Weekend Rooting Guide
by Matthew McKinley, 10/19/01

Well, it looks like we have the converse of last weekend: almost all of the Top 20 are at home this week. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of opportunities for upsets, but we here at the Weekend Rooting Guide keep hoping. With the Hokies off this weekend, it becomes a perfect weekend to veg out on the couch watching college football, especially this weekend’s marquee game of (#17) Colorado @ (#8) Texas.

Every week during the football season, 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 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).

And awaaaaaay we go!

Top 25

Baylor (2-3) @ (#2) Oklahoma (6-0) – 3pm

Man, the Bears keep running into the buzzsaw each week. They’ve played Nebraska and Texas A&M the past two weekends. Sucks to be them.
GF – BU, CI – BU, PI – BU, SOS – wash (edge: OU)
Root: da Bearsssss

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

What Bill Roth didn’t mention is that Hokies can still root for Baylor and Texas Tech, thus making it easier to figure out who to root for between NU and OU.
GF – TT, CI – TT, PI – TT, SOS – wash (edge: NU)
Root: (Red) Raiders of the Lost Ark

Stanford (3-1) @ (#5) Oregon (6-0) – 3:30pm

I don’t like rooting for a school that took our #1 recruiting target a few years back, but it all turned out right in the end, didn’t it? Brandon who? OU still has the cooler mascot.
GF – OU, CI – SU, PI – SU, SOS – SU
Root: Red (the color is close enough, I guess)

California (0-5) @ (#6) UCLA (5-0) – 10:15

Man, Cal really needs a win. Other than when they play Rut[s]gers, that is.
GF – Cal, CI – Cal, PI – Cal, SOS – Cal
Root: da Bearsssss (this is getting quite repetitive, ain’t it?)

(#17) Colorado (5-1) @ (#8) Texas (5-1) – 3:30pm

I don’t know about this one. Colorado winning helps out Fresno State, who isn’t likely to lose again. Let’s just go with the categories on this one.
GF – UC, CI – wash, PI – UC, SOS – wash (edge: UC)
Root: Tetonka (Buffalo)

Boise State (3-3) @ (#10) Fresno State (6-0) – 8pm, Friday

Is Boise State really Div. 1-A? Yep, they’re in the WAC. (I had to check.) Too bad, a 1-AA team would’ve messed up FSU’s SOS even further.
GF – FSU-W, CI – wash, PI – BSU (x2), SOS – wash (edge: FSU-W)
Root: Cowboys (no, no, no, not Dallas!)

(#11) Tennessee (3-1) @ Alabama (3-3) – 3:30pm

Like I always say, folks, this one hurts.
GF – wash, CI – UA, PI – UA, SOS – UT
Root: TP, laundry detergent, TP (that’s Roll Tide Roll)

Arizona (3-3) @ (#12) Washington (4-1) – 6:30pm

Yeah. Bang up job at Arizona, Coach Mackovic. Desert Swarm? LOL! UDub needs to keep winning until 24 November.
GF – UDub, CI – UA, PI – UDub, SOS – UDub
Root: Huskies

Air Force (4-1) @ (#13) Brigham Young (6-0) – 5:45pm

Did I mention that I don’t like undefeated teams other than Tech? Bring ‘em Young needs to fall, and this looks like the best opportunity. Plus, can’t go against the service academies.
GF – AFA, CI – wash, PI – AFA, SOS – wash (edge: BYU)
Root: Falcons (yes, you can root for Atlanta, too)

Duke (0-¥ ) @ (#14) Maryland (6-0) – 1pm

I still would like Duke to go oh-for-infinity (and they have a good shot at it), but I wouldn’t mind a win here.
GF – UM, CI – DU, PI – DU, SOS – UM
Root: Duke (Aww, what the heck, why not? It won’t do any good.)

North Carolina (4-3) @ (#15) Clemson (4-1) – 12pm

UNC…ranked team…UNC…ranked team…[Matt throws up his hands in frustration.]
Root: The wonderful thing about Tiggers is Tiggers are wonderful things!

Vanderbilt (1-4) @ (#16) South Carolina (5-1) – 7pm

Way to go, Arkansas, last week. Maybe Vandy can make it 2 in a row.
GF – VU, CI – VU, PI – VU, SOS – wash (edge: USC)
Root: Once…Twice…Three Times a Lady

Montana State (4-2) @ (#18) Washington State (6-0) – 10, Thursday

It’s not often that you see a 1-AA team in the Top 25 section, but usually it’s a PathetiC-10 team that brings ‘em there. See: Oregon State last year.
GF – MSU, CI – MSU, PI – MSU, SOS – wash (edge: WSU)
Root: the Fighting Bobcats (I had to look that up.)

Kentucky (1-5) @ (#19) Georgia (4-1) – 12:30pm

Kudos to Georgia last week. That was a heck of a final two minutes. But those kudos don’t always extend to the next week. Sorry, dawgs.
GF – UK, CI – UK, PI – UK, SOS – wash (edge: UK)
Root: W-w-w-wildcats!

Penn State (0-4) @ (#20) Northwestern (4-1) – 3:30pm

Look for Paterno to break his glasses after this loss. The other category is for recruiting.
GF – NU, CI – PSU, PI –PSU, SOS – PSU, other – NU
Root: W-w-w-wildcats! (I thought I had déjà vu just then, but I wasn’t sure.)

Louisiana Tech (3-2) @ (#21) Auburn (5-1) – 2pm

LA Tech. Must be Homecoming in Auburn. Good job last weekend against Florida. The WRG will cut you a break this weekend.
GF – AU, CI – LT, PI – LT, SOS – AU
Root: War Damn Eagle!

(#22) Florida State (3-2) @ Virginia (3-3) – 7:45pm

Man, it feels good to see FSU with 2 losses this early in the season. And even better to see Virginia with 3!
Root: (can’t do it…wouldn’t be prudent) Semi-Noles

(#23) Toledo (5-0) @ Ball State (1-4) – 2pm

GF – wash, CI – BS, PI – BS, SOS – wash (edge: TU)
Root: Cardinals (definitely not of the Loserville variety)

North Carolina State (3-2) @ (#25) Georgia Tech (4-2) – 3:30pm

GT needs to get themselves back on track, to help out our SOS. Looks like meeting them in a BCS bowl is out, but how about the Gator if we’re there?
GF – GT, CI – wash, PI – GT, SOS – GT
Root: Go Jackets!

VT Opponents

Pittsburgh (1-4) @ Boston College (4-2) – 12pm

Stick a fork in Pitt. They’re done.
GF – BC, CI – BC, PI – BC, SOS – wash (edge: Pitt)
Root: Houston, the Eagle has landed.

Temple (2-3) @ Syracuse (5-2) – 1:30pm

SU has looked pretty impressive as of late. A good-looking win here might get them ranked. So we can administer the worst-ever shutout of a ranked team again on them.
GF – SU, CI – SU, PI – SU, SOS – wash (edge: SU)
Root: Rhymes with Orange (I miss that cartoon.)

Navy (0-5) @ Rutgers (1-5) – 3:30pm

I’m still finding it very hard to root against the service academies.
GF – Navy, CI – RU, PI – RU, SOS – RU
Root: Navy (minus their football team)

Western Michigan (4-2) @ Northern Illinois (2-4) – 2:05pm

I think it says a lot for the Broncos that they’ve won every game other than VT and Michigan. They played Michigan pretty close, too.
Root: Bronco Nagurski

Louisiana-Monroe (1-4) @ Central Florida (3-3) – 4pm

Congrats, UCF, on conference affiliation. Now go kick some butt.
GF – UCF, CI – wash, PI – UCF, SOS – UCF
Root: the Black Knight ("It’s only a flesh wound. I’ve ‘ad worse.")

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’ , as well as the start times for the games. Division 1-AA teams are italicized. Wins don’t count for us in these games, but losses DO count against us.

Southern California (1-3) @ Notre Dame (2-3) – (0-3, 2:30pm): USC. Hokies should want ND to be non-bowl-eligible.

Buffalo (1-5) @ Kent State (2-4) – (2-1, 2pm): This is the college football equivalent of Dallas vs. Washington. Good thing it’s not on prime-time national TV. Root: Tetonka.

Bowling Green (4-2) @ Akron (2-4) – (2-2, 5:05pm): This one is a wash for SOS, so pick ‘em.

Tulane (2-5) @ UAB (2-4) – (1-2, 5pm): "She’s ridin’ in her Blazer, like Go Speed Racer, but I ain’t gonna chase her." – a little Ice Cube for ya

Cininnati (3-2) @ Houston (0-5) – (1-0, 8pm): Houson, you have a problem. We ain’t rooting for you.

Middle Tenn. State (5-1) @ Ole Miss (4-1) – (1-0, 2pm): This would be a fun upset. MTSU

Miami, OH (4-2) @ Ohio (1-4) – (1-1, 3pm): Pick ‘em.

Central Michigan (2-3) @ Marshall (4-1) – (1-0, 4pm): C-Mich (sounds like a nickname)

LA-Lafayette (1-5) @ Idaho (0-6) – (1-0, 3:30pm): Yawn. LA-L.

Army (1-4) @ TCU (3-3) – (1-0, 3pm): Go Army. They’ve got great special teams…errr…forces.

Memphis (4-2) @ ECU (3-3) – (0-1, 3:30pm): Yes, I am a pirate. 200 years too late.

Wisconsin (4-3) @ Illinois (5-1) – (1-0, 12:10pm): FSU-North (Free Shoes University)

Idaho State (2-2) @ Utah State (0-5) – (0-2, 5:05pm): Well, maybe USU will get a win here. Maybe not.

Southern Utah (1-5) @ South Florida (3-3) – (0-2, 7pm): How does USF get a night game? Oh, they’re not on TV. ;^)

Cal State – Northridge (1-4) @ Troy State (2-3) – (0-1, 3pm): Trojan Man…mmmm mmmm.

Eastern Washington (3-2) @ Sacramento State (2-4) – (1-0, 9:05pm): I’m sick of having to root for EWU every week. Thanks, UConn.

Illinois State (0-6) @ Youngstown State (5-1) – (1-0, 4pm): Illinois State, too. Thanks, WMU.

Liberty (2-3) @ Gardner Webb (2-4) – (1-0, 1:30pm): Ditto for Liberty. Thanks, UCF.

East Tennessee State (2-3) @ Furman (5-1) – (1-0, 2pm): AAARRRGH! Forget this. Root for Furman. The Paladin is a cool mascot.

Richmond (1-4) @ Northeastern (1-4) – (1-0, 12:30pm): I had a boss once that had gone to Northeastern. He fired me (probably because I was a lousy teacher, but I can vent, can’t I?) Northeastern must go down.

Enjoy this weekend’s couch potato session, folks. I have to drive to North Carolina to pick up some furniture, but that’s another story for another time. Tune in next week for another preview of the teams to root for as I get fall-down drunk after we beat the snot out of Syracuse again. Keep spamming ESPN to get us into a night game, and maybe I’ll buy y’all a beer. (Yeah, right.)

-- Matthew McKinley (Freddyburg Hokie)


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