The calendar has now, finally, flipped to August. T. S. Eliot had it wrong: August is the cruelest month.
Aside from yet another month to endure of stifling heat and stupendous air conditioning bills, we are in that last, agonizing month before the start of another football season. One can easily imagine full stadiums [well, maybe the Hoos can't] and the flesh of dead animals searing on tailgate grills, and, since Tech has an unusual early start for its opening game, the taste of bourbon in the morning.
Yet, the season is still a month away, tantalizingly-close, but still over a horizon of a another month of sweltering August days.
All teams have now commenced practice for the season. It is August and everybody is 0-0. Optimism abounds, even at the ACC’s veritable football wastelands such as Duke and Hooville, where it usually takes the first 4-5 losses for reality to set in. While at Hooville, where looking ahead to basketball season generally provides no more optimism than anticipating the football one, Coach K in Durham has sprung into action, scheduling a China trip complete with televised games, even as Coach Cut claims that THIS will finally be the year that ‘other’ Duke team breaks through the .500 barrier. Thanksgiving is coming early at Duke.
At Virginia Tech, which has now won three straight ACC football titles that have not been vacated due to NCAA sanctions, August tends to mean that the hypemeisters in Tech’s SID department ratchet up the volume. One might expect things to be toned down a bit, considering what Tech lost off last year’s team and how last year’s glass-shattering hype decibel levels [ a new high for Tech, even by its own always-present Great Expectations] were silenced by the end of the First Quarter of the first game. And they have.
Still, old habits die hard, and it is not hard to find statements from Frank about what a great QB Logan Thomas WILL be and how this year the offensive line will FINALLY have the outstanding season that is forecast every year, with the same correctness as all of those MNC claims. Theodore Roosevelt’s advice to ‘Walk softly and carry a big stick’ is simply not Tech’s style.
The ACC media has, once again, tabbed Tech as the ACC Coastal Division favorite, despite the personnel losses at vitally-critical positions. This seems to be based on Tech winning the division and conference so many times and the overall lousiness of the other teams as anything. The ACC’s Coastal ain’t exactly the SEC West in quality of teams, although it is attempting to keep pace in NCAA investigations, no small feat when you consider that Alabama, Auburn and LSU all reside in that one.
The Canes, picked second, have a new coach, their 6th in the 25 years that Frank has been at Tech. As happens with the Canes, imminent Backness is forecast. New Al takes over secure in the knowledge that coaches are no longer high-tailing it out of Coral Gables at the first opportunity. Instead, they are being algrohed. The Canes’ motto of Be Back or Be Gone is starting to take a toll.
Third in the ACC’s media-projected pecking order is North Carolina. Well, the good ole N&O has certainly taken notice that Butch’s teams always get better in the immediate aftermath of his no longer coaching the team, breathlessly forecasting as many as 10 wins for the mighty Heels. Considering the talent still around Blue Heaven, it could happen, proving again that no head coach whatsoever is preferable to Butch’s sideline bumbling, despite the loud protestations from moneyed alums over the ‘unjustness’ of Butch’s departure.
Georgia Tech is picked 4th. This is quite the comedown for the program that won the ACC in 2009, then promptly vacated the title for an NCAA violation. It is also indicative not only of the arrival of algroh as DC, but also that the supply of players left over by Chan Gailey is dwindling. This is very likely to be a critical year for Paul ‘Mr. Arrogance’ Johnson.
As the usual suspect is predicted at the top of the Coastal, so are the predictable ones at the bottom. The Hoos move into their second year after having determined that it is better to pay algroh to wreck coach the GT defense rather than Mr. Jefferson’s Program. It would take Mr. Fantastic to get his arms around the mess left behind, but Mike London is certainly trying.
Although David Cutcliffe continues to talk big, until proven otherwise, basketball season starts in August this year. Coach Cut does have a proven QB, an ACC rarity this year, but, seemingly, little else.
There is a whole other ACC division, the better one, according to the media. Those teams will be glanced at some other time, unless they are not.
In the meantime, the countdown clock on Hokiesports drifts down inexorably, if darn slowly. Season tickets have arrived, Wild Turkey and dead animals are being stockpiled. Soon I will be attending Tech games for my 60th year [my parents first took me to a Tech game when I was six-months old. Little did they know what they were starting]. All that remains is to get through the cruelest month and these interminable 90+ days.
- Posted by Jim at 10:19 am
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- Filed under: ACC, Coastal Division, Duke, Football, Miami, North Carolina, Virginia, Virginia Tech
- Tagged with: ACC • algroh • Butch Davis • Duke • Frank Beamer • Georgia Tech • Miami Fl • North Carolina • Paul Johnson • Virginia Tech
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