After all of the talk and all of the hype, it was business as usual.
There had been much chatter surrounding this year’s annual Virginia Tech- Hoo game. Most of it centered around the ‘London Miracle’ in Hooville, with the Hoo coach credited with what had been thought a near impossibility, getting Mr. Jefferson’s team bowl eligible. And, in a superhuman feat which ranks right up there with tales of women lifting cars from atop trapped children or the Russian Navy sinking a submarine other than its own, London actually had the Hoos in a position to claim the ACC’s Coastal Division and advance to this week’s championship game.
In the end, there was a difference this year. Frank doesn’t usually pound any Hoo coach by the score of 38-0. Generally, the games are closer. Tech dominated from the start, barely looking back other than David Wilson glancing over his shoulder to see if any Hoos were still in pursuit. Mike Rocco might have remarked upon the beauty of the late-afternoon and early-evening Hooville sky, but only because he had so many opportunities to observe it from flat on his back. The Hoos will once again win this game, probably, and the series won’t be as lop-sided as it currently is, but, for now, Tech still rules the state. The badly-out coached Mike London got an abject lesson in the stranglehold Frank Beamer still maintains on the Commonwealth. I can’t possibly imagine why the Hoos would have any need whatsoever for a football trophy case, but, if they do, the area reserved for the Commonwealth Cup was long ago turned into storage.
The Hoos had been the trendy pick this year. The state’s sportswriters hopped right onto the bandwagon, picking the Hoos with the same confidence, certainty and wrongheadedness with which they picked Florida State to win the ACC. It’s a good thing David Teel chose sports for his life’s work rather than weather.
Even the Hoos got into the act. There had been no ‘Keep the Hokies out of the Smithsonian’ campaign this year. Instead of begging and pleading Hoos not to sell or give their tickets to Hokies, as they usually do, the Hoos had reversed course and surrendered to Tech’s Occupy Hooville movement that occurs every two years, jacking up the ticket prices and telling the Hokies to have at them.
Then, a couple of weeks ago, in another solid demonstration of the excellent leadership qualities often displayed by Hoo AD Craig ‘Tubby, did you pledge?’ Littlepage, they changed their mind again and began using You Tube to beg fans to attend the game. Chad and Buffy were encouraged to forgo the Saturday morning fox hunt, afternoon polo chukka and evening wine-tasting and go to a football game. A few actually listened. The Smithsonian was actually sold out, a rarity that happens with the frequency of Halley’s Comet or a Hoo coach beating Frank. Even Wally Wahoo got into the act, managing to stay on his trusty steed Scissors and make it from one end of the Smithsonian to the other, the only time a Hoo glimpsed the end zone all day.
Unfortunately for the Hoos, however, the game started and their attempt at providing a big-time football atmosphere quickly reverted into that bi-annual event seen by the tens of thousands of Hokies always in attendance, the Running of the Hoos. By the Second Half and throughout, out the Smithsonian’s portals they went and down Alderman Road at a dead run. Hopefully, no innocent passers-by were trampled in the Hoo frenzy to get away from the game. Traffic to and from the Smithsonian is a bit lighter when all of the Hoos have left by the start of the Fourth Quarter.
By the time time mercifully expired, about the only Hoo left on the Grounds was Mr. Jefferson. Well, he is a statue and couldn’t run away, instead settling for the next best thing. Maybe he will be comped tickets to the championship game.
And so, with Tech having laid waste to both the Hoos and the ACC’s Coastal, again, the Hokies move on to that game they win with only slightly-less frequency than they pound the Hoos, the ACC’s Championship Game. In only 7th try overall, 2nd in Charlotte, the conference finally gets its most-desirable match-up, from a ticket-selling standpoint, if not from the television executive point of view. Those in the Charlotte hospitality industry don’t care about ratings, anyway.
With the chances of the Canes being Back on probation seeming much better by the day than their playing in this game and network bleating about imminent Florida State dominance being staunchly defied by Jimbo, Little Johnny might be advised to keep the game in Charlotte for a while. The full BoA Stadium will be a nice change of pace.
Tech will face the one team to beat them this year, the Clemson Tigers. What an ugly game that was. Tech does seem to be just a little bit better than they were that miserable night. For Clemson, it took a while for the Dabo Factor to kick in this year, but when it did it arrived with a vengeance. The Tigers have now lost three out of their last four, with only a narrow win over Wake the difference between a smooth four straight losses. We shall see how this one goes. It’s not every re-match where the team that lost badly in the first encounter carries a much higher ranking and is installed as the favorite. Hopefully, the good guys [at least from my perch] treat another appearance in the ACCCG as they do trips to Hooville and win their fourth straight.
In the meantime, while the Tech team and coaches turn their attention to revenge on the Tigers, fans have the luxury of sitting back a little longer and snickering and chortling over yet another Tech win over the Hoos. Again!