“It’s an improvement.”– algroh
Is it basketball season yet? Ol’ Roy still has a ton of top-shelf talent returning and Coach K has addressed his guard shortage. ACC basketball is poised for another big year. And then there is football.
Things did not get off to a promising start for the ACC. It wasn’t just the league’s showcase game for the ‘we are better, honest’ mantra that emanated from Grandover during what seemed the entire Dead Zone. I’m sure most are aware of the results of the game I saw in between all of the chicken video board commercials and cartoon cows running around. Tech leading the Tide through the Third Quarter was the high point. Posting an 0-fer against teams from other BCS conferences is one thing, as bad as it seems and is; whiffing against the CAA is another. When you are not even the best league in the state of Virginia, you have a problem.
After a couple of series Saturday night, it seemed pretty obvious that Alabama was better than Virginia Tech. It didn’t take long to notice that they were bigger and faster. Yet, through ¾ of the game Tech was actually leading. Just when hopes became high that Beamerball might actually snatch this one, the Tide finally wore down Bud’s defense and took it by two scores. This is what almost always happens when Tech plays a team considered among the elite. As almost always happens when Tech plays a team considered among the elite or anybody else, the fingers were pointed at the offense.
Every year for what now seems a very long time, the hype from Tech is that the offense and in particular the o-line will be much better THIS year. Every year most Tech fans believe it, demonstrating that we are perhaps some of the most gullible fans around. The o-line did everything but provide the same valet service to the Bama defensive one that we received at the hotel. Tyrod again showed that he is not a great quarterback, or even a particularly-good one. And so it goes.
Tech does not recruit at the level of the so-called ‘elite’ programs. That the record is so abysmal against them should not be so surprising. The team with the better players usually win football games and Tech does not have as much top-tier talent as Alabama, or LSU, or Georgia, or Southern Cal, or any of the teams that keep exposing Tech for the legitimate and very good Top 15 level program they are, just not a serious MNC contender unless a twice-in-a-lifetime player hits campus. One does have to wonder how much longer Tech’s passionate fan base will keep buying into the never-ending Jamerson and Merryman hype that the program is actually better than it is. Even Frank does nothing to tone down what always seem to be unrealistic expectations. Maybe he should.
Tech now moves, again, to the achievable goal of yet another conference championship. It will be a difficult job, but the program has done it before, several times, even after deflating losses like this one. The Tech team in general and offense in particular will get better, if for no other reason than they have already faced the toughest team they are likely to see this year.
After thirty-six hours or so of frantic attempts to remove the nearly last-minute insertion of a monkey wrench into travel plans, I did indeed make it to Atlanta. We had a very enjoyable trip, with the exception of the four hours between 8 pm and midnight Saturday. Of course, that does appear to be akin to von Paulus stating that he very much enjoyed his Russian vacation except for the Stalingrad portion of the itinerary. But, it was not the first time I have ever journeyed a decent distance to watch Tech lose, and probably won’t be the last. Compared to what some other members of the Clubhouse Tailgate were going through [keep getting better, Keith], I had it very easy. There is much to be said for the trip and tailgate in itself.
There were, as often happens when a certain Russian national is traveling with us, a series of interesting conversations. Included were one that began on the relative merits of Viagra [not that any of the middle-aged males packed into the rental van needed it, mind you] and concluded with the cry from the back of the vehicle, in heavily-accented English, of “Modern drugs suck!” While I can’t speak as to what might have happened in the hotel room across the hall from mine, especially with the ready access to the soft-core porn that the hotel’s in-house television system seemed determined to sell, I can definitely report that the opportunity to put that statement to the test never once presented itself, darn it. That would include the last-ditch effort late Saturday night, a conversation struck up in the hotel lobby with some very attractive Alabama young ladies [you’ve got to love that SEC tradition of the attractive young ladies dressing up for football games. Those sun dresses are much more pleasant on the eyes than that other SEC tradition of continually beating Tech in football] that continued in the elevator and, after discovering that we were lodged on the same floor, down the hallway before they, with good humor, declined our invitation of late-night [2 am] cocktails from the bar that just happened to be set up in my room. After what had happened inside the Georgia Dome, it seemed like RUTS. It should be reported to any girlfriends that I am informed read these entries that the invitation came from me. With the exception of the fifth of Wild Turkey 101 that was cracked in my driveway at 0833 Friday morning and passed back and forth between a certain gentleman and the Russian and empty by Charlotte, he was a very good boy, as was the one married guy in the group.
When we returned to the Clubhouse Tailgate following the game, we were greeted by a [different] gentleman who had attacked the selection of adult beverages with a bit too much enthusiasm and hadn’t seen the game. This seems to be a Tailgate tradition for night games in Atlanta. Hopefully, the Georgia Tech one will be a nooner or 3:30 at the latest. When Atlanta’s famous bums are rousting you, perhaps some would be well advised to lean a little more towards the ample Tailgate supplies of bottled water and soft drinks. Wedging plastic containers of water between mugs of home brew seemed to work for me.
Once again, Tech has had an early-season test against a very good team and, once again, Tech did something other than pass it. Things didn’t go any better around the rest of the ACC. Unlike most of the rest of the conference, Tech did lose to a very good team that should be in the thick of the MNC hunt until they run up against Florida.
Another OOC weekend like this one and Little Johnny will be reduced to soliciting bids for ACC football television rights from local access cable channels. Yikes! It was a miserable showing that began with the NC State football team collecting the guns from the Trinity Road crowd and using them to shoot themselves in the foot and concluded with Ralph Friedgen cruising the crab stands along Fisherman’s Wharf following that debacle near the bay area of San Francisco. And that wasn’t the worst of it. The big talk from David Cutcliffe about Duke being bowl eligible this season lasted just as long as it took the Devils to take the field for their opening game. And Duke still being Duke still wasn’t the worst of it. You have read this far waiting for this, haven’t you?
The other half of the Dome crowd must have wondered about the laughter that erupted from the maroon side when, through the modern technology of text messaging, word began to circulate of a certain score from Hooville. That Rivalry Game part of the Hoo home schedule sure kicked off with a bang, eh? Hopefully a goodly number of the Tech fans that snapped up that mini-package of tickets were able to sell them to Tribe fans to enjoy the show. The Chessmaster was in rare form. So were Sunday posters to the Scissors. My personal favorite was ‘[algroh] couldn’t beat Peter, Paul and Mary.’ It won’t be long now before the domain name that is posting tweets from the Wahooter will be for sale even more cheaply than TCU tickets. Did state-mandated Hooville budget cuts spare the large amounts of cash needed to keep painting the Beta Bridge?
On the Sunday drive back to Virginia, it was suggested that the Hoos might do well to consider for their upcoming coaching vacancy the former member of algroh’s staff now in charge of the Liberty program. He seems capable of constructing a solid I-AA program. That would be a step in the right direction for the Hoos. Surprisingly enough, the Monday dawn found the Great NFL Legend still employed, if not gainfully. Hoo AD Craig ‘Tubby, now it’s even William and Mary! William and f***ing Mary’ Littlepage must have gotten encouraging news, at least for Tech fans, when he did a Sunday tabulation of the buyout. algroh’s sacrifice of boygroh didn’t seem to have an altogether positive effect on the Hoo offense. Unless the Hoos make a stand that would make that by the French Army on the Marne in 1914 seem a full-fledged rout in comparison, a tined eating utensil may be stuck into the hide of the Great NFL Legend. There were dead animals coming out of the Clubhouse smoker that were less done.
The ACC staggers out of the dismal opening weekend of the football season like a drunk from Jocks and Jills. Well, results have to get better, if for no other reason than there are only so many OOC games. Pretty soon conference teams will be playing themselves. Somebody will have to win. And at least by early November, basketball will have started.