A Defense

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.

Virginia Tech is Going to the Sugar Bowl

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.

Bitter Pills: Lessons Learned from a Crushing Defeat

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.

Ride or Die.

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."

Clemson 2.0 Preview

Who: #5/3/5 Virginia Tech Hokies (11-1, 7-1 ACC) vs #21/21/20 Clemson Tigers (9-3, 6-2 ACC)

Time: 8:02 PM

TV Coverage: ESPN (Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox)

Venue: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC (73,778 – Grass)

Series History: Clemson leads 18-12-1

  • Last Meeting (2011): Clemson 23, Virginia Tech 3
  • Clemson gave Virginia Tech its only loss of the season earlier this year in Blacksburg.
  • Virginia Tech is making its fifth ACC Championship Game appearance. For Clemson it's their second trip to the Championship Game.
  • The two teams have split four games played at neutral locations, including the 2001 Gator Bowl won by Tech 41-20.
  • When ranked higher, the Hokies are 3-2 against the Tigers.

Injury Report

  • OL David Wang – Out (Foot)

The Opponent: We all know what happened back on October 1. It was the nadir of Virginia Tech’s season, while Clemson appeared to reach its apex in the 23-3 victory at Lane Stadium. When the two teams meet Saturday, it will be a completely different matchup than it was the first time around. For a look at the preview going into that game, click here.

Six Pick: Week 14

The bittersweet end of the college football regular season is here. These fourteen weeks have flown by and we are again at Championship Saturday. Conference pride and bowl destinations are at stake; we'll see very good games in most of these matchups. I still expect at least one shocker left, but who will provide it, and how will that shake up the BCS? For those not going to the games this weekend, this is your last Saturday to do absolutely nothing and have a valid excuse. Cheers and don't squander it.

I am really only thinking about the Virginia Tech Hokies this week. No apologies to the teams in other conferences. The media and fans can circle jerk the SEC later, as the BCS championship game approaches. This week is for the ACC Championship, even it matters little to those outside our footprint. My focus is on a team that has adapted, overcome, grown and is not satisfied. The 2011 Hokies make a strong case to be along side the '95, '99 and '04 teams on my personal Mount Rushmore of Hokie teams. It's easy to dream about the future with this squad, but right now I am really enjoying the present. Charlotte was great to us last year, and I am hoping it gets turned up to 11 this year. Let's enjoy one of the last remaining games of the season in true Hokie fashion and ROCK THE QUEEN CITY.

Friday, December 2nd

ACC Championship Game Primer: Photo Edition

Hey y'all, the Primer is back again. From the bottom of my bourbon-soaked heart, I sincerely hope that everyone had a most excellent Thanksgiving with family and friends...and perhaps made some new friends in the successful #occupyScottStadium endeavor. It was quite heart-warming to hear the raucous chant of "LET'S GO! HOKIES!" through the TV. 

While celebrating a superb effort against our in-state rivals is dandy, this football team still has two more challenges ahead before we close the books on the 2011 season. Our last game, of course, depends on our effort in a couple of days down in Charlotte, North Carolina, in a rematch with a 9-3 Clemson outfit.

ACC Championship Preview: Act Like You Have Been There

Well folks, our long journey has brought us full circle. The Hokies arrive in Charlotte prepared to face a Clemson team which dominated them in Blacksburg several months ago. The Hokies have improved their level of play since that loss, as several key receivers have returned to health, Logan Thomas has gone from a question mark to THE ANSWER, and the defense has seen growth from their young players standing in for injured defensive stalwarts. Clemson however, stumbles into this game as losers of 3 of their last 4, including being dominated at the hands of South Carolina (who was without several top offensive weapons including Marcus Lattimore.) Vegas has established the Hokies as solid favorites, despite Clemson's win in Blacksburg.

MascotMock™: 8-Ball the Tiger

Yes, this is a retread from earlier in the season, but that mock was so incredibly awesome we need to double up on ole 8-Ball.  Check out the first Mock here for some inspiration.  Good work last week.  I'm fairly certain if we keep Mocking, the team will keep winning.  My humble weekly offering:

Game Review: My Own Scoop of Humble Pie and Wahoo Shame

Damn that was satisfying. I will write that again. Damn that was satisfying. Following our festive consumption of succulent turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and a tall glass of Avery Brewery Joe’s Pilsner, we nervously spent our time with family and friends nervously awaiting perhaps the most important football game to take place between Virginia and Virginia Tech in the last decade. I know I did. I ground on my teeth while I slept envisioning Logan Thomas running away from UVA’s pass rush. I woke up at 6:00AM Saturday morning in a cold sweat after a nightmare where UVA successfully bled the Hokie defense with short passes and power off tackle runs. I won’t lie to the readers of The Key Play. I was a nervous wreck.

UVA Roll Call

Like many of you, I was with family this weekend. At one point in the second half, I heard my mom say "I've never heard Adam laugh so much during a football game."

But I couldn't help it. It was simply beautiful to watch. Everything about shutting out UVA feels right, doesn't it?

There isn't going to be much discussion about the second team guys, because it wouldn't be a good read. But there's plenty about the guys who played the majority of the game.

1. Antone Exum - It was another hit-or-miss game for Exum. He made a lot of plays, and was all over the field, but I saw him beat at least 2-3 times on big UVA gains. Overall, way more good than bad.

2. Josh Oglesby - I thought UVA really committed to stopping the run and it led to a lot of short carries. And because Josh had six carries, I think it was about impossible for him to get going.

3. Logan Thomas - He looked great from the very first offensive snap. You can tell, like Bryan Randall, like Tyrod Taylor, he loves winning. He plays with a fire in his belly. The block on David's should-have-been-a touchdown was flat out awesome.

4. David Wilson - As I said about Oglesby, I thought there often wasn't a lot of space to run the football, but he kept chipping away and snapped off five runs of more than 15 yards, and they all seemed to come at very opportune times. It's a real treat to watch him run the ball.


This afternoon we dominated Virginia in every meaningful statistic, from turnovers to the final score, but I'm going to spare you the details. They're not necessary. When you look at a beautiful painting, swag-ass new piece of tech or a hot co-ed you don't care about what kind of paint the artist used, the type of metal in your hand, even though it feels silky smooth, or what her parents look like. When you see greatness, you appreciate it for what it is.

Look at them all leave, via VTBox who is once again doing the Lord's work.


Virginia is a good football team. They won eight games, including a couple against respectable opponents. That's why all of us --the team, fans, your humble writers-- poured our souls into this week. We embarrassed UVa today. We wanted this week, all of us, and we got it. It was a dominant performance.

No problem brah, I can take you up and down the field and then commemorate the occasion on your jersey. H/T Hokie_Wartooth

UVA Preview

Who: #6/4 Virginia Tech Hokies (10-1, 6-1 ACC) vs #24/25 Virginia Cavaliers (8-3, 5-2 ACC)

Time: 3:36 PM

TV Coverage: ABC/ESPN2 (Joe Tessitore, Rod Gilmore, Lisa Salters)

Venue: Scott Stadium, Charlottesville, VA (61,500 – Grass)

Series History: Virginia Tech leads 50-37-5

  • Last Meeting (2010): Virginia Tech 37, Virginia 7
  • The Hokies have won seven consecutive meetings with UVA, winning by an average score of 32-11.
  • Tech has won 11 of the last 12 meetings, with the lone loss being a 35-21 defeat at UVA in 2003.
  • The Hokies hold a 6-2 advantage when both teams are ranked. However, this is just the third time since 1999 that UVA has been ranked.

Injury Report

  • OL David Wang – Out (Foot)
  • Alonzo Tweedy and C Andrew Miller – Expected to Play

The Opponent: There’s really not much to be said about this game that hasn’t already been said. Plain and simple, this is for all the marbles. A Tech win equals another ACC Championship berth and the potential for an Orange Bowl appearance. A Tech loss probably sends Tech to either Atlanta or Orlando and sends UVA to the ACC Championship in Mike London’s second year. UVA has closed the gap in London’s tenure and this is their test to truly see how close they are to Virginia Tech.

Grillin' With Wolf: Bourbon Marinated Tri-Tip Kabobs

What can I say about the Cavs that you don't already know? Like many of you, at one time I considered UVA as a college option. When I was 11 my father had a job offer at the Boar's Head Inn located about 5 miles away from UVA's campus. The area was so pretty that I had it in my mind that I might want to go to school there one day. (I remind you that my only idea of college at this time was Christopher Newport and Old Dominion University). Soon I started watching college football. I ended up following a QB named Maurice DeShazo. I watched as DeShazo threw 22 touchdowns in 1993 and he sealed my life long love for Hokie football.

Like most of you I planned on Mike London's second season to be as bad as his first. I thought we'd win in another cake walk. I am glad to admit that I was wrong, and that this game actually has meaning. So for this renewed rivalry, I will be grilling up bourbon marinated Tri-Tip kabobs for the game. I wanted something easy before the trip to Charlotte.