With the VT/UVA clash approaching tomorrow, pro-Cavalier blog Sexy Results author Ian Cohen and I decided to run through a few exchanges in words in looking at the highly anticipated game. Here are his words, and you can check out mine here.
TT: Virginia has been one extremely unpredictable team this year, showing glimpses of greatness in their win over then 4th ranked Florida State, and then flashes of mediocrity in their 5-7 loss to the unranked Tarheels. Of the the two totally different Virginia teams that showed up in these two games, explain which of these two Cavalier squads that showed up to play is an accurate representation of how good UVA really is.
SR: As time goes on, I think the UNC loss is mostly a result of poor playcalling and Hagans being unquestionably injured after the FSU game. If he was anything over 50%, that game is ours. By the same token, he was about 150% during the FSU game, so that was also kind of a fluke. I think the Georgia Tech game showed us the UVA team that will most likely show up on Saturday. Lundy and Snelling finally seem like they're at full strength, our defense is getting healthier, and most importantly, it's a home game. That being said, VT is far better than GT, a fact which they proved to the tune of 44 points.
TT: With Virginia Tech coming out on top last year in Blacksburg to win the always highly anticipated Battle of the Commonwealth, as a UVA fan, how much did that bother you? Is the avengeful mindset the same for all Cavalier fans around the nation, especially on campus? In what way(s) would you like to see the Cavaliers take advantage of and hopefully beat the Hokies?
SR: The easiest way for us to take advantage of VT's weakness would be let you guys rot in the Big East, but obviously, we were more class than that. To be quite honest, losing to Tech doesn't bother us as much as you think it would. Considering
VT's "all your eggs in one basket" approach to its athletic program, which has produced a grand total of zero NCAA championships, we figure that it's supposed to be that way. Any win we get is sweet, but there's absolutely no UVA student that would agree to fundamentally altering our school or lowering our standards to win more games against Tech.
TT: In your opinion, who is the better quarterback? Marcus or Marcques? How so?
SR: Depends what you mean by "better." Marcus is obviously more of a raw talent as a QB, but don't forget that Marques has spent time as a kick returner and a WR (he had a pretty good day against D'Angelo Hall in 2003). I imagine that Marques will end up in the NFL as a Randle-El type. I would argue that Marques has been more valuable to his team this year. With the way Tech's defense has been playing, Marcus just needs to not fuck up completely in order to win games. Witness the Miami game; VT's defense did the best they could, but when your QB turns the ball over six times, that's not gonna cut it. While Marcus is a dangerous weapon, I don't think VT's record would've been all that different if Bryan Randall was still back there. VT's wins have been by such great margins that you can't pinpoint a single game that Marcus won himself. As for Marques, UVA's probably 4-5 if anyone else is at QB, since he won the FSU and Syracuse games almost by himself. Thus, I'd say that Marques is more valuable to his team.
TT: Like you mentioned, Virginia Tech won't be having Mike Imoh to carry the ball come gametime on Saturday. With that being said, who do you feel will have the more effective running game? UVA with Lundy and Johnson, or VT with Humes and Ore?
SR: I can't say whether Michael Johnson is back at 100%, but the combo you need to look out for is Lundy and Snelling. VT has too much speed on the sides for UVA to get fancy with their running attack, and Snelling is a bulldozer who has been getting a lot of looks at tailback recently. VT is a team that scores quickly and gets a ton of three-and-outs, so UVA's going to try to slow things down. So don't expect a lot of sweeps that could get us in 2nd and 14 situations.
UVA had modest success running against VT last year in spite of the fact that our playcalling begged them to put at least nine in the box. While VT's secondary is typically outstanding, Groh has far more confidence in Hagans' passing, so unlike in last year's game where we attempted 14 passes, there will be more commitment to keeping VT honest.
With all that in mind, VT's ground game will win the day until further notice. UVA's done a good job of shutting down some of the better RB's they've faced (Rhodes, Daniels), but this is the same team that got gashed by BC and Maryland. Though our stats against FSU, UNC and GT give me confidence that those days are behind us, we're still not at VT's level in terms of defense.
TT: Lastly, give an overall prediction on Saturday's matchup, and I'm dying to know, what do YOU guys REALLY think about VT?
SR: See my most recent post for predictions. I'm hoping against hope here, seeing as how the last time someone named Vick manned the controls, it wasn't even close. In fact, I'm guessing there's a better chance that VT wins by 30 than there is of them winning by 3.
As for what we think about Tech, I'd say it's a cocktail composed of equal parts indifference and pity. Indifference because nearly everyone at UVA had the chance to get accepted to and attend Tech or anywhere else in Virginia, and chose not to. Pity because other people didn't have that option, and spend their first year trying to get their grades up instead of partying so we'll accept their transfer applications.
Just about every other school in Virginia, save for W&L, likes to bash UVA kids for being "pretentious" and "snobs." In other words, we get called out for thinking we're better than everyone else. Well, if you went to the school in Virginia with the most stringent admissions requirements, best overall athletic program, most beautiful campus and coeds, most successful and famous alumni, the most storied social scene, was founded by Thomas Jefferson, and all that happened to be in what was voted the #1 city to live in America, you'd think you were the shit too.