Well, it was Halloween. The ACC staged a fairly-eventful weekend of football, a zany few days of tricks played on most of the favorites and a rather large treat awarded to one team.
The main beneficiary of the action was Virginia Tech. Through no fault of its own, the Hokies saw their Coastal Division lead balloon to two games. The assist came from an unlikely source, the Hoos. London’s crew knocked Canes QB Jacory Harris from the game en route to a stunning upset of the Boyz from the Hood. Thanks, Hoos!
Not only did the Canes manage to award Tech a little wriggle room as the Hokies move into the critical month of November, their coach Randy Shannon demonstrated that he learned his sideline lessons well from his mentor Butch. With Harris seeing stars, no doubt reflecting off the jewelry provided to the team by ‘friend of the program’ AJ Machado and the second-string QB also sidelined by injury, Shannon was left with a walk-on who just happened to be the OC’s son. Several interceptions later, Shannon moved into full panic mode. In a move reminiscent of Butch flinging his headset and racing along the sideline at full gallop, Shannon elected to burn the redshirt from Stephen Morris. Not only did Shannon scratch one year of eligibility from a prized recruit, he did it in the 8th game of the season, in a loss, no less. What really seems to be Back at ‘da U’ are the coaching blunders popularized during Butch’s days wandering the sideline.
While Shannon’s sideline goofiness will help Tech now and in the future, it is not clear sailing in Blacksburg just yet. Not only does Tech now have to play the other Coastal contenders one after the other, they have again been awarded the kiss of death by ESPN. The Sports Leader’s blathering head Rece Davis pronounced Tech ‘a lock’ to win the Coastal and head to Charlotte and revised bowl projections by ESPN had the Hokies bowling in the Orange. When ESPN again starts hyping Tech, history teaches that pure and utter disaster is not far behind.
Halloween came early for the ACC Thursday night in Raleigh as NC State knocked off Florida State. Perhaps the Noles won’t be erecting a statue of Jimbo beside that of St. Bobby quite yet. It was a terrific effort by the Pack in a Carter-Findley atmosphere that was positively Lane-like. The gaffe against ECU aside, Tom O’Brien continues to put things together at State, managing to build a solid program without all of the drama affixed to the one across the RTP, or the multiple NCAA violations.
The Halloween costumes were out in full force Saturday, mostly favorites attired in the garb of losers. At the same time Randy Shannon was vandalizing his own program’s future, Clemson was laying a Dabo against Fredo. Of the ACC’s two quarterbacks who are delaying professional baseball careers for another go at college football, Russell Wilson definitely had a better game than did Kyle Parker. Well, Clem really didn’t want to blow the first week of December in Charlotte, anyway. A few more outings like that and Parker can head to winter ball without the time-wasting nuisance of a bowl.
Even Duke managed to get into the upset act, although just barely. After collecting the treat of what looked to be an insurmountable lead over Navy, Duke suddenly remembered they were Duke and began playing like it. They had a Devil of a Fourth Quarter before hanging on for the win.
What would have been Saturday’s biggest upset was narrowly averted in Chapel Hill, as the Tar Heels rallied late to beat William and Mary, managing to give the conference a narrow win in this year’s ACC-CAA challenge. Perhaps those Heels still eligible, for now, anyway, were laughing too hard at AD DickieB’s response to the good old N&O seeking information about the multiple scandals on the Hill to concentrate on football. ‘I can’t tell you anything other than Butch is a great coach’ was certainly a side-splitter. I’m sure it was told a few times at the Halloween party held by Carolina’s BoV, where everybody showed up wearing a Butch costume.
Baptists are generally not huge fans of All Hallow’s Eve. That was certainly evident at Maryland, where the Terps flat pounded Wake Forest. Jim Grobe has perhaps gotten too familiar with Samhain, as the border between that ACC Championship four years ago and the Otherworld of just another losing Wake football coach has gotten very thin. The good news is that Tech’s NOVA recruiting base seems secure for the immediate future, as Ralph Friedgen likely saved his job by becoming bowl eligible and the Terps will continue to provide little resistance to Tech’s storming of the DC recruiting area. The Halloween haul by the Hokies was good.
We now move into November, the money month for this year’s Tech football team. As I get around to flipping the ex-Russian’s calendar, I notice that this month’s picture is a pretty good representation of how Lane should look Thursday night. Halloween was very good to the Hokies. Let’s hope that November is a month for giving thanks to the team.
- Posted by Jim at 09:10 am
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- Tagged with: ACC • Boston College • Butch Davis • Clemson • Duke • Florida State • Hoos • Maryland • North Carolina • North Carolina State • Wake Forest
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