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Playing the Game

The Return of the A-Line Board of Football Experts

The talk and weauxfing is just about over. Very soon now, it will be time to play actual football.

You really have to admire the outstanding work done by Nike in unifying the Virginia Tech fan base and getting us all primed for the opener. Good job, guys. It is hard to imagine a time when everybody was at each other’s throats so pumped up and chomping at the bit to beat Boise State unless it is not. Assuming that sufficient numbers of t-shirts and other swoosh-branded apparel have been sold so that Nike will allow the game to start on time, the days until the Men in Black tee it up are down to a precious few.

The Tech-Boise game will award one team at least an early start on MNC talk. For the Broncos, it is an all or nothing affair. With their program having grown to the point where they are no longer content to back-door their way into a Fiesta Bowl, Boise is now shooting for the stars and are attempting to parlay another one-game season into the MNC game against whichever SEC team survives that grueling Death March of a schedule. Win and the media hype over them will be intense as they stroll through the rest of their schedule. Lose and ESPN merely shifts the ballyhoo to somebody else. Remember way back when Tech was the media’s upstart darling? Those were the days, eh?

While Boise is putting all of their MNC chips on this one game, things will be just a bit tougher for Tech. Win or lose, and I still say they win, the Nikes will still have a conference championship and Orange Bowl bid to play for. That will be tough enough, considering that Tech’s November schedule looks just a bit more daunting than beating up on schools so bad they were turned down for MWC membership.

The Tech-Boise game is the headliner, but the rest of the ACC cranks up this weekend, too. Well, kind of. Of the 12 games involving the 12 conference teams, exactly 3  are something other than tune-ups against I-AA little fellers.

The folks at the Chicken Bowl must be utterly thrilled at this year’s ACC participant. So are all of the businesses that revolve around college football. While Tweeting Marv’s Atlanta hotel room is now back on the market, the dragging out of the multiple investigations into Butch’s program still leaves it up in the air as to exactly how many hotel rooms will be needed. Tar Heel fans looking to make last-minute travel plans should find really good rates in the team hotel as last-minute rooms become available.

The bus company charged with transporting the Carolina team from Blue Heaven to Atlanta is also on pins and needles. Will UNC still be charged if DickieB decides at the last minute one [or more] won’t be needed? These sorts of problems don’t normally pop up in what had been an ultra-successful bowl operation, but, a team coached by Butch Davis had never been invited before.

The third intriguing game involving an ACC team will be the ESPN preliminary before Tech and Boise. Maryland and Navy will renew their occasionally-on, usually-off rivalry in Baltimore. This would normally be a pretty big deal around the DC metroplex, but has been relegated to the back attention burner by the fact that a bigger game in the overall scheme of things will be played at FedEx and that Maryland stinks.

From Maryland’s standpoint, this game should give a pretty good handle as to whether Terp coach Ralph Friedgen has a chance of surviving. Lose this one and it is very hard to imagine the Fridge hanging onto his job. Frank’s big success a decade ago caused a number of regional schools to also hire alumni as their coach. Only Friedgen [and Frank] are still around. Chuckie, Big John, Carl Franks, RichRod and even the fabled algroh are gone, all but the Cousin algrohed [give him a little time]. That a backyard brawl between the two area schools is so overshadowed by a bigger game in the neighborhood involving Virginia Tech explains much of Friedgen’s tenure at Maryland.

For the Middies, this could be the start of big things. A win combined with a Boise loss could very well propel Navy into the ranks of BCS-buster. Considering the overall classiness of Navy’s program and fans, they would certainly be more palatable than Boise. If you want to gaze a very long way down the road, contemplate a Tech-Navy Orange Bowl. Ticket sales among Aldersons alone would guarantee the game’s success.

But, before then there is the matter of this year’s season. It begins for Virginia Tech Monday night in FedEx. I will be beginning a somewhat roundabout travel plan early Saturday. See you there.


  1. Jonathan — September 2, 2010 #

    One word for the uni’s:  CAMO

    Nuff said


  2. Michael — September 12, 2010 #

    Since your last post was “PLAYING THE GAME”, I wonder if you have plans to write an entry titled “COACHING THE GAME”.  I know there are plenty of Monday morning quarterbacks and Monday morning coaches in the world.  I have never been one because, even though I enjoy the season, the tailgating, and the actual games, I don’t pretend to know enough to second guess the ones who are paid handsomely for that ability.  The last two Hokie games, however, lead me to believe the results of a team coached by me couldn’t be much more embarassing than reality.  And, since I’ve never been particularly good at salary negotiations, I’m sure to save Hokie Hi a big wad of cash, thus negating the need to be Nike whores.


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