Weekend Rooting Guide
by Matthew McKinley, 9/28/01

Holy cow, would you look at all the Top 25 action this week! If you’re scanning the TV guide and your head is spinning because with all the quality games you don’t know who to root for, well look no further. The Weekend Rooting Guide has the answers.

Each week, I’ll be looking at the USA Today/ESPN Top 25, VT’s Opponents, and VT’s Opponents’ Opponents. For each game, I’ll look at four reasons to root for a team, and the combinations of those reasons will determine for whom Hokie Fans should root. The categories for rooting interest are Gut Feeling (your instinctual urges on the game, from cool mascots to downright hatred), Conference Implications (anything that makes the Big East look good, or other conferences look bad), Postseason Implications (anything that affects where VT goes bowling), and Strength of Schedule (the game’s effect on VT’s BCS Strength of Schedule calculations, or in case of a tie, the higher rated team from Kenneth Massey’s VT Connectivity Page).

Oh, and it wouldn’t be a Weekend Rooting Guide without a minor change from week to week, would it? So this week’s change comes to us from the poster known as Hokie High, who wanted to see game times and TV listings. Well, the TV stuff was too hard to figure out, as you can see from the Football board, but the game times? I can do that.

And without any further ado, awaaaaay we go!

Top 25

(#1) Miami (2-0) @ Pittsburgh (1-1) – Thursday, 7:30pm

Bottom line. Hokie fans need Miami to be undefeated and ranked #1 when they get their [butts] kicked in Lane on December 1st. Every other consideration pales in comparison.
GF – UP, CI – UM, PI – UM, SOS – wash (edge: UM by a hair)
Root: Sebastian, the bird with unusual proctological tastes

(#22) Mississippi State (1-1) @ (#2) Florida (3-0) – 3:30pm

Only one good thing has ever come out of Gainesville….Gatorade
GF – MSU, CI – wash, PI – MSU, SOS – wash (edge: UF)
Root: Bulldogs. (Not much else to do in Starkville but root for ‘em.)

(#9) Kansas State (2-0) @ (#3) Oklahoma (3-0) – 12pm

Probably the best game to watch this weekend, next to the Hokies. Too bad they’re on at the same time. Isn’t there some way that both teams could lose?
GF – KSU, CI – wash, PI – KSU, SOS – wash (edge: OU)
Root: W-W-W-W-Wildcats (It’s the sport of kings…)

(#4) Nebraska (4-0) @ Missouri (1-1) – 12:30pm

Geez, is the whole Big XII conference in the Top Five? Doesn’t matter, it won’t last. I don’t like that –0 in Nebraska’s record.
GF – MU, CI – MU, PI – MU, SOS – wash (edge: NU)
Root: Hold that Tiger!

Texas Tech (2-0) @ (#5) Texas (3-0) – 7pm

For some reason, I have this feeling that Texas just can’t make it’s way through a whole season without some chump team upsetting them. Texas Tech just may be that chump.
GF – TT, CI – TT, PI – TT, SOS – wash (edge: UT)
Root: Go Red Raiders! (color for emphasis)

(#6) Oregon (3-0) @ Utah State (0-3) – 9:05pm

And if you need a game to tide you over to midnight, this would be the one. Naah, scratch that. Fresno State is playing at 10.
Root: the Aggies? Humph. (I had to look that one up.)

Central Florida (1-2) @ (#7) Virginia Tech (3-0) – 12pm

I don’t care if the Wahoos managed to cheat their way to a win against Clemson, this is the toughest out-of-conference game for the Hokies.
GF – VT, CI – do I really need to continue?

(#14) Louisiana State (2-0) @ (#8) Tennessee (2-0) – 7:45pm

Probably the third best game of the day, after VT and KSU-OU. At least Tech fans will be able to watch this one. Here, we’re rooting for a better schedule next year, folks.
GF – LSU, CI – wash, PI – LSU, SOS – UT
Root: Dem Bayou Bengals. (Hoo, boy, dey wondermus, I gaaa-ron-tee!)

(#10) UCLA (3-0) @ (#19) Oregon State (1-1) – 3:30pm

I still find it hard to root for Oregon State after their "sportsmanship" in the Fiesta Bowl last year, despite their cool mascot. Unfortunately, rooting against the Beavers would be counterproductive right now.
GF – UCLA, CI – OSU, PI – OSU, SOS – wash (edge: UCLA)
Root: Ward, you were a little hard on the Beaver last night.

(#25) Clemson (2-1) @ (#11) Georgia Tech (3-0) – 3:30pm

Result from last weeks’ game: Refs 1 – Clemson 0. The Yellow Jackets aren’t going to need the extra help against Clemson this week. (I still would like to meet GT in the Rose Bowl.)
GF – GT, CI – CU, PI – CU, SOS – wash (edge: GT)
Root: Clemson (for those of you that don’t have family that are GT alumni)

(#12) Washington (2-0) @ California (0-3) – 5pm

Question: If Rutgers doesn’t make up the cancelled game with California, does that mean we don’t have to root for them anymore? It doesn’t matter here, but just for later on, right? UDub wins in GF, because I like typing UDub.
GF – UDub, CI – UC, PI – UC, SOS – UC (maybe)
Root: Jack Nicklaus’ favorite team (the Golden Bears)

Louisiana Tech (1-1) @ (#13) Fresno State (4-0) – 10pm

I know that FSU-West is the great story this year, but if they don’t lose, they could take an at-large BCS bid away from the Hokies. (BTW, this is the late-night game to watch.)
GF – FSU-W, CI – LT, PI – LT, SOS – wash (edge: FSU-W)
Root: Bulldogs (of the Louisiana Tech variety)

Wake Forest (2-1) @ (#15) Florida State (2-1) – 7pm

Beerman said it best, so I’ll just repeat his comments: "Angry Seminole says ‘Demon Deacon fall down, go BOOM!’"
Root: the Demon Deacons (from a Baptist school?)

Alabama (2-1) @ (#16) South Carolina (3-0) – 12:30pm

This one is going to hurt. It’s going to really, really hurt. (If you didn’t know, I hate the U of Alabama. You have to have lived there to understand.)
GF – USC, CI – UA, PI – UA, SOS – wash (edge: USC)
Root: the Rednecks (of the Alabama variety)

(#23) Illinois (3-0) @ (#17) Michigan (2-1) – 3:30pm

Why, dear Lord, does Michigan have to play an undefeated, ranked team? I must’ve been awful in a previous life.
GF – UI, CI – wash, PI – UM, SOS – UM
Root: Michicken (BOK! BOK!)

(#24) Michigan State (2-0) @ (#18) Northwestern (2-0) – 12pm

This might be a pretty good game. Another undefeated team bites the dust. Guaranteed.
GF – NW, CI – wash, PI – MSU, SOS – wash (edge: NW slightly)
Root: for a good game – the outcome doesn’t really matter

(#20) Brigham Young (3-0) @ Nevada – Las Vegas (0-3) – 7pm

You’ve got to be kidding me! The line is Bring ‘em Young by only 7 points? Well, we know where the UNLV football teams’ spending money next week is coming from.
GF – wash, CI – UNLV, PI – UNLV, SOS – wash (edge: BYU)
Root: Run, Rebels, run!

(#21) Purdue (2-0) @ Minnesota (1-1) – 12pm

Boilermakers…Golden Gophers…Boilermakers…Golden Gophers…the GF category is tough this time around, but I’ll have to go with the team named after a shot.
GF – Purdon’t, CI – UM, PI – UM, SOS – wash (edge: PU slightly)
Root: Minn-uh-soh-tah (how do you type a northern accent, anyways?)

VT Opponents

Army (0-2) @ Boston College (2-1) – 12pm

As I said last week, I just can’t root against the service academies right now. (What is it they say, patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel? "Scoundrel? I like the sound of that.")
GF – Army, CI – BC, PI – BC, SOS – BC
Root: the boys in green

Connecticut (0-3) @ Rutgers (1-2) – 7pm

Hey, look. This game is on well after the Hokies will win. I’m going to have to get a bar seat right in front of the TV for this one. :^\
GF – RU, CI – RU, PI – RU, SOS – RU
Root: Lavender….I mean Scarlet….Knights

Syracuse (2-2) @ East Carolina (2-1) – 1:30pm

Though they have the better record, ECU has lost to Wake Forest and squeaked by 1-AA William and Mary. At least Syracuse has lost to some decent teams. I’d still like to see Pasqualoni go.
GF – ECU, CI – SU, PI – SU, SOS – SU
Root: that round, orange, ball-lookin’-like thingy

West Virginia (2-1) @ Maryland (3-0) – 12pm

Wow, has my parents’ next-door neighbor done a great job at Maryland so far. He may even be able to beat Florida State. Really.
Root: Fear the ‘Eers

Western Michigan (1-2) @ Eastern Michigan (1-2) – 6pm

One of the three "Battle of the Directional Michigans" each year. Hopefully WMU can end up on top of two of them, though I’m not sure after seeing them play at Lane.
GF – WMU, CI – wash, PI – WMU, SOS – WMU
Root: Broncos….Broncos…..sorry, I can’t think of a joke here

Duke (0-3) @ Virginia (2-1) – 1pm

Duke is 0-3? I’m shocked! Hmmm…let’s see. They haven’t won since….LAST YEAR AGAINST VIRGINIA! TIAR, B! (Two in a row, baby!)
GF – Duke, CI – Duke, PI – UVA, SOS – UVA
Root: Hopefully Not-So-Blue-Anymore Devils (TIAR, B!)

VT Opponents’ Opponents

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, as well as the start times for the games. 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. (And believe it or not, there is a Division II team on the schedule this weekend, which is italicized and in all caps and underlined.)

Notre Dame (0-2) @ Texas A&M (3-0) – (3-0, 3:30pm): Great picture from Texas A&M last weekend. That alone gets them the nod.

North Carolina (1-2) @ North Carolina State (2-0) – (1-1, 12pm): Sorry, Atlee. I know your feelings about UNC, but we should root for them out of thanks.

Penn State (0-2) @ Iowa (2-0) – (1-0, 12:10pm): Iowa. An 0-11 PSU is better for our recruiting.

Western Kentucky (2-1) @ Wisconsin (2-2) – (0-1, 2:05pm): It’s not easy being cheesy.

Southern (2-1) @ Tulane (0-4) – (0-1, 3:30pm) – Tulane needs a win. Badly.

Alabama-Birmingham (2-1) @ Southern Mississippi (2-0) – (2-0, 7pm): Forest Green and Old Gold Blazers. Yuck.

North Texas (0-3) @ South Florida (1-2) – (0-2, 7pm): Da Bulls!

Miami, OH (1-2) @ Ball State (0-3) – (1-2, 2pm): Ball State, the only Cardinals I’ll root for.

Central Michigan (1-2) @ Buffalo (1-2) – (1-2, 7pm): Tetonka

Bowling Green (3-0) @ Marshall (1-1) – (2-0, 7pm): Eight-Ten split

Kent State (1-2) @ Akron (1-2) – (1-2, 6pm): Zip-e-de-doo-dah, Zip-e-de-day!

Northern Illinois (2-1) @ Toledo (3-0) – (1-2, 7pm): Toledo’s like straight buttah, ‘cause they’re on a roll.

Stanford (2-0) @ Southern California (1-2) – (1-0, 6:30pm): Stanford. Do you think they’ll ever find a position for Brandon Royster?

Arkansas (1-2) @ Georgia (1-1) – (1-0, 6:30pm): SOOOOOEEEE PIG!

New Mexico State (0-4) @ Louisiana-Monroe (0-3) – (0-1, 7pm): Huh? Why do they get a 7pm game and we have to play at noon? Root for lightning.

Middle Tennessee State (3-0) @ Louisiana-Lafayette (1-2) – (1-1, 8pm): MTSU. What’s a hyphenated-Louisiana doing with a win, anyways?

Auburn (2-1) @ Vanderbilt (1-2) – (1-0, 7pm): War **** Eagle!

Eastern Washington (2-0) @ Montana (2-1) – (1-0, 3:05pm): *yawn*

Southwest Texas State (2-1) @ Illinois State (0-3) – (0-1, 2:30pm): *yawn* ,*stretch*

East Tennessee State (1-2) @ Appalachian State (2-1) – (1-0, 2pm): *yawn*, *stretch*, *scratch…* uhhh, nevermind

Villanova (2-0) @ Richmond (0-2) – (0-1, 12pm): The eency-weency spider almost took down the ‘hoos. ;^)

WINGATE (2-2) @ Liberty (1-2) – (0-1, 7pm): I don’t even believe I have to comment about a Division II game. And I don’t want to root for Liberty, either, after Falwell’s asinine remarks. How’s about they just cancel the game, to make up for the one that Wingate (!) played on the 15th. Uncool.

Well, that just about wraps up another edition of the Weekend Rooting Guide. You’re not likely to see another weekend like this, with all the Top 25 action, for a while, so enjoy this one. And Hokie High, hope the times help.

-- Matthew McKinley (Freddyburg Hokie)


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