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Halftime 2008

We have reached what is roughly the halfway point of the season. As is usually the case, things have gotten fairly interesting.

The Virginia Tech football team had last week off. Unlike Frank’s crew, I did not. Despite my best attempts at working very hard at not working very hard, I seem to have gotten myself involved in a project which has turned out to be quite time-consuming. And in the middle of football season to boot. Darn my luck!

Actually, all things considered, my luck has been pretty good. These days, I have a perch from which to observe that there are some things a hell of a lot more important than whether Tech’s offense can figure out how to actually move the ball.

Despite the primitive performance of said offense and their at times irksome tendency to play exactly to the level of their competition, Tech does find itself sporting a 5-1 record and an improbable lead in the ACC’s Coastal Division. Considering what awaits, the chances are it won’t last. From here on out, Carolina has what should be considered a much easier conference schedule than do the Hokies. Despite losing to Tech, the Heels should be the favorites to win the Coastal and advance to Tampa.

As for Carolina, the career of Butch Davis is not noted for the large number of big wins he has compiled. His records of 1-7 against Frank and 1-5 against Pa Bowden would seem to attest to the notion that when the stakes are highest, Butch is most like Butch. Nevertheless, the win over Notre Dame was a big one. If Butch can stop lusting after the big $EC bucks Tennessee will pay long enough to build on the win over the Irish, it can serve as the springboard to a very good season.

Still lurking around the Coastal waters is Georgia Tech. The Jackets continue to confound opposing DCs with Johnson’s gimmick offense. The next ones to take a crack at stopping it will be whoever is left on the Clemson staff and Magical Bob. Frank Spaziani and Mickey Andrews would seem to have lighter workloads over the next two weeks.

Football fever is back in Hooville. Or at least about as close as the Jeffersons get to catching it. With the rampant excitement created by algroh’s latest demonstration of coaching acumen, there should only be 7 or 8 thousand empty seats in the Smithsonian this weekend for Carolina.

One thing can be said for the Great NFL Legend: when his back is up against a pergola, he responds. If this keeps up, Hoo AD Craig ‘Tubby, algroh is like a summer cold’ Littlepage might only have to go hat in hand to Carl begging for cash to cover unsold tickets in the John.

Hoo fans everywhere are positively agog at the sudden upturn in the fortunes of their heroes, none more so than the Hoo Lawyer. He called at halftime Saturday to exult in the 28-6 lead, exclaiming, “[Expletive deleted] it. That [Expletive deleted] algroh is going to win just enough [expletive deleted] games to keep us from firing his sorry [expletive deleted]. We’ll never get rid of the son of a [expletive deleted].” Hokie fans join their in-state Hoo brethren in rejoicing over algroh’s recent success and the possibility that he will continue his legendary Hooville tenure.

A few weeks ago, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit on Gameday proclaimed the Canes Back and Backer and awarded them the ACC championship. They haven’t won a conference game since, and barely added another loss to the resume of George O’Leary. Nice job, Kirk. Barring some really strange goings-on, the Canes are again reduced to the role of spoiler, while the annual October cry of ‘Next year’ echoes around Coral Gables.

Over in the Atlantic Division, Wake Forest leads the bunch. Hotel operators in Tampa are no doubt thrilled. Maryland, Fredo and Florida State are lumped a game behind the Deacs. With Jax having walked away from the ACC championship game, taking with it the guaranteed $500k per school per year, a portion of the ACC’s revenue-sharing checks now depends on numbers of tickets sold in Tampa.

When most everybody in the league, maybe even Wake AD Ron Wellman, is fervently hoping that somehow the Noles find their way to winning the division, you have some structural problems in your conference. Just wait until the new television contract is announced.

Then there is Clemson. The nine-year Tommy Bowden Death Watch finally came to a merciful end with AD Terry Don Phillips pulling the plug. The end came following the Tigers’ rather remarkable display of offensive ineptitude in Winston-Salem last Thursday night. Yes, the Tech offense has problems, but, geez, Tommy. Frank wasn’t the only coach who neglected to recruit an o-line. I for one will miss the annual Tommy Bowden Death Watch. It did provide a bit of humor.

The rest of the season in Tigetown will mostly focus on the who will be the next guy not to meet Clem’s enormous expectations. Skippy Holtz at ECU seems to have done a fine job recently of coaching himself out of consideration. Beating Tech then losing to the Hoos is a neat trick not many ACC coaches manage to accomplish. By year’s end, there should be some current $EC coaches to consider, such as Bobby Johnson, Phat Phil and perhaps Tommy Tuberville.

I would vote for Phat Phil, but that is me and perhaps I have considerations other than great Clemson football success. Chuckie is gone, Butch ain’t gonna be around all that much longer and algroh won’t dodge Carl’s reaper forever. I will need new sources of ridicule.

That is in the future. Right now what I need is time and that is in short supply. The second half of the season kicks off Thursday night in Raleigh and kicks in Saturday afternoon everywhere else. That will be then. This is now, which means I am heading back to work.

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