Ok so enough runner ups, you want a winner? How about JMU. The James Madison University Dukes won the Division II football championship last year, taking down the perrenial favorite Montana. This year they have the talent and the drive to repeat.

What about William and Mary? Their playoff run last year showed that the Tribe have alot more to offer than candle stick making classes.

Then of course there's VCU football....still undefeated. Why? Because they don't have a team (It may be one of few schools in VA. that could be considered a basketball school...but then again, you see why)

Now that's not to say other sports don't matter, but for the big schools, it is the grand prize. UVA and VT both want to make their mark on the football field this year. VT has started out solidly, and if UVA can hold it in Virginia might just mean national implications.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Non-linear powerpoint

So you ask, what is a non-linear powerpoint?

A powerpoint that is nonlinear means that you have some freedom to move about the presentation. Instead of going 1-2-3-4-5 it can go 1-5-3-2-4. Someone likened it to a "Choose Your Own Adventure" story and since I used to love those I happen to agree. It means that you could see this powerpoint 2 or 3 times and it play out differently each time. This helps the teacher out for there is sense of unpredictablity and at the same time, a structure. Maybe the best term to describe this is called: controlled chaos. It is fun for the students too, because they have a choice in the outcome of the powerpoint. This leads to greater interest and probably better learning because of it. That may be a simple, watered down definition but it is still fairly accurate.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

History site

For this assignment, I checked out the HSI website or

It looks like a very promising website. The cases are certainly interesting, the problem was the ones that really interested me had BROKEN LINKS (My dreams were shattered). Those that I did get to explore were fun, and for a history dork like me kind of exciting. I could enjoy them both as a student and a teacher. Exploring primary and secondary documents are important tools that students will need, especially on AP tests, but for their own critical thinking skills as well. These archives are interesting but still need much work. When they get more cases that fill in the gaps of time (from the Civil War to Elvis), and fix their links, this website will prove to be a useful tool for the classroom.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Virginia Gets its Groove Back 38-7

Two years ago, Virginia started their season against Duke and won 28-0. It was a complete man-handling of the undersized Blue Devils, their was only one minor problem: Matt Schaub was hurt in the first series and did not return for a month. His absence cost the Wahoos a game against South Carolina. Last Saturday Virginia had an impressive outing against Duke yet again, this time winning 38-7. Their was one minor problem: The All-American offensive tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson watched most of the game in street clothes. A knee sprain had the fans worried, and some of the players too. This injury though might be different. It could just have been the wake up call Virginia needed.

The first half offensively for Virginia was unimpressive. Lundy's return was mired by the fact that he had nowhere to go most of the time. Hagans looked shaky to start out and it was on a botched play where Hagans went for broke that Ferguson went down. The first half ended with Virginia owning a 10-0 lead, but Duke had seem to have taken alot of the wind out of the sails of the Virginia ball club. The second half turned around the momentum and maybe the season for the Virginia Cavaliers.

Virginia scored 21 points in the third quarter, more than double their output in the first half. The defense stepped up with two key interceptions, putting Marques Hagans & company in great field position. Hagans would end the day with an impressive stat line:12-20, 169 yards and 4 TDs but perhaps the biggest stat was 0 turnovers. After 3 interceptions against Syracuse many began to worry about the versatile QB, this performance shows that when he is on he can play against any defense in the nation. His 46-yard bomb to TE Tom Santi helped energize the team and the crowd and start push towards a solid 38-7 victory.

Now obviously, Cavalier fans shouldn't be going crazy yet. This is still Duke, the regular in the ACC cellar. Their secondary is pretty awful, so Hagans should have been able to have a solid game. Let's also not forget about Ferguson, nevertheless there are certain positives.

One, Virginia caused 4 turnovers. A welcome change to usually giving them up.

Two, Virginia was tough. Alright so Duke is used to being man-handled, we needed to do it to someone. It took three games, but we finally have.

Three, with injuries the team responded. With one of our best players out Virginia didn't get worse, they got better. This mental toughness is huge and will be needed when the Cavaliers roll into College Park this Saturday.

P.S. If Ahmad Brooks, Brian Barthalames and D'Brickashaw Fergsuon all came too, that'd be a plus.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Friday Quarterback

Last Week: 8-2
After a rather solid start, here I go with more predictions.

Maryland at Wake Forest
An interesting situation, two underachieving ball clubs. Maryland coming off a second consecutive loss to West Virginia and the Deamon Deacons picking up their first win of the season. While the Terps may still be shaky at quarterback, they have the skills to put enough points up against an even more inept Wake Forest offense.

Colorado at #12 Miami
The Buffalos were a surprise team in the Big XII last year, but they cannot be looking forward to this. The 'Canes are riding high after a big win at Clemson, complacency might hit them early but talent will win out and Miami will stay in the ACC race.
PREDICTION: Colorado 17 Miami 35

North Carolina at NC State
These two teams are both hard to get a read on. Has the Wolfpack offense picked up enough muster to make it in the ACC? Have the Tar Heels really turned their program around? Both teams are 1-1 and both looking for some respect. I still can't go against the Wolfpack, who came a few plays from taking down the Hokies yet again. Maybe next year Tar Heels.

Duke at Virginia
Virginia plays its first ACC game of the season, and they couldn't have picked a better situation (Duke at home). Last time these two teams met in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers won 28-0 WITHOUT senior QB Matt Schaub. Duke has certainly improved since then and the Cavs have looked far from immaculate like they did last year. Nevertheless, the home field and the superior talent will give Virginia their ACC victory, and hopefully just a hint of momentum to boot.

Boston College at Clemson
Imagine how big this game would have been if these teams had pulled off their respective upsets. Nevertheless, this is still a big matchup. The Eagles are one solid team, and I would not be surprised if they won. However, playing at Death Valley is a monumental task for any team, especially one not used to it. Therefore, Whitehurst and crew look to keep their cardiac fans happy.

#15 Georgia Tech at #4 Virginia Tech
A monumentally important game in terms of the ACC race. Georgia Tech has proven it is the real deal, there problem is they play Miami, VT and UVA all on the ROAD. This game is all about Reggie Ball, if he is healthy this could be an amazing game. If viral meningitis makes him anything less than 100% they will lose. In the end though...I'll be optimistic :-).

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Is It Really Just a Basketball School?

Last year I was watching a Duke home football game on JP Sports.

Wallace Wade Stadium shocked me. No, not the empty seats. No, not the fact that there were more N.C. State fans than Duke fans. The banners that surround the playing field. 1989 ACC champions....wait a second...did Cameron Indoor run out of room for their banners? I admit I was ignorant, but I quickly learned that Duke wasn't just good at football, they used to be great.

Before Steve Spurrier toted his visor down to Gainsville and the Florida Gators, he was a Blue Devil. No one back then would have seen the dark days on the horizon for the Duke gridiron. The problem is, things have changed and so have attitudes. No one shows up to Duke football games, not the away team (why watch a blowout?) and not the home team (When does basketball season start again?)

This provides a big problem for third year coach Ted Roof. How can he instill a successful program when most people think it's impossible? Roof did the unthinkable his first year, he won 5 games. Last year, Duke beat Clemson in a home shocker 16-13. The problem was 5 wins had shrunk down to 2 (The other a 28-10 over the Citadel). Now after three games this year, Duke is 1-2, their lone win against Division-II school VMI. Going into Charlottesville against the 19th ranked team in the nation certainly is not Duke's idea of a great time, but they refuse to be intimidated.

“We know Virginia is going to be tough and they’re going to be physical and we have to match that", OL Jim Morvacik said. "We know what Virginia brings to the table. Last year, we moved the ball pretty well against them and I don’t see why can’t do that against them this year.”

Run the ball they did, the last time these two teams met, Virginia had just been ripped to shreds in Tallahasse by the Seminoles (aka the game that shall not be mentioned). It certainly looked like UVA was still in a daze to start this contest. The Blue Devils amassed 311 yards of total offense in that game, including 109 by (now senior) running back Cedric Dargan. Virginia however, was able to dominate the line offensively, picking up 511 yards of offense and sealing the game up late for the 37-16 victory.

Duke's success this time around will come down to their quarterback situation. Duke has been alternating between two QB's, Mike Schneider and Curt Dukes (p.s. how cool is it his name fits his school). Schneider has been used extensively, but has been pulled out often when the score has gotten well out of hand. Dukes however, has recently been injured and so according to most officials, its Schneider or bust.

"Mike [Schneider]’s our quarterback and it’s his ball" Roof said.

Now Duke will come in hoping to ride the momentum of their first win of the season, Virginia's mindset is quite different. Now two close but sloppy victories have led them to their ACC opener. Many fans have grown restless, and now with the memories of VT stomping Duke on the road 45-0, there is pressure to live up to the lofty goal mark set by the 4th ranked Hokies. Virginia has been unable to take out its last two opponents early, on homecoming, it is time to do just that.

As for Duke, Time will tell whether the Devils have what it takes to reach the heights of the Spurrier age. The talent is slowly piling in, the experience will be the next crucial step. Perhaps equally important though, it seems that first the attitude in Durham must change before any significant improvement takes place. Fans have to believe in their program, one that does seem to be improving.

Otherwise, it'll continue to look like U-Hall.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Not So Fast My Friend!

So, as many of you might guess. I read about sports as much as I write about them. In Monday's Cav Daily, Walker Freer had some strong words for the football program after a last second victory over a team that didn't beat Temple last year. Today Chad Gallagher decided to beat a dead horse with HIS column located here.

If you want me to save you some reading, he basically likens Al Groh's recent disappointment to the abrupt turnaround in Pete Gillen's tenure as UVA basketball coach. I wonder if Mr. Gallagher has been drinking that Boston Red Sox kool aid. Now I understand for every single one of us it is hard to truly grasp our last basketball coach because it is important to note not ONE student currently here was here during those glory days of which he speaks. However, as a UVA fan who has that Duke game on tape and watched almost every Gillen game, I feel the need to dispel these atrocious allegations thrown upon Al.

My first point is not a very nice one but it is true. Pete was never loved. Yes, he was very much respected. He makes cute jokes. He never truly seemed to fit in Mr. Jefferson's University with his thick New England accent (John Adams ring a bell?). That doesn't mean he was a bad person, but Al Groh is an alum, he played on the very team he is coaching as a linebacker. In other words, Al had roots here and Pete did not, this made his firing much easier.

Two, players have developed under Groh, not Gillen. Pete Gillen had ONE (you heard me one) player go to the NBA. Al Groh had 7 go to the NFL in just one year. The MOST in UVA history. Elton Brown came in to UVA a....decent offensive lineman and left an All-American. The other Elton Brown came in as an overweight under-sized center who could not shoot free throws, and catch my drift.

Do not tell me Groh has not won a game of significance. The fact is you cannot compare this because there is no football playoff system. Granted the Continental Tire Bowl should never be our goal, but we did win. Pete Gillen could barely win in the NIT. An important difference....Groh's teams have stumbled early and improved late. Gillen's teams started quick out the gates and then fell flat on their face. Which is more frustrating?

Four, basketball has had a rich legacy. I grant you UVA has been with the exception of a few years here and there a football school, but that is just not fair. We have won only 2 ACC championships in football and one Orange Bowl appearance. George Welsh's memory is not that we won national titles with him as our football coach (cause we didn't), it's that he had 20 years of winning seasons (since when was 8-4 a losing season Chad?). Basketball features an NIT championship, two Final Fours and the greatest center in ACC history. Pete Gillen was brought in because Jeff Jones could not win in the NCAA tournament. His job was to win the big game and he couldn't. Al Groh was brought in because Welsh retired, and the program was slipping. His job was to remake the entire program. One man has already completed his task, one never did in almost twice the amount of time.

People want to come to Virginia in football, in basketball they can't wait to get out. Even being a member of the greatest conference in basketball history, a chance to take on Duke, UNC and Georgia Tech every year, players shy away from Virginia in basketball. We lose recruits to Virginia Tech (enough said). In football, we have extremely high academic credentials. We make no bones that this is an education first facility, and players still come. They take an extra year at Hargrave because they WANT to be here and NOT Virginia Tech. Groh is the greatest recruiter in UVA football history and has been in the top 25 recruiting classes EVERY year he has been here, Gillen saw 9 recruits leave in 7 years (and we're not talking 60 man rosters like football).

The fact is the Cavaliers are 2-0. You and I may not like how it's happened. We have every right to fear the ACC matchups in October and November. Nevertheless, Al Groh's squad is everything Pete Gillen's players were not: Tough, resilient and a huge focus on overpowering (not outscoring the other offense). When these things change, come talk to me. Until then, I strongly suggest you come OFF the window ledge, wear orange and cheer because your Cavalier football team is undefeated.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Running to Glory

Anyone who has watched even parts of Virginia football under Coach Al Groh know one thing....he likes to run...alot.

The running game last year was explosive early on. Wali Lundy with his quick moves and finesse, Alvin Pearman with his hard-nosed, gritty running style that was crucial on many of Virginia's first downs. The thing is....something happened. Well two things happened. Alvin Pearman graduated and Wali Lundy went down. So now the Virginia running game has a bit of a makeover.

In door number one is Cedric Peerman, the redshirt freshman running back who looks almost like a clone to his similarly-named, recently-graduated counterpart. While the talent is there, experience is certainly not. Peerman may be solid now, but can he keep it up for a whole year?

In door two is the fullback Jason Snelling. This guy is tough, and certainly can catch flat passes as well. The pro is he runs like Jerome Bettis. The con is he runs like Jerome Bettis. He will never outrun a defender, he may pummel them to the ground but that's not really a running back's job. So the question is, how much can Snelling be incorporated into this offense?

I saved Michael Johnson and door number three for last because it is the most perplexing. On one hand you have a natural runner. The redshirt junior showed flashes of brilliance his freshman year, he even showed it last Saturday with a 71-yard scamper to the endzone. When he gets past a defender is gone in record time. The problem is toughness. Not to imply Johnson is "soft" because he certainly is not, but he has almost no chance at breaking tackles. Johnson cannot work out those hard 2 or 3 yards, he is simply not built that way. When it's 3rd and 3 Johnson literally is door number three to Al Groh and his squad. He make big plays, but can he act big and push some defenders to the turf?

With Johnson it is feast or famine, as the first two games of this season demonstrated. Two turnovers against Western Michigan certainly cost him some playing time. Big punt returns and runs against Syracuse put him back in the driver's seat.

With Lundy gone it seems obvious that all three of these men will be used in one form or another. Virginia's success, however, depends heavily on Johnson. When he gets his motor running, the defense (and I mean any defense) will be scrambling. The problem will be how to get it through the garage.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Powerpoint ideas

For my non-linear powerpoint presentation I'd like to deal with my field in secondary Social Studies. Specifically I will focus on post 1877 U.S. history. One SOL i found interesting is a) describing racial segregation, the rise of “Jim Crow,” and other constraints faced by African Americans in the post-Reconstruction South. My instruction will probably be a gameshow after the fact review type of presentation. Also, with these three prongs already given, it could be easy to make categories for this review. It is obviously an important topic, one that has reprecussions even today. Maybe even more important is that this topic goes beyond simple facts to actual concepts and abstract thought. With this type of subject matter, powerpoints usefulness is expanded beyond the simple: fact, fact, picture model. My model can hopefully serve for other types of history SOLs as well. If you feel me, holla back.



Al Groh probably didn't picture such a dramatic start to his season, but he did probably envision the result 2-0.

The Cavaliers kept their season afloat with a 27-24 victory on the road against Syracuse Saturday. The drama was capped by a game-winning 19-yard field gold by senior place kicker Connor Hughes. It may not have been the 53-yard kick against Wake Forest that will forever be in UVA lore, but it did seal a victory on one topsy-turvy game.

Virginia came out of the boxes ice cold. Their first drive went nowhere, and when the Orange took the field, they were able to pick apart the defense and Perry Patterson walked in from 8 yards out to get the touchdown and a 7-0 lead. Fortunately Syracuse would never lead again. The Cavaliers marched down on the next drive to tie it up when freshman Cedric Peerman barreled in from a yard out. After a fortunate incomplete pass by Patterson the game really shifted in Virginia's favor. Their defense was rock solid, allowing running back Damien Rhodes nowhere to go and keeping Patterson on the turf.

The problem for Virginia was they could not seem to take advantage of the stellar defensive effort. Hagans had three interceptions on the day and that kept at least 10 points off the board for Virginia. Nevertheless, his effort was still amazing. He may have made it a close game, but without him the Cavaliers would have surely lost the game. Hagans showed off his arm in a good way by hitting a short pass to Peerman giving Virginia the 14-7 advantage going into the half.

A field goal by Hughes made it 17-7 but Syracuse responded. Going to a tight end passing game the Orange made it 17-14, only to be pushed back again with an amazing 71 yard run by junior running back Michael Johnson.

Syracuse made one final stand, tying it up at 24-24 with a little over 6 minutes to go in the game. Virginia had to deal with probably the loudest Carrier Dome crowd since McNabb wore the orange and blue. Hagans diffused the crowd with an awe-inspiring run on third down, putting the Hoos in Orange territory. With the clock ticking Virginia was able to overpower the Syracuse defense down the field. With less than two minutes to go, Virginia gambled on a 4th and 1, only to make it and set up the 19 yard field goal for the win. Hughes was up to the task, making it and securing the second win of the season.

It may not have been a blowout, it was certainly not mistake free but it was not the ugly mess of two weeks ago. Virginia looks to be ever so slowly returning to form. Duke comes to Charlottesville this weekend....most Cavaliers fans expect the only team trying to escape will be Duke with their dignity intact.

Friday, September 16, 2005


Alright, enough facts and figures, it is time to get down to business. You want answers, and I am willing to give them. So let me put on my prognosticator hat and deal out the future.
Ohio at #4 Virginia Tech
I thought I might as well start off easy. Lane Stadium might not be ready, but neither will the Wildcats of Ohio University. Their overtime victory of Pittsburgh was impressive, but even sniffing the endzone would be a miracle against a Hokie squad loaded at all positions. Hokies roll. PREDICTION: Ohio 3 VT 48

West Virginia at Maryland
This is tougher, last year Maryland lost 19-16 in OT after shooting itself in the foot repeatedly with turnovers and missed opportunities. Though I would not be surprised for Friedgen's boys to have a similar sloppy game, the home-field advantage is enough to let me pick them in a very close game.

Eastern Kentucky at NC State
Phew, again the football powers-that-be give me an easy one. NC State proved against Virginia Tech that it has serious tenacity. Eastern Kentucky will not be able to keep up and the Wolfpack pick up win number one.
PREDICTION: Eastern Kentucky 7 NC State 28

East Carolina at Wake Forest
Wake Forest has not had a good start this year. Okay, they've had an awful start. Two big losses, but now a team that barely held off Duke. Wake Forest will get win number one, mainly because my ACC pride dictates that it must happen. Don't expect a killing though.

VMI at Duke
Oh Wallace Wade Stadium, remember when you used to matter? Remember when Steve Spurrier won ACC championships at Duke, and Coach K was some punk kid losing to NC State all the time? These teams are both pretty bad. Duke has talent but is very inexperienced. VMI has neither talent nor experience. So one is better than none I guess.
VMI 12 Duke 27

Connecticut at #16 Georgia Tech
The Yellow Jackets look good, and I mean really good. UConn might have a decent year in the Big East but they will look far from decent on Saturday. GT keeps on winning, and watch out Coastal Division.

UNC at Wisconsin
Oops, I originially forgot to include this one but no cheating involved. UNC is a good, solid team but I'm not ready to jump on any bandwagon. The Wisconsin offense is too much for me not to pick the Badgers but UNC should keep it within reason.
UNC 17 Wisconsin 35

#25 Virginia at Syracuse
I hate predicting for the Cavaliers. It is never fun, and I can never be completely unbiased. The fact is the Hoos are and should be favored. If Brooks plays, they should have a fairly easy go of it, but I am expecting a pretty big fight from the Orange. The Broncos proved UVA has some problems. Nevertheless, it'll take a few more weeks before it blows up in our faces.
PREDICTION: UVA 28 Syracuse 20

#13 Miami at #20 Clemson
Miami has a new quarterback, they just lost to Florida State and everyone expects them to finish second in the ACC Coastal Division. If they lose this game, they might even come in third. The fact won't happen. Miami's 24-17 loss last year at home against Clemson was a slap in the face, and after crushing losses, like the Florida State game, the best teams respond. Miami will respond and Clemson's famous close calls will not be enough.
PREDICTION: Miami 31 Clemson 27

#8 Florida State at #17 Boston College
Welcome to the ACC Eagles. All the hype can disappear in an instant if the Eagles lose this game against the Seminoles. Florida State may be weaker than in years past...but they're still Florida State. Boston College hasn't had real national glory since Flutie's hailmary in 1984. I can't give you any solid reason why I am picking the way I am, it's just a gut instinct. These usually prove to be the worst decisions (but every now and then, you get lucky).

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Boston College Swoops Down On ACC

This weekend can go a long way in deciding the favorites in the ACC.

While Virginia tackles the Syracuse Orange, two big divisional match ups are on tap. The first between the Miami Hurricanes and the Clemson Tigers. Last year the Tigers pulled off the huge upset in Miami, now with wins over Texas A & M and Maryland under their belt, they host the 0-1 'Canes in Death Valley. Obviously Miami will be seeking revenge and redemption after an opening season loss, but even with all the drama there is an even bigger ACC contest.

Florida State football is about as synonymous with ACC champions as Thomas Jefferson is with UVA. Since joining the ACC in 1993, FSU has not won a championship only twice, in 2000 to Maryland and last year to the newcomer Hokies. This year, FSU may have beaten their arch nemesis Miami but their road to the inaugural ACC championship game in Jacksonville is far from paved in gold. Their first contender from the throne hosts the Seminoles Saturday. The 17th ranked Boston College Eagles look to make a splash similar in their inaugural ACC season as their Big East counterparts did last year. The Eagles are 2-0 after two impressive blowouts by a combined score of 64-10. Many pundits see Boston College as a legitimate threat for the Atlantic Division. They have their chance to prove it their first ever ACC match-up against the 8th ranked Seminoles Saturday, in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

The Eagles are led by senior quarterback Quinton Porter who has been an awe-inspiring 42 of 55 for 438 yards and 4 TD's. The fact is though that was BYU and Army, this is Florida State. The same school that shut down a top 15 team two weeks ago and have allowed a combined 17 points in two games. The FSU defense will be the story of this game. With a touted FSU defense but a mediocre offense, if BC can muster enough points, they might be able to pull off the upset...the problem is the 'Noles don't give up points easily.

As a Virginia fan, I must admit that I very much would like to see the Eagles win. Not only because I am tired of the FSU dominance in the ACC but because BC head coach Tom O'Brien was a long time assistant with the Cavaliers. It won't be easy to do, especially with a less than stellar running game and an inexperienced quarterback. Nevertheless, their seems to be a tide of hope around the Eagle organization and throughout the nation that BC is the real deal.

Besides, if the Hokies can do it, why can't they?

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Syracuse Seek Respect

New staff hope to bring school back to football glory.

Before Donovan McNabb was throwing long bombs to T.O. in the End Zone, he donned the orange and blue of Syracuse. He won Big East Conference player of the year three times, and the impressive title of Big East player of the DECADE. His senior year Syracuse would go to the Orange Bowl and face the Florida Gators. Syracuse was the "Beast of the Big East" they're not.

The Syracuse Orange finished the 2004 campaign with a 6-6 record including a 51-14 loss to Georgia Tech in the Citrus Bowl. Despite the bowl game appearance, in a conference stripped of perennial powerhouses Miami and Virginia Tech, Syracuse should have been one of the favorites to win. Now they come into this weekend, looking to regain national attention as the 20th ranked Cavaliers come into town. The Orange will try to avenge last year's 31-10 loss in Charlottesville. New coach Greg Robinson realizes just how hard that accomplishment will be.

"I think Virginia is strong in all areas", Robinson said. "They have an outstanding defense and offensively, I think their quarterback is one of the great competitors in the country.”

At least Robinson now has a win under his belt after defeating Buffalo 31-0. His 1-1 Orange know the implications of beating a nationally ranked team. He also knows that for Syracuse it will mean facing the difficult task of shutting down versatile Marques Hagans.

You’ve seen him maneuver and run around from what he did last year." Robinson said. "He does it all the time. He threatens you in a lot of ways, and he also threatens you in the way he competes. That’s the thing that we have to emphasize to our team is that don’t think at any moment that this guy is done."

Syracuse's own quarterback, junior Perry Patterson, had a tough go in the opening season 15-7 loss to West Virginia. His two interceptions, three sacks and a meager 85 passing yards shows just how far Patterson has to go.

Look for Syracuse to run the ball early and often Saturday. Senior running back Damien Rhodes has proven to be the workhouse on the Orange offense for a couple of years now. Last time these two teams met, Rhodes carried the ball ten times for 34 yards and scored the Orange's only touchdown. Now with Walter Reyes graduated, Rhodes looks to be the primary back and the man Virginia must scheme against.

Perhaps Syracuse's biggest hurdle could potentially be on the sidelines. All-American junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks sat out the opening game of the season against the Broncos of Western Michigan. His presence on the field could make or break Syracuse's running game.

"When he hits you, it’s a load...(He is) that type of a guy who can create havoc because of his explosiveness and his massiveness.” Robinson said.

Virginia just hopes he's that type of guy who can play on Saturday.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Basketball Woes Continue For Cavaliers

Usually Virginia Basketball disappointments come in March, not September. However, news that junior swingman Gary Forbes will be leaving the team for good because of academic ineligibility is just that. Forbes is the ninth player to transfer from Virginia since 1998. Obviously the Pete Gillen regime has not ended quite yet, very much to the dismay of new coach Dave Leitao.

With Forbes gone, the pressure now places itself squarely upon sophomore forward Adrian Joseph to fill his shoes. Joseph showed some promise last year scoring 19 points in the Cavaliers ACC home opener against Wake Forest. However, injuries slowed down his progress and he ended his freshman year as a spectator on the bench. This year, if he can stay healthy, Joseph will be a big factor if the Cavaliers are to have any success.

The pressure also remains for junior J.R. Reynolds. His first two years have been solid and yet not at the level some experts might have predicted when he first signed with Virginia two years ago. His performance in the ACC tournament to the end the year though was one for the recordbooks. His career-high 32-point performance against Miami gave fans the hope they needed that Reynolds could become a key contributor for the Hoos this upcoming season.

Coach Dave Leitao now has his hands full, two starters gone (three if you count Jason Clark's starts early in the season before the academic bug bit him too) and their best bench player returning to his home. Not to mention, the Cavaliers play in the toughest basketball conference ever conceived by man. Perhaps his only solace is that expectations will not plague his program this year. Not even the biggest Wahoo fan could expect much from the boys of the hardwood this season. Hopefully, Leitao can use this extra scholarship spot and bring in some of his own talent and craft the Cavaliers into an actual ACC force instead of an ACC cellar dweller.

At least, maybe we can look forward to the day where people will be begging to come to Virginia basketball instead of fleeing to get out of it.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Injury Bug Looks to Pester UVA

No one said football glory would come easy. The Virginia Cavaliers football team rolls into Syracuse this weekend, hoping that two of its biggest names will be able to take the field against the 1-1 Orange. No one can ever truly prepare for an injury, and for the Cavaliers it seems to have been an unfortunate trend. Two years ago, starting quarterback Matt Schaub went down in the season opener against Duke. His absence though short lived, directly contributed to a loss to the Gamecocks of South Carolina the following week. Last year saw star defensive end Chris Canty taken out against this same Syracuse team for the season. His loss required a severe restructuring of Al Groh's 3-4 defense and was one of the reasons UVA was unable to capture that elusive ACC championship.

This year the injuries are two fold, and affect both sides of the ball. On offense, its the ankle of senior running back Wali Lundy. Lundy went out early in the Western Michigan game, his absence marked a severe turning point in the game where a rout turned into a game "too close for comfort". Also uncomfortable is the situation with junior linebacker Ahmad Brooks. Brooks is the heart and soul of the Virginia defense, and after off season surgery has been seldom seen or heard. If Brooks plays in the Syracuse game, it's not even certain whether he can still be the dynamic playmaker he was such a year ago.

The fact is Virginia cannot afford a season without these two stars. With the exception of Marques Hagans, they are the two most important ingredients to a recipe for success. With Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech on the horizon, Virginia will need all the help it can get. This weekend will tell us alot about the conditions these two stars are in, and perhaps the future of the Cavalier's season.

Let's just hope it's what we want to hear.


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