First off, I'd like to apologize for the lack of basketball postings over the past couple weeks. It's been a hectic end to the semester, but basketball is back and so are the previews and recaps!
The Hokies currently sit at 6-3 on the season after a 78-67 win at Rhode Island on Wednesday. That win came after back-to-back tough losses at Minnesota and at home against Kansas State. In the Minnesota game, the Hokies once again fell victim to a slow start, falling behind 8-0 against a Golden Gopher squad that was missing its top two big men. However, Tech rallied back to take a three-point lead at the break. The game came down to the final minute and Tech had a 55-54 lead after an Erick Green layup with 23 seconds left. However, on the ensuing possession, Jarell Eddie committed a foul as Green slid off the elevated floor, banging his right shoulder on the concrete slab. Minnesota made the two free throws and Green made a miraculous comeback into the game with 9 seconds to go. After a Tech timeout, Robert Brown deflected the ball into the backcourt and was called for a backcourt violation (later ruled to be the wrong call). The Gophers made two free throws and Green's heroic heave at the buzzer clanked off the rim to give Minnesota a 58-55 victory.
Yesterday at a little after noon a man I didn't know from Adam senselessly lost his life in the line of duty protecting a place I love. I'm overwhelmed with a mess of emotions that I can't verbalize. All I can say is it feels like I lost a member of my own family.
By now you've probably heard Officer Crouse was survived by, among others, his wife, five children and step-children. My soul deflated and I slid down my office chair when I first read that. A wife was going to be without her husband, and her children were going to be without their father. It's a devastating conclusion to come to.
Hokies wanted to help. As the emotions unfolded in real time it almost seemed second nature to put the day's grief and on hold to try and help the Crouses. Hokies are helping. As of right now, these are the only two ways I know of to donate.
Hokies going to New Orleans, we're still trying to finalize the details of the Unofficial Sugar Bowl Meetup (unofficial because the BCO can't make it). Please leave a note on that thread if you're planning to stop by and say hello, and if you're assertive enough leave a suggestion of where it should happen.
Regarding our traveling rep, Tech has been allotted 17,500 tickets. On Tuesday the athletic department announced Hokie Club members and season ticket holders had purchased 5,000 tickets. Yesterday @VT_Foootball Tweeted, "students purchased over 1,200 tickets in the first hour to the Sugar Bowl". The general public will be able to buy tickets starting Monday at noon. If we don't sellout our allotment, expect more backlash from the mainstream media.
For those of you watching at home, ESPN announced Brad Nessler, Todd Blackledge and Holly Rowe will be calling the game. Todd's Taste of the Town will no doubt leave him cringing in the fetal position; all that roux will clog up the intestines like lard down a drain pipe.
I felt like I traveled back in time on Saturday night. Not to just the first Clemson game this season, but to the Orange Bowl last year, October 17, 2009, September 8, 2007, September 30, 2006, November 5, 2005, etc.
All moments when a highly ranked Virginia Tech team folded in a big game.
Another night when nothing worked.
I can imagine how UVA felt two weeks ago -- probably very similar to how Tech felt on Saturday night.
It was a major disappointment. It was disappointing because you know every pundit who knocked Tech down the stretch smiled when they saw the score. While LSU, Oklahoma State and Kansas State all did what they had to do on Saturday, Virginia Tech could not get it done again.
This team, players and coaches, need to remember the more wins they rack up, the higher they climb in the rankings, the bigger the target on their back gets. Teams seem to show up and play Tech like its their Super Bowl, and when those teams have some semblance of talent and good coaching, Tech looks overwhelmed.
I've tried to keep my analysis as positive as possible this season, but I had a pretty tough time this week. If I don't have a lot of nice things to say, I'm just going to keep it short. There's really no sense in piling on.
1. Antone Exum - I almost vomited when he didn't fall on that Watkins fumble. But he opened the game aggressive and I thought he looked sharp much of the night.
Virginia Tech won 11 football games in 2011. They won the ACC Coastal Division. They beat #20 Georgia Tech in Atlanta, they blew out rival Virginia, ranked 24th, 38 to nil in Charlottesville. They went 4-0 against a feather soft non-conference schedule. They are ranked 11th in the final BCS standings. They kept it close against Clemson for two halves, and got paddled behind the shed in crunch time. They were heavily favored in the ACC Championship game, and got crushed. Their fans have reputation for traveling well. They have history in New Orleans. They're going to the Sugar Bowl.
Boise and Kansas State fans are disappointed and outraged, media personalities are, to put it mildly, critical of the Sugar Bowl's selection, and are putting the Hokies under the microscope.
Today's a hell of a lot better than yesterday. Earlier this evening we confirmed with two of our sources that Virginia Tech is going to the Sugar Bowl. Other news outlets such as CBSSports.com are also reporting the news. The Hokies will play Michigan on January 3rd, 2011. Today is a good day to be a Hokie!
So who's going?
For those of you interested, here's the official release from HokieSports.com: http://www.hokiesports.com/football/recaps/20111204aac.html.
Some days you are the hammer. Some days you are the nail. On Saturday, the Hokies were the board. The Hokies faced a perfect storm of an offense that utilized misdirection to completely counteract the Hokies "gap-scheme" defensively, coupled with a Clemson defensive line that completely manhandled the left side of the Hokies offensive line and their center all night. When VT did have time, their playmakers didn't make plays. It is easy to be upset with the final score, play calling, officiating, or whatever the gripe. I have tried very hard to remain calm and analytical both during and after the game.
Right now I'm sitting here pissed listening to El Camino. (For what it's worth, it's a great album.) I'm arguing with other Hokies that are pissed. I'm drunk, I'm sad, I'm depressed and I imagine some of you are sad, drunk or depressed. I wanted to win that game. I want to win every game. I bet you did too. I thought we were going to win that game, but I think we are going to win every game. I thought we were going to win that game going away. I wanted our 4th ACC Championship in the last 5 years, I wanted to brag, I wanted to fly to Miami to watch us play West Virginia. However, my dad used to say, "You can want in one hand and shit in the other, see what fills up faster."