Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Schmitt Nominated as Semi-finalist for Top Punter Award

Schmitt Named Ray Guy Semifinalist

Augusta, Ga. - The Greater Augusta Sports Council announced today the top 10 semifinalists for the 2005 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation's top collegiate punter. A record 58 punters were nominated for the honor. Each of the punters on the list was evaluated on his overall statistics and contribution to the team. Particular emphasis was placed on the following categories: net average, percentage of total punts inside the 20-yard line, average return yardage, and percentage not returned.

Virginia Tech's Nic Scmitt was one of the 10 who made the cut. Schmitt, in his first year as Tech's punter, is averaging 42.6 yards per punt with 10 downed inside the 20 and a long of 65 yards.

...A national voting body of Division 1-A coaches and sports information directors, national media, and former punters will decide the three award finalists, and ultimately the winner of this year's award. The winner will be announced live on ESPN during the Home Depot College Football Awards show, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2005. The winner will again be honored at the Greater Augusta Sports Award Gala in early 2006.

Among the list of punters making the cut:
Danny Baugher Arizona Senior
Dave Brytus Purdue Sophomore
Gordon Ely-Kelso Georgia Junior
Chris Hall Florida State Senior
Sam Koch Nebraska Senior
Ryan Plackemeir Wake Forest Senior
Nic Schmitt Virginia Tech Junior
John TorpColorado Senior
Kyle Tucker Kansas Sophomore
Eric WilburFlorida Junior

Friday, October 28, 2005

Hokies - Eagles Game Pics

A few pictures from the game, courtesy of the Associated Press.

Vick, in one of his best passing nights ever, gave the Eagles trouble with his throws all night.

Senior Mike Imoh led the Hokie's ground attack, rushing 16 times for a team-high 60 yards.

Yet another non-offensive score for the Hokies, turning to be Vince Hall's second for the season.

Mrs. Humes: "Look at my L'il Ced, all done grown up now -- stiff armin' people with broken arms and all. Go on now, Ced! THAT'S MY BAYBEH!"

Fullback Jon Kinzer, high-flyin' in a move that would've made actor Woody Harrelson proud.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Hokes 30, Eagles 10

For those who watched the game, you'll probably agree when I say that the score in its own right was misleading, as Virginia Tech basically dominated the Eagles from start to finish. Playing at home where the Hokies are almost unbeatable, Virginia Tech simply overhwhelmed BC on both sides of the ball, causing it to be quite a onesided match.

In looking at such a huge game for both teams, the stat line speaks wonders -- take a look:
StatisticVirginia TechBoston College
Score 30 10
Total Yards 502 208
Passing Yards 280 156
Rushing Yards 222 52
First Downs 26 10
Total Plays 82 54
Avg. Gain Per Play 6.1 3.9
Avg. Gain Per Rush 4.2 2.5
Avg. Gain Per Pass 9.7 4.7
Turnovers 1 2

Could'nt Have Said It Better Myself

Had to post this valid argument by Brian, one reader who posted this follow-up comment in my article about who deserves to be the number one team in the nation, "What Does It Take To Be..."

"First, lets compare the Big 12 to the ACC. Currently, there are three members of the Big 12 that are in the top 25 of the BCS standings. They are Texas (rated #1), Texas Tech (#16), and Colorado (#24).

Now lets see how many members of the ACC are in the top 25 of the BCS. There is Virginia Tech (#3), Miami (#7), Florida State (#10), an Boston College (#14). Of the ACC teams in the top 25 of the BCS, ALL are in the top 15, and 3 of the 4 are in the top ten.

Out of the three Big 12 teams in the top 25 of the BCS, only one is in the top 15, that being Texas.

Compartively speaking, the top of the ACC is much better then the top of the Big 12 this year.

Now, presuming both Virginia Tech and Texas go undefeated the rest of the way, Virginia Tech will have defeated 4 teams in the top 20 of the BCS standings (Miami, Florida State, Boston College, and West Virginia) while Texas would have only defeated 2 (Ohio State, and Texas Tech).

If this happens, and that is a big if, then there is no doubt that Virginia Tech's strength of schedule will have been much stronger then Texas'.

The question, if both Tech and Texas go undefeated, seems to be which team will have accumulated more 'style' points. Or, how badly can they beat their opponents. Given the record of Texas' remaining opponents, odds are that Texas will accumulate more of these 'style' points, because Texas teams like to run up the score.

If that's the case, Va Tech will most likely be on the outside looking in (though I certainly hope they aren't)."

Under Construction

Being a Macinstosh user, little did I know that the entire layout and color scheme of my blog would look different on desktop PCs.

That is, until I viewed my site for the first time in Windows from a PC on campus.

Definitely did not resemble the attractive layout I had set up (left).

So, time to fix a few things up.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Hokes to wear new jerseys in Boston College game

While heading to campus today, I picked up a copy of the school paper, the Collegiate Times, and while browsing through it found the article "Boston College game notes: Nike unveils new jersey for Hokies." Here is part of the piece, as written by Sports Editor Adam Abramson:

"Virginia Tech is one of four schools to wear a new jersey design by Nike. Tech's new threads include an orange left shoulder to go along with the sleeves many Hokies have been wearing. When asked about Virginia Tech's new jerseys the team will be sporting Thursday night, senior cornerback Jimmy Williams smiled.

When the Hokies walk into Lane Stadium to face Boston College, fans will notice that the left shoulder of the "modified" home jerseys is now orange. Nike has remodeled Tech's uniform along with the jerseys of University of Southern California, the University of Miami and the University of Oregon to complement college football's newest fashion statement set by the likes of Williams, Marcus Vick, Roland Minor and many other Hokie players.

This season, the majority of Tech's players have been wearing one long orange sleeve on the left arm and a long maroon sleeve on the right. Thursday, this look will be enhanced by the new jersey, something that excites Williams.

"I feel like I look good out there, I look pretty out there. I can only feel good and play good if I look pretty out there," Williams said. "We deserve these new jerseys, it puts us up there with the elite teams."

What Does It Take To Be...

The greatest. The best. The undisputed champion.

We all have our own separate, special terms for those we recognize to be first. These are just a common few used to describe those who dominate the competition and stand tall at the pinnacle of their respective fields, whatever it may be.

With college football however, the universal term we have all come to use to describe what we consider to be the best has evolved to be quite plain and simple. There's no need for extra adjectives or meaningless synonyms to help describe whom or what we refer to as the best. When it all boils down, when we want to know who is the sitting pretty atop the rankings, we refer to see who is Number One. When we know that, everything else falls into place, and we come to satisfy ourselves with placing all those behind in the appropriate order.

Unfortunately for us though, order has been the last thing established this season in determining who is number one in college football. As to add to the controversy of it all, formerly second-ranked Texas was able to leapfrog USC this week to take the top spot in the BCS ranking, all the while remaining #2 in a number of other polls, including the AP.

With that being said, the question that has come to rise amongst all the BCS drama, amongst all the predictions, schedule strengths, theories and expert opinions is -- who has honestly earned the right to be number one?

Unlike professional leagues, of whom we are all aware define their top ranked teams based primarily on record alone, college football unfortunately has to deal with the controversial issue of how to rank teams with identical records.

As of week 8, six different teams (USC, Texas, Virginia Tech, Alabama, Georgia, and UCLA) have yet to lose, remaining unbeaten at 7-0. Strangely though, aside from the BCS rankings, no other poll even has the half dozen teams grouped together as the top six in the nation. As a result, many have been prompted to consider the controversial question of how can a team with a loss be ranked ahead of an undefeated team?

As we all already know, that's where strength of schedule comes into play. Of the six teams with unscathed records, only half seem fitting for Rose Bowl contention, let alone the number-one ranking. Based on that concept alone, I force myself to scratch Alabama, Georgia, and UCLA out of the mix, due to the fact that they just don't have strong enough schedules to make up for the obvious dropoff in talent following Virginia Tech.

The remaining undefeateds, or the Big Three as I have come to call them, have been playing in a league of their own this season, and foregoing only a few instances, have handily crushed their opposition. Compromised of obvious frontrunners USC, Texas, and Virginia Tech, the Big Three are the only obvious and realistic contenders for the number one spot in the nation, as well as the only realistic contenders to visit Pasadena.

Unfortunately, with the trio of teams having similar records and talent, the ability to name an obvious clear-cut pick as the number one team is practically impossible. So here's where one looks at the teams' schedules:

Virginia Tech HokiesTexas LonghornsUSC Trojans
@ N.C. State W; 20-16 Louisiana Lafayette W; 60-3 @ Hawaii W; 63-17
@ Duke W; 45-0 @ (4) Ohio State W; 25-22 Arkansas W; 70-17
Ohio W; 45-0 Rice W; 51-10 @ (24) Oregon W; 45-13
(15) Georgia Tech W; 51-7 @ Missouri W; 51-20 @ (14) Arizona State W; 38-28
@ West Virginia W; 34-17 Oklahoma W; 45-12 Arizona W; 42-21
Marshall W; 41-14 (24) Colorado W; 42-17 @ (9) Notre Dame W; 34-31
@ Maryland W; 28-9 (10) Texas Tech W; 52-17 @ Washington W; 51-42
Boston College @ Oklahoma State Washington State
(6) Miami Baylor Stanford
@ Virginia @ Kansas @ (21) California
North Carolina@ Texas A&M (24) Fresno State
N/A N/A (8) UCLA

Of the three, I would have to pick the Longhorns schedule as the weakest. The Big XII is simply horrible this year, serving as one of the worst conferences in all of college football. No team, not even Oklahoma has anything to offer, as for the first time in years, the Red River Shootout was a joke. Gameday didn't even go to Dallas to preview the action, picking the PSU/OSU game instead. Simply put, Texas has been killing everyone in the Big XII, coming out with heavily lopsided wins in such a weak conference. Of Texas' seven wins, only two stick out in my mind -- the impressive 52-17 blowout over Texas Tech last weekend, as well what I consider the Longhorns' only big win this season -- their 25-22 win on the road against the Buckeyes.

USC's schedule on the other hand is a bit more respectable, as their 2005 trip to perfection has been marked by a few speed bumps against some tough PAC 10 opponents. With that being said however, the Trojans have already won the hardest part of their schedule, with those games consisting of close road games in Oregon, Arizona State, and Notre Dame. Against the Ducks, the Trojans were simply proven that they were human, and actually capable of losing. Against the Sun Devils, the Trojans were actually exposed, and if not for a few plays here or there, quite easily could have lost. Against the Fighting Irish, things got so bad for the Trojans that they actually had to cheat to win. All in all, the only real remaining threat (if you even honestly even call it that) to USC's flawless record is a December 3rd encounter with fellow undefeated Cali team UCLA.

Moving on to the last of the big three, Virginia Tech's schedule stands out to me as the toughest. As bias as it sounds, I don't see the other top two teams' schedule as being more difficult, especially if you throw in the inevitable ACC Championship game for Tech with Florida State. Going into the bowl season, if the Big Three remain undefeated, the BCS could be dramatic more than ever, as the Hokies would have accumulated tough road wins against underrated teams in N.C. State, West Virginia and UVA, as well as big home wins against Miami and Boston College.

With the Rose Bowl more than two months away, in my mind I consider it far too early to be predicting who's already in and who's out with so much football left to play. As the season winds down, teams are now starting to feel the pressure of maintaining their records as they truly realize how much is at stake each and every Saturday. Also with being undefeated, the three teams will be allowed less room for error, as opponents will be especially gunning to be the first to take them down. Given that combination of factors, I wouldn't be surprised to see an unexpected upset pop up soon. These upcoming weeks will really serve as a gut check for the trio of teams and come bowl season, hopefully any and all ranking controversy will be out of sight, and we will actually be able to see who really is number one.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Virginia Tech - Boston College Info

#13 Boston College Eagles (6-1 Overall, 3-1 Conference)
@ #3 Virginia Tech Hokies (7-0 Overall, 4-0 Conference)

Time: Thursday, October 27th @ 7:30 PM
Venue: Blacksburg, VA (Lane Stadium)
Series: Virginia Tech leads 8-3
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech 27, Boston College 34 (11/22/03)
Television Coverage: ESPN
Radio Coverage: 100.7 FM and 980 AM

2005 Completed Games
Virginia Tech HokiesBoston College Eagles
Sun, Sep 4 at N.C. State W; 20-16 Sat, Sep 3 at Brigham Young W; 20-3
Sat, Sep 10 at Duke W; 45-0 Sat, Sep 10 Army W; 44-7
Sat, Sep 17 Ohio W; 45-0 Sat, Sep 17 (9) Florida State L; 17-28
Sat, Sep 24 Georgia Tech W; 51-7 Sat, Sep 24 at Clemson W; 16-13
Sat, Oct 1 at (20) West Virginia W; 34-17 Sat, Oct 1 Ball State W; 38-0
Sat, Oct 8 Marshall W; 41-14 Sat, Oct 8 Virginia W; 28-17
Thu, Oct 20 at Maryland W; 28-9 Sat, Oct 15 Wake Forest W; 35-30

Boston College Starters
QB - #15 Quinton Porter (6-5, 233, Sr.)RE - #93 Keith Willis (6-1, 266, Fr.)
RB - #30 L.V. Whitworth (6-1, 222, So.)RT - #56 Al Washington (6-1, 280, Sr.)
FB - #49 Mark Palmer (6-3, 245, Jr.) LT - #90 B.J. Raji (6-1, 322, So.)
SE - #1 Will Blackmon (6-1, 200, Sr.)LE - #57 Nick Larkin (6-4, 252, So.)
TE - #88 Chris Miller (6-5, 269, Sr.)ROLB - #55 Ricky Brown (6-2, 235, Sr.)
LT - #72 Jeremy Trueblood (6-9, 330, Sr.)MLB - #3 Ray Henderson (6-3, 245, Sr.)
LG - #70 James Marten (6-8, 315, Jr.)LOLB - #Brian Toal (6-1, 223, So.)
C - #66 Pat Ross (6-4, 295, Sr.)CB - #4 Jazzmen Williams (5-8, 181, Sr.)
RG - #75 Josh Beekman (6-2, 325, Jr.)FS - #24 Ryan Glasper (6-0, 207, Jr.)
RT - #77 Gosder Cherilus (6-7, 320, So.)ROV - #44 Jamie Silva (5-11, 208, So.)
FL - #6 Larry Lester (5-8, 180, Sr.)CB - #27 DeJuan Tribble (5-9, 187, So.)
Special Teams
P - #46 Johnny Ayers (6-0, 186, So.)K - #20 Ryan Ohliger (5-9, 197, So.)
KR - #1 Will Blackmon (6-1, 200, Sr.)PR - #1 Will Blackmon (6-1, 200, Sr.)

Vick Checkup #7

Playing on Monday Night for the second time this season, the Atlanta Falcons were able to beat the New York Jets 27-14, shining in the national spotlight once again. The last time Atlanta was on MNF, they beat the Philadelphia Eagles 14-10 to open the season.

Adding another win to his resume this season, quarterback Michael Vick got the job done, despite making several mistakes. Even though Vick accounted for 2 of Atlanta's 3 touchdowns, let's just say that he's had better days.

Just like his brother in the Maryland game last week, Michael failed to throw a TD, and instead tossed up three interceptions in the process. Fortunately he was able to make up for his dissapointing passing performance with his ability to score on the run. Rushing on the night for 18 yards on 9 carries, Vick found the endzone twice. In the end his contributions wound up being enough for the Falcons to come out on top yet again.

Another one of Virginia Tech's more recognizable almuni, cornerback DeAngelo Hall reperesented the Hokies well, accounting for 4 tackles and another interception, boosting his total on the season to 3.

With the win, Atlanta moved to 5-2 on the season, good enough for 2nd place in the NFC South, trailing 1st place Tampa Bay by only half a game.

Monday, October 24, 2005

New # 1: Texas edges out USC for first place in BCS Rankings

The BCS standings, just released as of moments ago, declared today the Texas Longhorns as the new number one team in the nation, knocking off USC. According to the AP report, "The Longhorns slipped past Southern California into first place Monday by virtue of a stellar showing in the BCS computer rankings." That stellar showing was a 52-17 romping over 10th ranked Texas Tech on Saturday.

Texas now has a BCS average of .9763, and leads .0007 ahead of second-place USC at .9756.

With that being said, to take a look at some of the other teams (that are really worth a damn), here's a look at the BCS rankings for the top 10 teams in the nation:

Bowl College Series Rankings (as of 10/24/05)
RankTeamRecordCoaches' Avg.BCS Avg.Previous
1Texas Longhorns7-0.963.97632
2USC Trojans7-0.994.97561
3Virginia Tech Hokies7-0.921.91643
4Georgia Bulldogs7-0.875.86794
5Alabama Crimson Tide7-0.824.85135
6UCLA Bruins7-0.733.73849
7Miami (FL) Hurricanes5-1.791.71148
8LSU Tigers5-1.751.70656
9Penn State Nittany Lions7-1.539.645010
10Florida State Seminoles6-1.539.573511

Turkey Talk BlogPoll Week 9

1. USC (PIck your poison; Bush plays quietly, yet Leinart goes off for 4 TDs in USC's 51-24 win)
2. Texas (Destroy yet another Big XII opponent in Texas Tech)
3. Virginia Tech (Tough games ahead against ACC rivals Boston College, Miami, and UVA)
4. Alabama (Convert on late Tennessee fumble to win in Tuscaloosa)
5. Georgia (No D.J. Shockley + Upcoming games against Florida and Auburn = Losses for UGA)
6. UCLA (I would love to see this team beat USC)
7. Miami (Yet to beat a legit opponent)
8. LSU (Gets a must-needed win against an underrated Auburn squad)
9. Notre Dame (Blow out BYU but still have to be depressed over USC fiasco)
10. Penn State (Absolutely demolish Illinois, 63-10)
11. Florida State (Did this team really give up 24 points to the Duke Blue Devils?)
12. Oregon (Get the win over Arizona Saturday but lose QB Kellen Clemens for the year)
13. Ohio State (Hard to lose when you outgain your opponent 504-160 in offensive yardage)
14. Boston College (One of the ACC's better teams hoping to beat Virginia Tech this Thursday)
15. Wisconsin (Defense lifts the Badgers to win over the Boilermakers)
16. Florida (Bye week)
17. Auburn (Come into the Bayou and almost upset the Tigers)
18. Texas Tech (Second best in the Big XII)
19. West Virginia (Game postponed)
20. TCU (Light up opponent Air Force for another lopsided win)
21. Northwestern (QB Basanez goes off for 4 scores in NW's crushing of the Spartans)
22. Fresno State (See #6)
23. California (See #6)
24. Tennessee (Hang with the Crimson Tide for 57 minutes, blow it in the last three)
25. Michigan (Wolverines pull out yet another late-game thriller)

Sunday, October 23, 2005

USC/Texas Watch

In keeping a keen eye out for the top two teams in the nation, here is part of a brief piece on this weekend's action, as well as the links to both USC's and Texas' game recaps, courtesy of ESPN.

No. 1 USC 51 (7-0) , Washington 24 (1-6) RECAP
It was over when...Game ball goes to...Stat of the game
Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Co. arrived safely to Husky Stadium. Leinart, who threw for 201 yards and four TDs for the Trojans. 14: The Trojans have won a school-record 14 straight on the road.

No. 2 Texas 52 (7-0) , No. 10 Texas Tech 17 (6-1) RECAP
It was over when...Game ball goes to...Stat of the game
The Longhorns scored TDs on six straight possessions in the second and third quarters.The Texas D. Even though it gave up 471 yards, UT held Tech 37 points under the Red Raiders average. 8: The Horns have won eight straight games against opponents ranked in the Top 25.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Virginia Tech - Maryland Thoughts

I'm sure you all saw the same game I did last night, so a recap of Virginia Tech's win probably isn't all that necessary. Just for kicks though, here were a few things about the game I thought worthy of notice:

1. Marcus Vick was sensational(on the ground). With no other games to watch in college football, Vick shined in ESPN's Thursday night showcase, racking up a smooth total of 133 yards on the ground and a score. Eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career, #5 flew along the field for runs that seemed reminiscent of older brother Mikey V.

Now, if only he were as successful passing the ball, he'd of had a perfect night. The redshirt junior in his prime time debut unfortunately threw a total of three interceptions, but it seemed as if his turnovers were only a small drawback to his breakout performance. With that being said though, his ability to open up the field with his feet was crucial, and it kept Maryland's defense reeling all night.

2. Once again, Virginia Tech was sloppy on the road. Did I not foresee this in my earlier post? Going into halftime the Hokies should have been cruising along, boasting an emphatic 21-3 lead. Instead, after Vick's TD run to make it 7-0, the Hokies blew two goal line opportunities to score and go into the locker room only up by four. Not capitalizing on those two drives from inside the 10 was extremely shocking, and for a second there, I wasn't 100% sure that Tech was going to get the win. That was by far one of the most disappointing halves offensively for the Hokies thus far this season.

In case you managed to forget those blown chances, or happened to miss it, here they were, as provided in the box score. I'll let the play-by-play speak for itself.

Blown scoring opportunity #1, from the Maryland 7:
Down/YardTimePlay Outcome
1st-G, MD 79:10 - 2QM. Imoh rushed to the right for 1 yard gain
2nd-G, MD 68:33 - 2Q M. Vick incomplete pass to the right
3rd-G, MD 68:29 - 2QM. Vick rushed to the left for 5 yard gain
4th-G, MD 18:22 - 2QM. Imoh rushed up the middle for no gain. M. IMOH FUMBLED. G. McPhearson recovered fumble and returned for 6 yards.

Blown scoring opportunity #2, from the Maryland 1:
Down/YardTimePlay Outcome
1st-G, MD 11:14 - 2QM. Vick rushed up middle for no gain
2nd-G, MD 10:45 - 2QM. Vick rushed up the middle for 3 yard loss. M. Vick fumbled. M. Vick recovered fumble
3rd-G, MD 40:12 - 2Q M. Vick passed to M. Imoh to the left for 1 yard gain

Just pathetic.

Also contributing to Virginia Tech's miscues were their turnovers. On the night, the Hokies coughed up the ball left and right, giving away the pigskin four(!) times. Coming from a Beamer-coached squad, that's simply unheard of. Fortunately enough for Tech, the Hokie defense was phenomenal, practically giving up nothing to Maryland after all those Hokie giveaways. They were able to shut down the run and limit Maryland QB Sam Hollenbach to just 158 yards on 14-30 passing attempts.

However, as mediocre as Hollenbach was in his passing game, Marcus Vick wasn't all that much better. Though the redshirt junior was superb on the ground, his throwing was not even remotely as inspiring. Against an average Maryland pass defense, Vick did not throw for a single score, yet managed to throw a grand total of three interceptions.

After looking at Tech's several mishaps from last night, I cannot stress enough how much worse Virginia Tech has played on the road than at home this year. Excluding Duke, the Hokies have not been dominating opponents in away games like they should. At times, they seem to go into mental lapses as a team and lose focus, only to make costly mistakes. Fortunately enough, however, on the season they have been able to pull it together towards the ends of their games, and make the big play when it matters most.

Good news for the Hokies, however, is that their next two games, arguably two of their toughest, will be played at home in Lane Stadium. Quite frankly, no one can touch us there, and Boston College and Miami will find this out the hard way. When it's all said and done though, one last road trip still remains on the Hokies diminishing schedule -- a two hour drive to Charlottesville to take on a Cavalier team that you can never count out. One can only hope that Virginia Tech finally snaps out of their away game troubles for the pivotal Battle of the Commonwealth, because one thing's for sure, if they want to return home victorious again, they're going to have to.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Virginia Tech - Maryland Preview

Virginia Tech, returning to action following their bye week, travels to College Park tonight to take on a streaky Maryland team currently sitting at 4-2 in the ACC. Though the Hokies have been playing incredibly well this season, I don't see them coming into Byrd Stadium taking this game lightly. Aside from Duke, Tech has not been dominant at all while on the road. In fact, at times, they have looked sloppy, and thus have struggled.

Take the West Virginia game for example. During the opening half, the Hokies almost fell apart as their defense was exposed and exploited by a pumped-up Mountaineer squad backed by thousands of Morganville fans. Fortunately enough they were able to pull it together and step it up in the second half. Let's hope that isn't the case at all tonight as the Hokies look good for all 60 minutes tonight.

With the unfortunate reality of addresing how Virginia Tech has played mediocre football on the road this season, what better time to make up for that than with a blowout win on ESPN's thursday night showcase. Tech needs to overcome their away game sloppiness, so with that concept in mind, hopefully Beamer will bring his boys to play. With Byrd being louder than ever tonight as Terp fans cheer for the win, Tech will have to stay composed and show poise in order to pull out this crucial win.

So with that being said, here are a few things to look for when gametime kicks off...

When Virginia Tech has the ball:
Watch out for Mike Imoh. The 5-7 shifty senior returns from his ankle injury and with Humes sitting out, should get a majority of the carries. Expect to see Imoh carry the work load for the Hokies' running game, with redshirt-freshman Branden Ore coming in occasionally to see action. Against Maryland's suspect run defense, #20 should have a career day.

Pay attention to Jeff King. King has played superbly so far this year, and has been the complete package for VT at tight end. As a receiver, he has 15 catches for 188 yards and is currently tied for second in the ACC with 4 scores. As a blocker King has been pivotal in the success of the run, as Tech currently ranks 2nd in the ACC in rushing yards, averaging 177 yards per game. When the Hokies push the ball to the endzone, look for King to get his hands on the pigskin.

When Maryland has the ball:
They will give it to Vernon Davis. At 6'3, 250 pounds, the junior tight end has the size (and speed) to really do some damage. In Ralph Friedgen's offense, Davis has been the Terps' prime weapon in the passing game, and has the ability to stretch the field. On the season Davis has put up some very impressive numbers, and is undoubtedly one of the best tight ends in the conference. In games against Clemson, West Virginia, and Virginia, Davis scored in all of them, while going off for 140, 158, and 59 receiving yard games respectively. If Maryland is productive offensively tonight, Davis will be the reason for that.

Expect the run. Maryland boasts a strong 1-2 punch on the ground in running backs Lance Ball and Mario Merrills. The duo has combined for 7 scores on the season, and together average a smooth 112 yards per game. Fortunately for Maryland, both backs possess the ability for the long run, and with Davis as the deep threat, the Hokies won't be able to overload the line with 8 or 9 in the box. A possible break out day for the twosome against the ACC's top defense could be likely, as adrenaline will be pumping in the duo as all of Maryland cheers them on.

When Virginia Tech is on defense:
The defensive line will raise hell. Expect turnovers. Defensive ends Darryl Tapp and Chris Ellis have been excellent so far in pash rushing this season, and with Tim Sandridge plugging the middle, the D-line has been essential in causing turnovers left and right. Along with being such dominant pass rushers, the front four have been solid in shutting down the run, as they have only allowed two rushing touchdowns on the entire season.

Along with the line wreaking havoc, the linebacker corps of Adibi, Hall, and Anderson have played incredibly well for the Hokies. The trio are in fact the three leading tacklers on the team and account for 122 of the team's tackles. What also makes them special is their ability to make the big play, as between the three of them, they have 2 interceptions, a fumble recovery, and 3 sacks.

When Maryland is on defense:
Their weakness is against the run. This defensive unit, led by senior linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, has already given up over 1000 yards to the run in their six games. 1018 to be exact. That's a 170-yard per game average. I'm more than confident, especially with the extra week off, that Beamer and his coaching staff will exploit this weakness in the Terrapin defense. Don't be surprised to see Imoh break out for a 100+ yard game. I won't.

Prediction: Virginia Tech 49, Maryland 13.

Virginia Tech - Maryland Info

#3 Virginia Tech Hokies (6-0 Overall, 3-0 Conference)
@ Maryland Terrapins (4-2 Overall, 2-1 Conference)

Time: Thursday, October 20th @ 7:30 PM
Venue: College Park, MD (Byrd Stadium)
Series: Virginia Tech leads 15-12
Last Meeting: Virginia Tech 55, Maryland 6 (11/18/04)
Television Coverage: ESPN
Radio Coverage: 100.7 FM and 980 AM

2005 Completed Games

Virginia Tech HokiesMaryland Terrapins
Sun, Sep 4 at N.C. State W; 20-16 Sat, Sep 3 at Navy W; 23-20
Sat, Sep 10 at Duke W; 45-0 Sat, Sep 10 Clemson L; 24-28
Sat, Sep 17 Ohio W; 45-0 Sat, Sep 17 (20) West Virginia L; 19-31
Sat, Sep 24 Georgia Tech W; 51-7 Sat, Sep 24 at Wake Forest W; 22-12
Sat, Oct 1 at (20) West Virginia W; 34-17 Sat, Oct 1 (23) Virginia W; 45-33
Sat, Oct 8 Marshall W; 41-14 Sat, Oct 8 at Temple W; 38-7

Maryland Terrapin Starters

QB - #14 Sam Hollenbach (6-5, 218, Jr.) DE - #40 Jeremy Navarre (6-4, 250, Fr.)
RB - #8 Mario Merrills (5-10, 203, Sr.) NT - #95 Conrad Bolston (6-3, 285, Jr.)
FB - #5 Ricardo Dickerson (6-1, 247, Sr.) DT - #67 Jack Griffin (6-7, 276, So.)
SE - #83 Derrick Fenner (6-0, 193, Sr.) DE - #55 Trey Covington (6-3, 241, r-Fr.)
TE - #18 Vernon Davis (6-3, 253, Jr.) WLB - #48 William Kershaw (6-3, 232, Sr.)
LT - #78 Jared Gaither (6-9, 330, Fr.) MLB - #52 D’Qwell Jackson (6-1, 231, Sr.)
LG - #69 Donnie Woods (6-3, 291, So.) SLB - #54 David Holloway (6-2, 220, Jr.)
C - #68 Ryan McDonald (6-2, 275, Sr.) CB - #38 Gerrick McPhearson (5-10, 194, Sr.)
RG - #63 Andrew Crummey (6-5, 294, So.) FS - #3 Christian Varner (5-11, 195, So.)
RT - #58 Brandon Nixon (6-6, 314, So.) ROV - #27 Milton Harris (5-11, 195, Sr.)
FL - #9 Jo Jo Walker (5-9, 169, Sr.) CB - #4 Josh Wilson (5-10, 182, Jr.)
Special Teams
P - #36 Adam Podlesh (5-11, 199, So.) PK - #22 Dan Ennis (5-11, 154, Jr.)
KO - #49 Chris Roberts (6-2, 189, Fr.) PR/KR - #9 Jo Jo Walker (5-9, 169, Sr.)

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Turkey Talk BlogPoll Week 8

Just got in on this, the weekly "BlogPoll" in which a number of college football blog users contribute their top 25 picks. The following are mine:

1. USC (Number one in my mind until they lose)
2. Texas (Vince Young is the offense)
3. Virginia Tech (Bye week)
4. Alabama (Big game this weekend against Tennessee)
5. Georgia (Not as good as Alabama)
6. Miami (3rd-best in ACC)
7. LSU (Host a sleeping giant in Auburn this Saturday)
8. Notre Dame (Controversial ending to a tough loss)
9. UCLA (Only last true challenge to bring down USC)
10. Florida State (Upset by UVA? Be serious)
11. Penn State (Last second breakdown to a slumping Michigan squad)
12. Texas Tech (6-0, but on course to get crushed by Texas this weekend)
13. Ohio State (Solid win over MSU)
14. Boston College (Come back from down 17-0 to beat Wake Forest 35-30)
15. Oregon (One of three 6-win teams in Pac-10)
16. Auburn (After opening loss to GT, have quietly won 5 straight)
17. Tennessee (Sucks)
18. Florida (Have the bye week to prepare for their biggest game of the year)
19. Wisconsin (Special teams comes up big, and I mean big)
20. West Virginia (Slaton's stats against Lousiville: 31 carries, 188 yards, 5 TDs)
21. Michigan State (Learn how to count to 11)
22. TCU (Improve to 6-1 in pushover conference)
23. Virginia (Defense comes through, causing three FSU turnovers)
24. Fresno State (Cupcake schedule so far)
25. California (High-scoring offense led by Forsett holding it down)

Games I watched:
USC @ Notre Dame (All)
Michigan State @ Ohio State (2nd Half)
Alabama @ Mississippi (4th Quater)
Wisconsin @ Minnesota (4th Quarter)
Florida @ LSU (1st Half)

Hokie "Pimp"kin

Tightest pumpkin ever. Definitely some first-class carvin' right there.

Found it posted at

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Vick Checkup #6

Michael Vick led Atlanta once again to victory, this time to a 34-31 win over NFC South rival New Orleans.

Vick's performance was nothing spectacular, just effective, like always. Vick's completed 11 of 23 passes for 112 yards, a touchdown and an interception. On the ground, Vick did his thing once again, racking up 51 yards on only 8 rushes. On the year, Michael has scored 5 times through the air, and once along the ground.

With the win, Atlanta moves to 2nd in the division at 4-2, and only trail first place Tampa Bay by one game. Next week Vick and the Falcons get to host the struggling New York Jets, with the game set to air Monday night on ABC.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Virginia Tech -- On the Outside Looking In?

The first BCS polls were released today, and accordingly so, CNNSI writer Stewart Mandel contributed this piece on the polls. With that being said, here is the bulk of the write-up.

"Based on the first BCS standings released Monday, USC and Texas appear to have a stranglehold on the Nos. 1 and 2 spots if they both continue winning. In fact, the gap between the No. 2 Longhorns and No. 3 Virginia Tech (.0457) is actually larger than the one between the Trojans and Texas (.0287).

The Longhorns currently hold commanding leads over the Hokies in both the Harris (129 points among 113 voters) and Coaches' (64 points out of 62 voters) polls, and have an average computer ranking of second, compared with fourth for the Hokies. Many have theorized that Virginia Tech, with what appears to be a stronger remaining schedule (games against 6-1 Boston College and 5-1 Miami and a potential ACC title date against 5-1 Florida State), would surpass Texas (which faces 6-0 Texas Tech this week in its last scheduled game against a current top-25 team) if both were to win out. That may have been true under the old BCS formula, where strength of schedule was its own component, but under the new system, where two human polls account for 66 percent of the equation, Virginia Tech (as well as fellow undefeateds Georgia and Alabama) are likely helpless unless USC or Texas lose or unexpectedly drop down in voters' ballots."

As a Hokie fan, definitely the reality I don't want to face.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Thanks for nothin' Notre Dame

With Texas blowing out Colorado and Notre Dame letting USC squeak by for the win in the dying seconds of the fourth quarter, another week with Tech having to remain ranked third in the college polls is inevitable.

Worries have to arise for Hokie fans everywhere as USC and Texas seem to have already beaten their last legitimate challenges of the season. Both the Trojans and Longhorns look to coast towards the end of the year as their schedules ease up quite a bit.

So with that being said, the shot of a likely upset against NCAA's 1 and 2 teams respectively looks rather grim. Though USC has looked suspect at times in the past few games (Oregon, ASU, Arizona, and Notre Dame), I'd say the Fighting Irish came as close to beating the Trojans as any other team this season will. Unfortunately, testing the number one team in the nation and not winning won't do much for your ranking, and it won't do much for ours as well.

So, quite frankly, thanks for nothin' Notre Dame.

With the win at South Bend, is there really any thought that USC won't go undefeated? I mean, who's going to knock them off...UCLA?

Looking at the Longhorns though, they too have been able to win their 'big' games this season, with those games essentially being wins over Ohio State and an Oklahoma team in a rare rebuilding year. The rest of their schedule seems to be a breeze, although arguments could be made as Texas Tech and Texas A&M being considered potentially tough matchups.

So excluding either the Longhorns or Hokies lose a game, the idea has already arisen amongst the NCAA of how the BCS would probably favor VT's strength of schedule going into the Rose Bowl, as opposed to that of UT's. With the concept of both teams going into Bowl season undefeated, an unbeaten Hokie teams with wins over a tough ACC (N.C. State, West Virginia, Miami, Boston College, Virginia, North Carolina, and possibly Florida State) would be practically home-free by the BCS in heading to Pasadena.

So to Beamer and company, just keep winnin' baby, and as ironic as this sounds, the BCS will take care of the rest.

USC - ND Game Thoughts

Jeff Samardzija (had to check how to spell it) was pretty sick, slicing up the USC defense for some good grabs. Definitely emerging as one of the top receivers in the nation with another solid performance (6 Catches, 99 Yards, 1 TD)...

Tom Zbikowski (had to check that one up too) had one sweet punt return. 60 yards to the house. Hit the hole hard and just shook off three suckas easy...

Good lord Charlie Weis is fat...

Dwayne Jarrett is straight clutch. 4th and 9 and this man comes through with a 61-yard catch. Can we say backbreaker?

Reggie Bush single-handedly beat the Irish, scoring 3 of USC's 5 touchdowns. This man is going to win the Heisman...

Speaking of Bush, I loved some of the stuff the NBC commentator (whose name I forget) threw out about the USC running back throughout the broadcast, such as:

"Reggie Bush is like the first amendment with hips, always expressing himself."
"Trying to tackle Bush is like trying to tackle a baloon in the wind."
And last but not least, my favorite: "Tackling Reggie Bush is like going through the nine stages of Dante's Hell."

Gee, never thought of it to be that rough.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Heisman Watch

Yahoo Sports' Terry Bowden (Yes, son of FSU head coach Bobby and brother of Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden) wrote this brief, yet interesting piece on Heisman favorites, which even includes Tech's very own, Marcus Vick.

As Terry writes, the obvious favorites to win the trophy have to be between UT's Vince Young and USC's dynamic duo of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. I'd say the race is too close to differentiate amongst the three of them, yet, in my mind if Notre Dame were to upset USC tomorrow, my pick to win the race would be leaning in Young's favor.

Looking at Vick though, I don't give Marcus that great of a shot to hoist the Heisman come end of the season, despite being practically flawless this year. He needs another year to grow and establish himself, and perhaps after another successful season, the concept of Vick in the frontrunning for next year's Hesiman race will be no surprise.

To take a look at the full story, click here.

Beamer Lands Contract Extension

Today it was announced that Hokie head coach Frank Beamer signed a 7-year contract extension until the 2012 season, paying him a reported $2 million per year, as opposed to the $1.4 million he was currently raking in.

The deal offers incentives and bonuses not only for Beamer but also for his entire coaching staff and assistants, something that the head coach was very stern about when coming to contract closure.

In fact, it had been hoped for Tech and their coach of 19 years to complete the deal before the season opener against N.C. State. However, I'm sure you all remember how Beamer refused to agree to the new contract because it didn't include raises for each of his nine full-time assistant coaches.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

SI's Midseason All-American -- Jimmy Williams

Not like it came as a surprise, but cornerback Jimmy Williams was chosen by CNNSI as part of their 2005 Midseason All-American Team, grabbing the honor as one of the nation's best defensive backs.

Williams has had a respectable year, but with being such a dominant cover guy, hasn't been thrown to very often. Opposing coaches design their passing offenses specifically to avoid him, thus accordingly he has recorded no interceptions on the season. However, in the few times he has been tested, Jimmy has held his ground, yet we all remember how he was beat in single coverage by Georgia Tech standout receiver Calvin Johnson, as well as giving up that touchdown to West Virginia tight end Mike Villagrana.

Despite those short comings, Jimmy brings to the table what most cornerbacks can't -- his size. If you've been watching the Tech games this season, you've been hearing this all year, as it headlines practically every discussion whenever commentators bring him up. At 6'3, 215 pounds, he still runs a 4.36 and has been stifling opposing receivers with his coverage every week. With being a converted safety, he also has the ability to hit just as well as he covers. We all saw those licks he put on the Wolfpack in the season opener; those kinds of hits coming from a corner are just unheard of.

With all the hype that has been circling him, it's going to be interesting how well Jimmy continues to do on the year, especially with a possible Rose Bowl berth on the horizon. With every play of every game being crucial in hopes of grasping that national title game appearance, I wouldn't be surprised to see our defensive secondary playmaker truly shine with the national spotlight focusing on his every move. If all goes well, come January Jimmy could be donned the defensive best back in America in addition to being a prime contributor on the number one team in the country.

All of this is just waiting to take place, and coincidentally, right before the NFL Draft in April. Who says timing isn't everything?

To take a look at the entire list, click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Vick Checkup #5

Quarterback Michael Vick wasn't able to play in Atlanta's Sunday 31-28 loss to the New England Patriots, sitting out the game with a sprained knee.

Former UVA quarterback Matt Schaub started in his place, and threw for 3 touchdowns, with no interceptions. On the day Schaub went 18-34 for 298 yards.

Also, ex-Hokie DeAngelo Hall had another good day, leading the team with 10 tackles on defense...

Vick is currently set as probable for next week's game at New Orleans, but in the mean time we'll just have to see how it pans out.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Hokie - Thundering Herd Game Pics

Beamer speaking with Vick during the second half.

Marcus handing off to unpictured running back Branden Ore.

#5 on one of his 6 rushes for the day.

Receiver Josh Morgan fighting Marhsall's Curtis Keyes through the air for extra yardage.

Hokies 41, Thundering Herd 14

I think we found ourselves a running back for next year.

Saturday's 41-14 homecoming win over the Thundering Herd of Marshall was another impressive victory, boosting Tech's record to 6-0.

Despite Tech having numerous standouts on both sides of the ball, it was all about the "Ore-ange Effect" .

Coach Beamer's running game was as impressive as ever, and led by redshirt freshman Branden Ore, racked up a season-high total of 235 rushing yards*. In his first solid outing, Ore had a breakout performance, carrying the ball 19 times for 146 of those total yards, as well as a touchdown.

Entering the game in the second quarter after Cedric Humes broke a bone in his arm, Ore immediately took the load off the Hokies' struggling offense. On only his fourth rush of the game, he was able to score, galloping into the endzone for a 14-yard touchdown.

With that touchdown however, Virginia Tech only took a 14-7 lead against a soft Marshall squad. It was without a doubt dissapointing to see the Hokies up by only seven going into halftime. I was definitely not expecting the game to be so close after the first 24 minutes of play. Defensively Tech looked a mess, especially in stopping the run. In fact, on the day, the Thundering Herd rushed for 164 yards, with 145 of those yards coming in the first half alone.

Thankfully for us, there was a second half to really showcase our talent. Especially the talent of Ore and the defense. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Tech drove the ball 78 yards down the field, with Ore accounting for 65 of those yards. Settling for a field goal from the 2, it was good to see Tech able to increase the lead.

And that they did, as not even a minute later, linebacker Vince Hall danced into the endzone after scooping up a Marshall fumble for a 15 yard return. 24-7 Hokies.

This play in my mind offered me the most relief as a Hokie fan after seeing the defense struggle throughout the first half. Hall's TD opened the game up for the Hokies and boosted the entire team's morale. Nothing like seeing the defense run into the endzone for six, but hey, that's what we're known for. I couldn't be more confident in the ability of the defense, especially in our linebacker trio of Hall, Xavier Adibi, and James Anderson, who seem to make big plays week in and week out.

Seeing the running game do so well was also a joy, as with Imoh and Humes nursing injuries, finding a backup who could carry the load of the running game was practically a necessity. The depth in the backfield for the Hokies is without a doubt there, it's just that the experience isn't. Getting Ore to play in a big game (homecoming) and do well was a big plus for us, and Beamer sees the importance in that. With both starting backs leaving us next year and Ore doing so well in his first real outing, I'd put him as the obvious favorite to be first on the RB depth chart next year.

Lastly, looking at the performance of Marcus Vick, I'd say it was nothing spectacular, but once again effective. On the day, L'il Vick threw for 163 yards on 11-16 passing attempts to go along with a touchdown. However, he also threw for an interception (his second of the year), and rushed 6 times for a laughable 3 yards. Not by any means his best game to date, but he was still able to lead drives and make that accurate pass when necessary. It'll be good to see how he takes the time off in the bye week to reflect on his homecoming performance, and hopefully come out much stronger next week against Maryland.

* The most total rushing yards Virginia Tech cumulated in one game this season was 218. Two times this year this was the occurence, in September 17th's 45-0 blowout against Ohio, and in last week's 34-17 win against West Virginia.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Still Flippin'

Marcus giving a good ol' "Hokie-Hi" to some lucky WVU fans Saturday.

Vick later apologized for his actions, stating that "his emotions got the best of him."

I don't really know though what malicious feelings could have overcome him, seeing as I thought he was having a good game at the time the event happened (early in the third quarter). Yet with the constantly agonizing Mountaineer fans though, perhaps his emotions could get him to react in such a manner.


Perhaps Marcus was just frustrated at some parents in the stands -- for shooing him away from their 15-year-old daughters.

B-C-S showing V-T some L-O-V-E

While browsing All Things Longhorn, a pro-UT blog, I came across one of their posts today mentioning how Virginia Tech basically has the ability to snatch that #2 spot from Texas, even if both teams were to win out and go undefeated.

The article, though posted on ATL, comes courtesy of Fanblogs. Here are a few tidbits that wrap up the overall message:

"...An undefeated ACC champ might leap a #2 poll team into the BCS because of the lower computer ranking, something the BCS haters are bound to love.

...If Texas runs the table, as they should, then you've got a #2 team that could actually need help in the computer polls.

...I'm not sure Texas has the computer rankings to make it into the #2 BCS slot."

So ultimately the Hokies might not need the Trojans or Longhorns to drop a game in order to nab that Rose Bowl berth. If we win out and continue to perform well, in the end the BCS should favor our strength of schedule and give us the coveted trip to Cali.

Here's hoping.

Vick earns weekly ACC honors

Much to my surprise (and delight), Marcus Vick has been playing practically flawless football for us this season. The redshirt junior straight outta' Newport News has been one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the nation, and this week's performance was just another testament to that statement.

Marcus Vick, who accounted for three touchdowns (and no turnovers) in Saturday's whoopin' of West Virginia, was named the ACC's Co-Offensive Back of the week today, sharing the award with Wake Forest QB Cory Randolph. Here's a quick breakdown of each of their performances.

Marcus Vick, Virginia Tech Quarterback, #5
15-17 Completions / 177 Passing Yards / 2 TDS - 0 INTS
12 Rushes/ 74 Yards / 1 TD

Cory Randolph, Wake Forest Quarterback, #17
20-25 Completions / 222 Passing Yards / 3 TDS - I INT
12 Rushes / 10 Yards / 1 TD

On the season as a whole, Vick has thrown for 880 yards and 9 touchdowns to go along with only 1 interception. Add to that the fact that he's getting yards on the ground too, as he's ran for 131 yards and 2 scores, and is yet to fumble once. Like I said, practically flawless football. This kid is for real.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Week 6 Rankings

With the weekend coming to a close the new polls for this week were released. Tech stills remains ranked at third, though if ASU would have got that upset, we'd be looking at a very likely trip to Pasadena.

#5 Florida dropped all the way to #13 after their 31-3 blowout loss to Alabama. Accordingly Alabama boosted from 15th to 7th and Florida State was able to move up to the #4 spot. How sweet would it be to see us play Bobby Bowden's squad in the ACC Championships, a possible #3 vs. #4. If that's the case, I'm heading down to Jacksonville.

To take a look at the poll, courtesy of, click here.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Vick Checkup #4

Michael did his thing again in week 4, that is before leaving the game in the second quarter with a strained right knee.

In his limited play, number seven Michael VIck threw only 8 passes, completing 6 of them, with one going for a score. On the ground, the ATL star ran 4 times for a smooth 58 yards.

Also of note was former ex-Hokie cornerback DeAngelo Hall, who recorded 5 tackles and an interception that he ran back for 37 yards.

Atlanta, with the win, moves to 4-0 on the season.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

USC/Texas Watch

In keeping a keen eye out for the top two teams in the nation, here is part of a brief piece on this weekend's action, as well as the links to their weekend game recaps, provided through ESPN.

No. 1 USC 51 (7-0) , Washington 24 (1-6) RECAP
It was over when...Game ball goes to...Stat of the game
Matt Leinart, Reggie Bush and Co. arrived safely to Husky Stadium. Leinart, who threw for 201 yards and four TDs for the Trojans. 14: The Trojans have won a school-record 14 straight on the road.

No. 2 Texas 52 (7-0) , No. 10 Texas Tech 17 (6-1) RECAP
It was over when...Game ball goes to...Stat of the game
The Longhorns scored TDs on six straight possessions in the second and third quarters. Texas' D. Even though it gave up 471 yards UT held Tech 37 points under the Red Raiders average. 8: The Horns have won eight straight games against opponents ranked in the Top 25.

Site Under Construction

Being a Mac user, I didn't know that my page would appear differently on a regular Windows PC, than on a Mac.

I found that out today by using a Windows PC on campus and viewing my site from Windows for the first time ever.

Instead of looking like the screenshot, it was completely different.

So if this page is a mess while you are viewing it, it's because I'm fixing it up.