Monday, October 31, 2005

Parity...with an exception

The ACC has some good teams. Maryland led Florida State into the 4th quarter last Saturday before falling 35-27. UNC led Miami 16-7 at the half before the Hurricanes woke up. Clemson lost by a point to Georgia Tech. What does this all mean? The ACC is good. From top to bottom, there seems to be a great deal of parity and talent. While experienced teams like FSU and Miami can grind out wins, there huge talent advantage has slowly been falling away.

The thing is, there is this other ACC team. One that had a nailbiting conclusion to start the season and since has not just won but won big. A team that is undefeated. A team that is clicking on all cylinders and a team that needs help. This team is one the Cavalier faithful know all to well, but the boys in Blacksburg are not just good...they're scary good. The Virginia Tech Hokies are 3rd in the nation, stuck behind national heavyweights USC and Texas. Their mission is clear, win out and hope that these two teams in front stumble. While USC and Texas have both showed the potential to drop one, it's important to remember, VT's perfect season is not assured...yet.

This week is very important for the ACC, for Miami, for VT and for the nation. The Hurricanes after an explosive second half travel to Blacksburg to take on the Hokies who have seemed invincible at home. Miami were the beasts of the Big East, but their counterpart has had the best of them as of late. VT's win last year over the Canes, a win this week would essentially do the same, giving them a two game lead over the rest of the Coastal Division of the ACC. Miami's last game at Lane Stadium was a 28-7 beatdown. Pride must be a big part of this equation. The Canes have to be tired of losing to the Hokies. The Hokies know that many wonder how good they really are, having yet to play a team anywhere close to the talent and makeup of the Miami squad. They feel they must not just win, but win big and use that momentum to push past Texas.

Parity cannot be an issue for Virginia Tech, they have spent the first two months proving that they are MUCH better than their opponents. If they want any chance of a national championship appearance, they cannot let the next month plague them like it often has. Two years ago, VT ended the year 2-4. With Miami, UNC and UVA still in their way, an uninspired team could inspire a similar record.

This is not just the ACC on the line this weekend, but the BCS. With 5 undefeated teams left (USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Alabama, and UCLA), there could be yet another huge controversy in the making over who deserves to play for the national championship. Fortunately for the BCS lovers, USC and UCLA will play each other, but it is highly possible AND probable that three or maybe four teams will end the year undefeated. Will Virginia Tech be the team that brings the long awaited playoff system to college football?

Not if they can help it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Offensive Overhaul

Oh what a month, October was not good to the Cavaliers. They went 1-3. Certainly that one was one for the ages, but that three can never be good for a program. Still there are four games left, and three of them are at home. Virginia's bowl hopes are not dashed even if championship glory seems like an impossibility. Nevertheless, a strong finish will give the Wahoos something they didn't have after last season: Momentum. They can build on all the young players that are admittedly improving. The defense might just work itself out for the big games, the biggest question this bye week and this year is...what can we do about that offense???

26 points against FSU is impressive, but it wasn't the offense that did it for the Cavaliers, it was senior QB Marques Hagans. The big plays were the broken plays. Virginia only amassed twenty rushing yards the entire game, and with three running backs, that's not going to cut it. Virginia will start November with it's offensive line seemingly intact for the first time all year. That's right, you heard me, ALL year. These troubles at the line cost UVA last week's game and they can be a future headache if not taken care of right now. The wide receivers have still not found the ability to make a big play. Hagans was terribly off last week, but there were certainly catchable balls that the Virginia receivers could not hold on to. The pressure is on big players like Deyon Williams and Fontel Mines to find the consistency needed for a strong finish.

Perhaps I am early in saying this. I might just be a frustrated fan but I feel this offensive problem might not be solved by a bye week. I don't know if offensive coordinator Ron Prince can fix it. Fourth years remember Bill Musgrave, their offensive coordinator first year who really revitalized the Virginia offense. He took Schaub, a QB who couldn't beat out Bryson Spinner for a starting point and made him ACC Player of the Year and an NFL talent. Don't for a second think that this was a given. His first two years at UVA, Matt Schaub looked like a rented statue and probably wasn't going to make it all four years here. Musgrave changed him into a star and now Prince has been fighting in that shadow. Now the offense is not bad, but the fans were spoiled. Name one game where a fan didn't stand up and say now wait a second. I understand it's one thing when I or my roomies say something. We think we know something. It's when my friends I drag to a game and know very little about football can see what we're doing that we walk a dangerous line. The opponent is not dumb, and if a non-expert can decipher us so quickly, it does not bode well for us.

Now I honestly don't know who is to blame for the Cavaliers bad October. Prince's play calling, Groh's supervision, injuries, inconsistent offensive line, Hagan's injury, Deyon's drop-a-litis...maybe it's all these things. I do know this, the Cavaliers have lost the jump start FSU was supposed to get them. Which means they need an even bigger jolt and I don't know how that can happen unless heads roll. These games need to be taken seriously, no matter who we play. I admit last year was a bit of a disappointment because we didn't win the big game, but we didn't lose the bad one either. Friends that has never happened in UVA history, and maybe now we're beginning to see how special that was. Making the next step towards glory is the hardest of them all, and maybe some of this personnel won't be there when Virginia finally does.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Thursday QB

Alrighty, time for some more number crunching fun. P.S. Last week almost made up for that horrible loss UVA suffered...almost.
OVERALL: 29-12

Boston College at #3 Virginia Tech
If only, if only this game were at Chestnut Hill, MA. The last time BC played at Lane Stadium they got the win, but that seems like ages ago. The Hokies are on a mission and they have been focused on this game and the next one against Miami. BC has some fire power, but I just don't think it'll be enough.

Maryland at #10 FSU
Hmm...last time these two teams met, the Terps pulled off one of the greatest wins/upsets in their school's history. Encore? Of course not. We've seen from the Cavaliers how hard it is to play down in Seminole Country. Maryland is not ready for this game, and they will continue to make us look bad in the process.

Wake Forest at Duke
Well Wake Forest has got definite skill players. Duke has young talent. In other words, this could go either way. I'm tempted to pick Duke because they always pick up one upset a year, but I think WF is better now than they have been all season. Still, no blowouts here.

Southern Miss at NC State
I watched this Southern Miss team last Friday defeat UAB. They showed some mental toughness and they will need all of it against the Wolfpack. NC State is still struggling to find itself, but I think this week will help....minutely.

Clemson at Georgia Tech
Last time these two teams played, GT knocked Clemson off their preseason pedestal. Now both teams are in the middle of the ACC which has turned into a doghunt. GT has not played in the last two weeks and I feel that rust might be a factor early. Clemson will capitalize early, and get the vengeful W.

UNC at #6 Miami
Do I even need to remind you the last time THESE two teams met? I certainly don't need to remind Miami, they are at home this year and I do not see them making the same mistake again. UNC has a strong line but with Miami's speed it simply does not matter.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Brainstorm on Lesson Plan

I will probably do the same SOL I did my PowerPoint on, dealing with the Jim Crow South. This way I incorporate PowerPoint technology into what would originally be a bland presentation (Plus recycling is fun). In my dream world I will ty to incorporate everything we have discussed and then some. That means students can make their own websites and create multiple presentations about history.

As for this design, I think it is very useful but I will need to really investigate some models to fully graps the concept. Words like assessment, objectives are interesting words but they are too ambiguous for little old me. It'll be nice to have some concrete examples.

Feedback Exercise

It was nice to get some feedback on my project but I anticipated most of it. I was glad someone noticed one of my cool transition effects, and I realized that timing was an issue. It was a rather ROUGH cut but they helped me out. Offering their advice a little, but more importantly pointing out the good and pointing out the bad. That way I know what to keep and that helped make the refining process much easier. I hope my students will be able to handle such an exercise, I guess only time will tell.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Thursday Quarterback

I must really be getting into the groove (or teams like Miami continue to play teams like Temple and make my life easier). Nevertheless, let's keep the good times rolling with some big ACC match ups this time around.
OVERALL: 24-12

#3 Virginia Tech at Maryland
This is an interesting game. Certainly everyone remembers the absolute beatdown the Twerps received last year in Blacksburg. It was over in the first five minutes. If we've learned one thing it's Maryland can beat anyone when motivated and they will have that. Plus VT has yet to truly stun on the road. NC State came down to the last play and West Virginia kept it close. VT will have to make a statement here if they want to ever move pass Texas in the dormant Big XII.

Temple at Clemson
Clemson comes off one impressive victory on the road against NC State. Temple comes off well...another loss, a 34-3 drubbing by Miami. With games against Maryland and Virginia too, I have to ask when did Temple join the ACC? Clemson won't ask questions, they'll just take the victory and stay in the ACC chase.
PREDICTION: Temple 7 Clemson 31

#11 Florida State at Duke
Oh me, oh my. This game will not be for the faint of heart. It won't be for Duke fans either because the Noles are ANGRY. I think I can feel pretty confident that Wallace Wade Stadium will look like a disaster area more than a football field.

NC State at Wake Forest
Last time these two teams played at WF, NC State was nationally ranked and the Deacons pulled off a huge upset. Phillip Rivers is gone, and so has most of the luster of Wolfpack Coach Chuck Amato. I really never know what to think of WF, they are showing flashes of what they used to be. They just can't keep it together. I think they might just do it this week though.

Virginia at North Carolina
Well the Tar Heels may not have cared much about this game before, but they sure do now. Virginia is back on track after taking down the previously undefeated Noles. This is a huge game for them if they don't want to lose all the good press and sentiments. UNC has talent and they are tired of losing to Virginia. I'm also tired of getting EVERY UNC prediction wrong. Reverse psychology worked last time, let's do it doubly this time.

Georgia Tech at #5 Miami
Well, well, one corner you have the media's darling as the giant killer and in the other you have the only powerhouse standing in the Hokies way of ACC domination. This game will go along way in seeing if GT has recovered from their embarrassing loss to VT. It will also be Miami's first test since a 3 OT thriller against Clemson. Should be fun to watch but, one team will like it just a LITTLE more.
PREDICTION: GT 20 Miami 31

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


As the midterm approaches in colleges throughout the United States it's time to hand out some grades to people besides those poor overworked, under appreciated college kids. Fortunately for some schools like Virginia, they turned in their extra credit (beating FSU) just before grade time. So here we go and remember, number two pencils only!

USC: The defending national champions have had some scares. First Oregon, then Arizona State and Notre Dame just days ago came within seconds of beating the top ranked Trojans. Nevertheless, the fact remains USC has not lost in over two years. They have the defending Heisman champion and a backfield that could beat some NFL teams.

Charlie Weis: I think they need some time to shine. Charlie Weis has become the new icon of football in South Bend. Two losses, who cares? Notre Dame is BACK!

Virginia Tech: I hate it but come on, they've looked better than good, they've looked scary. VT had a close call with NC State and then has laid the hammer down. Marcus Vick is showing that lightning can strike twice.

Virginia: Okay, so two bad losses, one really really good win. What does it all mean? Right now it means Virginia can still make a season out of this, but they're not out of the woods yet. Nevertheless, a win over FSU makes the past trials seem rather moot.

Michigan: What happened to Michigan, the Big House has never seemed some dull. A 4-3 record may cut it at most schools, but not Ann Arbor. Their wins are impressive however, but their losses have hurt a lot. They are lucky the Big Ten is wide open, so hope remains but for now...

Harris Poll: This is BCS on crack. The overrated paper tigers like Nebraska and Texas Tech getting bloated scores is one travesty, but a voter voting for winless Idaho because he thought it was Boise State proves one we need a playoff. Polls=BAD!

Instant Replay: Much needed, much liked, now cut it down!!! There is a time limit in the NFL, we need one now (and why can't the coaches ever challenge)

SEC: Is it me or do they have twenty nine teams in the top 25? LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and then there are upstarts like Vanderbilt who don't know they are supposed to suck. Imagine if Steve Spurrier could get South Carolina to the same type of glory he got in Florida, the SEC could be the BCS playoffs itself. Sorry Kentucky, there's always basketball.

Class is over, see you next session.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A New Era Looms

While fans stormed the field of Scott Stadium last Saturday, Coach Dave Leitao was working on one messy project, the men's basketball team.

Yards away from the old, dilapidated U-Hall, construction workers toil away on the million dollar baby known as John Paul Jones Arena. From every indication it looks to be sleek, smooth and top of the line. The question remains, will the team that fills it fit that description?

Pete Gillen left Virginia basketball in quite a mess, one that has gotten worse since Leitao has gotten here (though through no fault of his own). Gary Forbes's departure has left Virginia with one less valuable contributor. Leitao is left with a bunch of young, inexperienced, undersized and under-worked players and a mindset to mold. Singletary may be a star in the making, but basketball is played 5 on 5.

Coach Leitao would be lucky to win eight games this season, and yet don't tell him that. His work is showing off any many ways that have gone largely unnoticed in the football driven world of Mr. Jefferson's University.

Leitao has sponsored many basketball events like a pancake breakfast, marathons and a Hoos fest last Friday. What's that? You didn't even know, you weren't the only one.

Leitao has been on the recruiting trail. He has already picked up two four star recruits. One is 6'8 SF Jamil Tucker from Gary, Indiana. First of all, anyone who can steal a kid from Indiana away from the Hoosiers has done something special. Second of all....he's 6'8 and a SMALL forward? That's sounds like UVA's starting center. As a junior last year Tucker averaged 24 points and 12 rebounds (good, especially good for Indiana).

Leitao also picked up Solomon Tat, a 6-5 SG from, Georgia (that's right....a guard that's TALLER than 6 feet). Tat also averaged 24 points, with 6 rebounds and five assists as a junior.

Leitao has preached defense! You know that forbidden word of Gillen's tenure was shown in the open practice Friday. In what observers likened to the WWF, players were forced to go after balls 4 or 5 rows into the stands. Leitao would accept nothing less than diving. J.R. Reynolds and many other Cavaliers admitted that they had never worked so hard before.

Leitao has done everything to fit into UVA. He wears the colors, he goes to football games, he recruits well, he has done every interview asked of him and he has never complained about the unfortunate situation he inherited. Maybe it's time Virginia fans invest some time into him.

It may be a long road to returning to any sort of basketball prominence, but at least with Dave Leitao we know we can actually reach it.

Monday, October 17, 2005



Virginia's year of frustration and missed opportunities just got the kickstart it needed, taking down the previously undefeated #4 ranked Seminoles. A game with all the drama and determination of the classic battle 10 years ago, Virginia did just enough to win and FSU did just enough to lose.

Virginia was led by senior QB Marques Hagans. Summoning strength and resiliency from a hamstring injury, Hagans threw and ran circles around the FSU secondary going 27-36, en route to 306 yards passing, a career high. He would need it, Virginia amassed only 20 rushing yards, airing out to the surprise of everyone.

On Virginia's first drive of the game following a Drew Weatherford interception, UVA threw on every play. Hagans would connect with TE Jonathan Stupar in the endzone to give the Cavaliers and early 7-0 advantage. FSU bounced right back however with a long run by FSU RB Leon Washington.

After an exchange of field goals made it 10-10, Connor Hughes showed why he is one of the most important players on this team. After making his first one from 50 yards out, he connected on two more, giving the Cavaliers a 16-10 advantage late in the second quarter. A Kai Parham sack in the waning minutes gave UVA one more chance to put up some points. They did when Hagans rolled out to his right and connected with senior RB Wali Lundy for a quick scamper and a touchdown. UVA would go into the half 23-10.

Virginia received the ball first in the second and took advantage with a fourth field goal by Hughes, extending the lead to 16. Then however Florida State made their move. Successful drives were mired by costly penalties and a missed field goal, but early in the fourth quarter a short pass to Chris Davis who, with one nasty spin move, made it to the endzone. A wide open two point conversion and it was 26-18.

Virginia's offense was stuck in neutral during the fourth, just as it had the last two weeks in their losses. Hagans was sacked back and Florida State had another chance to cut into the lead. This game was different then the past two disappointments however with the resolve of the defense. Though they did bend, they did an incredible job not breaking. FSU charged down the field but were stopped before they could reach the endzone. Gary Cismesia would nail a 32 yard field goal to make it 26-21.

Virginia's next drive started out with a 7 yard run by Hagans, but on third down he threw an incompletion to Deyon Williams, only to be reprieved with a pass interference call. Virginia would take the clock down to 56 seconds before they punted it away. Florida State had no timeouts and a long way to go. On first and ten, Weatherford gave up his third interception this time to Tony Franklin. Virginia would take two knees, the goal posts and awhole lot of pent up angst last night. The victory was only the second time Virginia has beaten a top 5 school, the other time being ten years ago to this same team. Al Groh has won his biggest game, his fifth year with the team. For Hagans, Schmidt, Ferguson and all the seniors this year, this is a win that they can define their careers by.

Charlottesville and the Cavaliers have new hope, this week the Wahoos travel to Durham to take on the UNC Tar Heels, a team that has had significant problems stopping Virginia. That game is followed up by a home matchup with Temple, the Virginia Cavaliers could be 6-2 going into one of the hardest three game stretches in the country.

For now though, celebration is in order so let's party like it's 1995.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Podcast/Video ideas

Well....if I'm doing topics that interest me there are certainly a few options. In case you didn't notice, I am particularly fond of sports and judging by yesterday's win, I see a movie waiting to be made. I also have a strong affinity for theatre and plays, not to mention many pictures at my disposal. Therefore, I think some sortof project involving "You Can't Take It With You" would be fun and relatively easy for me to produce. The podcast is an interesting notion, but I simply have more pictures already, not to mention sites like flickr to tell me which photos are okay and not okay to use. Audio files are precariously less legal to obtain (though I'll probably give my work a soundtrack). Anyways, if you like sports or theatre, tell me I'm rocking your world with this project.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Wake Up The Echoes

The 1995 Virginia Cavalier football team was used to disappointment. Losing on a last play to Michigan at the Big House, a last second field goal by Texas (getting the pattern). So it should come to no surprise when another football giant was storming down David A. Harrison field in the final minutes, it was deja vu all over again. QB Danny Kannell was finding receivers, RB Warrick Dunn had been kept in line for most of the game but come on this was Florida State. FSU was undefeated, #2 in the nation, a common occurrence since they had NEVER lost in the ACC. UVA was the 25th ranked squad, hoping to hold on with an amazing performance from Tiki Barber and QB Mike Groh. With seven seconds Kannell moved them inside the ten yard line and threw an incompletion leading to one last play with three seconds to go.

The snap goes to Dunn and he plows towards the endzone and falls with his helmet at the white chalkmark of the goal line. The ball never crosses, the game ends, the Cavaliers win???? Pandemonium in Charlottesville, Virginia will go on to win its 2nd ACC football title and defeat Georgia in the Peach Bowl (With some drama involved in that game as well). Virginia head coach George Welsh has done the unthinkable!

....That was then boys and girls. It is 10 years later. Mike Groh's not throwing it deep, but still on the sidelines, helping his new coach daddy Al shape current QB Marques Hagans into an all around threat. Wali Lundy may not be Tiki, but at the moment he's not even himself. The offensive line is a huge question mark, and the defensive secondary is one big frowny face. Florida State is (surprise, surprise) undefeated, 4th in the nation and brimming with confidence after finally defeating long time rival Miami. Virginia is reeling, two losses to ACC middleweights Maryland and Boston College (not exactly Michigan and Texas), with a hideous stretch of Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and Miami still to come.

In other words, there is no reason UVA should win this game. Except for the fact that this game is ten years later, at home, and will show Dunn's stuffing at the one inch line about 500 times. Football's mental edge is one of the most underrated aspects. How else do teams like TCU beat Oklahoma or South Florida beat Louisville? Virginia has the potential to win this game, but it needs MANY contingencies. The fans, the attitude, the overconfident FSU and a lot of luck for starters.

At the end of the game, Virginia will stand at either 4-2 or 3-3. Virginia has not lost 3 games in a row since Al Groh's first year but they seem to be in grave danger this time around. UNC and Temple stand on the horizon, but even UNC may not be a given with 3 losses in a row. Virginia can't live in the past, but they shouldn't ignore it either. No one believed in the 1995 crew and they won the ACC championship. It's make or break time for Virginia, before CavMan and the Wahoo faithful ride off into the sunset.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Thursday Quarterback

Well just like Virginia, this doesn't seem to be my year. Time to shake it up!!!
OVERALL: 21-10

Clemson at NC State
Clemson came out with guns blazing but haven't been able to recover after losing to Miami in triple overtime. Boston College is one thing, but a loss to WAKE FOREST??? Sorry NC State has the momentum and the home field, they will win and Clemson will continue to suffer.

Miami at Temple
It's Temple, need I say more?
PREDICTION: Miami 48 Temple 0

Georgia Tech at Duke
GT is having a skid very similar to Clemson, what a better cure than the Duke Blue Devils? It worked for Virginia, it will work for Ball and the Jackets, Duke just needs to hold the course and when these kids grow up...they won't lose as bad.

Wake Forest at Boston College
Now at first this shouldn't seem like a contest...but Wake Forest has won the last two games in this series. The Eagles are still fuming after the Virginia game and that could make them vulnerable early, I think they will win but it might be much closer than anyone would believe.

Florida State at Virginia
Alright, let's be honest. 99 times out of 100 FSU beats Virginia (at least). They are on a crash course with VT in Jacksonville...but it is October and road blocks can appear anywhere. I'm tired of predicting a UVA win. Time for some reverse psychology.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Reality Check, Virginia loses again 28-17

The high hopes have died in Chestnut, Massachusetts.

The 18th ranked Boston College Eagles knocked off Virginia in a physical, emotional and overall sloppy game. The rain and mud made for a gritty effort, and both teams seemed at times invincible and later completely inept. Virginia's opening drive was one of the worst in school history, racking up a 1st and 30 after successive false starts and a holding penalty. Virginia would finish the game with an abysmal 11 penalties (Boston College however fared even worse 11 penalties for 33 more yards than the Cavaliers). Boston College missed three field goal attempts. Virginia's Deyon Williams forgot how to catch a football. The bad plays went back and forth, but in the end Boston College was able to capitalize on Virginia's miscues a little better than Virginia could do to the Eagles.

``I would say in the last 12 minutes, we had the opportunity to make some plays and BC had the opportunity to make some plays,'' Virginia coach Al Groh said. ``The game hinged on their ability to make those plays and the fact that we did not.''

The game might have actually hinged on an exceptionally late hit by OL Brad Butler directed towards BC's All-American DE Mathias Kiwanuka. The cheap shot inspired the Eagles to rally from a 14-7 deficit and really changed the momentum of the game.

``When [Kiwanuka] went out, I went up to him and said 'We're not going to lose this game,''' said BC linebacker Ray Henderson.

The Eagles didn't, blocking a punt and stopping the Cavaliers later in the fourth quarter from the two-yard line to insure the game.

Now both teams must prepare for their next challenges. For Boston College, they take on the Deamon Deacons of Wake Forest, a team that has upset the Eagles twice in a row. The challenge for Virginia however is even greater. This Saturday night, they take on the undefeated Florida State Seminoles, ten years after their first and only victory against them. With Virginia now standing at 3-2 (1-2 ACC), this game proves to be one full of emotion and desire. Cavalier pride is at a low, and it's up to people like Deyon Williams to PICK it back up.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Eagles Migration to ACC Complete

It may have been one messy project, but the ACC has twelve teams. The newest member, Boston College will take on Virginia this weekend in what proves to be another critical ACC contest.

For Head Coach Tom O'Brien, it is a conflicted game playing against a team where he was an assistant for 15 years. O'Brien was on the sidelines with QB Mike Groh when UVA finally defeated Florida State in 1995. Now he is at the helm of an up and rising program, one looking to contend for the Atlantic Division crown.

The Boston College Eagles are currently 4-1 and ranked 18th in the country, their lone loss to Florida State at home 28-17. Nevertheless, they recognize the challenge the Cavaliers of Charlottesville have to bring.

"I know that they are a really good football team," said sophomore linebacker Brian Toal. "They have big offensive linemen, and they have the team speed of the ACC that everyone has been talking about. So, it's going to be a challenge for us."

That team speed pertains to the incomparable Virginia QB Marques Hagans. Hagans had a solid outing against Maryland, his second game in a row without any turnovers. A similar outing will be necessary for Virginia to win because the BC defense is hitting on all cylinders after a shutout last week against Ball State.

"They're second in the country in stopping the run" said Virginia coach Al Groh. "Obviously they're way down there in points allowed...the offense gets a lot of attention, but what's really important in being a solid team week-in and week-out is being able to keep your opponents down, and they're really good at that. "

Boston College's offense has put the reins in the hands of QB Matt Ryan. Ryan replaced starter Quinton Porter when he injured himself in the Florida State game. Porter had 2 interceptions and while Ryan only amassed 89 yards in that game he was able to spur a critical victory the next week in overtime against Clemson. His tenure at quarterback was certainly one under fire, starting at Death Valley, but Matt Ryan has proven that he can handle the responsibility.

Look for Boston College to run it up the gut. RB L.V. Whitworth is one of a barrage of backs that BC will use against the Cavaliers. After watching the gains of Maryland third-stringer Lance Ball, they have to licking their lips for an opportunity to take on a depleted Virginia defense and they know the ground attack is coming.

"It's the way they've played everybody this year", Groh said. "It's a dedicated, downhill running game. It's unusual that balls go to the outside."

It's about time the Orange Crush do something unusual and really manhandle a team this Saturday because their hopes for ACC glory ride on it.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Thursday Quarterback

Ok since the Thursday night game is an ACC contest, I've had to bump this up.

NC State at #24 Georgia Tech
An interesting matchup, N.C. State barely lost to VT while GT was absolutely dismantled. GT beat UNC and NC State did not. It may be hard for Georgia Tech to get over such a bad loss, and with the Wolfpack defense I would not be shocked for them to win it...nevertheless, the home field makes me think GT will SOMEHOW pull it out.

Wake Forest at #4 Florida State
Is it just me, or should people start to buy tickets for the VT/FSU ACC Championship game? FSU has problems, but they have certainly overcome them so far and Wake Forest has no talent to exploit these weaknesses. WF, get ready for a long year.

Duke at #9 Miami
Well to save time and effort (see above). Miami has some offensive holes, but they can easily dismantle one of the worst secondaries in the country, along with an offense that leaves much to be desired.
PREDICTION: Duke 0 Miami 28

Marshall at #3 Virginia Tech
Remember the days of Byron Leftwich, Chand Pennington and Randy Moss were all wearing the Marshall green...yeah neither do they. Losing to Central Florida and an 8 point victory over William and Mary can hurt your once proud mid-major squad. Oh yeah...VT is pretty good too. No upset this week.
PREDICTION: Marshall 10 VT 42

Maryland at Temple
Oh wow. Maryland's offense gets another feast after beating up on the Cavaliers. The Temple Owls are on their way to Division II status, just face it. At this rate, Lance Ball will be a Heisman candidate.
PREDICTION: MD 45 Temple 0

#23 Louisville at UNC
Okay, I know that my UNC predictions are always wrong so...take this with all the seriousness you take any of my predictions. Louisville looked invincible until South Florida unmasked them. UNC has talent but Louisville has enough firepower to blow them out (They just better hope it's loaded this time).

Virginia at Boston College
Oh me, oh my. It was going to be hard to pick the Cavaliers BEFORE their loss to Maryland, now it's even harder. The Eagles are for real, their defense can stop anyone and if our defense rests again it could get ugly. If everyone returns this will be close, and well...oh I can't handle the pressure.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hoos in the NFL

In football, the pinnacle of accomplishment is making it to the NFL. It's what every single college players dreams of, but so very few achieve. At the University of Virginia, several players have gone on to the money and fame that is the National Football League.

Tiki Barber is the quintessential example. Playing in a super bowl and currently one of the top running backs in the nation. His twin brother Ronde won a Super Bowl ring with the Buccaneers. Patrick Kerney went to the Pro Bowl last year as a defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons.

Taking a look at Al Groh's current products in the NFL appear to be something special as well. TE Heath Miller for the Steelers scored a touchdown in his very first game in a win over the Titans. RB Alvin Pearman has seen some time for the Jaguars. The biggest contradiction of current Cavalier talent in the NFL is an interesting one, Al Groh's best player in the NFL is the only one that never plays.

QB Matt Schaub is a solid player. He has continually improved and worked on becoming an all-around quarterback. The problem is, he is the backup for the NFL posterchild Michael Vick. Besides Philly, Indianapolis and New England, there are few other place where the QB is so ingrained into the team. What makes things even more frustrating is the fact that Vick went to Virginia Tech, his rival school. So Schaub sits. His talent left to holding a clipboard...that is until the Falcons guarantee a playoff bye week and sit Vick down. have what happened last Sunday.

In the second quarter against the Vikings, Vick took a brutal blow by Erasmus James and would not return. Panic time for Atlanta? Matt Schaub stepped in and what did he do? He went 5-14 for 39 yards and ran an amazing 55 yards (very Vick-esque). Maybe those numbers are not jaw-dropping, but imagine coming off the bench with little preparation or playing time. Schaub provided enough of a passing threat to let RB Warrick Dunn do his thing and did not turn the ball over once (Which is more than superstar Daunte Culpepper could claim).

So how will this situation end? Stuck in a west-coast system nearly identical to Al Groh's, and yet never being able to play in it. Well, watching him this weekend proved to be an audition tape. He may not be great but there will always be a need for a solid quarterback. Especially if your name is New York or Chicago.

CASE 1: The Jets lost QB Chad Pennington for the year. They have brought in 269 year-old Vinny Testeverde as a backup to greenhorn Brad Bollinger. Seems to me the J-E-T-S need some M-A-T-T. (Plus Groh coached the Jets, it'd be a nice circle)

CASE 2: The Bears lost QB Rex Grossman and are dealing with rookie Kyle Orton. Though Orton has some serious skill, he's not ready to carry a team yet (Neither necessarily is Schaub).

Matt might be a good addition to these teams struggling for an offense, if he succeeds he could finally blaze his own path on the gridiron. Until then, let's buy some more Tiki Barber jerseys!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Cavaliers Shell-Shocked, Lose 45-33

Virginia came into Maryland after a convincing victory over Duke and feeling confident for the first time perhaps since going 5-0 last year, they left more confused and dazed than they could have ever imagined.

The Cavaliers lost to the Terrapins in a shootout 45-33. Both of these teams are known primarily for the defense, but it seemed like neither decided to show up since both teams combined for 1000 yards total offense. Virginia started the game with high hopes, all star linebacker Ahmad Brooks made his return, however he proved to be what many feared, a tired and unprepared man. Time will tell if Brooks returns to his NFL-caliber form, but Virginia's bowl aspirations depend on it.

The Maryland offense, which had struggled all season had their way with the young Orange Crush defense. RB Lance Ball had a breakout performance, muscling his way towards 163 yards and 2 touchdowns...on only 17 carries! QB Sam Hollenbach had one strong outing as well, going 25-33 for 320 yards (and two of those 8 incompletions were interceptions). Virginia had some strong hits, one nailing wide receiver Jo Jo Walker into next week, but when the chips were down, Virginia looked completely incapable of stopping a mediocre ACC offense.

The one bright spot for Virginia was the continued improved play of Marques Hagans and the Virginia offense. Hagans went only 17-35 but amassed 270 yards in the air and another 55 yards with his quick feet. Junior WR Deyon Williams is turning into a bona fide talent, continuing to add to his stats with 5 catches for 62 yards. Wali Lundy however, continued to struggle after his return from injury going for 18 yards on only 3 carries. Nevertheless, Virginia did put 33 points on the board, a number that most of the time equals victory. This was not one of those times.

The road does not get any friendlier for the Cavaliers. A trip to Boston College this weekend, and then a home game against the undefeated Seminoles. Virginia needs to get its act together or they are staring 3-3 right in the face. The question still remains: Did Maryland resurrect an offense, or are the Cavaliers really that bad on defense? After all, when looking back sure they shut down Duke's offense, but high schools teams could do that. Syracuse almost won and Western Michigan scored way too many points. The answer to this question will not be known for a few more weeks.

I stated this game could go along way in determining both team's seasons. Obviously this loss dampers some high hopes Virginia fans toyed with, but maybe there is another way to look at this game. A loss may inspire the Cavaliers to no longer accept mundane, and strive for those lofty goals we all dream about. They might see that it's not ok to be complacent with a 3 point win over Syracuse, it might be time they play with the proverbial "chip on their shoulders". It may be a loss, but if it changes some mental outlooks for the might just be what the doctor ordered.