Now that was more like it! Virginia Tech flashed back to its olden days of football by riding a strong defensive effort in shutting out Fredo. It was the first time Fredo had failed to dent the scoreboard since the last time Tech shut them out back in 1998. The series seems to be regaining equilibrium.
There had been a time back in the late 90′s through the turn of the century when one look at Fredo’s annual appearance on Tech’s schedule had fans thinking, ‘At least that’s one we will win.’ From the latter stages of the scintillating Dan Henning era through the early days of Tom O’Brien’s reclamation project, Tech punctuated seven straight seasons with a demolition job of Fredo. They were fun times.
More recently however, the series had evened out, morphing into a situation of Fredo winning the regular season contest, with Tech gaining its revenge in the ACC Championship. That included the brief stint of Jeff Jagodzinski, who gave every indication of turning this into quite the rivalry.
Jags, however, was algrohed for attempting to do what every other of Fredo’s successful coaches had done, leave. Enter current head coach Frank ‘Uncle Leo’ Spaziani. Two beatings later, Spaz has been out-scored by Tech 67-14. With algroh now devoting his special talents to wrecking the Georgia Tech defense instead of the entire Hoo program [How did that vaunted 3-4 work out against Russell Wilson, O Great NFL Legend?], Uncle Leo is quickly establishing himself as Tech’s favorite opponents coach. Tattaglia had more success tangling with Michael than Uncle Leo is experiencing against Frank.
Saturday’s game was not without its share of fingernail-biting moments. They mostly had to do with Tech’s offense, not exactly the first time those words have ever been typed. Leaving 16 points on the field is not a preferred modus operandi, especially when Fredo’s offense seemed bound and determined to hand Tech the game.Fredo kept trying to RUTS themselves, but Tech’s offense was having none of it. Or, maybe Fredo’s defense was that good. Tough call.
The same can be said of Tech’s defense. While Bud Foster’s unit recently has been looking very much like a unit coached by Bud Foster, there are suspicions that much of Saturday’s sterling effort could be laid at the feet of Fredo’s offense. The real Fredo was a gangland master compared to that.
Whether it was QB Shinskie throwing an interception into Tech’s end zone, diving for the goal line then staring at the last few inches as the halftime clock ran out or giving a passable impression of a deer in the headlights as Tech’s front seven spent the afternoon racing by Fredo’s previously-vaunted offensive line as if the latter were encased in shoes of cement, the Eagles’ offense didn’t exactly soar. This Saturday’s Papal Bowl should certainly be compelling television.
While the bad offenses on display in the Corleone Compound this Saturday will be many, Tech faces a bit of a tougher challenge in Raleigh. NC State is now 4-0 and ranked, the one genuine surprise team in a season that once again has turned into a dreary one for the ACC. We are not quite into October as this is being penned typed and the Pack is the last undefeated team in the conference. It probably does no good speculating as to how big this game would be had Tech succeeded in its something-other-than-successful attempt at running out the clock in FedEx against Boise. Oh, well, one takes what one can get, which is a 2-2 Tech team going up against the undefeated State squad many expected that TOB would eventually construct in Raleigh. It’s amazing what a healthy team can accomplish.
Around the rest of the ACC, obviously there have not been enough games scheduled against Li’l E teams. Is it too late to reschedule that canceled Tech-Syracuse series? If nothing else, the ACC is clearly demonstrating that they are merely the second-worst BCS conference. The Canes followed up State’s Thursday night beating of Cincy with yet another weekend tip-off pounding of the Li’l E, fully exploiting the Wannstedt Factor to its fullest. The cries of ‘We’re Almost Back’ get louder. Carolina took time out from its attempts to wriggle out of multiple NCAA investigations [Thorpe: 'I fully support Butch unless I do not'] to finally win a game, beating RUTSgers. If all else fails, Butch, schedule a game against a former assistant. That strategy seems to work just as well against Greg Sciano as it has against Randy Shannon.
Then there is Duke. *sigh* While it has been fairly commonplace over the years to see opponents clearing the bench against the Devils in the Fourth Quarter, it was fairly startling for Army to be doing it. Army? David Cutcliffe talking about bowls back in August now seems about as amusing as Tech’s annual MNC hype.
Elsewhere, Jim Grobe continues to ponder that he should have gotten out of Wake while the getting was good, Jimbo attempts to explain away all of those thousands of empty seats in Bobby Doak Campbell [they couldn't have all been taken by Ann and fired Bowden family members] and Maryland’s yearly tour of the RUTS Belt Conference finally uncovered an opponent they could beat. In other words, another typical year in ACC football.
The league will have a fairly big game this Saturday in Raleigh. After sitting out last week’s trip to the Corleone Compound, I will be back in the tailgating saddle this weekend, dealing with what I remember to be a crackerjack group along Trinity Road. For the more than a few who have asked me about ticket availability, I can report that I have my own and no extras. Sorry. If you do manage to unearth what are among the toughest tickets in the ACC, see you there.