The A-Line It is what it is, unless it is not
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2008
30
Sep

Corn and the Legend

It certainly was an interesting weekend. The ACC discovered that there seems to be a football conference it can dominate. A master, such as he is, continued his dominance over former pupils. An annual autumnal rite is in full swing. And how about that epic battle in Durham, sure to become the stuff of legend?

The ACC has taken a lot of abuse for its seeming utter lack of football prowess this year. Much of it has been richly-deserved. However, while the ACC might seem pretty lousy and for the most part is, it would seem that the Big XII is worse, at least everywhere but at the top.

With the two OOC wins over the Middle America Conference, or NuMAC, the ACC went to 4-0 on the season against them. That is fairly impressive when you consider that the ACC has also managed to lose OOC tilts against a RUTS Belt team and a service academy.

The latest NuMAC teams to fall victim to Little Johnny’s not quite powerhouse league were Colorado and Nebraska. The Buffs found Florida State to be just a bit tougher than the Cousins, but, you aren’t reading this for analysis of the CU-FSU game, are you?

You probably aren’t reading this for an analysis of Tech’s win over Nebraska, either, since much better ones can be found in several other places. What is pointed out here is the obvious: it was a very big win.

This was not a vintage Nebraska team. A program does not recover in a single season from the unmitigated disaster of having had Bill Calahan as its coach. There are neighborhoods in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans that will likely be rebuilt quicker.

Nevertheless, Nebraska remains one of the great brand names in college football. And, this ain’t a vintage Tech team, either. What the Hokies are is a very young and feisty bunch, getting feistier by the game. The Children of the Corn retain one of the most impressive home venues in football; Tech was unimpressed.

The team that showed remarkable aplomb in overcoming a two-TD deficit at Carolina the previous week again displayed a maturity beyond their years in what should have been a dominating performance at Nebraska. Only Tech Red Zone futility and yet another breakdown by Tech’s Special Teams kept this one as close as it was, which was enough to keep those half a continent away standing behind their recliners instead of relaxing in them.

While they are still very young and remain a work in progress and there are still some schedule potholes down the road, this Tech team is learning some lessons that will serve them well, such as how to overcome adversity and win. These can be handy things to know.

Knowing how to win seems to be something Butch has learned, as long as the other sideline is commanded by a former assistant and not Frank Beamer. Butch went 3-0 against his former staff as the Tar Heels rallied late to knock off the Canes. Butch besting Randy Shannon was a bit more exciting than the Heels’ earlier game this year against a former DC.

One could not help but notice that while the Canes have vacated the Orange Bowl, they brought all of those thousands of empty seats with them. College football is all about tradition and few compare these days with the Canes playing home games in a half-empty stadium.

Kirk Herbstreit on Gameday might have declared the Canes Back and Backer, but the tens of tens of Canes fans still need a bit more convincing. With good reason, it would seem.

While the usual cries of ‘We’re Back’ that always emanate from South Florida in September having been replaced with the usual October cries of ‘Next year,’ we again stop to ponder that Little Johnny’s crown jewel of ACC expansion continues to exhibit the high gem quality of a cubic zirconia.

Throw in what seems to be the steadfast refusal of the local ABC affiliate to carry that network’s weekly ACC game, certain to be a huge bargaining chip in the ongoing negotiations for the ACC’s next television contract and you notice, again, that the Backability Conference Value Index of the Canes seems to have been grossly overestimated. The decades and conferences may change but the results remain the same.

The Canes seem to have a reputation for Backness that allows for one giant television contract per conference. History teaches us, however, that their Staying Back cannot be sustained.

It just wouldn’t be an ACC football season without a Tommy Bowden Death Watch. Thanks to the latest TBowden Moment in Death Valley last Saturday, we again have one.

Those Tiger fans who, following the Bama debacle, were still unsure of whether there would be a Tommy Bowden Death Watch this year had all doubt removed.

Each year’s Tommy Bowden Death Watch is always great fun to observe. Obviously Clem’s AD Terry Don Phillips agrees. That huge contract extension he handed Tommy last year should ensure at least a couple more.

Speaking of contract extensions, or more specifically, buyout provisions contained in them, how about that Hoo-Duke game? Feel free to take a couple of minutes to engage in uncontrollable laughter.

It took only about half of watching for this viewer to come to the conclusion that he was watching the two worst teams in the ACC. One of those two worst lost to the other 3-31. It remains to be seen whether one of them will turn out as bad as they looked in Wade Stadium last Saturday, but there doesn’t seem to be much doubt about the other.

A 28-point loss to the guys that had previously lost 25 ACC games in a row? Just when you think there are no surprises left from algroh, he manages to pull another dead rabbit out of his hat. He has reached a new low point in a career that bristles with them. The Great NFL Legend certainly demonstrated that the second half of that year running the Jets into the ground was no fluke.

As algroh continued to explain away yet another loss, and explain, and explain, and explain, a flurry of activity engulfed the academical village.

Carl surveyed the collapsing financial markets, attempting to determine if he retained sufficient net worth to Cut the Check.

Hoo AD Craig ‘He’s a goner, Tubby. Save yourself if you can’ Littlepage stood atop the Rotunda shouting, “Women and athletic directors first.” Bruce Ismay donning women’s clothing to escape the Titanic will seem a hoot compared to the neck-saving efforts that Littlepage will undertake over the next few weeks. Standing in front of that giant broom sweeping through the McCue Center screaming, “I didn’t hire him” may or may not work. He might try dressing as Sally.

The Hoo message board loons expended extra effort in making my fine Sunday morning mood even brighter. Thanks, guys. Keep up the good work.

It sure looks a lot like we are going to again get to watch one of those special seasons in Hooville, such as 1975, when Sonny Randle demonstrated that Hoo U could be Harvard not only Monday through Friday but Saturday as well, 1981 when Dick Bestwick exclaimed, week after week, “If you don’t think I know what I’m doing, fire me,” or 2000, when Terry Holland announced George’s retirement, immediately followed by George saying, “Huh?” These truly are special seasons that don’t often come along. Savor every moment.

In a couple of months the chances are very good that algroh will be able to devote his full energies to updating his Coachbook page. One thing is for sure: we will miss him when he is gone.

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