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The Game After and Other Stuff

It was an impressive show of security Tech marshaled for Marshall. Gang warfare in Boston produced casualties. Big John spent a Saturday scoreboard-watching. The Rolling Stones produced no even bigger bang in Hooville and a demonstration that the busses still can’t run on time at Duke. It was an interesting few days around these parts.

One thing can be said about Virginia Tech: when they decide to do something about improper fan behavior, they don’t screw around. Tech officials acted to create a more pleasant environment for Herd fans than that experienced by those of Georgia Tech and did so in a big way. You would have thought the university administration had received a bunch of e-mails about it or something.

Tech’s determination to nip things in the bud began in the Public parking lot. There was an increased police presence. To their credit, they showed a deft touch. While walking into the stadium, I chatted for a bit with a Marshall fan of my own generation. He related that the police had stopped by his group’s tailgate and welcomed them to Virginia Tech, telling them to report any bad behavior exhibited by the home side. The constable had also requested that the visiting Herd pour their adult beverages into a cup. That is exactly the right way to handle such things, getting the message across without resorting to any kind of storm trooper mentality. The Marshall fan claimed to have enjoyed himself immensely, although I’m not so sure of his level of enjoyment after his heroes had received their smack down.

Numerous e-mails received by this Web site Sunday indicated that things were a bit calmer in the Public lot. An increased show of security certainly helped. It probably did not hurt things that it was a noon game and Saturday morning was a rainy one in Blacksburg, conditions, which tend to dampen exuberance. Nevertheless, Tech officials recognized a problem and acted to correct it. Things were addressed in a time frame much shorter than the couple of decades or so than it took them at WVU. They also managed to act without overreacting. Good job, guys.

Things were not perfect, mind you. There were incidents reported in and around the stadium and parking lots. They mostly seemed to involve excessive alcohol consumption by people lacking the capacity to handle it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and cleaning up parking lot misbehavior won’t happen in one, either. This was a start and a good one.

Despite what Swagger says I experienced no Walking Tall moment in the Public lot. The parking pass to a Hokie Club lot much closer to the Clubhouse Tailgate was not left at home this time. It was a lengthy hike to the public lot and Clota was cooking breakfast. My desire to eat food prepared by other people will always win out. Maybe for the next non-noon game.

There was, however, quite a display of what the Clubhouse crowd refers to as a Big Head Alert when I sat in Lane Stadium watching Frank Beamer on the video board encouraging fans to make Lane and its environs a pleasant experience for visiting fans, if not visiting teams. It does seem amazing what a smart ass with an Internet connection can accomplish.

The real credit, of course, goes to the many people upset by reports of bad fan behavior at Virginia Tech, so upset that they took action and bombarded Dr. Steger and the Athletic Director with e-mails requesting that something be done. These are alumni and friends of the university with a much larger concern for the good name of Virginia Tech than possessed by any parking lot punk. This impromptu grass-roots effort was a credit to the solid character of much of the fan base. Give yourselves a pat on the back. You earned it.

I suspect that most of the F-bombs detonated Saturday originated from the Virginia Tech locker room at halftime. I doubt coaches Beamer or Foster were altogether pleased with the lackadaisical effort shown by Tech in the First Half. Their impression of the Public Lot Punks seemed to have worked a bit better than the oft-used Temple speech.

Tech came out in the Third Quarter and rolled over the overmatched Herd. How quickly the Lane crowd starts the Wave is a good barometer of how things are going on the field. The first one began about midway of the Third. Once Tech finally got interested in the game, it was over.

Tech steamrolling Marshall became a bit of a sideshow compared with what was going on in the northernmost outpost of the new ACC. I don’t seem to recall any writings by Mr. Jefferson claiming that not all ankles were created equal and to deliver cheap shots to the bad ones. Nice job, Butler, of demonstrating the Jeffersonian ideal of dirty football. Attempting to maim an opposing star player did seem to stir up an Eagles’ nest of trouble for the Hoos.

The Hoos-BC game took on the demeanor of gang warfare. Things are not going so well these days for algroh, the Bruno Tattaglia of the ACC. Don Corleone stated that Tattaglia could have never outfought Santino; it seemed he didn’t fare so well against Fredo, either.

After the whacking of Mathias Kiwanuka, Fredo reacted like Michael following the funeral, taking his revenge to the tune of 28-17. The Don would have been proud. Fredo’s Tom Hagan, also an Irish kid with the last name O’Brien, will now take his grievance to Don Swofford. We will see what sanctions the head of the Twelve Families hands down.

algroh claimed that he was too busy contemplating muscling in on some of Belichick’s NFL action to pay any attention to what his button men were up to on the field. He pleaded ignorance, certainly a believable defense. algroh alleged he had been too busy perusing that dastardly Roanoke Times for Tech bias to actually see the tape of the Butler doing it. The Great NFL Legend not watching tape could explain the Hoos’ record these days. For his part, Hoo AD Craig Littlepage vowed that he would take action just as soon as Tubby came on board. This might take a while.

The emergence of North Carolina as a football power was derailed Saturday at Louisville. They won’t be interrupting the Gay Pride parades down Franklin Street for a football one just yet. The Tar Heels were splattered to the tune of the most points ever given up by a Carolina football team and not many of the basketball ones. Oh, well.

John Bunting took it in stride and even joked about the loss, showing the good humor of a Carolina coach who has beaten State twice in a row and has a contract extension. I’m sure Big John will file away Bobby Petrino ordering extra RUTS on his Papa John pizza. These sorts of things have a way of coming back around, Petrino. The good news for the Louisville slimeballs is that they won a football game. The bad news is that they are still in the Li’l E. All things considered, Carolina still wins.

Around the rest of the ACC, Chuck Amato got the wolves away from the door by actually winning a game, a Thursday night thriller in Atlanta over Georgia Tech. Chan Gailey can look on the brighter side: unlike the baseball team in his city, he has another game to play. Duke and Wake Forest traveled to the ACC’s Florida football stronghold with predictable results. At least the Deacs made a game of it for a while.

Some good came out of Duke getting blasted by Miami in that it freed up Wallace Wade Stadium for a weekend, enabling the Rolling Stones to put on a show. For one Saturday, good music replaced bad football.

The Stones had played a couple of days earlier at Hooville. That show had been delayed when the Hooville brass received a call claiming that unless algroh won a big game, Scott Stadium would be blown up. That panicked the Hoos to the point of stopping the show and emptying parts of it. It proved to be as big a hoax as most of algroh’s claims.

At Duke, the end of the show demonstrated that the people in charge of such things know no more about running a bus system than they do about fielding a winning football team. They had learned absolutely nothing from those thousands of Tech fans who waited for an interminable time for busses to show up and return them to the parking lots. The exact same thing happened to fans of the Stones. A crowd of people exiting Wade can cripple the Duke transit system. It’s a good thing Duke football ensures there are rarely big crowds.

We have moved to the mid-point of the season for most teams. Tech gets a welcome week off. As it turns out, it will be a bye week for me, too. Plans to spend Tech’s off-week in the Blue Ridge Mountains engaged in something other than football pursuits were short-circuited by a Sunday phone call from the young lady who was to accompany me.

The excuse that her father had died was one I had never heard before. It sure beats having to wash her hair for originality. It was true, too. That ninety-year old coot would indeed go to great lengths to keep me away from his daughter. He will only be able to pull this one once, however. Time is on my side. Among the side effects is that I will also have the time to write another column this week. Unless the attending physician made a serious mistake, I will.

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