Author's Preface - There are a number of things I am thinkful for each year, but one that I hold most dear is my degree from VPI&SU. In the spirit of the day, enjoy some history. Happy Thanksgiving y'all.
Maryland's defection to the Big Ten came as surprise. Both parties did a good job at keeping a lid on the negotiation. The first leak hit Twitter on Friday evening, the announcement was Monday afternoon. Also, Maryland? I think ACC fans respect the quality of their basketball program and their fans enthusiasm for it. On the other hand, Maryland football, the money maker in college athletics, perpetuates the notion that all ACC stadiums are at half capacity on Saturday's, and the Terps haven't been relevant in the ACC since before the 2004 expansion. It's a move driven by money on both ends. Maryland expands their television footprint east and could be worth, "as much as $200 million annually for the Big Ten in cable subscription fees," and, "Maryland stands to make nearly $100 million more in conference revenue by 2020 with its switch from the ACC to the Big Ten".
Like last week, there were a lot of positives that came out of Chestnut Hill. The defensive line again delivered a ton of pressure on the quarterback. The secondary essentially took away the Eagle's downfield passing game. The offensive line delivered their best effort run blocking since the Duke game. Seniors Marcus Davis, Martin Scales, and Randall Dunn made huge plays.
At the same time, I came away with a sour taste in my mouth. Boston College has been poor running the football this season, yet dictated the pace of the game by running between the tackles against the Hokie 4-4 scheme. The linebackers were terrible taking on lead blocks by H-backs and got pinned inside on counter and zone plays, and the defensive tackles (especially J.R. Collins and Luther Maddy) played with poor pad level and looked like they were playing on roller skates on throughout the game. And perhaps most disturbing, Logan Thomas had his worst game since East Carolina last season.
My Hate Week began with a sense of apathy and frustration despite the victory, but the dam broke after I read the following from noted sportswriter, author, and (former) Tech faculty member Roland Lazenby.
"Hate is a bottomless cup; I will pour and pour" — Euripides
I asked VTBox, BilldozerVT, Furrer4Heisman, and Brian to contribute to this post. They obliged, and we are all better for it.
It's Hate Week
An Introduction — Joe, VTBox (Graphic)
I don't hate UVa for the traditional reasons. I didn't grow up in a neighborhood that had VT and UVA flags jutting out from garages. None of my high school friends attended college in Charlottesville. If Hoos want to wear ties to games, slug back bottles of wine, and nibble on cheese at tailgates, then YOLO.
However, Virginia fans remain the worst. The masses only support their program when it's convenient. When it is popcorn and movie night, when a spring practice travels to their neck of the woods. They leave Scott Stadium bare-assed for a noon-thirty kick against Wake Forest. They sell their tickets, their dignity, and any chance at home field advantage Thanksgiving weekend to Maroon for a couple bucks. They quit on their team early, and they do it without a second thought. It's all too easy for them to check out.
Virginia fans care more about Tech losing than UVa winning. They are quick to point out Tech's losses in BCS games, lack of a national championship, and every other Hokie disappointment. They are even quicker to deflect the fact they haven't sniffed a victory against Tech in 8 seasons.
A lot of stuff happened on Saturday, and I felt like writing about it.
Late season losses by top teams usually blur the national championship picture, but not this year. Stanford and Baylor upsetting Oregon and Kansas State, respectively, cleared the path for a Notre Dame-SEC national championship. Notre Dame has one game remaining, a road trip to Los Angeles against USC. The Trojans are 1-3 in their last four games and may be without quarterback Matt Barkley, if the report of a separated shoulder is true. Alabama and Georgia were 4th and 5th in last week's BCS rankings and they both host games during rivalry week. Auburn hasn't beaten a BCS team this season. Three wins in a row, and suddenly Georgia Tech has a pulse, but their competition has been anything but stiff. That upset isn't improbable, but is unlikely. In any case, I think the favorites will prevail. Which team can you tolerate hoisting the crystal, Notre Dame or the SEC representative?
Les Miles' speech definitely comes from the heart, but there's some showmanship in there too. I would strap it up and play for The Hat in an instant.
Also, there's this GIF.
French's Boston College film review will be posted at the beginning of the week. My quick thoughts powered by beer, the defense ceded more to Eagles on the ground than expected, but they pressured and sacked Rettig all afternoon. For the most part, the offense was stagnant, but scored enough points to leave Chestnut Hill with a win. Even though he gave up the touchdown, Exum held Alex Amidon to 2 receptions for 18 yards.
Boston College, and more importantly UVA, discusion goes here.
Football Outsiders just had a post on covariance, which I'll describe in a moment. You can read the full article at http://www.footballoutsiders.com/varsity-numbers/2012/vn-your-best-against-best but I want to highlight what it says about VT thus far this season here rather than rehash their entire article.
Against Florida State the Hokies played their hearts out. However, getting up for a big game in Lane hasn't been Tech's problem. Amping up for noon(-ish) kickoffs, in half empty stadiums, against average to poor teams, on the road, has been. Those conditions are exactly what Tech will encounter in Chestnut Hill.
Boston College is a terrible team. They have just two wins, a blowout against Maine, and 3 point squeaker versus Maryland (in that game the Terps started their former fourth-string quarterback). They rank 95th in total offense, 104th in scoring offense, 107th in total defense, and 77th in scoring defense. Opponents average 81.8 plays against BC. And, they lost to Army. None of that matters though, because as we saw at Miami and at Pitt, Tech has a habit of losing to bad teams on the road.
The Eagles do have some playmakers though. Chase Rettig is having a solid junior season (57% completions, 2,813 yards, 16 TDs, 9 INTs), and he's third among ACC QBs in yards per game.
Wide receiver Alex Amidon is having a spectacular season. He leads the ACC and ranks fourth nationally in receiving yards per game (115.7), and is 10th among all receivers with an average of 7.3 receptions per game.
Linebacker Nick Clancy leads BC in tackles (107), and is one of their better defenders. He suffered a concussion against Notre Dame, sat out the first two practices this week, but was cleared Wednesday.
This week I exchanged questions with Bill Maloney, the founder of Eagle in Atlanta. We talked about Coach Spaz, Chase Rettig, the rebuilding job at BC and the chance the Eagles could "steal" this one. My answers to his questions are up on his site too.
Here's to hoping the Eagles are as poor as Bill says.
TKP: So if there's one thing that makes me feel better about this Tech season it is that they are not the worst team in the ACC. Insert your Eagles. They're 2-8 and have only beaten Maine and a Maryland team playing a linebacker at quarterback. Is this going to be it for Frank Spazizani?
ATL: Spaz is done. While that is still speculation on my part, I think the moves BC has made (replacing our AD) and not commenting on Spaz's future indicate that this is all nearing an end. Even a strong finish won't be enough. The program is suffering on the field and in the stands. We need a new face and a new leader.
TKP: That being said, what does the future look like for this Eagles team? Are there any signs for a positive future?
Welcome everyone to Week 12, or as the SEC likes to call it, SoCon week. It's up to the rest of college football to shoulder the weight. ::GULP:: Buckle up, I feel another unbeaten succumbing to the pressure.
I know I mention GameDay a lot, but this week it's different. It's GameDawn. I love when the ESPN crew heads to Eugene. The broadcast starts out pitch black, then dawn pushes through the morning crowd, all the while throughout the morning the atmosphere is absolutely nuts. Autzen Stadium is on my very short list of stadiums to visit. I sure hope when I do it's on GameDawn. So tune in and enjoy the unique vibe of Pacific Northwest fans. They are all powered by the combo of weed, alcohol, and Red Bull.
USC -3.5 at UCLA 3:00 pm FOX
for the Victory Bell at the Rose Bowl
Damn, I should have invented this at Tech