Halfwits and Wagers Is Somehow Sixty Minutes Away From Bowl Season

Halfwits is (stunningly) back for Week 12, previewing Tech's matchup with Marshall along with the biggest games across Championship Week.

Well, you didn't think you'd be seeing us again, eh?

After a miraculous 34-31 overtime win against the 'Hoos cemented a decade and a half of Commonwealth Cup dominance, we're back for another week of Halfwits with the Hokies on the verge of bowl eligibility.

Will it happen? Who knows, but 5-6 with a win over UVA certainly beats 4-7 with 5 straight losses to end the year.

Brian's Record this Year (+Last Week Only) 46-47-2 (5-4)

Joey's Record this Year (+Last Week Only) 50-44-1 (4-5)

On to the lines!

True/False: Tre Turner leads the team in receiving yards

Brian: False. Turner's been such a revelation over the last few games, I'd almost forgotten what a true game breaking receiver felt like in this offense (no shots at Cam Phillips, but he was banged up most of last season). But you know who else notices the kind of difference the freshman has made? Opposing coaching staffs, particularly Marshall's.

I bet the kid gets a little extra attention, opening the field for Damon Hazelton to have a big time day should he return healthy.

(By the way, Turner and Dax Hollifield? Big hits to the "stars don't matter" crowd. They may not always matter, but there's a reason that Turner, Hollifield, Ty Garbutt, and Dalton Keene are Tech's best young players. They simply had a head start over other players due to their talent.)

Joey: I desperately want to take Turner here. I mean, how could you not?

But Brian's right. There's just too many options at wideout not to take the field. Whether or not Hazelton returns healthy seems like a crapshoot with how tight-lipped this staff is, but between Grimsley, Kumah, and the second coming of Rob Gronkowski (cough, Dalton Keene), I'll take false.

Over/Under: 0.5 snaps by a QB not named Ryan Willis

Brian: It seems like this goes under, right? Quincy Patterson hasn't seen a snap since his bewildering insertion into the game against Pittsburgh. It seems highly unlikely that we see Josh Jackson play again this season (is he getting a medical redshirt?), and poor Hendon Hooker seems glued to the pine no matter how effective the other two guys are.

I don't envy Fuente and whoever the offensive coordinator is in 2019 (okay fine, Cornelsen). On one hand, they have Jackson—an older QB who makes (most of) the right reads in both the run and pass game, but has neither the speed nor the arm to truly worry a defense. On the other hand, they have Willis, who's practically Jackson's inverse. He's athletic enough and has the ability to push things vertically. But his reads are iffy at their best, and the staff doesn't seem to trust him (in Fuente's presser after UVA, he threw out a lot of "well, I don't know what Ryan saw there, but...")

And on their third, mutant hand, they have either Patterson or Hooker. Both of which I would guess are the preferred options for the kind of offense Fuente likes, but will have to earn the spot to unseat two upperclassmen.

And right now? None of the four seem like a great choice, in their own special way.

Joey: Right or wrong, I still have the vision of Hendon Hooker streaking down the East sideline for a 69-yard score against William and Mary firmly entrenched in my brain. And right or wrong, I think the QB run game may be a bit more dangerous than usual against a solid but perhaps athletically limited Marshall defense.

Does it mean Cornelsen rolls the dice and puts Quincy or Hooker on the field for the first time since Pitt? Probably not.

Under.

Over/Under: 375 total yards for the Marshall offense

Brian: The Herd average 378 yards a game, just a few less than UVA. The fact that most of their games have come against Conference USA opponents should make Tech fans feel easier, but it probably won't.

Well how about this: outside of their game against UTSA (3-9 on the season), Marshall hasn't cracked over 335 yards of total offense since mid-October. They've won a lot, but it hasn't been because of their scoring prowess. I'll take the under.

(Aaaaaand I already hate that pick. It took exactly five seconds to doubt it.)

Joey: Let's be honest: I don't watch a lot of Conference USA football (read, any Conference USA football). I have, however, done some boots-on-the-ground reporting on the Thundering Herd in the spirit of comprehensive journalistic research.

It was Labor Day weekend — back when Tech fans thought they had a football team — and my friends and I were piling into an Uber in Tallahassee to head downtown for the night. Recognizing our maroon and orange gear, the Uber driver said something to the effect of, 'Ah damn, you guys in for a long night."

Still sober, I playfully responded that the 'Noles would probably win but at least we didn't have to live in the sun-scorched pit of misery that is Florida all year.

In a shocking turn of events, the Uber driver tells us that he's a West Virginia boy, Marshall Football Class of [insert somewhat recent class here] (OK, I wasn't totally sober). Remembering the rain game of 2013, we asked if he ever played against Tech.

"Yep, I picked off Logan Thomas that day."

/Bets house on Florida State.

OK, so that story has little to do with Marshall's offense, but it's literally the only thing I know about the Herd. Based on the stats Brian rattled off above (and the 324 yards Marshall recorded against NC State), I'll go under.

P.S. Monterius Lovett, if you're reading this (you're not), rest assured that you got 5 stars.

Clemson -26.5 vs. Pitt

Brian: I'm just going to leave this here:

Now, I don't buy the hype. But it's a half-interesting stat attributed to a game in desperate need of some sort of attention, because no one wants to watch this thing after Alabama and Georgia slug it out.

Pitt had a nice little run against mostly awful Coastal opponents. They dominated Tech and Wake, won shootouts against Duke and Syracuse, and steamrolled Virginia. But outside of their close loss to Notre Dame, let's look at how the Panthers performed against teams with talent across their roster:

vs Penn State (loss 51-6)

@ UCF (loss 45-14)

@ Miami (loss 24-3)

Moral of those stories? Pitt struggles against athletic defenses and offenses that can beat them on the outside. Clemson will do that. Will they win by 27? That seems just a little high to me.

I'll probably regret it, but give me the Panthers +26.5

Joey: Brian's on the money here until the pick. Pitt is one of those teams that needs to physically dominate to have a chance to win, and they have absolutely zero chance of winning at the line of scrimmage against the Brent Venables freak show at defensive line.

Clemson's offense won't be superhuman a la Louisville, but they should get into the low 40's, and that'll be plenty for the Tigers to cover the number.

Clemson -26.5.

Oklahoma -7.5 vs. Texas

Brian: Don't love this game, wouldn't bet it. But it seems like the Sooners are peaking at the right time, and the Longhorns haven't played great since they beat Oklahoma in Dallas (games against Baylor, Texas Tech, and Kansas were all struggles).

And yes, OU's defense is abjectly awful. But can Sam Ehlinger keep up with Kyler Murray? He did it once, but I doubt he can do it again. And if Oklahoma winning means keeping Ohio State/Urban Meyer/annoying Buckeye fans out of the playoff? I'll take them -7.5 and root for it to happen.

Joey: I also hate this game, and would lean towards the over. A touchdown-plus line seems way too high — don't forget, Texas handed Oklahoma their sole loss back in October— which for gambling purposes probably means the Sooners win by 100.

Knowing that I'm probably on the wrong side, -7.5 for a defense as porous as Oklahoma's screams backdoor cover, so I'll take Texas to pull within a score late.

Ok. Cool. Hook 'Em.

Alabama -13 vs. Georgia

Brian: Borderline lock for me. Alabama is amazing, but what's the best offense they've faced this season? Texas A&M? Mississippi State? It can't be (gulp) LSU or Auburn, right? The fact that they're in the conversation tells you all you need to know about the lack of firepower Bama's faced so far.

I don't think they'll win, but Georgia's more equipped than anyone else in the country to give the Tide a run for their money. Give me the Dawgs +13 and Bama to win by six.

Joey: This is another one where I'm undoubtedly on the wrong side, but I agree with Brian.

Alabama's appeared slightly mortal of late, staying close early with The Citadel and Auburn and not eclipsing 30 points against a pair of strong SEC defenses (LSU & Mississippi State).

Did they win all four of those games by at least 24 points? Well, of course, it's Alabama.

But Georgia's a different animal, and while they're down a bit compared to last year, I think they'll stay within 13. Go Dawgs.

The Joey Coogan Memorial "Navy Hits the Over" Lock of the Week.

Brian: Washington is very talented. Utah won nine games by feasting on an awful Pac-12 South, struggled with a bad BYU team last week, and has...one?...good win. The Utes are also without their starting quarterback and running back, yet the Huskies are favored by just 5.5 at Levi's Stadium? I think they win by two touchdowns.

Joey: While Navy preps for the annual Army/Navy game next week (the best football spectacle of the year, don't @ me, get off my lawn), I'm forced to look elsewhere for this week's lock.

And ironically enough, I love NC State -23 against a soon-to-be 3-9 ECU team.

Screw you, crazy ECU lady.


Virginia Tech-Marshall Over/Under: 51

Brian: Marshall's going to score more than this line suggests, and the Hokies will have to put up at least 27 to win. Even though the Herd's offense struggles and their defense seems pretty air tight, I'll take the over.

Joey: Tech's hit three straight overs in this column*, and this one should be an easy fourth.

Over.

*The Miami total ended up getting to 53 after publishing (and Tech lost 38-14) in yet another edition of "Vegas Is Really Good at Their Job".

Spread: Virginia Tech -4

Brian: I think the Herd smell blood. There'll be a lot of green in Lane Stadium on Saturday, and I don't know where the Hokies' heads are after the emotional and miraculous win over UVA. It would be typical of a young team to come out flat after such a great win the week before, and it's on Fuente to make sure they're not only prepared, but fired up.

And even if they're fired up, I'm still not convinced. I have a bad feeling about this one, especially with everyone seeming to hedge with the recency bias of "as long as we have the Commonwealth Cup, I don't care about the bowl streak." Both my head and my gut say Marshall wins this one, 31-27.

Joey: This has all the makings of a letdown game, and Marshall's a good football team. Tech may squeak out another miracle victory, but I think the Herd keep it uncomfortably close (and probably win).

Marshall +4.

Disclaimer: Some of these are real betting lines, but many of them are fake and none of this is real advice that should be taken seriously.

Comments

On Monday, Fuente kept stressing in his press conference how the team really needs to put the UVA game behind them and bring the same intensity in practice this week (thanks Captain Obvious). I think they'll be prepared for this one by blind faith only, but Marshall is solid and it's not going to be enough to just be mentally focused. We're goimg to need an above-average defensive effort and need to get the running game going (thanks again, Captain Obvious). I think we squeeze a win out.

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

I'm hopng we don't just earns a bowl game where we are not the lackey team to be humiliated on TV.

Our young talent looks very promising, yet we just need a strong O-line. That will make the future much brighter.

Going into this season I thought we were putting together one of the best O lines in recent history. They need to step up. The talent and size is there.

JP

Is Nijman still hurt?

Tre doesn't lead in receiving. The surge in media coverage on Tre allows for Hazelton to have a field day.

Willis takes all the snaps unless we run a fake punt.

Under 375 for Marshall.

Panthers +26.5. Clemson wins.

Oklahoma outright.

Georgia outright.

Outspoken team cake advocate. Hates terrapins. Resident Macho Man Gif Poster. Distant cousin to Dork Magic. Frequently misspells words.

So kind of off topic but wasn't sure were to post. Reading some bowl predictions and it has Southern Miss as being left out even with their 6 wins. This is same Southern Miss who refused to play a makeup game (against Tech or anyone else) which could have got them to 7 wins and a bowl game.

Wet stuff on the red stuff.

Join us in the Key Players Club

this is now my Christmas wish

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

"Yep, I picked off Logan Thomas that day."

I forgot about that 3OT win over Marshall. LT3 had 2 picks but did score the game tying and game winning TD.

I have not forgotten. I have been thinking about that game since we announced we would play them if we beat LOLUVa. I keep seeing that touchdown pass late that a Marshall player actually tipped. I don't remember who caught it but I can't get that snippet out of my mind. We were an inch away from losing to them then.

Vols Fans are more delusional than LOLUVA

Hokie in Tennessee

It was the man, the myth, the legend, Willie Byrn

On 4th down

Damn I had forgotten it was 4th down.

Vols Fans are more delusional than LOLUVA

Hokie in Tennessee

The Milkman always delivers!

Outside its night time, but inside its LeDay

The Milkman Paperboy always delivers!

FTFY

just FYI: https://www.linkedin.com/in/monterius-lovett-25aa60141/

Also, I am in the camp that everything is awesome following that LOLUVa win. Worst case, we lose to Marshall and then we can claim that we didn't even make a bowl, but the fighting zimas still couldn't beat us.

Don't get me wrong, I still hope we win, but I've got money on Marshall +4.5

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

Perfectly fine losing money on Marshall +4.5. I bet twice as much on the over so that worked out.

Warning: this post occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors)..

We keep the streak alive and capitalize on the good karma from beating LOLUVA. 35-14 Tech!

If it is 35-14, then we will see another quarterback take snaps!

Last four games OU totals have been 115, 95, 95 and 97. Previous match up with Texas totaled 93. Give me the over for my lock of the week.

I actually think Patterson gets snaps this week because the Hokies are going to have to attack the Herd between the tackles and that's a way to do it.

Nah, the Hooker finally gets out to play meaningful snaps. He has already had his redshirt year. That allows QP to be played during the bowl after 15 additional practices.

This has been my thought. In my daydreams I see QP impressing in extended practice and starting the bowl and running this offense the way it's meant to all year next year. I realize this absolutely isn't going to happen that way but a man can dream.

I've been on the Fuente knows best train all year and hate the people that blindly call for the backup but I'm ready to see him actually get cut loose to see what he's got.

Vols Fans are more delusional than LOLUVA

Hokie in Tennessee

Yeah, in all honesty, winning the bowl game really doesn't matter. Beating Marshall to get to said bowl game does.

Based on that, I'll buy into the QP doesn't play Saturday (unless we get hopelessly behind), but plays significant time in the bowl game.

Heck maybe Fuente will give Hooker and QP each a half.

Marshall fans still talk about that 2013 game to this day. That was one of the wildest games I've ever been to. I sat in the pouring rain for like 5 hours. I remember the VT logos on those orange camo helmets were all peeling off. Kendall Fuller got into a fist fight in the end zone with Gator Hoskins. Tech blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown. Tech blocked a field goal in overtime. Logan Thomas threw a sure pick on the goal line only to have to have it bounce into Willie Byrn's hands. Ethan Keyserling missed what felt like 8 field goals that day. One of the Hopkins brothers almost scored a #fatguytouchdown. Unreal. One of the greatest games I've ever been to.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

That was my senior year and last season with the Marching Virginians. That's still one of my favorite home games I've been to.

Wasn't it a white-out game too if I seem to remember correctly..........?

"What kind of person would throw away a perfectly good dog?"

Yep. Looked more like a Jackson Pollack painting because of all the ponchos though. Two Marshall fans were wearing WVU ponchos because the Walmart they went to in WV didn't have any Marshall ponchos.

Marshall University student.
Virginia Tech fanatic.

Wettest damn game I have ever been to. It soaked through my Gortex jacket and rain pants.

Earlier this year, Marshall won their game against ODU (41-20). We can avenge our ODU loss by beating Marshall.
Go HOKIES!

Ut Prosim Ad Dei Gloriam

This really should have more legs!

Not sure I can leg anything that reminds me of the ODU game.

What ODU game??

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