FBS Mission Statement:

We at FBS believe that offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring bears the largest share of the blame for years of sub-par output from some of the most talented players ever to set foot on Worsham Field. We believe the main objective of the VT football program - a national championship - will escape us as long as Stinespring is making the calls. We therefore advocate the improvement of our football program through the replacement of our offensive coordinator.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Games to Watch - Week 5

FSU vs Virginia
12:00 Noon, ACC Network (Raycom)

So this Mike London thing at UVA seems to be working out irritatingly well so far. The French have cruised past both of their I-AA opponents and held Captain Douchebag and the Trojans to 17 points in Los Angeles. I'm not sold on the resurrection of the Cavaliers just yet, but I'm also not taking them for granted.

Meanwhile, as Yahoo! Sports college football blogger Matt Hinton points out, the Florida State fanbase hasn't exactly been showering "new" head coach Jimbo (that never stops being funny) Fisher with adoration - or attendance.

Still, Florida State is Florida State and Virginia is Virginia. Or so we think.

PREDICTION: FSU 27, UVA 20

Miami vs. Clemson
12:00 Noon, ESPN2/ESPN3D

This could damn well be a preview of the 2010 ACC championship game. Yes, Miami got schooled by the Sweater Vest at the whore's shoe, but nobody's claiming Da U is back this year. It's just very possible that they might wind up being the least sucktastic team in shittacular division. Judging by Miami's performance at Pittsburgh there are zero questions on the defensive side of the ball in Miami. If Jacory Harris can just start completing more passes to his own players than to defenders then Miami can win the Coastal in a walk this season. Then again, Jacory has never come close to living up to the hype surrounding him, and we don't expect him to start anytime soon.

Clemson, meanwhile, managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Auburn two weeks ago, damn near crippling their own starting quarterback in the process. Head coach Dabo Swinney (I swear to God) claims Kyle Parker's ribs are fully healed after the steel cage death match he endured against Auburn's defense. The sophomore QB will apparently be good to go against Miami. The Tigers damn near pulled the upset against Auburn, which makes the loss that much more devastating. (See Boise State) The rest of the Tigers' season will be determined by how the team responds to the emotionally draining loss. It's quite possible the team might simply fold. If, however, the near miss against Auburn lights a fire under the team's collective asses then Clemson fans will have a short drive to Charlotte this December.

PREDICTION: Clemson 24, Miami 21

Virginia Tech vs NC State
3:30 PM, ABC Regional

Look, I hope I'm wrong about this.

I mean, I really, really hope I'm wrong about this.

But I think the good guys lose this one.

It's hard to pick against my team when they're coming off a shutout of a conference opponent on the road. In fact, that's the one thing that makes me think I might be wrong about this one, the hope that Coach Foster's defense will be able to do against NC State what it did against a vastly inferior BC team. Except, of course, for the fact that David Shinskie is the second coming of Grant Noel, while Russel Wilson looks like a dark horse Heisman candidate. Wilson is on pace to throw for over 3,300 yards and over 30 touchdowns in the regular season and sports an 11:1 TD to INT ratio. The glimmer of hope is that he's also been sacked 11 times through 4 games against defenses vastly inferior to VT's.

The Wolfpack defense, meanwhile, looks almost shockingly similar to the Hokies'. The Wolfpack is allowing 311.25 ypg. The Hokies are allowing 307.25. The Wolfpack rank 46th against the rush and 49th against the pass. The Hokies rank 38th and 53rd, respectively. The Wolfpack is averaging 3.5 sacks per game. The Hokies are averaging 3.0. I'm not saying the Wolfpack D is worthy of carrying the lunchpail. The level of play of their opponents has been a bit below the level of play of VT's opponents. But it's close enough for me to say that in terms of defense, with this game being at Carter Finley Stadium, there might be no clear advantage on either team. That means this game might come down to which offensive coordinator can find a wrinkle in the opposing defense and exploit it.

And if that's the case, we're screwed.

PREDICTION: NC State 14, Virginia Tech 9

Texas vs Oklahoma
3:30 PM, ABC (regional)


First and foremost: I don't think this game has any bearing on the eventual BCS champion this season. Texas is seeking an identity after the graduation of the anti-Vince, and Oklahoma, while vastly improved over last season's debacle, still has Landry Jones under center.

But the Red River Rivalry is my second favorite annual marquee conference matchup at a neutral site, right behind the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party that SEC game with no particularly notable moniker. Texas fans and Oklahoma fans flat out hate each other. And not like Virginia Tech fans and UVA fans hate each other, because UVA fans hate Virginia Tech fans because they support a winning team that has won a conference championship this decade, and Virginia Tech fans hate UVA fans because they're a bunch of cream puff, bow-tie wearing, brie cheese eating, ascot-wearing, cookie-dough eating, froo-froo, daiquiri-drinking, non-alcoholic-beer-chugging weenies. But Oklahoma fans and Texas fans hate each other because both teams are storied, nationally prominent football programs and have, on multiple occasions, ripped the heart out of the opposing fan base and stomped on it. (To illustrate the point: if Miami hadn't shit the bed at the turn of the century and remained nationally prominent, the VT/UM rivalry might have one day grown to Texas/Oklahoma proportions.)

I'm going with my heart here instead of my head. Texas won't lose back to back heartbreakers. Coach Mack Brown still has too much spit and vinegar left in him. He took the asskicking UCLA dropped on the Longhorns personally. Defensive coordinator and HCiW Will Muschamp will have the Longhorn D frothing at the mouth after giving up 34 points to the Bruins, and offensive coordinator Greg Davis will spend all week figuring out how to overcome a stagnant running game to win against a major opponent. (Stiney, are you listening?)

PREDICTION: Texas 31, Oklahoma 24

Florida vs Alabama
8:00 PM, CBS (national)

And now we come to the games that do have BCS championship implications.

The last couple of years the SEC has been a two horse race between the Gators and the Tide, and while Auburn does look to be on the rise I think that will be the case this season as well.

To be fair, I don't see either of these teams making it undefeated through the season. For one thing, I think the loss of the Christ Child Tim Tebow will simply be too much to overcome for Urban Meyer, who had spent the last three years basing the entire Gator offense around the genetically engineered freak of a QB. The transition back to a normal offense, against which defenses will focus on all positions instead of just the quarterback, will take a year even for an offensive guru like Meyer. Florida is still going to be good this season, but not as good as we're accustomed to.

Alabama, meanwhile, does appear as good as ever. But running the gauntlet in back to back years in the SEC is damn near impossible. There is perhaps no better coach when it comes to getting his team focused than Nick Saban, but I still think the Tide will stumble once somewhere along the way.

Still, look for this game to be played again in December in Atlanta. And if Bama should win the rematch, I suspect they'll have a chance to defend their BCS championship.

PREDICTION: Bama 34, Florida 24

Stanford vs Oregon
8:00 PM, ABC (regional)

As far as I'm concerned, this is the money game this weekend. Both Oregon and Stanford have the look of a champion, and yet the two teams couldn't look more different.

At one point this season Oregon's offense was scoring a point a minute. The Ducks have come back down to earth a bit after starting conference play. They are now averaging a point every 62.3 seconds. Add to that an average of 560 yards per game, including over 320 on the ground, and you realize that those Big XII offenses a couple of years ago weren't shit. But unlike the Texas Techs and Oklahoma States of yesteryear, this Oregon squad has a D. And that D is currently ranked 23rd in the nation in total defense and 3rd in scoring defense. Those numbers are slightly skewed by the fact that three of Oregon's four opponents have been New Mexico, Tennessee, and Portland State. But any time you're outscoring your opponent by more than 46 points on average you're entire team is doing something right.

Chip Kelly might be the best coach in 1A football. Then again, Jim Harbaugh of Standford might also be the best coach in 1A football. He'd have to be to do what he's done at Stanford, a school that has a tree as a mascot. I mean...a tree. And not a cool tree like Treebeard from Lord of the Rings. They have a thing walking the sidelines that looks like Jim Henson dropped the brown acid at Woodstock. They also have the nerve to insist that they be referred to in the singular. The Standford Cardinal. Not Cardinals. Just one. A single bird. And what a cardinal has to do with a tree I have no clue. But I guess if Alabama can represent the Crimson Tide as an elephant, Stanford can represent a cardinal as a tree. At least both of Stanford's mascots are real things.

Anyway, Harbaugh is a badass. An old school, smashmouth badass. After going for two against Notre Lame while already up by three scores he instantaneously became my favorite head coach in all of football, at any level. He is absolutely relentless. He will always give opposing teams his best shot for a full 60 minutes, and he thinks mercy is how you say thank you in French.

This game is damn near impossible to predict, because neither of these teams have been tested so far this season. It's anybody's guess how either team would react to adversity. But if this game is close, and I think it will be, I'd give Harbaugh the edge over Kelly when it comes to rallying the troops. Offensively, I give the edge to Oregon. Defensively, I think Stanford gets the nod. Even though the Cardinal is giving up 13.75 points per game vs Oregon's 11.00, the quality of offenses Standford has faces thus far have been several degrees above those the Ducks have faced. And Oregon just gave up 31 points against the first quality opponent of the season.

I'm going with my gut on this one, but my confidence level in my prediction is approaching absolute zero.

PREDICTION: Stanford 31, Oregon 30

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

3 Downs, 10 Yards.

Over the past few days, many fans have taken notice to Stiney’s impotency inside the red zone. He claims that his computer program (because those are NEVER wrong) says that his offense is unpredictable. Thats a load of bull. All 4 of our field goals against BC came after the same sequence: Run, Run, Pass.


Here’s an oversimplification: assuming that there are, effectively, two kinds of plays (running and passing), and that an offense has 3 plays to work with on every red zone series, then there are 8 different sequences that a playcaller could choose from. Lets take a look at each, and why it may or may not be effective in the red zone.


1) Run, Run, Run - This is an ideal setup, if your running backs can earn an average of 4 yards per carry. It requires a team with a offensive line that can overpower it’s competition consistently. We do not have this, since we have made a shift towards a smaller and more athletic offensive line. We do currently average 4.27 ypc, but that includes all plays outside of the red zone, where linebackers and defensive backs have more area to defend. Inside the red zone, they are compacted into a smaller area, making it easier to cover.


2) Run, Run, Pass - The Stinespring Special! It can be used effectively as an occaasional augmentation of #1 - assuming your 3rd down requires a gain of 2 yards or less - since a defense will usually expect a dive or keeper. They can be caught off guard for well more than the needed yardage. It’s more common to see this on a 3rd and goal play, with a dump to a fading WR, TE or FB. Unfortunately for VT, Stiney is usually forced into this move because we did not gain 4+ on each of the first 2 plays, leaving us with 3rd and 3 or greater. To a competent defensive coordinator, this is blood in the water. The opposing line and linebackers will usually run some sort of blitz package, while the defensive backs drop back in man or tight zone coverage.


3) Run, Pass, Run - This one is fairly rare, since a pass on second down often results in a first down if it is complete, or puts a team in a position much like #2 where they are forced to throw it. Ideally, this would occur if the initial run went for 7+ yards, setting up a managable 2nd down - a free down, more or less - where the team can take a shot at the endzone without fear since they’ll have a managable 3rd down if it’s incomplete.


4) Run, Pass, Pass - This is typically forced by a low or negative gain on first (and possibly second) down. In the red zone, it’s tough to make this sequece work unless the defense is either on their heels in a prevent defense, or getting caught for a screen pass behind a linebacker blitz.


5) Pass, Pass, Pass - I’ve only ever seen timing offenses plan and run this sequence - that is - a set of short timed-route passes that hit underneath the secondary. You have to have some pretty good deep ball threats to get the secondary to back off enough to open these routes - making this even less likely when they are working in the red zone with short field. We don’t have many timing routes besides that worthless quick-screen that Stiney loves to run...


6) Pass, Pass, Run - See #5 with a manageable 3rd.


7) Pass, Run, Pass - I wish I saw this and #8 peppered into our red zone offense. It’s a GREAT wrinkle on ol’ #2, since it takes advantage of a defense that is keying on our RB’s (AKA - everyone that faces us this season). Catch them off guard with a pass on first down - setting them a bit on their heels going into second, which will open a running lane, then take a shot at the endzone on 3rd and short.


8) Pass, Run, Run - A more conservative take on #7.


Now all of this analysis goes to hell in a handbasket just as soon as an offense starts running play-action passes - something that VT really should do more of, given our attention-grabbing backfield. I would love to see this out of our pistol set - run some combo of Williams/Evans/Wilson/Oglesby on a dive to get the linebackers (and especially the defensive backs, if you can sell it) to bite in, opening up our recievers for easy slants and fades. This would work fantasitically on first down after a long run against an undisciplined defense - no one wants to get burned by our RB’s twice in a row.


I expect that if Stiney actually takes any of this predictability talk to heart, we’ll see #7 and #8 if they’re stopping our runs, or #3 and the good version of #2 if they aren’t. Then again, since when has Stiney ever learned from his mistakes?


Here comes #2. Take that statement however you wish.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Breaking Down First Down

“On most of those, our first-down play wasn’t very good.” -- Frank Beamer, explaining why the offense struggled inside the red zone against BC.

Look, it's basic football. You want your first down play to set up a manageable 2nd down for your team, so that on 2nd down you can either set up a very makeable 3rd and short or just go ahead and convert. And while some analysts call 3rd down the "money down," I personally subscribe to the philosophy that what you do on 1st down is more important - because if you handle 1st down properly, you might never even see a third down.

I'm not getting into the stats for 1st down inside the red zone here. Kyle Tucker has already done that. The verdict isn't pretty.

Instead I'm going to focus on what VT does (or doesn't do) on first down in general.

Against Boston College, Virginia Tech had 25 1st down plays. Of those 25 plays 16 were rushes, 7 were passes, 1 was a QB scramble out of a broken play, and 1 was a QB kneel. We're throwing out the QB kneel. It's technically a negative yardage play, but it's also my favorite play in the Virginia Tech playbook.

So we're looking at 24 plays on first down. Exactly 2/3 of those plays are rushes. The other 1/3 were all designed pass plays, during one of which Tyrod had to tuck and run out of a collapsing pocket. The Hokies gained 85 yards off their 1st down plays, or 3.5 yards per play.

Is that good? Bad? Acceptable? Well, it all depends. In general I personally believe the goal on 1st down should be to gain 4 yards. This gives the offense 2 more downs to gain 6 yards. Based on an average of 3.5 yards per play on 1st down, the Hokies are very close to this goal. Given the talent VT has on offense this season we can argue that the Hokies should have been blowing this goal out of the water right out of the gate, but I'm trying to stick to the data here. And by that data, there deficiency on first down yardage is not a huge one.

But as anyone who works with numbers or statistics knows, there's more than one way to present the information. By a strict average (mean) of first down plays, the Hokies are coming up half a yard short. But our first down play calling his heavily dominated by running plays. On those designed rushes (not counting Tyrod's scramble), the Hokies averaged 2.4 yards per designed running play. Put another way, the Hokies on average faced a 2nd and a short 8 when they ran the ball to start a series.

It's a different story when passing on 1st down. Tyrod was 6 of 7 for 40 yards on 1st down passes, an average of 5.7 yards per pass attempt. On average the Hokies faced 2nd and a long 4 every time Tyrod passed to open a series of downs.

The Hokies gained 3.3 more yards on average when Tyrod passed on first down than when a run play was called.

If we attribute Tyrod's 11 yard scramble to the passing plays, then the average yardage on first down pass plays jumps to 6.4, or exactly four more yards per play than when a designed run is called.

To delve a bit deeper into specifics, the worst possible result on a first down play (short of a turnover) is negative yardage, followed closely by zero-gain plays. Against Boston College, Virginia Tech lost yardage on 3 first down rushing plays, and was stopped for no gain on one more. That's 4 plays of no gain or worse when running of first down. When passing on first down, the Hokies were held to no gain once - Tyrod's one incompletion.

The Hokies ran twice as much as they passed on first down, but running plays accounted for 4 times as many no gain/negative yardage plays.

There's several things we can take away from this. First and foremost, it's another indication that for whatever inexplicable, mind-boggling, infuriating reason, the running game simply isn't clicking this season. Through four games, Virginia Tech ranks 41st in the nation in rushing at 180.25 ypg. Last season VT ranked 14th at 208.15 ypg. The leading Hokie rusher is Tyrod Taylor at 50.25 yards per game. Through four games, the Hokies have yet to have a single player rush for more than 100 yards in a game.

Compare that to our passing. Tyrod Taylor is completing 65.3% of his passes, far and away a personal best. He's averaging 9.9 yards per attempt, good for 6th in the nation among qualified QBs. He is once again in the top 15 in passer efficiency.

Virginia Tech is a run-first offense. I get that. It's always been our identity, built upon names like Oxendine, Stith, Suggs, Jones, Humes, and Williams. VT wants to be known for pounding the rock. But what happens when, for whatever reason, the running game is having a devil of a time getting going? What happens when you have a senior QB who was a 5 star recruit, the type of player that comes along maybe once in a decade, who has proven to be a lethally efficient passer, and who might just be the last 5 star quarterback to play at Virginia Tech under Frank Beamer?

Tyrod Taylor is averaging under 19 attempts per game.

It's the same thing that has always happened under Bryan Stinespring's watch. The same plays are called regardless of results. The players' strengths and individual skill sets don't matter. The glaringly obvious fact that the key to opening up this offense might just be to air it out a little doesn't matter. The fact that once again our offensive line is a joke doesn't matter. Stinespring will keep trying to bang a square peg into a round hole because the goddam computer keeps telling him to. Once again his complete inability to adapt his offense both to his own players and to the in-game situation is costing Virginia Tech and its football program a chance for something more, something greater than it has ever achieved.

Once again, Bryan Stinespring is driving this team off a cliff.

That is all.

Monday, September 27, 2010

So in the NFL, you get 19 games...

Clicky.

In the NFL you get 19 games to suck. In major college football programs you get 8 years.

You think we could get Mike Singletary to stare some sense in HCFB?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Darren Evans Hits Us With An "I'm Just Sayin...."

Interesting quote from Darren Evans after the Boston College win this week.

"I kind of thought our offense would be a little bit more high-powered, just with all the weapons that we have,” Evans said. “It’s tough. The first week it was really tough. … It’s kind of tough to explain what exactly is going on or where we’re weak at right now.”

Ummmm, Darren, pssssst. We know what exactly is going on, we know where you're weak at right now........

Some food for thought to start your week:
--We are currently ranked 57th in the nation in points per game (scratching the level of the good side of the 50th percentile with 120 D1 teams). 57th in the nation, with one ACC game, one WAC game, one CUSA game, and one friggin D1AA game.
--We are currently ranked 70th in the nation in yards per game (below the 50th percentile with 120 D1 teams). 70th in the nation, with one ACC game, one WAC game, one CUSA game, and one friggin D1AA game.
--To put that in perspective, and by "in perspective" I mean we're not exactly playing SEC defenses right now.....our opponents that have essentially held us down to be ranked 57th and 70th respectively......are currently defensively ranked: Boise 49th, ECU 114th, and BC 31st.
--You'll note I left out JMU. For one, because their defensive rank in the 120 is unavailable, because they're not in OUR TRUCKING DIVISION. And because, even if considered, it would be skewed by their recent 10-3 win over the Fightin' Falwells of Liberty. We scored 16 points on a team that just beat Liberty 10-3. But I digress. My point is, taking an average of those three D1 defenses we've faced, is that we've played against an average of a 65th ranked defense.
--We are a currently a below average offense, facing below average defenses thus far.
--In other news, water is wet.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Open Thread - Boston College

Post thoughts and opinions here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Motivational


Thanks to our friends at The North Endzone for letting us steal borrow this.

Games to Watch - Week 4

Thursday, Sept. 21

Miami vs. Pitt

Jacory Harris is chemically unbalanced. There's just something wrong with the boy. He has a certain schizophrenic je nais se quoi about both the way he plays football and lives his life. Admittedly, though, there's something I like about the kid. He sort of just puts it out there, and critics be damned. If I were an undergrad at UM (perish the thought) I'd definitely want to party wherever Jacory was hanging out. It would be the sort of party where someone might show up with Mike Tyson's tiger, I'm sure.

Jacory is coming off of a career low against Ohio State reminiscent of the trouncing he took against VT last year. The Buckeyes beat the fuck out of Harris, and then the young QB had to deal with some biggoted Miami "fan" sending him a tweet that UM "doesn't need a black quarterback," once again securing the Hurricane fanbase as the douchebaggiest in the world. So Jacory will probably have some other stuff on his mind as he and his team head north to Pittsburgh.

Pitt, on the other hand, is hoping desperately to get last season's phenom Dion Lewis going. Lewis is apparently suffering the same sophomore slump that's plaguing Ryan Williams so far this season, averaging 2.9 yards per carry thus far. Lewis was even benched in Pitt's game against New Hampshire in favor of backup Ray Graham, who gained 115 yards in just 9 carries against Wildcats and possibly opened the door to a competition in the backfield.

Pitt is still our pick to win the Big Least, and the ACC stinks on ice this year.

PREDICTION: Pitt 24, Miami 17

Saturday, Sept. 23

Virginia Tech vs. Boston College

Fact of the week: Virginia Tech has not scored an offensive touchdown in Chestnut Hill since 2002.

Some more food for thought: Virginia Tech is 1-2 when playing at Chestnut Hill with Bryan Stinespring as OC, and Stinespring's offenses have averaged 13.3 ppg when playing at Boston College.

In other words, Frank Spaziani's defenses have had Stiney's number at home.

That being said, Stinespring has never had this much raw talent to work with against the War Eagles. Essentially this same offense dropped 48 points on BC last season in Lane Stadium, good for 441 yards of total offense and six touchdowns. Of course, part of that was set up by a complete domination by the Hokie D, holding BC to 0 points on negative yardage during the first half. Despite clamping down against ECU in the second half, this year's defense might not be up to the task of dominating the Eagles to quite the same degree that last year's did.

Boston College, meanwhile, is 2-0, having handled Webber State and Kent State at home in underwhelming fashion.

This will be the first ACC conference game for both teams. It is also a crucial game for both teams' seasons, as Virginia Tech looks to continue righting the ship after a completely disastrous start while BC would love to head into next week's game against Notre Dame at 3-0.

There's too many variables in this one to predict it with any sense of confidence, but my gut tells me VT draws even on the year.

PREDICTION: VT 24, BC 21

Standford vs. Notre Dame

Jim Harbaugh is the biggest asshole in division 1A football. Hands down. He'd pretty much have to be to make Stanford football respectable. Before leaving the Pac-10, wonder coach and walking NCAA violation Pete Carroll went out of his way to portray Harbaugh as an ass. The unexpected result of which, of course, was to make everyone who despised Pete Carroll (meaning everyone not playing for USC or living within the city limits of Los Angeles) want to play for Jim Harbaugh.

Harbaugh coaches his teams to play at a relentless, merciless, breakneck pace. Under his guidance Stanford never takes their foot off the gas pedal, not so much defeating opponents as reducing them to trembling, hollow shells of their former selves. It's the sort of killer instinct we'd like to see injected into the Virginia Tech coaching staff. Harbaugh's a little less "Aw shucks" and a little more "Oh FUCK!"

We're going to enjoy watching him light up the Notre Lame "defense." And we doubt he's going to need a fake field goal to do it.

Also, we like the H.R. Pufnstuf quality of Stanford's mascot. Only in California.

PREDICTION: Stanford 47, Notre Dame 31

Alabama vs. Arkansas

First off, Alabama is the Crimson Tide. What the fuck does that have to do with an Elephant? This is not a rhetorical question. secondly, what the fuck is a crimson tide? Is this some demented D-Day reference, referring to how when the tide came in at Normandy it was red? I'm sorry, but that sounds way too deep for anyone from the state of Alabama to come up with. Have you ever been to Alabama? It's the armpit of America. After West Virginians burn the couch they fucked their uncle on, they excuse their behavior by saying, "Hey, at least we're not from Alabama."

Both Alabama and Arkansas are following the standard SEC model of becoming football powerhouses by hiring coaches with absolutely no connection to the south other than their employer. Bobby Petrino and Arkansas are coming off a confidence-building win at Georgia, while the Tide roster consists entirely of T1000 cyborgs from the Terminator movie franchise.

Arkansas has made a name for itself as upset specialists in the SEC. It was Arkansas who opened the door for Virginia Tech's appearance in the 1999 Sugar Bowl to play for the BCS championship by beating defending BCS champions Tennessee in a late season upset. I wouldn't be shocked to see the Razorbacks pull the upset on Saturday, but so far Alabama has shown me no chinks in their armor so it's impossible for me to pick against them.

PREDICTION: Alabama 28, Arkansas 21

South Carolina vs Auburn

Oh. Haha. I see what you did there. Your mascot is the Gamecocks. So you made a sexual innuendo. You know, because cock is another word for penis. Clever.

Okay, so if Steve Spurrier is ever going to return to coaching prominence at South Carolina, it needs to be now. The clock is ticking, the younger cowboys are a little faster on the draw, and Urban Meyer's instant success at Florida has people thinking Spurrier's accomplishments there might have been more location and less innovation.

USC East is getting Auburn at the right time. The Tigers will probably still have a hangover from their down to the wire win against Clemson last week (firmly entrenching the ACC in its position of red-headed stepchild to the SEC). And the Gamecock defense, which has only allowed two touchdowns through three games, might be able to put the squeeze on Gene Chizik's spread offense even if it comes out totally sober.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 20, Auburn 17

Oregon State vs. Boise State
Sure. Why not?

We had Boise State on the ropes with five minutes left in the fourth quarter with 80,000 Hokies in attendance and we couldn't finish the deal. Now Boise State's only other BCS conference opponent heads to the infamous blue turf as the last, best hope for the status quo.

Oregon State is going to wear its ass for a hat in this one.

If you think Boise State isn't legit, you're a douche. Plain and simple. You are fucking retarded. And not like Corky from Life Goes On retarded. I mean like the kid that they sit in the corner of the lunchroom who drools and eats his applesauce with his fingers.

Chris Petersen might be the best coach in 1A football. He is a better coach than Frank Beamer. I think he's probably a better coach than Nick Saban. If he coached at any BCS program, it would be a perennial contender for the BCS championship. And he will have his players worked into a frenzy for the biggest game ever at Bronco Stadium.

PREDICTION: Boise State 59, Oregon State 20

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bryan Stinespring: A Hollywood Examination

If you are a regular to the blog, then you no doubt read my earlier post regarding Stiney's language in denying any "incentive" HCFB had given him to improve. I thought the post would be entertaining and light, and some of our regulars might get a kick out of it. Then I read this in an article by Darryl Slater:


The game was over, and so was the misery of 0-2. After the band finished playing and Beamer finished sighing his relief, Stinespring approached Taylor in the media interview room. He grasped Taylor's hand, pulled him close and whispered into his ear: "I love you."

Are you f**king serious? We come back to win after trailing a Conference USA team, saving us from a 0-3 start, and quite possibly keeping Stiney's balls a safe distance from the bandsaw. After the game, Stiney embraces our starting QB, and professes his love for him. While I can appreciate some love between coaches and players, this just reads a little too much like a Hollywood storyline: After surviving a traumatic event, the main characters meet in an embrace and profess their love. Heres a good example:



Keanu: "I have to warn you... I've heard relationships based on intense experiences never work."
Sandra: "We'll have to base it on sex, then."

I don't know about Tyrod, but I sure feel like I'm getting f**ked.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Thoughts and Reflection on ECU

1.) FINALLY!!!

2.) We actually saw three teams play this past Saturday: ECU, the VT team we've seen all season, and the VT team in the second half, which slightly resembled the team that had been hyped all offseason. The question going forward is which VT team shows up the rest of the season?

3.) It's a good thing for VT that Bryan Stinespring finally finished reading his copy of Screen Passes for Dummies at halftime.

4.) Darren Evans is still having ball control issues. WTF, Billy Hite? You've forgotten more about coaching running backs than most of the top RB coaches in the nation will ever know. I've been screaming about how Evans is holding the ball during his runs since Boise State, and I'm just a shlub in the stands.

5.) The debate over whether or not it was wise to burn David Wilson's redshirt is now officially put to bed on the injured hamstring of Ryan Williams. RMFW is out for BC, and if it's a serious hammy issue he might be touch and go through October. Evans has ball control issues to deal with and Tony Gregory is not ready to be in the two deep (though Jesus Christ the kid looked good in his limited playing time, no?). Wilson will get significant carries this week, and probably for the foreseeable future. But what does it say about the coaching staff that decided not to redshirt him that it took an injury to Williams to do it?

6.) After the win, this was posted on Seth Greenberg's twitter feed:

Great win Hokies! Real fans let the coaches coach and support the team. The is what Hokie Spirit is about!

Mmmmmmkay. I think Seth just told us to know our role and shut our mouths. I was debating on whether or not to devote an entire post in response to this, but I decided not to because a) Seth's probably my favorite coach of any sport at VT, b) he's entitled to his opinion, and c) it would be distracting.

I will say this, however. Of course ANY coach is going to want the fans to just let the coaches coach. Coaches by nature have a love/hate relationship with their fan base. They love em when things are good and hate em when things are not so good. Fans keep coaches honest, and the more vocal the fanbase when things aren't working the more the coaches dislike it because it draws attention to potential deficiencies in the coaching that might contribute to underwhelming performance. When a coach's team is winning, that coach wants to be surrounded by thousands of screaming fans. When the team is struggling, the coach would rather coach in a vacuum. I get that.

But I'll step outside with anyone who claims that just because I run a blog calling for the ouster of our offensive coordinator that I somehow don't "support the team." I live, breathe, and shit Virginia Tech football. I spend all summer getting excited for it, all fall obsessing over it, and all winter depressed because it's over. My closet is divided into three section: work clothes, orange, and maroon. Every year I spend hundreds of dollars to make the 700 odd mile journey from Illinois to Virginia to see as many games in person as my finances will allow. My daughter was a Virginia Tech cheerleader at age two (in Illinois) and had the Hokie Hi! cheer memorized to go with her costume. I didn't have my voice back from the Boise State game until Thursday.

I support this team with every ounce of my being. Anyone who says I'm less of a "real fan" because I criticize the coaching staff is using the same logic that said it was unamerican to question presidential policy after 9/11. The way I see it, these players - who give everything they have to Virginia Tech football - are being done a disservice by the way Bryan Stinespring does his job. I'd consider myself less of a fan if I didn't call him out on that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Open Thread - ECU

Post your thoughts here.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Games to Watch - Week 3

Virginia Tech vs ECU
Who the fuck knows anymore?

Twice I've picked the Hokies to win so far this season, and twice they've shit the bed. First they lost a nailbiter of a game despite dropping 30 points on Boise State because Stiney's Tecmo Bowl offense came up predictably short when it mattered most.

Then came the game that will hereafter be known simply as The Clusterfuck. Sixteen goddam points against James goddam Madison.

And Stiney still has a job.

Now East Carolina rolls into Blacksburg, bringing a Mike Leach-esque three ring circus of an offense that's averaging 50 points per game. Yes, they are averaging more that we have scored in total this season. And you can argue that they posted those numbers against weak teams but WE PLAYED JAMES GODDAM MADISON AND ONLY SCORED 16!

The Pirates do have a porous defense, giving up 496 yards and 38 points per game. But again, WE SCORED 16 POINTS AGAINST JAMES GODDAM MADISON.

And Saturday is Talk Like a Pirate Day. Arr.

Fuck it.

PREDICTION: ECU 38, VT 20. Stiney prove me wrong.

Clemson vs. Auburn

We know essentially nothing about Clemson. They lost the centerpiece of last year's offense to the draft, and their two wins this season are against North Texas and Presbyterian. But Dabo Swinney had the Tigers playing for an ACC championship in his first full season as head coach, something Tommy Bowden never managed.

On the other hand, Gene Chizik has started repairing the damage done to Auburn's offense during the Tommy Tuberville era. Auburn is still a long way from being an SEC power, especially having to share a state with Nick Saban, but things are moving in the right direction.

This game represents the best shot the ACC has at damage control after last weekend's debacle. The other two games pitting ACC teams against BCS conference opponents are hopeless (Duke at Alabama, Wake Forest at Stanford), and an ACC team beating an SEC team on their own field would be a major boost to a slumping conference.

So obviously Clemson's going to lose.

PREDICTION: Auburn 24, Clemson 17

Iowa vs Arizona
 This game makes the list simply by virtue of being the only matchup of top 25 teams this week. I, like everyone outside of the west coast, don't give a shit about west coast football. As far as I'm concerned, we could go ahead and give the Pac-10 championship to Oregon, air drop Lane Kiffin bound and gagged into backwoods Tennessee, and be done with it.

Iowa is a well coached, fundamentally sound football team with an underrated senior quarterback and the ability to simply find a way to win. The Hawkeyes managed to shut down Georgia Tech's triple option in the Orange Bowl last season, which honestly appears to be no big ordeal for any team not in the ACC.

Arizona is averaging over 500 yards a game against teams like Toledo and the Citadel, which means they have an offensive coordinator who can develop a game plan that's effective agaisnt vastly inferior competition. Must be nice.

Let's hope that Iowa doesn't have any brown people playing for them.

PREDICTION: Iowa 28, Arizona 20

Reading Between the Lines of Stiney's Coachspeak

"I don’t go back and say we need to overhaul what we’re doing or what we’re calling. Just we need to do better. I need to do a better job of coaching. Put that down. That’s what needs to happen. Because we’re in position to be more successful than what we are. You don’t need to point at this guy, that guy, this position. I need to do a better job of coaching. That’s it, period.”--Bryan Stinespring

Let's REALLY examine this quote line by line, because I think it is the most telling thing to come out of Stiney's mouth so far in this disaster of a season.

I don’t go back and say we need to overhaul what we’re doing or what we’re calling. Just we need to do better.

Let's start off with a heaping helping of denial here, shall we? First and foremost, we don't really need to change anything. The scheme is fine. The way we do things is fine. Fundamentally, nothing needs to change. Because if things change, I might not have a job anymore, y'know?

I need to do a better job of coaching. Put that down. That’s what needs to happen.

The illusion of culpability. Stiney admits he needs to do a better job "coaching." Coaching what? The tight ends? Because really, that's the only thing he's responsible for coaching. But claiming he needs to do a better job coaching sounds like he's manning up. When you examine it, though, it's a nonsensical statement. Stiney has two jobs in this program: tight ends coaching and offensive coordinator. And though perhaps he means he needs to do a better job "coaching his coaches," so to speak, I think it says a lot that when it comes down to which of his two responsibilities he's trying to claim need improvement, it's not the one he's trying most desperately to save.

Because we’re in position to be more successful than what we are.

Even Stiney knows there's no sugar coating 0-2 and being the second team in the history of college football to lose to a 1AA team while ranked in the top 25. Or maybe he doesn't. Because the notion that we could be "more successful than we are" implies that we do have some certain level of success, but we want to have more of it. Tell me, what the hell successes have your offense achieved so far this season?

You don’t need to point at this guy, that guy, this position. I need to do a better job of coaching.

When I first read that, I thought, wow, Stiney's finally stopped throwing players under the bus. He's not going to single out players and point to a loss of execution. But that's not what he's doing at all here. He's trying to establish a team mentality and then using it to cover his ass. We don't need to single anyone out, most especially me. I'll accept that I need to do a better job coaching because I have to admit SOMETHING, but the idea that we're all just going to work harder sets up just the smokescreen I need. Because I really want to keep "this position."

That’s it, period.
Can we please stop talking about this now?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Sports Illustrated notes Stinespring's Ineptitude

Link

"The one reasonable criticism of Beamer (besides his questionable late-game management against Boise) is his undying loyalty to offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring, whose squads have chronically underperformed. This is a ridiculous stat: Virginia Tech hasn't finished higher than 50th nationally in total offense since 2003. I thought for sure the Hokies were going to turn the corner this year, what with a fourth-year quarterback (Tyrod Taylor) and three talented tailbacks (Ryan Williams, Darren Evans and David Wilson), but it was apparent from the opening minutes of the Boise State game that the Hokies' offensive line is a mess. Maybe they'll still get it turned around, but Tech's offensive staff is long past due for an infusion of new blood." - Stewart Mandel, Senior Writer, SI.com

Ever seen "Lie to Me" on TV?


I'm a big fan of the Fox series "Lie to Me." If you haven't seen it before, it's worth checking out - especially in the early episodes where they often reference and explain the science behind lie detection. In one episode, they make reference to repeated words in spontaneous speech, not unlike this quote from Kyle Tucker's blog:

ON [STINESPRING] SAYING DURING MONDAY NIGHT’S RADIO SHOW THAT COACH FRANK BEAMER MET WITH HIM SUNDAY AND GAVE HIM ‘AN INCENTIVE’: “Naw, he didn't give – we just meet as a staff. He meets offensively and defensively and it was more just making light of it, but I think he expects us to perform better and we all do. Our players and our staff, we all expect to perform better and we need to get over the hump and we need to perform better. We need to finish some drives. We need to take care of the football, and we just need to play better. The bottom line is that's my responsibility, and he understands that. I understand that. As we were watching film, I think we were very aware of what we needed to do better. He was very much a part of that meeting, as he always is."
When I read that quote, my mind jumped back to that episode. Stiney repeats the words "perform better" three times in just two sentences. I decided to do a bit of research to see what I could find on the subject. I found an article from the July/August 2004 edition of the APA Monitor, a publication put out by the American Psychological Association, called "Detecting Deception." From the article:
"Liars' answers sound more discrepant and ambivalent, the structure of their stories is less logical, and their stories sound less plausible," [Bella DePaulo, PhD, of the University of California, Santa Barbara and co-author Wendy Morris, a psychology graduate student at the University of Virginia] say. Liars also use fewer hand movements to illustrate their actions but are more likely to repeat words and phrases, they add.
Also, from the same article:

DePaulo and Morris say that liars take longer to start answering questions than truth-tellers...
Stiney takes a moment to put together a complete sentence at the beginning of his answer, if you can call that an answer. If you listen... i mean PAY FOR to the replay of Tech Talk Live from Monday night, you'll hear him accidentally mention the "incentive," then when Bill Roth asks him what the incentive was, he takes a long, LONG pause before trying to downplay the statement. Looks like Beamer HAS been giving Stiney some "incentive." We can only hope it's his job he's playing for.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Mrs. HokieJayBee 1, Bryan Stinespring 0

So Mrs. HokieJayBee and I were just watching TV* and discussing the latest from Kyle Tucker (click). Where Kyle's latest interview with Bryan is published, and Bryan makes light of his "incentive" remark from Monday's Tech Talk Live.

I was explaining to the Mrs., that Bryan was trying to make light of it, and deflect attention from the remark, whether or not there is actually an incentive or not. That basically, he needs the spotlight off of him, and pronto.

So I clicked over to TSL and read her the transcript of the show. Then I clicked over to Kyle Tucker's page and read her the secondary response.

Her response, "You have to know you're a hated man right now, you have to know you're on the hot seat again. We just lost to JMU for Christ's sake. You're not really in a position to joke about this. Know your role Bryan, know your role."

Mrs. HokieJayBee 1, Bryan 0. Pwned.

*Note, "watching TV" is not code for anything fun. Wink.*

Just Heard This on the Radio...

Less than an hour ago I was listening to a sports-talk program on the radio here in Blacksburg when they began discussing the Hokies football team and our loss to JMU. They specifically mentioned how the coordinators reacted.

What did Bud Foster do? He called his defense into Merryman Athletic Center at 6:45am and showed them footage from the JMU game. He noted missed assignments and made sure the defense knew what they did wrong. There was a good amount of yelling coming from Bud and I'd imagine it was probably pretty intimidating. Or maybe extremely intimidating.

Now what happened to our boy Bryan? Apparently he was called into Beamer's office. Awesome, right? Maybe he's gonna get fired? According to the radio show, there are reports that Stinespring was offered INCENTIVES to turn the offense around. Are you kidding me?! This is not how a job works! If you fail to perform your responsibilities you are either fired or disciplined. YOU ARE NOT OFFERED INCENTIVES TO DO THE JOB YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO DO IN THE FIRST PLACE!

If these reports are true I'm starting to have a problem with Frank Beamer as well as Stinespring.

Monday, September 13, 2010

My Letter to Weaver


"James C. Weaver
Athletic Director's Office
Jamerson Athletic Center
Blacksburg, VA 24061


Dear Mr. Weaver:

I am currently a senior at Virginia Tech. I was looking forward to graduating and then joining the Hokie Club as an alumnus in order to continue to support Virginia Tech athletics, specifically football, and to be able to purchase season football tickets. I am writing to inform you that I will no longer be joining the Hokie Club and will not donate to it as long as Bryan Stinespring is our Offensive Coordinator.
Before you throw this letter away, let me clarify: I am not calling for Mr. Stinespring to be fired. I am, however, asking for his play calling abilities to be stripped. I have no problem with Mr. Stinespring remaining on the staff as Recruiting Coordinator or Assistant Coach. While there may be ways he can contribute to Virginia Tech football, he has repeatedly proven that play-calling is not one of them.
The main objective of the football program at Virginia Tech is to win the National Championship. In my years as a student I have repeatedly watched it slip out of our grasp. I am tired of hearing the team applauded for 10-win seasons and ACC Championships after they have become the status quo. It has long been time for the Hokies to take the next step forward and compete for the National Championship.
Failures of the football team can and do reflect on the students and alumni. This became embarrassingly apparent on this previous Saturday. Mr. Stinespring’s poor play calling has cost us in the past. We lost the Orange Bowl after the 2007 season due to Mr. Stinespring’s inability to realize the run was working and the pass was not. We lost to Boise State this season because Mr. Stinespring did not realize one should not call pass plays while trying to kill the clock in the fourth quarter. Numerous other games were lost due to poor play calling or won thanks only to being bailed out by a great defense.
The 2010 Virginia Tech football team has arguably the most talent on offense the Hokies have ever seen. This fact makes a loss to James Madison University even more unacceptable. Not only did we lose to an FCS team, but we lost to one that’s two hours up the road. Most Hokie students have friends that attend JMU and have had to deal with the embarrassment of such a loss. In order to avoid further embarrassment for students and alumni and drastically improve our chances of filling our empty National Championship trophy case, I urge you to sit down with Coach Beamer and discuss what can be done about our offense which has become a joke in recent years. I urge you to strip Bryan Stinespring of his play calling abilities.
Sincerely,
[Signature redacted]"

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pertinent Information

James C. Weaver
Athletic Director's Office
Jamerson Athletic Center
Blacksburg, VA 24061
E-mail: weaverj@vt.edu
Work: (540) 231-3977

Bryan W. Stinespring
Virginia Tech Athletics
Football Office - 2nd Floor
Jamerson Athletic Center
Blacksburg, VA 24061
E-mail: bstiney@vt.edu
Work: (540) 231-6368

Curt Newsome, Jr.
Virginia Tech Athletics
Football Office - 2nd Floor
Jamerson Athletic Center
Blacksburg, VA 24061
E-mail: cnewsome@vt.edu
Work: (540) 231-6368

All of this is public information retrieved through a simple name search on the official Virginia Tech website people search.

There were no results for the name search "Frank Beamer." However I would assume since Stinespring and Newsome both list "Football Office - 2nd Floor" as their mailing address, a letter mailed to Frank at the same address would get to him.

Mailing and e-mail addresses and phone numbers are all for the workplace. No personal/residential information is revealed, and I discourage anyone against snooping for it.

I'll be writing a letter to each of the above this week. I encourage you to do likewise. Please, no profanity or personal insults. Let's be adults about this.

Go Hokies.

I'm done.

I just stood in the rain for 3+ hours for that.

I'm done.

Not another dollar. Not another moment. Not one more iota of my time or effort.

Until Jim Weaver and Frank Beamer are willing to make a change, I'm not willing to donate another dollar or moment of myself to Virginia Tech football. If you're not going to give me your best, you won't see shit from me.

It's raining. We're playing a 1AA (or FBS or non-AQ or whatever the fuck you want to call it). Let's run shotgun, all day.

Goodbye.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Open thread - JMU

Post your thoughts and opinions here.

Good vs Clutch

Okay, I'm just about as over Boise State related posts as everyone else. Really, I am. Except that I'm going to do one more. Right now.

I've pretty much come to terms with the fact that I should have known that game was a guaranteed loss as soon as it came down on the shoulders of our offense to ice the win. Not because we don't have the talent. We most certainly do. As many as eight Hokies lining up on offense this season will take snaps on Sundays at some point in their football careers. The problem is, as good as our offense is, it isn't clutch. Talent makes an offense good. Playcalling makes an offense clutch.

Sometimes talent and sheer luck is enough to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But most of the time it requires not only players good enough to make the plays, but the right plays being called under the situation. It requires an understanding of not just the fundamentals of football but the nuances, the fine details. To call the right play at the right time, when it matters most, requires understanding not only what your offense can do but what their defense is trying to do.

I've watched the game three more times since getting back to Illinois. I've really dissected it. And to be honest, there's a lot to be excited about on offense this year. There's also a ton of work to be done. The bulk of it needs to happen on the offensive line, which simply did not show up for most of Monday's game. There was some decent pass protection at times, but there was horrible pass protection at others and the run blocking was horrible all night. Tyrod Taylor, as amazing as his performance was, underthrew his receivers all night, which made VT settle for 15 yard pass interference calls instead of touchdowns twice. Darren Evans simply has to relearn to secure the football or he's going to be a fumble machine this year. Marcus Davis, who will be amazing in his career at Tech, needs to learn better adjustment technique while the ball is in the air. David Wilson needs to settle in and realize he's just a sophomore, he has plenty of playing time ahead of him, and he doesn't have to worry about making the big play every time he touches the ball.

So yes, there's work to be done. But VT's offense has never looked this good this early in the season. At least not since Michael Vick was unleashed onto an unsuspecting college football world. The work that needs to be done now - outside of the offensive line, which is an absolute disaster - is the sort of work that the Hokies are usually doing around week 6 or 8. They're ahead of the curve.

I look for the offense to be good this year. Very good. But I don't look for them to ever be clutch.

Making the offense clutch would fall on the shoulders of Bryan Stinespring. And if I've learned anything during his 8+ years in that seat, it's that he simply doesn't have it in him.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Highly Recommended Read

First, please be sure to read IH's weekly viewing post below, this isn't to supercede his post on the same day. But something I had to post.

Go check out the most recent Gobbler Country post over here.

Furrer4Heisman and a Boise State blogger OBNUG had a pre-game conversation and cross interview - and a subsequent bet on the game. Winner gets to make a cover page post on the other's blog. We all know Boise won......so OBNUG got to make a post on Gobbler Country.

Read it for yourself, enjoy the story if you choose.

BUT NOTE THAT EVEN OUR OPPONENT'S BLOGGERS ARE FUCKING MAKING FUN OF PASS PLAY CALLS WITH 2:00 MINUTES LEFT AND BOISE OUT OF TIME OUTS.

As much national respect as our defensive coordinator garners, we have the polar opposite of respected coordinator on the same staff......

Games to Watch - Week 2

Now that we've all come crashing back down to reality we can settle in a bit more calmly this week, lick our wounds, crack open a cold one, start off the day watching the Hokies rebound (hopefully), and then witness what promises to be some very good college football.

Virginia Tech vs. James Madison
This year's home opener feeling a wee bit anti-climactic for you? Yeah, us too. For one thing it's only five days removed from the anchor of Boise State's BCS championship resume. For another, it's against JMU, which is basically like playing your cousins in the back yard after Thanksgiving. There's just no real animosity. Things have gotten chippy a couple of times VT has played them, but that's bound to happen any time one team simply outmatches the other. All in all JMU's a nice campus, the girls are decent, and the cups at the parties are free (thank you Jonesy for that last little insight).

I'd like to say that VT will come out breathing fire and dismantle the... what's JMU's mascot again? Dukes? Okay. But I don't think that's going to happen. This team has taken a punch in the gut and I don't see them coming out with their ears pinned back on Saturday. Now don't sound the alarm just yet, I'm not predicting some hellish Jacksonville State doomsday scenario here. VT draws even in the win and loss columns Saturday, but in a manner that leaves that same bad taste in our mouths.

PREDICTION: Virginia Tech 28, JMU 20 (and we may trail at the half)

Florida State vs. Oklahoma
It's okay, kid. Your team can't possibly suck that bad two years in a row can they?

Someone please explain to me how the Sooners are ranked 10th? They were barely passable last season, and their Landry Jones never did display anything nearly approximating competence. This team opened week 1 by downing the mighty Utah State Aggies by a whole touchdown. At home.

That being said, I'm not sold on the reemergence of Florida State under Jimbo (really?) Fisher yet either. Christian Ponder's a hell of a quarterback, but you don't take your defense from Pop Warner to elite in one season.

This should make for an interesting game, but in the end I think Fighting Jimbodeers expose that last season's "down year" for Oklahoma was really just the opening chapter in the hastening decline of Bob Stoops' coaching stock.

PREDICTION: Florida $tate 27, Oklahoma 21

Miami vs. Ohio State
The sports media are pitching this game as a grudge match over a questionable pass interference call in the 2003 Fiesta Bowl which allowed a Buckeye drive to continue and contributed to Ohio State's BCS championship. The only problem with that little scenario is that basically nobody on either team's roster was even in high school at that point. Also, Larry Coker, Miami's coach in that game, is now somewhere in Texas coaching a football team that isn't even playing games yet.

Let's just call this game what it is: a matchup between the two least likable coaches in Division 1 football. Jim Tressel is an insufferable, pompous ass who has made a career of pwning his conference and then taking it up the ass from the SEC team du jour. The only reason he's considered a coaching god is because his ascension happened to coincide with the demise of Michigan football. The Big 10+1 has been horrible the last few years, and Jim Tressel has reaped the rewards. We know. We should be able to spot such a thing when we see it.

Randy Shannon, on the other hand, looks like Carl Weathers and Carleton from Fresh Prince of Bel Aire had a night together they'd really rather forget about. I'm not sure if he has some sort of personality disorder or is just extremely introverted, but there's something about him that makes me expect him to suddenly rip off all his clothes, light himself on fire, and go screaming across midfield. I definitely get an unbalanced vibe from the guy, so he's probably got the perfect job.

As for the game itself, two of the most overrated quarterbacks in the nation will battle to protect their own bullshit Heisman campaign for another week. I think Miami pulls a narrow shocker here, but I could be wrong.

PREDICTION: Miami 26, Ohio State 24

Penn State vs Alabama
I'm still trying to figure out how this game ever got scheduled. Usually when Penn State steps out of conference it's to play St. Mary's School for the Blind, Deaf, and Dumb. Joe Pa has never bought into marquee non-conference matchups, preferring to make his claim through his conference competition. (Hmmm. He might be on to something.)

Alabama's Dark Lord Satan Nick Saban says reigning Heisman trophy winner Mark Ingram will likely be out against Penn State, which the media will hype up but which essentially doesn't matter because the Crimson Tide had three different backs average at least 6.0 yards per carry on at least 10 carries in their season opener. Bama's defense will be too much for Penn State's true freshman QB, but Penn State will keep it close for a while.

Also watch for Joe Pa's animatronics to short-circuit sometime in the third quarter, revealing that the famous coach actually died in 1997 and had his body stuffed and turned into a Disney puppet to ensure he beat out Bobby Bowden in career wins.

PREDICTION: Alabama 34, Penn State 20

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