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All Games Good and Bad

We know it is coming. This Virginia Tech team continues to win, last Saturday by a somewhat uncomfortable margin. Life is about to get a bit tougher. The rest of the ACC saw a hometown boy make good at State, Big John pleased and more bad luck befall the Great NFL Legend. And how about those Deacs?

Somebody really needs to pass the word around the Tech athletic offices: Quit scheduling Cincinnati . Eleven years after the 1995 debacle against the Bearcats, it looked a lot for three quarters like it was going to happen again. How come these guys never drop Tech like Auburn or Wisconsin ?

The crowd at Lane Stadium could be described as ‘anxious’ until about 2:30 or so when Tech finally wore down the pesky Cincy team. The Bearcats had certainly brought more emotion to the game than had the sleep-walking Hokies. They also had a gameplan that Chan Gailey and John Tenuta should find quite instructive this week.

Tech finally got its collective heads into the game in the Second Half and by the Fourth Quarter had worn down the plucky but out-manned Bearcats. The Hokies did what teams with superior talent are supposed to do, which was find a way to win in the Fourth Quarter. The notion still persists, however, that Tech is living on borrowed time. That undefeated record and high ranking are going to be increasingly difficult for the very young Hokies to maintain.

This was not exactly a national power that gave Tech fits for much of the game. Cincinnati is a Li’l E bottom-feeder, not nearly the caliber of the Cousins and Pizza Boys, teams that Tech each knocked off by a couple of touchdowns last year. That Cincy proved to be by far the toughest team yet faced by the Hokies this season certainly speaks volumes about Carolina and Duke.

Ah, yes, Carolina and Duke. While the Blue Devils lost a tough one to Open Date, things did not go particularly well for the Tar Heels in Death Valley . The game began with Cam Sexton exhibiting much difficulty in distinguishing between his right and left then got worse. A lot worse.

Big John Bunting was as undeterred by the 7-52 blowout loss as he has been following all of the other crushing defeats that have happened over the years on his watch. He pointed out that things were going “extremely well” for his football program and he certainly wasn’t going to dwell on this bad loss or all of the others he had engineered over the years since, let’s face it, there are only twenty-four hours in a day. Who would have the time?

Big John explained things away by claiming that despite what looked very much like an uninspired Carolina team quitting on him, “our intentions were good.” The road out of Blue Heaven to some nether region will be paved with good intentions.

The good intentioned paving will likely be lined with a pink slip, at least according to Caulton Tudor of the good old N&O. That august tabloid had devoted its Saturday Sports section to rounding up crowds and pitchforks for Chuckie. By Monday morning the sights had been readjusted to Big John.

The normally football-challenged Tudor pronounced that Big John was ‘failing’ as the Carolina coach. While not exactly Grantland Rice, Tudor generally provides a good mouthpiece for the thinking in the upper levels of the Rams Club. In other words: Adios, Big John.

For his part, Carolina AD DickieB seemed unconcerned, claiming that things will be “fine.” That optimism could be founded on the knowledge that basketball practice begins in three weeks and Ol’ Roy’s crew is loaded. The handful of people who actually follow Carolina football will have more pleasant diversions by the time we are treated to the high comedy of DickieB attempting to hire a football coach.

Around the time the Carolina team bus was pulling up to the Kenan Center , things were brightening considerably for the other embattled RTP football coach. The expression on Chuckie’s face when Evans hit Dunlap was probably very close to that of a condemned prisoner when he receives an 11:59 call from the Governor.

State provided the feel-good story of the weekend. Daniel Evans had been named the Packs’ starting quarterback this week in what looked a lot like sheer desperation on the part of Chuckie. His wardrobe choices should be as inspired as this.

The son of former Wolfpack star QB and current radio network analyst Johnny Evans carved a name for himself in Pack lore with his terrific late-game heroics to knock off Fredo. It was a big-time play in a big-time environment that gave the Pack a big-time win. The position of quarterback for NC State seems to have been settled.

The win also lowered the temperature under Chuckie’s chair quite a bit. There will still be plenty of opportunities left for the State coach to screw up the season, but for right now the mood at the Murphy Center is a bit brighter as the Wolfpack finds itself tied for first in the ACC’s Atlantic Division along with Florida State and Wake Forest .

Speaking of Wake, the over-achieving Deacons are now 4-0 following the dismantling of Ole Miss. With I-AA Liberty on the horizon, Wake is a very good bet to reach 5-0 for the first time since Bill Dooley’s first year in Winston in 1987.

Jim Grobe continues to work miracles at low-budget Wake. Lose the starting quarterback? So what? Lose the starting tailback? Big deal. No matter how much the depth chart keeps getting whittled down, Grobe and his Deacs continue to win. Anybody want to speculate on what would have happened to Tech last Saturday if they had lost Sean Glennon and Brandon Ore? It doesn’t seem to faze Grobe or the Wake team. If this keeps up, pretty soon one of those ADs from the Big XII will be returning Grobe’s calls.

Then there are the Hoos. Mack McDonald, the madcap voice of the Hoo Sports and Comedy Radio Network tried to claim last Thursday that the misfortunes befalling the Hoos were simply the result of ‘bad lick.’

The worst seems to have been when Hoo prez Dr. Casteen intervened in what had been a fruitless chase for Mark Richt and hired algroh, a monumental stroke of ill luck matched only by that same Dr. Casteen who handed out the huge raise and contract extension to the Great NFL Legend while Little Craig was busy botching the Tubby deal. Doug Doughty is right; Tech should erect a statue in honor of Dr. Casteen. Whether it’s hiring algroh or the whole ACC thing, few outside of Frank Beamer have done so much for Tech football as Dr. Casteen.

The Thursday night loss to GT by the Hoos certainly confirmed that in the case of Hoo QC and QB coach boygroh, the chess piece didn’t fall too far from the board. The Son of the Legend has shown a remarkable ability to coach the Hoo quarterbacks in solid field general techniques such as passing off the wrong foot and bouncing the ball on one hop to a wide-open receiver. These are valuable coaching competencies.

Thanks to algroh’s excellent coaching and a lousy Wyoming kicker, the Hoos are 1-3 and heading to Wallace Wade Stadium this Saturday to play Duke in the ACC’s showcase game. Lincoln Financial paid a premium to buy out Jefferson Pilot in order to televise quality games such as this. Fans won’t want to miss a second of the thrilling action.

The Hoo-Duke classic should provide an entertaining diversion for Tech fans waiting for the 3:30 kickoff against the other Tech. Hopefully it won’t be the only entertainment of the day, although visions of the blitz package Tenuta will throw at Glennon or Calvin Johnson carving up the young Tech secondary are not pleasant ones.

Win or lose [and obviously this correspondent will be actively rooting for the home Tech] it will still be a Saturday of football, as was the last. They are all good.

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