It was certainly a busy week for ACC athletics. Between the silliness known as football recruiting coverage, the release of the 2010 schedule and the normal amounts of ACC basketball seen in February, area sports fans were hopping keeping track of it all. Maybe it was best that the snow kept people at home and able to digest it all.
The goofiness of football recruiting is reaching absurd proportions. Just who are the people who plunk down cash to read the prattling of somebody in his basement assigning rankings to players across the country he has never seen? I have a pile of snow beside my driveway I would like to sell them. I award it four stars.
Just about any college coach worth his salt will tell you that recruiting is an inexact ‘science’ at best, akin to predicting exactly how long it will take some of the bumbling municipal governments around to remove snow from city streets [Roanoke's David Bowers, the algroh of mayors, did sound a lot like the Great NFL Legend trying to explain away futility]. Coaches are dealing with attempting to predict the development and motivations of a bunch of 17-18 year-old kids. Anyone that has ever raised a teenager can tell you that is dicey, at best.
While I tend to not pay a lot of attention to the build-up of recruiting, trusting Frank & co to keep doing what has worked pretty darn well in the past, it is hard to log onto the interwebs on so-called Signing Day and not get caught up in the hoopla. I do, however, find much glee in reading message boards, the loonier the better. Reading the Signing Day postmortems was a joy. Those schools favored by the boys in the basement found their message boards lit up with cries of ‘We’re gonna win the MNC,’ ‘Best class ever’ and ‘What a recruiting haul.’ This about a bunch of kids who haven’t even shown up yet. That numbers of their star-laden classes would soon be heading to Hargrave or detention centers seemed not to matter. Their school won the ‘recruiting battle,’ by cracky.
While recruiting, at least according to message boards, is not a zero-sum game and everybody can find at least something good to say about their newest football heroes ['They have good posture'], those whose schools reaped classes with average star ratings beginning with the numeral 2 also reacted typically. ‘The recruiting services don’t like us’ and ‘our coaches can coach them up’ are typical. It is all quite amusing.
The ACC followed up the Signing Day nonsense by releasing the 2010 conference football schedules. The gang at Grandover seems to have noticed that having the Coastal Division decided by mid-October last year did wonders for the league’s minuscule television ratings. Corrections have been made, giving Virginia Tech a very interesting November, indeed. Maybe at least a few people will tear themselves away from ESPN’s weekly SEC bloodbaths to watch.
While the suspicions persisted that the flurry of ACC football activity was designed to draw attention away from the league’s unaccustomed mediocrity in basketball, games were still scheduled and played. Tech fared fairly-well. The Hokies mid-week game was beating Carolina. While the phrase ‘beating Carolina’ is not an uncommon one this year, it was the first time Tech had turned the trick since the two guards that Ol’ Roy is missing so badly were freshmen and schooled, twice, by Tech seniors Zabian Dowdell and Jamon Gordon.
Less than 40 hours later, Tech was combining with a rested Clemson team to set the game of basketball back 20 years in a game that had Malcolm Delaney establishing legal residence at the free throw line and Clemson coach Oliver Purnell fuming about officials that noticed every time one of the Tigers bit on a Delaney fake. Well, winning ugly does beat any available alternative that includes the letter ‘L.’ Tech is now 18-4 and gives indications that the NCAA might not have to expand the tournament field to a ludicrous 96 in order to make Seth an NCAA Tournament coach. With a month left in the season, it is still too early to declare Tech a tournament-bound team, especially given the Hokies’ recent late-season fatigue-induced swoons, but things look bright at the moment.
The weekend’s games in the Commonwealth of Virginia and Maryland were noted by their heavy student attendance. With the snow keeping most of the paying folks at home, the doors to Cassell, Comcast and the John were thrown open to any student with access to a sled and team of dogs. Hoo AD Craig ‘Tubby, Hoo fans had a reason to stay home, this time’ Littlepage was noted for publicly encouraging his fans not to attend the Wake game. You sure don’t have to tell Hoos twice. Littlepage telling fans not to show up seems about as unnecessary as a French marshal ordering his troops to surrender. It does seem odd that after years of begging fans to come watch algroh lose again, the Hoos are telling fans not to attend games coached by the one guy Littlepage stumbled upon that is actually winning. But, the Hoos do things their own way.
The ACC has a month of regular season left before convening in Greensboro for the fun of the ACC Tournament. The remainder of the year will be conducted without the minor distraction of the seemingly-endless NFL playoffs [the Saints won the Super Bowl? The Saints, of all teams?]. ACC basketball seriousness will be evident Wednesday night when Duke and Carolina tangle for the first time. In the oddball nature of this year, however, it does seem that Saturday’s Hoo-Tech game will have a greater impact in the overall scheme of things. Imagine that.