Well, at least Clemson went about as expected. And sticking with the glass half full mentality, the 2020 Hokies football season that would never end seems likely to end this week, culminating with a mid-December bout with in-state rival Virginia. It was an equally depressing week for the Halfwits crew, with Joey and The Fifth Fuller each stumbling to a 2-5 showing courtesy of Justin Fuente's take on the four corners offense.
Joey's Record for Clemson Week (& Season Total): 2-5 (37-33-1)
The Fifth Fuller's Record for Clemson Week (& Season Total): 2-5 (33-36-1)
Without further ado, on to the lines!
True / False: Virginia Tech quarterbacks out-rush Virginia Tech running backs
Joey: I suppose this line assumes that Virginia Tech will, in fact, have quarterbacks to play against the 'Hoos. And while that may feel like a safe assumption, the QB room was a game of high-stakes musical chairs against Clemson, with a mystery injury from Braxton Burmeister and a sudden case of the chills from Hendon Hooker giving way to
Quincy Patterson KNOX KADUM. Thankfully, savvy and highly astute offensive coordinator Brad Cornelsen tailored his playbook to the redshirt freshman seeing his first game reps, giving him a steady diet of hand offs and short passes to the perimeter.
What's that? Cornselsen actually just called QB power repeatedly like a drunk guy at the horse track betting on the 7 all afternoon? That can't be right...
Anyways, the running backs feel like the safe play here, even if Hooker and/or Burmeister return healthy. Ride Juice and don't look back.
The Fifth Fuller: I think my understanding of this offense is best summarized by:
The Hokies have, by my limited understanding, their best offensive line in over a decade. So what do they do? Misdirection instead of MASH. The Hokies have, by my limited understanding, their best running back since Ryan Williams. So what do they do? Run the quarterbacks onto the injured list (which may exist, somewhere, though it's existence has never been confirmed to the public). All that to say, either Corny thinks this is a potential job saving game and he needs to pull out every whackadoo trick in the book, including Hooker splitting out wide and running jet sweeps OR he recognizes that the gig is up and he should try to go out with some semblance of dignity. That is, actually NOT trying to lose the game and help Herbert's NFL stock at the same time by feeding him. I'm going running backs.
Most Receiving Yards: Tre Turner or the Field
Joey: In another move perfectly emblematic of the Justin Fuente era in Blacksburg, Tre Turner dressed but was a surprise DNP against Clemson, evidently unable to go with a lingering lower body injury. There's limited public info on Turner's status for Hate Week, although his Twitter game of late seems to indicate he plans to play.
see you soon babygirl. We got some catching up to do😅— Tré Turner (@tre11turner) December 7, 2020
Regardless of Turner's apparent optimism, I'll take the field here, betting that Bronco's secondary will focus heavily on the Hokies' star wideout should he actually suit up.
As an aside, it's weird to me calling the cup 'Baby Girl'. This may be my 'old man yells at clouds' moment (and isn't necessarily specific to Turner), but I'm down for less cryptic tweeting and more winning, if that works?
The Fifth Fuller: Full disclosure, we started watching White Christmas Saturday night, I completely forgot the game was even on (AND YOU CALL YOURSELF A FAN) until the 3rd quarter, turned it on just in time to see Clemson score and then went to sleep. I didn't even realize Turner didn't play until I just read what Joey wrote; all the postgame noise was about Hooker's injury and Fuente's time management. That being said, Mr. Turner does seem to enjoy playing against the Hoos. 134 yards and a TD on 7 catches last year (plus the jet sweeps, OH the jet sweeps), 69 yards and TD on 4 catches PLUS that 43 yard run in 2018. Tre seems to have a hate on for the Hoos, which makes me love him even more. I can't bet against him here.
Over / Under: 1.5 Highlight Reels of Bryce Perkins Ending the Streak
Joey: This is an easy over. In the absence of good football to discuss, the ACCN will inevitably pivot to a variety of tangentially related topics, including but not limited to UVA breaking the streak, Shane Beamer taking the job at South Carolina, Ian Book's personal life, and Spurtle. Another key element to consider here is Brennan Armstrong's ability to pillage the Hokies' defense with his legs, which will serve as a natural segway to..."wow, this is just like what Bryce Perkins did last year!"
Get the bourbon ready and cash your ticket. Over.
The Fifth Fuller: POINT OF ORDER, SIR; are we talking during the broadcast, to include the pregame, or just the game itself? Former, I'm over. You are DEFINITELY going to have to endure some Perkins in the intro, and not the fun kind where he fumbles away the Cup at the last minute. Do I think it crops up again during the game? Yeah, particularly when they start gashing holes in the Hokies defense. But I don't think they're just gonna keep SHOWING it, because there are broadcasting decency standards and that is cruel and unusual punishment. So I say under for the game itself.
Over / Under: 450 yards of Total Offense for Virginia
Joey: UVA's surpassed the 500 mark in 2 of their last 3 (granted, they haven't exactly been playing the '85 Bears), but I'm going in a different direction here for a few reasons.
- Brennan Armstrong < Bryce Perkins.
- Tech's methodical tempo on offense wasn't just a Clemson thing. It may not be as exaggerated against the 'Hoos, but I think Fuente generally wants to limit possessions and protect his defense against a serviceable (and improving) UVA offensive attack.
- For as much heat as this program has taken recently, I think there's a glimmer of pride remaining, especially from older guys like Jarrod Hewitt and Divine Deablo. They may not win, but they'll put up a good fight.
It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it, but I'll go under.
The Fifth Fuller: I'm of two minds here. The optimist in me, as much as this coaching staff has strangled, crushed and drowned it, thinks that pride gets this team to pull it together to put up enough of a defensive showing to give Herbert a chance to win the game for the good guys. But then the other part of me that's watched enough of this team to realize that at some point it's going to be a one-score game and the Hokies will SEEM in the game, but a boneheaded decision (on the field or the sidelines) is going to lead to LOLUVA blowing the game open and after that enough of this defense will give up that they'll pour it on. It's easier to rack up yards when your opponent receives a kick off, goes three-and-out, punts, and you score in three plays. Rinse, repeat. LOLUVA goes over 450 yards of total offense and this season ends in a bloodbath.
Dealer's Choice: Name Tech's Uniform Combo
Joey: Honestly, I've lost track of how many consecutive weeks I've nailed the uniform prediction prop, but probably safe to assume it's at least approaching (if not above) the number of wins Tech has mustered together this year. And thankfully, we've saved the easiest for last: Saturday night marks the no-brainer return of #ALLMAROONEVERYTHING.
The logic is simple: Tech stayed traditional last week with the maroon-maroon-white look, and proceeded to get boat-raced on national television as folks flipped over to ABC from the far more exciting Mormons vs. Mullets matchup. That means a change is required this week, and in Justin Fuente's final game in Blacksburg with the hated 'Hoos coming to town in primetime, pushing their chips all in and going with #AME is the only credible option.
The Fifth Fuller: I have tried to write this one multiple times and I keep having to restart and go to a different one because if they pull out AllMaroonEverything, I'm going to be so f$*king pissed. I'm sorry, but Fuente lost the privilege of this uniform when he put this team in it to lose to LIBERTY. AND THE WORST PART IS, I KNOW HE'S GOING TO DO IT. DAMMIT.
Anyway, for perspective, the Hokies have not gone AME against the Hoos since 2008, their second Commonwealth Cup home tilt in a row they rocked it. Everything in me is screaming that a) Joey has a uniform source that is leaking him info and b) this team is going to continue to do things that seemingly have the single objective of destroying my soul, and those combined tell me that it will be AME. But eff that, give me Maroon helmets, Maroon jerseys and White pants. End this farce with some dignity.
Disclaimer: This column was written on Wednesday evening, prior to the official uniform release on social media (obviously).
The Joey Coogan Memorial "Navy Hits the Over" Lock of the Week
Joey: Coming off a disastrous Navy under, I'm going back to the Big Ten this week (the premier college basketball conference in America, apparently) with Iowa over Wisconsin in a pick-em. Wisconsin's coming off a soul-crushing loss to Tom Allen and Indiana, a game in which they never seriously challenged despite Indiana's star quarterback being out for the year. On the other hand, Iowa's 5-2, ranked 16th, and at home. I'm not sure why this is just a pick-em (and yes, that scares me a bit), but give me the Hawkeyes at Kinnick.
The Fifth Fuller: How can you not love the best kept secret in the Sun Belt, the undefeated Chanticleers, who also seem to be less likely to make the playoffs than Virginia Tech. They are favored by 13.5 against Troy this week, having beaten #18 BYU by 5, #19 UL-Lafayette by 3 (both teams' only loss of the year) and everyone else by double digits. App State is the only other team to come within two touchdowns! And Troy is...not a good team, even by Sun Belt standards. The Chanticleers (lordy that is fun to type) will be desperate to make plain the fact that they are a very good, very undefeated team who played a full schedule, and that should count more than the TV dollars that will accompany a six win an Ohio State into the playoffs. And they'll blow the doors off the poor Trojans and it won't make a damn bit of difference to the playoff committee. But at least you can make money on it!
Spread: Virginia Tech -2.5
Joey: Nothing new this week; Vegas continues to be dumb about Virginia Tech. Like I said above, I do think the Hokies come out motivated to get the Cup back, so things likely stay close through 2-3 quarters. But at the end of the day, I have a) no confidence in Brad Cornelsen to move the ball consistently; and b) limited confidence that J-Ham's defense can hold up for four quarters against another dual-threat quarterback. I'll take UVA and the points (and the Cup stays in Charlottesville). A sad fall, indeed.
The Fifth Fuller: Some folks seem a bit taken aback that my eternal optimism seems to have been extinguished by this ongoing disaster season. And I realized when I was talking to someone about Saturday today that...yep, it has. We discussed the low chances of Tech taking back the Commonwealth Cup, which led directly into a conversation about whether or not it would be better to just fake a COVID outbreak and cancel the game. If we're not taking the Cup back, why lump a LOLUVA loss on top of that? I'm looking forward to the Halfwits where we start breaking down the odds on the Hokies next coach. Take the LOLUVA money line, and typing that felt like kicking myself in the balls.
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.