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The First Week

Well, there was at least some great tailgating. Virginia Tech’s yawn-inducing season-opening win over Northeastern went pretty much according to script. There was no drama whatsoever in the opener that turned out to be a romp over an A-10 dog instead of a more interesting game against the Wisconsin Chickens. Tech’s young and inexperienced starters got some much-needed reps against something almost approaching live action while the Huskies got an appreciated $375k boost to their skimpy I-AA football budget.

The remnants of Ernesto that had made Friday’s Traveling Day an exercise in hydroplaning, at least for the Honda Civic in front of me on Westover Drive, had thoughtfully moved on in time for the tailgating fields around Lane to be pungent with the smells of grilling meat instead of soggy clothing. It was a bright and sunny day, as the sunburn on my face attests.

One of the few benefits of jimmy’s 2005 Lane Stadium re-seating that I have found was that our tickets were moved to a location very close to those of a favorite cousin. Ticket holders disinterested in the caliber of opposition provided by Northeastern to the point of not showing up enabled us to sit together and spend much of the game chatting.

Things did perk up a bit on the field when a career game was turned in by the son of a first cousin on the other side of her family. That would be Carlton Weatherford, a product of the same Tunstall High School where most of the Alderson boys and Moorefield girls and boys, a collective group also known as the grandchildren, killed time before heading to Virginia Tech [there was a VCU and William and Mary matriculation thrown in].

Immediately after the game, we discovered that it is one hell of a long way from where the tailgate of a former fighter pilot has relocated to where our home tailgating range, the Clubhouse one resides. Some of jimmy’s tinkerings work out better than others.

This one ranked right up there with staffing the stadium entrances with a collection of rank amateurs who had apparently never before worked a football game and displayed little idea of how to move people through turnstiles in an expeditious manner. It is hard to generate much Hokie Respect for an administration that seems far more concerned with sniffing out demon rum than getting fans into the stadium by kickoff.

Unless stadium personnel have an epiphany that causes them to realize that, generally, the function of stadium entrances is to allow people to enter rather than preventing it, the Communion Call for the nooner against Duke will have to be held somewhere around 9 am in order to be inside in time for ‘Enter Sandman.’

Our alternate tailgate was run by the guy who had lured me in with an e-mail invitation containing the eye-catching header of ‘Free Whiskey.’ It will work every time, proving that I will indeed travel to the ends of the earth in search of free liquor.

It became even more remote when a ride back was not offered by a certain Russian, a commie bastard who has somehow managed to bamboozle the Tech SID office into awarding him a field pass, which gives him an excellent vantage to snap shots of cheerleaders, unsuspecting attractive young ladies in the stands and, occasionally, a picture of the action on the field.

Left to our own devices and feet, we had made it as far as Cassell before another, far friendlier denizen of the location-challenged tailgate [at least for us] took pity on the two middle-aged guys panting and wheezing on the verge of collapse and gave us a ride back to the Clubhouse in his spiffy Audi. We were much happier to see German metal roll up than had been the Russian’s grandfather in 1941.

Outside of the rout at Lane, the news around the rest of the ACC’s Coastal division was not so cheery. In fact, by the time the rain-soaked dust had settled Monday night in the Orange Bowl, Tech turned out to be the only one of the six to have actually won. Well, they did play the biggest dog.

Florida State ’s defense dominated Miami in the Second Half as the ‘Noles beat the Canes for the second straight time. Miami , brought into the ACC in response to and replace what was perceived as a drop-off by the ACC’s resident claim to big-time football, has now lost two in a row to Bobby Bowden. This does not exactly thrill the hordes of Canes fans that almost filled the Orange Bowl to about as close to capacity as it gets these days, at least until the Dwarf Dyke of Miami convinces the Miami taxpayers to foot the bill for tearing down sections of it so it won’t appear so empty when the Canes are playing anybody other than FSU or Virginia Tech.

Canes coach Larry ‘Uncle Fester’ Coker reacted to another loss by stating, “I want to make sure fans don’t give up on our football team.” Too late, Larry. Scanning posts early Tuesday morning brought one’s attention to headers blaring, ‘Fire Coker’ and ‘Miami Not Good Enough Any More.’ And these were from sportswriters at the Miami Herald. Caneloons were not quite as understanding.

Posters declared their disgust with Coker only winning fifty-three games in five years. The most informative informed readers that he had chatted immediately following the game with what he described as a ‘wealthy and influential alumnus,’ usually meant to denote a player who was around for Miami’s most recent probation.

It seems Uncle Fester would be fired ‘no later’ than 8 am Tuesday morning, the news delivered by Paul Dee by means of a bullet in the back of the head and his lifeless body weighted with chains and dumped into Biscayne Bay. He was to be replaced by none other than former coach Butch Davis, formerly known as the guy who could not beat Frank Beamer and whose leaving in 2000 to make the woeful Cleveland Browns even worse touched off wild celebrations among the reality-challenged Canes fans. The news media seems to be keeping a tight lid on that one.

Among the next southernmost Coastal member and loser, Georgia Tech gave Notre Dame all they wanted, especially John Tenuta’s defense, but in the end the Irish did what good teams do, which was find a way to win the game. So much for my inspired pick of the Jackets to win, which seemed like a good idea at the time.

So did picking the Hoos to knock off Pitt. One of these days algroh’s sterling road record will sink in to both me and Craig ‘How About That New Arena Tubby Ain’t Coaching In, Huh?’ Littlepage. The Great NFL Legend was pounded by another. It would seem that there are no problems created at Pitt by Dave Wannstedt that scheduling OOC games versus algroh can’t cure. The losing Great NFL Legend explained the latest loss by saying, “We played one game here now today,” adding there were fifteen left to go and the Hoos had an excellent shot of making the playoffs.

The really big news from the weekend came out of the RTP. The team at North Carolina , concerned that Virginia Tech fans might not find enough tickets for Saturday’s game, took it upon themselves to free up a few thousand by losing at home to Rutgers . For all of the Tech fans unable to purchase any of the ones DickieB kept unloading on jimmy, check Ebay.

Big John Bunting had spent the entire month of August weauxfing about how good his Heels were going to be. He had been joined by the good old N&O, which had abandoned its last remaining shreds of journalistic objectivity and integrity by climbing aboard the New Blue train, breathlessly avowing its love for the Heels and declaring that the long-awaited Big Year was finally at hand, throwing in another hatchet job on State and Chuckie [who actually won. Who says an RTP team can’t beat a Number One?] for good measure. So much for that. The good old N&O can now write off football for yet another year and devote its boasting to how Ol’ Roy will not only not lose a game this year, but beat every team on its schedule by at least thirty.

Big John remained optimistic following the bad loss, claiming to view the wine glass as ‘half-full.’ He also remained in full Weauxf Mode, telling the Sunday Tech television show that his beauties were ‘right there with Florida State and Miami .’ The record is indeed the same as the Canes. Big John’s Bunting Ball now faces a must win against Tech or he is likely claiming that his next year’s team will be ‘right there’ with the Frankfurt Galaxy.

And then there is Duke. Just when you think things can’t possibly get any worse, the Devils up and lose to a I-AA team for the first time ever. Even Fred and Franks could not manage that feat. Ted Roof shrugged off the loss as just another, saying, “We’ve got a lot of football left to play.” That was a sobering thought to Duke fans as they realize that it will still be a while before basketball season begins.

Week One is in the books. The good news is that football is again being played. The bad news? Well, there really isn’t any, since football is again being played.

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