Weekend Rooting Guide
by Matthew McKinley, 9/21/01

Well, it’s already week five, and finally I’m able to get out a full edition of the Weekend Rooting Guide (previous editions being no fault of my own, of course ;^). So now that I’ve laid the tailgate-mobile to rest and bought a new car (relatively speaking), it’s time to move on to priority #2 in my life. Work? Shyeah! Women? I wish. There’s nothing left but the Weekend Rooting Guide!

Each week, I’ll be looking at the USA Today/ESPN Top 25, VT’s Opponents, and VT’s Opponents’ Opponents. There, I’ll look at four reasons to root for a team, and the combinations of those reasons will determine who Hokie Fans should root for. The categories for rooting interest are detailed below.

Gut Feeling (GF): This is for those teams that most Hokies just absolutely cannot stand (e.g. Virginia, Notre Dame) and will not root for under any circumstances. Also included in this category are other favorite schools, and less important things like a cool team nickname, color scheme, or any other reason that someone, when sitting down to watch to teams that they don’t care about, will say, "I’ll root for that team."

Conference Implications (CI): Anything that makes the Big East look good. This one will usually track closely with Strength of Schedule considerations when it comes to Big East teams. It also includes anything that would make another conference look bad.

Postseason Implications (PI): Anything that has to do with what bowl Virginia Tech may go to at the end of the season. This can include rankings, possible bowl opponents, computer polls, and overall media attention that the Hokies may or may not get based on the outcome of a game.

Strength of Schedule (SOS): This is basically what I used for the WRG last year. In this category, the team that has more of an impact on Virginia Tech’s Strength of Schedule calculations for the BCS will be the rooting choice. It’s that easy. (But try listening to Jerry Palm of CollegeBCS.com explain it. I swear it will make your head spin.) If the BCS Strength of Schedule is a wash (each team having the same impact on our SOS), then the edge will go to the more connected team from Kenneth Massey’s VT Connectivity Page, which factors in how teams affect us in the computer polls.

Other: Occasionally this will pop up, and it will include anything not really covered in the four previous categories.

Well, with that behind us, awaaaay we go!

Top 25

(#2) Florida (2-0) @ Kentucky (1-1)

This ain’t Tim Couch’s Wildcats. Look for a serious RUTS job by Florida with Miami out of action. Tech needs for Florida to lose to move up in the rankings.
GF – UK, CI – wash, PI – UK, SOS – wash (edge: UF)
Root: W-W-W-Wildcats

Rice (2-0) @ (#4) Nebraksa (3-0) (Thursday)

Now if Rice could just pull a Fresno State…..naah, won’t happen.
GF – RU, CI – RU, PI – RU, SOS – wash (edge: RU by a hair)
Root: Owls….the other other white meat.

(#5) Florida State (2-0) @ North Carolina (0-3)

Man. UNC starting out 0-3. That just makes me feel sooooo sad. It would be nice to move up in the polls if UNC wins, but that’s like rooting for Notre Dame to win. (Almost.) The ACC sure would look pretty bad, though, if UNC wins….
Root: Gotta say FSU here. GT’s gonna beat them later.

(#6) Texas (2-0) @ Houston (0-1)

Gee, Texas sure is playing the powerhouses. Houston hasn’t done anything since SMU had a football team. Huh? They do have a football team? Never mind.
GF – UH, CI – UH, PI – UH, SOS – wash (edge: UH)
Root: Da Cugas

USC (1-1) @ (#7) Oregon (2-0)

I still think the Ducks are pretty cool, even after kimbull’s warning that OU is the UVA of Oregon. Well, they still have a cool mascot and UVA doesn’t. (And UVA just sucks, anyways.)
GF – OU, CI – wash, PI – USC, SOS – wash (edge: OU by a hair)

(#9) Virginia Tech (2-0) @ Rutgers (1-1)

I don’t need the categories here, do I?

New Mexico State (0-3) @ (#10) Kansas State (1-0)

Maybe Kansas State will start getting some BCS respect, now that they’re playing such powerhouses as…..uhhh…..never mind.
GF – KSU, CI – NMSU, PI – NMSU, SOS – wash (edge: NMSU)
Root: Two Aggies walk into a bar….you’ve heard this one, haven’t you?

(#21) Ohio State (1-0) @ (#12) UCLA (2-0)

Honestly, I really like any team that beats Alabama. If you haven’t lived there, you just don’t understand.
GF – UCLA, CI – wash, PI – OSU, SOS – wash (edge: OSU)
Root: What the heck is a Buckeye, anyways?

Idaho (0-2) @ (#13) Washington (1-0)

The Huskies…Charlie Steiner’s favorite team. And Idaho…the….uuhhhh…Potatoes? Or is that spelled with no ‘e’? (Actually, it’s the Vandals. I had to look that up.) Should we go with the Huskies in the Gut Feeling category, because we’re often mistaken for each other? Or Idaho? Because with that nickname, they need all the help they can get….
GF – UI (IU?), CI – UI, PI – UI, SOS – Udub
Root: Idaho? YOU-da-ho!

(#15) Fresno State (3-0) @ Tulsa (1-0)

Man, Fresno State is the feel-good story of the year in college football, next to Adam Taliaferro. But if they don’t slip up this season (Colorado State in three weeks looks to be their only competition left), then they’re gonna run the table, and maybe take a BCS At-Large slot from the Hokies.
GF – FSU (x3), CI – wash, PI – Tulsa, SOS – wash (edge: FSU)
Root: Gotta go with the Bulldogs for now, but we’ll have to root against them later.

(#20) South Carolina (2-0) @ (#16) Mississippi State (1-0) (Thursday)

USC’s got a great mascot name, and MSU’s so much like Tech because they do it with great defense. So what the heck do I put for the Gut Feeling category? Hmmm………
GF – MSU, CI – wash, PI – USC, SOS – wash (edge: USC)
Root: Cocks!

Western Michigan (1-1) @ (#17) Michigan (1-1)

Hopefully, a week off gave WMU the mental edge back. They sure didn’t have it against the Hokies.
Root: Buck ‘em, Broncos!

Virginia (1-1) @ (#18) Clemson (2-0)

Mmmmmmmmm. White meat.
GF – CU, CI – wash, PI – UVA, SOS – UVA
Root: Hold that Tiger! Hold that Tiger! (Hey, Gut Feeling beats all when it comes to UVA)

(#19) Northwestern (1-0) @ Duke (0-2)

Is it just me, or does it seem like Duke is oh-for-infinity? They haven’t won since….uhhhh…last year, WHEN THEY BEAT THE WAHOOS! YEAH!
GF – NWU, CI – NWU, PI – Duke, SOS – Duke
Root: W-W-W-Wildcats, and for Duke’s only win to be against UVA again. ;^)

Michigan State (1-0) @ (#23) Notre Dame (0-1)

Can you say, "I hate the Irish"? Of course you can. Goooood.
GF – MSU, CI – wash, PI – MSU, SOS – ND by a lot
Root: With it or on it, Spartans. (5 Brownie Points to the first poster to explain that one.)

Akron (1-1) @ (#24) Purdue (1-0)

Is PurDon’t going to get it done without Brees this year? We’ll see.
GF – UA (AU?), CI – UA, PI – UA, SOS – UA
Root: ZIP-iddy do dah, ZIP-iddy day!

VT Opponents

Buffalo (0-2) @ Connecticut (0-2)

Somebody’s gotta win this game! Really!
GF – UC, CI – UC (future), PI – wash, SOS – UC
Root: The Hokies…errr….the Huskies

Central Florida (0-2) @ Tulane (0-3)

Same comments, I guess.
GF – TU (party school), CI – wash, PI – wash, SOS – UCF
Root: Camelooooot! (Did it have Knights, or was it about JFK?)

Kent State (1-1) @ West Virginia (1-1)

Wow. Homecoming U won a game? Let me check this….yeah, against Bucknell. Who-hoo!
Root: The Noses….I mean….the ‘Eers. (What a dumb nickname.)

Boston College (1-1) @ Navy (0-2)

I realize that BC will probably do about half as well as GT two weeks ago, which would still be a blowout, but I just can’t bring myself to root against the service academies this week, for obvious reasons.
GF – Navy, CI – BC, PI – BC, SOS – BC, but still, for one week…..
Root: You and the Navy. Full Speed Ahead.

Auburn (2-0) @ Syracuse (1-2)

If Syracuse loses this game, maybe they’ll go out and get a decent coach. I think they’re done for the year. That’s why my Gut Feeling is the way it is.
GF – AU, CI – SU, PI – SU, SOS – SU
Root: Orangemen, 100% Valencia.

Temple (1-1) @ Bowling Green (2-0)

I thought Temple was supposed to be good this year. If so, then why’d they lose 33-7 to Toledo? (Good thing Pitt’s not playing this week. I’d have ripped them.)
GF – BGU, CI – TU, PI – TU, SOS – TU
Root: Owl, the other other white meat.

VT Opponents’ Opponents

In the interest of shortening the column a bit, for the VT Opponents’ Opponents section, I’m just going to list a rooting interest for each game. Categories will not be shown, and there will only be an occasional comment here and there.

The numbers in parenthesis at the end of the game listing are the numbers of times that each team shows up on VT’s Opponents’ schedules. Division 1-AA teams are italicized, just to show you how many of them there are that our opponents’ opponents’ are playing. Wins don’t count for us in these games, but losses DO count against us.

Northern Iowa (1-1) @ Ball State (0-2) – (0-2): Ball State, whatever they are.

Indiana State (0-2) @ Eastern Michigan (1-1) – (0-2): Eastern Michigan.

Wyoming (1-1) @ Utah State (0-2) – (0-2): Utah State. I haven’t a team mascot so far.

South Florida (1-1) @ Memphis (2-0) – (2-0): Da Bulls. (Finally.)

Army (0-1) @ Alabama-Birmingham (1-1) – (1-2): I don’t care. Go Army!

Toledo (2-0) @ Central Michigan (1-1) – (2-1): Toledo (Huh-huh-huh, they beat Temple.)

Maryland (2-0) @ Wake Forest (2-0) – (2-1): Wake is 2-0? That won’t last. (Heck, I should italicize WFU, they’re close enough to 1-AA.) Go Terps.

Wisconsin (1-2) @ Penn State (0-1) – (1-2): Wisconsin (Huh-huh-huh, they beat Virginia.)

Weber State (0-2) @ Eastern Washington (1-0) – (0-1): Go EWU Eagles? How droll. ;^)

Cincinnati (1-1) @ Miami, OH (0-2) –(1-1): They wish they were in Miami, but they’re in Ohio. They need all the rooting support they can get.

Middle Tennessee State (2-0) @ Louisiana-Monroe (0-2) – (1-1): Ah, the joys of Sun Belt Conference football. Football at it’s finest. [ack, who cares?]

Southeast Missouri State (1-2) @ Illinois State (0-2) – (0-1): Yawn. You figure it out.

Sam Houston State (2-0) @ Northern Illinois (1-1) – (0-1): Sam Houston State, do they even have a football team? Well, if they do, don’t root for them.

California (0-2) @ Washington State (2-0) – (1-0): California. (Shake it, shake it, baby!)

Southern Mississippi (1-0) @ Louisiana-Lafayette (0-1) – (0-1): Go with the hyphen, baby!

Delaware State (1-1) @ Liberty (0-2) – (0-1): Somehow, I just can’t root for Liberty after Falwell ran his mouth.

Arkansas (1-1) @ Alabama (1-1) – (1-0): Sooo-eeee pig! (Again, if you haven’t lived in Alabama, you’ll never understand.)

Iowa State (1-0) @ Ohio (1-0) – (0-1): You mean I have to root for Ohio?!? Thanks, WVU!

Arizona State (1-0) @ Stanford (0-1) – (0-1): How can you root for a color? Well, get used to it.

William & Mary (2-0) @ East Carolina (1-1) – (0-1): Yes I am a pirate. 200 years too late.

Western Carolina (1-1) @ East Tennessee State (1-1) – (0-1): Sigh.

Richmond (0-1) @ Vanderbilt (0-2) – (1-0): Wouldn’t this be cool, if the Spiders won?

North Carolina State (1-0) @ Southern Methodist (0-2) – (1-0): Root for the ‘Pack.

Nicholls State (0-2) @ Troy State (0-2) – (0-1): This one is complicated. Yes, the SOS says root for Troy State, but let me tell you a story. Three weeks ago, Nicholls State played Jacksonville State in a game where Ashley Martin was the first female to kick an extra point in a D1 football game. You can read about it in this article on ESPN.com. Why is this even germane? Because she was a student of mine at East Coweta High School, where she also took the girls basketball team to the state championship game and was the Homecoming Queen (in her football uniform, no less). I just thought she deserved some pub for her accomplishment. However, even though Nicholls State let Jacksonville State score so she could kick the extra points, root for Troy State anyways. ;^)

Well, that about wraps it up. Enjoy the return of college football, and good luck to the men and women serving our country in the military. We’re proud of each and every one of you.

-- Matthew McKinley (Freddyburg Hokie)


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