Posted on: January 1, 2011 7:22 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
As Virginia Tech prepares for the greatest test of their 11 game win streak against Stanford in the Orange Bowl, the last thing that head coach Frank Beamer wants to do is doubt his team's focus. ESPN.com's Heather Dinich reported Saturday that two Virginia Tech players have been suspended for the first quarter of Monday's Orange Bowl for missing their 1 a.m. curfew on New Years Eve. Running back David Wilson and safety Antone Exum will miss the first quarter of the Orange Bowl as punishment for missing curfew.
“We’re going to keep them out of the first quarter of the ball game, take some of their travel money, and that will be the end of that,” Beamer said regarding the suspensions. “The good thing is they were in their hotel, the bad thing is they were out of their room. They knew they needed to be in there.”
Wilson is a crucial part of the return game, and also the next in line behind Ryan Williams and Darren Evans. With Williams a game-time decision due to a re-aggravated hamstring, the suspension could result in a heavy load early for Evans. Wilson is expected to be replaced in the return game by talented defensive back Rashad Carmichael. Exum is listed second on the Virginia Tech two-deep depth chart, and has played in all 13 games this season.
Posted on: December 20, 2010 12:32 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2010 12:41 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer has taken pride in building a successful program both on and off the field. His accomplishments in 2010 may have been overshadowed by Maryland's Ralph Friedgen in the eyes of the conference [ENTER SOLAR ECLIPSE JOKE HERE], but Beamer is receiving his recognition on the national level.
The Hokies head coach was announced on Monday as the recipient of the inaugural Joseph V. Paterno Coach of the Year Award. The award is "designed to honor the spirit of Penn State head coach Joe Paterno, whose long-time success on the field has been matched only by his impact away from it."
“This award is extremely special, No. 1 because of the coach’s name on it, a guy that I have deeply admired for many years and appreciate very much his impact on college football,” Beamer said in a release from the school. “And secondly, because of what it stands for. Academics and involvement in the community are things that I have strived hard to provide, along with a winning football program. I am very appreciative that other people recognize that.”
Beamer's on-field accomplishments have been well-documented. He is the only FBS coach to win 10 games in each of the last seven seasons. Since joining the ACC in 2004, Virginia Tech has won the conference championship four times, including running the table in 2010. After starting the season with two losses in five days, Beamer helped orchestrate one of the most impressive winning streaks in recent ACC history. After tearing through 11 wins and an ACC Championship, the Hokies now prepare to face Stanford in the Orange Bowl on January 3.
Posted on: December 16, 2010 2:17 pm
Posted by Adam Jacobi
For all the flak Oregon gets about constantly fiddling with its football uniform, it's worth mentioning that stodgy old Virginia Tech has also developed a penchant for the alternate uniform (not coincidentally, VT is also a Nike-sponsored team). The Hokies have gone with their traditional maroon helmets , white helmets at the ACC Championship, and some really choice matte black helmets against Boise State (even if the rest of the special Pro Combat uniform was a little ridiculous).
Now, it appears the Hokies are ready to add a fourth helmet to their season's total: an orange one, presumably in honor of the Orange Bowl. Here's a picture of the new helmet, according to Virginia Tech blog The Key Play:
Now, we can't confirm that these helmets will be used at the bowl; The Key Play cited an anonymous source for this picture, and Virginia Tech's equipment department refused to confirm or deny the report when contacted today.
The image itself is pretty obviously legitimate, however; it'd be nearly impossible to alter an existing VT helmet in Photoshop while still keeping the details like the reflections in the helmet, and we're confident nobody went through the trouble and expense of physically crafting this helmet for the simple benefit of an online prank. So whether or not Virginia Tech uses the orange helmets on January 3 when it takes on Stanford , the new helmet's at least in its sartorial arsenal, and what better event exists at which to debut it than the Orange Bowl, right?
So what do you think? Thumbs up or down for the orange hat?
Posted on: December 9, 2010 1:52 pm
Edited on: December 9, 2010 1:55 pm
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Former director of the NCAA Final Four and current executive director of the BCS, Bill Hancock, wrote a column in today's USA Today defending the BCS and everything it stands for. After reading it, I couldn't help but react, so I figured why not have show my reaction here?
Below is Hancock's column, word for word, with my response to everything he says. Hancock's words are italicized, while mine are just dripping with sarcasm and disgust.
We've been called communists, a cartel, crooks — and worse — but that's malarkey. And I'm proud to stand up and point out why college football is so popular and why our system works so well.
I can't wait to hear this you commie pinko bastard.
College football was one weekend away from Boise State participating in the BCS National Championship Game because of what happened on the playing field — not in a chatroom, a boardroom or a newsroom. The BCS rankings are based on how a team plays between the white lines, and the results speak for themselves. If the BCS were corrupt, how could a missed field goal in the Boise State-Nevada game and a 24-point comeback by Auburn over Alabama have made such a difference?
I'm no genius, but I'm pretty sure that even before the BCS, Boise State losing to Nevada would have killed its chances to win the national championship in both human polls. I'm not sure that the BCS can claim that it invented losses. Also, should there be one of those crazy playoff things, that loss would have affected Boise's seeding in the tournament.
As USA TODAY reported shortly after Boise State lost its first game and TCU decided to join the Big East, "It's been a bad 72 hours for BCS bashers."
You know who the day was worse for? The conferences that the BCS has effectively killed due to exclusion. The Mountain West and WAC are dying because the teams that have the best chance to get to a BCS bowl game have to leave the conference so they can have a better shot at the billion dollar pie.
The purpose of the BCS is to match the nation's top two teams in a championship bowl game while creating a series of other exciting matchups. It's nothing more than that. This season, that means the No. 1 Auburn Tigers vs. the No. 2 Oregon Ducks.
Our other purpose? Make money money, make money money.
The problem people have with the BCS isn't what it's trying to do. It's what the BCS keeps from happening. You know, that playoff system that would allow more teams a chance to play for a national title, and actually settle it on the field rather than in the opinions the media and coaches, and the calculations of some computers.
If this were the shady system that some people claim, how could Boise State have been only inches away? And if the system were designed to shut out schools from the so-called non-power conferences, how could TCU — undefeated and No. 3 in the BCS rankings — play in the granddaddy of them all, the Rose Bowl?
Because the Rose Bowl was forced to take TCU, and because the BCS won't allow TCU to play for a national title.
The abuse from the critics is balderdash. The fact is the BCS accomplishes its mission with a stunningly popular national championship game. It regularly draws more viewers than the NCAA Final Four, the World Series, the NBA Championships and the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Other things that draw more viewers than those events: Dancing With The Stars and American Idol. You know what the difference is between those shows and the BCS? They actually force all the contestants to compete against each other and listen to the opinions of those who watch the show.
And it does this while maintaining college football's wonderful regular season and also by preserving America's unique multiday bowl tradition that rewards student-athletes with a celebratory bowl-game week.
Congratulations! Have fun in Mobile!
As this season proves, outstanding teams can play in BCS bowls, including the national championship game, no matter what conference they're in. For much of this season, Boise State and TCU earned the ranking of No. 3 and No. 4. That can't happen in a rigged system.
You know what can happen in a rigged system? Never allowing Boise State and TCU to get higher than No. 3 or No. 4.
Also, nobody is complaining that TCU or Boise don't get a chance to play in BCS bowls. The complaint is that a TCU team that is undefeated just like Auburn and Oregon can't get a chance to play for a title. Don't lie to me, Hancock. We all know that had Auburn lost to Alabama and then beaten South Carolina, they'd still be playing Oregon.
Commies? A cartel? Give me a break. The BCS is a voluntary arrangement that benefits every university in the NCAA's Bowl Subdivision.
You and I have different definitions of "voluntary," sir.
It has provided all schools with more revenue and more access to the major bowl games than ever before.
It just happens to provide certain conferences with more revenue and more access.
Why not a playoff?
This should be good.
Sure, I understand that many football fans want an NFL-style playoff instead. I know that they want to fill out a bracket, and that they want to watch more college football in December. They want their favorite team to have a slot in that bracket. But the desire for a different postseason format doesn't justify the false attacks against the BCS event. And as the person who used to manage the NCAA Final Four, I know that what works for one sport doesn't work so easily for a different sport.
Good point, Mr. Hancock. It's not like the FCS has a playoff system or anything. I mean, that's college football, where as the FBS is college football. It's totally different.
College football has the best regular season of any sport, and the lack of a playoff is one big reason why. Millions of football fans this year tuned in to watch the season-opening game between Boise State and Virginia Tech because there was so much on the line —starting early in September. If there were a playoff, the Alabama-Auburn game wouldn't have been as important nationally, or as dramatic.
Yes, we've all seen what playoffs have done to the NFL regular season. Those incredibly high ratings, packed football stadiums and all that money coming in has destroyed the sport.
I mean, nobody would ever tune into a football game if the only thing that was on the line was the top seed and homefield advantage in the playoffs.
A playoff also would mean the end of America's bowl tradition as we know it. As Rick Baker, president of the Cotton Bowl, said, "A playoff system would ruin the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic."
Yes, the Cotton Bowl Classic which recently left the actual Cotton Bowl for Cowboys Stadium. We certainly don't want to threaten that tradition. Surely with a playoff system we'd never again have a chance to see the third-best team in the SEC face off against the third-best team in the Big 12.
Under the current system, 70 schools and hordes of fans arrive days before the big game and immediately become the toast of the town.
"GIVE US YOUR MONEY!"
Fans and families plan vacations around bowl week. Student-athletes are celebrated as the players get to see places and do things they otherwise never could do. No wonder a poll of student-athletes taken by ESPN the Magazine earlier this year showed that 77% of players would prefer a career with three bowl games to a career with one playoff game.
Well, with a playoff system, if that player stayed in school all four years and only made the playoffs once, he'd end up playing in one playoff game and go to three bowl games. I wonder how he'd feel about that option.
A playoff, on the other hand, would be limited to a small number of schools,
Unlike the BCS, which welcomes 10.
and it would turn their celebratory week into a series of one-day business trips because the teams would arrive the day before the game and leave right afterward. If they won, they'd need to get ready for next week's game. That's not a bowl party — that's another game on the schedule.
While bowl games are another game on the schedule. There's a difference!
For the schools that don't make a playoff, their bowl games would fade away. Sadly, so too would a great American tradition.
Ah, yes, America. Baseball, apple pie and the DVDA Compass Bowl. I tear up just thinking about it.
If ever a season showed that the BCS is fair and that it works, it's this season. And it happened while maintaining the thrilling regular season in which every game counts.
Yes, that's right. This season, the one in which a team that has not lost a game this year and will be denied a chance to be champion, is the fairest of them all! Every game in the regular season counted, just not TCU's!
Thanks for helping me see the light, Mr. Hancock.
Posted on: December 7, 2010 4:46 pm
Edited on: December 7, 2010 4:50 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
Virginia Tech has been dealing with injuries all season on both sides of the ball. Yet somehow, they have been able to step up and keep it from hindering the team on their current 11-game winning streak. That kind of support and adjustment will be needed once again, with reports that the Hokies will likely have to face the fifth-ranked Stanford Cardinal without starting linebacker Lyndell Gibson.
Gibson left the ACC Championship Game with what was initially diagnosed as a "shoulder stinger." Head coach Frank Beamer complimented his linebacking corps after the game for their ability to step right in and contribute defensively. Unfortunately, tests later revealed that Gibson had broken his left shoulder blade, and will likely miss the Orange Bowl on January 3 in Miami.
If Gibson can't go against Andrew Luck and the Stanford offense, Beamer will likely turn to backup Tariq Edwards to once again replace him in the lineup. Edwards has seen his playing time increase over the season, and played the entire second half of the title game victory against Florida State on Saturday.
Posted on: December 3, 2010 8:09 pm
Posted by Chip Patterson
The ACC Championship Game will have a familiar look on the field, but very different feel than years past. The ACC Championship was first held in 2005, and the first five seasons were all played in the state of Florida (first Jacksonville, then Tampa the last two years). But playing conditions will be a bit different as the title game moves north in 2010 to Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, NC. Saturday night's weather forecast calls for 40 degrees with a 40 percent chance of rain. Not exactly the breezy 60 degrees and clear that Tampa will enjoy at the same time.
But the teams on the field should look right at home, no matter where the location. Saturday's showdown is a rematch of the first ACC Championship Game, held in 2005. Until Virginia Tech's arrival, the ACC practically belonged to the Seminoles. Florida State won 12 conference championships in 14 years, finishing with a victory in the inaugural title game. Saturday will mark their first return since that game. The Hokies, on the other hand, are looking to add some more ACC hardware after locking up their fourth division title in six seasons of conference play.
On Saturday, the ACC's past will try and reclaim the throne from the ACC present. Here are three keys to the 2010 ACC Championship Game.
1) Florida State's pass rush must get to Tyrod Taylor
Without a doubt, the success of Virginia Tech's offense starts and finishes with Tyrod Taylor. The 2010 ACC Player of the Year has matured from a dangerous young talent to one of the most complete offensive threats in the nation. The job of containing him will start with the Florida State front line. The Seminole pass rush led the conference with 43 sacks in 2010, and they will be needed to penetrate into the Virginia Tech backfield to disrupt Taylor and force him into making some mistakes. Unfortunately, Florida State may find it difficult to do that to a player who only threw four interceptions in 256 pass attempts.
2) Battle of the X's and O's: Jimbo Fisher vs. Bud Foster
One thing that Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer went out of his way to mention on Friday was the Florida State's play calling. "Running the right play at the right time, they are good at that," Beamer mentioned when asked about Florida State's offense. That offensive play calling is still done by head coach Jimbo Fisher. On Saturday night, Fisher will go toe to toe with Virginia Tech defensive coordinator Bud Foster - widely regarded as one of the best defensive coordinators in the game. The chess match between Fisher and Foster could, and might, be one of the deciding factors in deciding the new conference champion.
3) What, if any, effect weather plays on the game
"The only thing that is iffy is the weather," Frank Beamer said. "You know, cold doesn't affect a game anymore. Rain affects a game a little bit, wind I think affects a game a little bit, but hopefully the weather is going to be okay, and if not, both teams got to play in it." As was mentioned, the weather will be a big change from Tampa or Jacksonville. But how will each team react? Both offenses are so balanced and both defenses are incredibly disciplined, so it is hard to give an edge one way or another. But adding the weather factor on top of the national spotlight and a berth to the Orange Bowl on the line, and you never can predict how a college football team will react. Of course, there could no rain and wind could be a non-factor, in which case the point is moot.
Prediction: I'm sticking to my prediction from the expert picks, both offenses are far too balanced to kept from the end zone. No matter what the conditions, there are too many different weapons on the field to not set up some touchdowns. Virginia Tech 31, Florida State 24.
Posted on: November 30, 2010 11:45 am
Posted by Tom Fornelli
Over the last few years when the ACC Championship has been played in Jacksonville and Tampa, it wasn't hard to notice all the empty seats throughout the stadium. A fact that didn't reflect too kindly on the ACC or the venues the game was being played in. After all, it was a conference championship game, and could you imagine watching an SEC Championship game with the entire upper deck of the Georgia Dome being empty?
It just wouldn't happen.
Well, the ACC has moved the game to Charlotte this season, and if you were expecting to see a lot of empty seats again this Saturday, you might want to change your plans. As of Sunday the game was only 200 tickets shy of being a sellout. Something that you can be sure the ACC is taking notice of while thinking about where to play future games.
"There was more involvement from the local community in Charlotte," ACC Commissioner John Swofford told the Charlotte Observer.
"Certainly being in the geographic center... gives you more opportunities than anywhere else. The history and tradition of the league is here. But I do think you have to... think about the schools not in the geographical center.
"These next two years will give a good indication of Charlotte's willingness to embrace the ACC. It appears it's off to a good start."
Now, there are some factors to consider before hailing Charlotte the capital of ACC football. First of all, the two schools playing in the game this season are Virginia Tech and Florida State. Home of two of the most rabid football fan bases in the conference, and two fan bases that will travel. Second, the people of Charlotte are dying to see an actual football game played in the stadium after having to be subjected to the Carolina Panthers every week.
It's a miracle they even want to watch football after that ordeal.
Seriously, though, the good news for Charlotte is that 28,000 tickets had been sold to the game before anyone knew it would feature Virginia Tech or Florida State, which is a very good indication of the interest in the Charlotte area. Still, the real test of whether Charlotte is the long-term host of the game will be next season when the novelty of the idea has worn off amongst the locals.
Posted on: November 29, 2010 12:05 pm
J. Darin Darst
We still have a few regular season games left in the season that mean something, including Pac-10 teams trying to make a bowl (Arizona State and Washington), here is the schedule for the conference title games:
MAC Championship: Northern Illinois (10-2) vs. Miami (Ohio) (8-4), 7 p.m. on ESPN2: Winner most likely goes to the Little Caesars Bowl, while the loser will be in either the GoDaddy.com or Humanitarian Bowl.
C-USA Championship: UCF (9-3) vs. SMU (6-2), Noon on ESPN: Winner goes to the Liberty Bowl to most likely play either Georgia or Tennessee. If SMU loses they are probably headed to the Armed Forces Bowl on Dec. 30. The Armed Forces Bowl is being played in SMU's Ford Stadium this year. If UCF loses, look for the Knights to play Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve.
SEC Championship: Auburn (12-0) vs. South Carolina (8-3), 4 p.m. on CBS: It's easy for Auburn. Win and it plays for the BCS National Championship, lose and it will be in the Orange Bowl. A South Carolina win puts the Gamecocks in the Sugar Bowl. A South Carolina loss will most likely send it to the Outback Bowl.
ACC Championship: Virginia Tech (10-2) vs. Florida State (9-3), 7:45 p.m. on ESPN: Winner goes to the Orange Bowl, while the loser probably ends up in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. If the Chick-fil-A Bowl chooses a different team, than the Champs Sports Bowl vs. Notre Dame would be the next spot.
Big 12 Championship: Nebraska (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (10-2), 8 p.m. on ABC: Winner goes to the Fiesta Bowl, while the loser looks headed to the Alamo Bowl. The Cotton Bowl has the next pick out of the Big 12, but appears to be taking Texas A&M, so the loser of this game falls to the Alamo Bowl.
* Big East -- Connecticut at South Florida, 8 p.m. on ESPN2: A Connecticut wins, the Huskies go to either the Orange or Fiesta Bowl for the first time in history. If South Florida wins, than West Virginia wins the Big East and most certainly will play in the Orange Bowl.