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The Week

The Return of the A-Line Board of Football Experts

Well, it was a fun Week 1.

There’s nothing like heading back to Tech for another football season, enjoying a pre-game tailgate with old friends, then having the game essentially decided in the first minute.

Appalachian State, attempting to rectify last year’s egg laid by Virginia Tech against JMU, pitched in to get Tech’s season headed in the right direction, fumbling the ball on their first possession. One play later, the David Wilson Show commenced and the Tech Corps began checking the ammunition stockpile for Skipper. That was essentially that.

The score was well out of hand by halftime, along with the heat and humidity. Attempting to find shade and ice water under the stadium, we happened upon a favorite cousin and seized on her invitation to join her and her family at their tailgate. The Second Half was spent under shade trees in the front yard of the house of somebody who lives near the stadium. Strolls were occasionally made to a nearby radio in an attempt to keep track of the game. The last revealed Mike Burnop singing the theme from ‘Green Acres.’ Obviously, the Mounties had mounted no comeback.

Tech is 1-0 for the first time in a while and moving onto the next game in their fearsome September schedule. This weekend it’s a trip to Eastern¬† North Carolina to tangle with East ‘Don’t Call us Eastern’ Carolina in dowdy Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. More on the Strawgraspers shortly.

Around the rest of the ACC, ample evidence was presented, again, to reinforce what has been obvious for some time: the conference ain’t very good. 0-2 against other BCS teams. So much for Little Johnny’s annual assertion of ‘Come on, we’re not THAT bad.’ Wake blowing a Fourth Quarter to lead to the Li’l E’s Syracuse, off all people and Fredo getting whacked by Northwestern makes it a little tough to argue for league supremacy.This wasn’t exactly LSU-Oregon or a loss in Boise State’s usual one-game schedule.

The ACC did take the early lead in the annual ACC-CAA challenge. Carolina and the Hoos recorded easy wins, with only Duke playing like Duke. So much for Coach Cut’s August declarations that this would be the year football no longer played hind anatomy to men’s basketball, women’s basketball, lacrosse, golf, soccer, fencing, polo, hopscotch, fraternity parties, dorm poker games, during-game student drinking binges and anything else Dukies can come up with to keep from having to attend football games. Somehow I doubt the near-capacity crowd at Wade Stadium left clamoring for additional tickets.

Carolina displayed a nice touch by presenting a game ball to Butch, who observed from comfortable digs in the Blue Zone. Well, at least somebody was there. Did Blake and Jennifer join him? While the chances of one of Butch’s former assistants getting the job with anything other than ‘interim’ attached in front seem slim and none, Withers sure enhanced his chances by taking time to laud his ‘good friend’ Butch. No doubt, the NCAA, as it contemplates penalties for Carolina’s shredding the rule book, was impressed.

With 1/12 of the regular season now in the books, Tech takes its gaudy offensive and defensive numbers to ECU. That means I will pay special attention this week to my favorite message board, one run by and for the Strawgraspers. All message boards attract loons, but no other one contains the sheer mass of ECU’s. It has been a special time for the Strawgraspers.

Now well into their third decade of avidly awaiting that imminent invitation to join the Li’l E that never quite seems to arrive, the Strawgraspers have now set their conference affiliation sights higher. Only the SEC or even the Big Who’s Left?¬† is now of a quality that matches their bigger-than-big time aspirations. A special moment came last week when one of their pre-teen posters, apparently having time on his hands in his parents’ basement, took to closely studying flight patterns and noticed that somebody was flying from Kinston, NC, to Tulsa, OK.

This, of course, could only mean that ECU was preparing to join the Big Who’s Left?, which was gleefully posted to the board so all could share in the good news. Take that, Li’l E and TCU, and Kansas, and Iowa State, and most anybody in the continental United States other than ECU the Li’l E floats as member. Grab those straws!

The Tech coaches and team are likely spending more time on ECU’s team than they are their message boards. It will be Week Two for the new offensive starters, AKA the Logan and Wilson Show. Appy’s defense posed little challenge, although they did allow Tech’s wonderkinds to call it an early afternoon and get out of the sun. We are reliably informed that the one fielded by the Mounties future conference mate ECU is much better. Well, after having the worst in all the I-A land last year, it couldn’t be much worse, despite the 50+ hung on them by South Carolina.

We shall see. Football is being played!

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