It was a dizzying few days. Tech’s first two games happened in a blur of driving back and forth, one very long tailgate coupled with one very short one, two wins, one a dramatic overtime one, the other a rather perfunctory pounding of a far inferior opponent, two uniform combinations [with more to come!], each seemingly uglier than the previous and the near-constant barrage of mailings and stadium commercials encouraging me to spend even more money on Tech football [“You won’t want to be the only one in Lane not wearing the t-shirt du jour.” Wanna bet?] have rendered me just a bit peaked. And it is only the third week.
Amid all the staring at the on-field Man in Red as he kept two teams and 66,000 fans in a state of inertia as ESPN ran more and more commercials as Lane’s video board instructed the fans in attendance to disregard what was or was not happening on the field to race to the strategically-located [“Right inside the stadium”] bookstore satellites and spend, spend, spend, before heading to whatever restaurants were advertising whatever [I lose track] before plunking down half a mil for the newest Gameday condos [“Withing walking distance of Lane”], there were two football games played. Tech won them both.
The first was by far the trickier. Tech’s offense did demonstrate that they are pretty darn good in the last minute. While the first 59 might still need a little work, all’s well that ends well. Tech did what good teams do in the annual multi-Tech game, find a way to win. That experience just might come in handy down the road.
The Austin Peay game was…, well, the Austin Peay game. Tech did discover that the secret to winning on a short week is not to just schedule a I-AA team, but a really bad I-AA team. No JMU disaster here. While the lateness of the Govs’ [Govs?!?] arrival on the field, well after ‘Sandman’ and as the Tech team milled around on their sideline, indicating that perhaps a conversation was taking place between AP’s coach and AD of:
“Weaver could still stop payment.”
While I hung around to the very end of the GT-VT game, that wasn’t exactly the case for the second of the week. The combination of the dullness of the game, the utter lack of a decent opponent, the threatening skies and cell phone radar indicating that a serious amount of rain was impending, had me heading back down I-81 to Roanoke by halftime. Roth and Burnop filled me in on the specifics. Needless to say, Tech won easily.
Tech is 2-0 and now heads out for its first road game of the season, a trip to Pitt. While the Panthers proved to be an even bigger thorn in Tech’s side than the Canes towards the end of the Hokies’ BE run, that was then and this is now. Pitt is 0-2 and has looked quite bad in achieving the distinction of losing by 2 scores to a I-AA little feller and having RUTS laid on them by fellow Li’l E member Cincy. 4 coaches in 11 months will get after you that way. Tech did demonstrate that the secret to these short week deals is to play the conference opponent FIRST, then the little guy, rather than the other way around. See what you learn being in a a conference of much higher academic standards than the Li’l E?
Pitt, of course, is in their Li’l E Farewell Tour. When these 2 teams get together in Blacksburg next year, it will be as both ACC and Coastal Division rivals. Better to escape the Li’l E later than never, eh, Panthers? As Pitt enjoys those hearty and earnest expressions of good cheer and well-wishes from their soon-to-be-left behind former conference mates unless they do not, I somehow doubt that Tech fans in attendance will be regarded as quite the traitors we were in 2003.
Among the Tech fans in attendance will not be me. The combination of what happened there in 03, which included a liquor bottle [empty, darn it] thrown at my head, a hat stolen, a constant barrage of profanity tossed my way as I left the stadium, the Clubhouse area trashed, the fact that my remaining teeth that were original equipment are getting longer, the expense and hassle of the trip, a personal situation that is much different, leading to my vow that Tech football won’t break up THIS one, a so-far understanding young lady who has thoughtfully arranged to be elsewhere between noon and 4 Saturday and the knowledge that carrying my suitcase out the door leads me past a very comfortable recliner and 4 feet worth of Sony Bravia HDTV, I have elected not to make the trip. I will miss the scenic drive and the charming town of Beckley, West Virginia and will wonder whether that convenience market still employs the young lady with more breasts that teeth.Hopefully, the economy of Pittsburgh will survive this stunning blow.
To those attending, especially in the Clubhouse Tailgate, I say Enjoy. I will see you in a couple of weeks.