Weekend Rooting Guide
by Matthew McKinley, 10/25/01

Wow, you gotta love weekends like the last one. Upsets across the board, including three teams dropping from the ranks of the unbeaten. Almost makes me look smart. Well, sort of. OK, not really. But you still gotta love ‘em.

But as the Count from Sesame Street used to say: "But wait, there’s more!" Two weekends ago, every team in the Top 20 was either on the road or hosting a ranked team at home. This weekend, all but two in the Top 20 are in the same boat, including a whopping six intra-Top 25 matchups. The highlight of them all (except for VT, of course), is (#2) Oklahoma at (#3) Nebraska, where it’s guaranteed that one more undefeated team will fall. Keep an eye out also for (#5) UCLA at (#22) Stanford. The Cardinal knocked off Oregon last week. Will UCLA be the next victim of the giant-killers from Stanford?

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 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).

Top 25

West Virginia (2-4) @ (#1) Miami (5-0) – 7pm, Thursday

The Hokies are used to Thursday night Big East matchups, but unfortunately they’re not playing in this one. Miami gets the home night game and we have to play at noon. *sigh*
GF – WVU, CI – UM, PI – UM, SOS – wash
Root: Citizen Cane

(#2) Oklahoma (7-0) @ (#3) Nebraska (8-0) – 12pm

I’ve given this one a lot of thought. Oklahoma has Texas A&M and Texas Tech remaining, while Nebraska has Colorado remaining—Colorado looks stronger than both of Oklahoma’s remaining tests (when they have their starting QB, which they didn’t last weekend). Plus, Oklahoma has already beaten Texas, the probable Big XII South Champion. I think Nebraska has a better chance of losing a game later in the season. Therefore…
GF – wash, CI – wash, PI – UN, SOS – wash
Root: dem Corn Shucker *******s (you’ll have to read the book to find out what Forrest Gump called them)

Syracuse (6-2) @ (#4) Virginia Tech (6-0) – 12pm (dadgummit!)

Can I get a 62-0 from the congregation? Yes, I thought I could! (props to Hanover Hokie)

(#5) UCLA (6-0) @ (#22) Stanford (4-1) – 7pm

This one’s being played at night. I should be warm and toasty by then. Naah, I’ll still be tailgating. Make that cold and toasted.
GF – SU, CI – SU, PI – SU, SOS – SU
Root: Does a Cardinal wear a funny hat?

(#6) Florida (5-1) @ (#16) Georgia (5-1) – 3:30pm

The World’s Largest Cocktail Party. That’s a game I’m going to have to make it to at least once in my life. Can you get drunk from secondhand alcohol? If so, this is the place where it’s most likely to happen.
GF – wash, CI – wash, PI – UGA, SOS – wash
Root: Hunker down, hairy Dawgs!

(#7) Texas (6-1) @ Missouri (3-3) – 2pm

Just when was the last time that Missouri had a winning season? I think it was sometime back in the Roosevelt administration. The first one.
GF – MU, CI – MU, PI – MU, SOS – wash
Root: Mizzou

(#8) Michigan (5-1) @ Iowa (4-2) – 12:10pm

I have an uncle that lived in Iowa. He says the most exciting thing there is to sit out on the porch and listen to the corn grow. Really. I think that there might be a little more to be excited about if Iowa wins this weekend.
GF – UI, CI – UI, PI – UI, SOS – UM
Root: "Freud said that there is a link between anger and wit. Anger turned inwards is depression. Anger turned sideways is Hawkeye." (5 bonus points for who said this quote.)

(#14) South Carolina (6-1) @ (#9) Tennessee (4-1) – 3:30pm

Hmmm. Maroon. Orange. Maroon. Orange. I like it.
GF – USC, CI – wash, PI – USC, SOS – UT
Root: Cock a doodle do! (I’ve made too many cock jokes in this column.)

(#10) Brigham Young (7-0) @ San Diego State (2-5) – 10pm

Bring ‘em Young looks unbeatable this year. Of course, it’s not that hard if you play in the WAC…errr…Mountain West.
GF – SDS, CI – SDS, PI – SDS, SOS – wash
Root: El Azteca (Mmmmm…..burritooooos)

(#11) Washington (5-1) @ Arizona State (4-2) – 9pm

How in the name of Sam Hill (who was that, anyways?) does a Top 15 team become an underdog to an unranked team, even on the road? I agree with Beerman, something’s not right here, but you still don’t deserve to call it an upset if they win.
GF – UDub, CI – ASU, PI – UDub, SOS – UDub
Root: Charlie Steiner’s favorite mascot (back to that tired old joke this week)

(#12) Maryland (7-0) @ (#18) Florida State (4-2) – 3:30pm

Cinderella’s coach turns back into a pumpkin this weekend. Nobody beats FSU at Doak. Oops, scratch that, but Maryland still loses.
GF – UM, CI – wash, PI – FSU, SOS – wash
Root: Half-Noels

(#13) Oregon (6-1) @ (#15) Washington State (7-0) – 5pm

Cinderella’s disappearing act Take II. Oregon takes out their frustration on the Cougars.
GF – OU, CI – OU, PI – OU, SOS – wash
Root: For my pick, call 1-800-888-3999, and press option 7. Trust me.

(#17) Auburn (6-1) @ Arkansas (3-3) – 7pm

Let me take this time to thank Auburn again. Florida was looking just unbeatable. But then again, so was Louisiana Tech last week.
GF – AU, CI – UA, PI – UA, SOS – wash

(#19) Fresno State (6-1) @ Hawaii (4-2) – 9pm, Friday

Boise State’s coach called their win over FSU-West last week the greatest win in the history of their program. I bet nobody thought we’d ever hear that about a win over Fresno State. I don’t even think Miss Cleo saw that one.
GF – UH, CI – UH, PI – UH, SOS – wash
Root: Rainbow Warr…errrr…just the Warriors

Northwestern (4-2) @ (#20) Purdue (4-1) – 12:10pm

Two upper-tier Big T(elev)en teams, who would’ve thought a game like that would be so….uninspiring? If anybody west of the Mississippi cares about this game, I’ll eat my shorts.
GF – NU, CI – wash, PI – NU, SOS – wash
Root: Wildcats, I guess

Iowa State (5-1) @ (#24) Texas A&M (6-1) – 2pm

Wouldn’t it be great to open the season next year against the reigning Big XII Champion? They’re still very much in the thick of it.
GF – aTm, CI – wash, PI – wash, SOS – wash
Root: Gig ‘em, Aggies!

(#25) Clemson (4-2) @ Wake Forest (3-3) – 12pm

The Tigers should win this one easily, but it depends on who shows up: Clemson, who defeated Georgia Tech in OT, or Clempsun, who lost to Virginia and UNC (badly). BTW, I don’t think they should be ranked. Or at least Clempsun shouldn’t.
Root: Go Deeeeeeeaks!

VT Opponents

Ball State (2-4) @ Connecticut (2-4) – 1:30pm

Thank you Ball State for beating Toledo last weekend. Hope you lose this one, though.
Root: UConn Pete (funny story by Dr. Dirty)

Western Michigan (4-3) @ Miami, OH (5-2) – 2pm

WMU needs to get in gear and win the MAC. Or else Tech will. ;^)
Bronco Bullfrogs? (first non-sports site from a Yahoo! Search)

Central Florida (4-3) @ Utah State (1-5) – 5:05pm

Man, there are just too many Div. 1-A teams. I always end up checking Utah State, thinking they’re Div. 1-AA.
Root: U-C-F (Man, are they anal about their name!)

Notre Dame (3-3) @ Boston College (5-2) – 3:30pm

This one is an absolute no-brainer. I hate seeing ND at or over .500.
Root: Fly like an Eagle, into a bowl game!

Pittsburgh (1-5) @ Temple (2-4) – 12pm

Even Jeanne Dixon didn’t think this one would be too close to call at the beginning of the season.
GF – Pitt, CI – Pitt, PI – wash, SOS – TU
Root: "Sorry I ruined your Black Panther Party." (What can I say, it’s just a Forrest Gump night.)

Virginia (3-4) @ North Carolina State (3-3) – 12pm

Lost: UVA fan base. Discovered missing some time around the middle of the third quarter last Sunday night. Possibly located in the parking lots keying cars.
GF – NCS, CI – wash, PI – UVA, SOS – UVA
Root: still can’t do it……(Wolf)pack ‘em in pack ‘em in, let me begin.

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. Wins don’t count for us in these games, but losses DO count against us.

Navy (0-6) @ Toledo (5-1) – (3-2, 7pm): Ball State? BWAAAHAHAHA! Go Navy!

Buffalo (1-6) @ Eastern Michigan (1-5) – (2-2, 3pm): Pick ‘em and yawn away.

Akron (2-5) @ Marshall (5-1) – (2-0, 7pm): Does Marshall ever have any competition in this conference? Zzzzzzip-a-de-do-dah!

UAB (3-4) @ Memphis (4-3) – (2-0, 2pm): Blazing Saddles

Ohio State (4-2) @ Penn State (1-4) – (0-2, 12pm): Paterno – "I’m going to go home and get in trouble with a good, stiff bourbon." Great quote, coach, and thanks for nothing, Northwestern. Go Buckeyes.

Louisville (6-1) @ Cincinnati (4-2) – (0-1, 2pm): I’m glad I don’t have to root for Loserville this year. Neither do you. Root for the Bearcats.

New Mexico State (3-4) @ Middle Tenn. State (5-2) – (0-1, 3pm): 5-2, huh? Make it 6-2, or 9-2, and I might be impressed.

Northern Illinois (3-4) @ Central Michigan (2-4) – (1-1, 1pm): This game is Mac-tastic! Pick ‘em.

California (0-6) @ Oregon State (2-4) – (1-0, 4pm): This is the first weekend that Cal hasn’t faced an undefeated team. 3 of the 6 still are. Damn. Go Bears.

Tulane (2-6) @ Army (1-5) – (1-1, 1pm): Be all that you can be.

LA-Monroe (1-5) @ LA-Lafayette (2-5) – (1-1, 5pm): This is the game I’ve been dreading all year. ZZZZZZZZZZZ

Kent State (3-4) @ Ohio (1-5) – (1-1, 1pm): Is this another homecoming game for Kent? This one’s a toss-up, or rather a toss-out.

East Carolina (4-3) @ Texas Christian (4-3) – (1-0, 7pm Tuesday): Thursday? That’s commonplace, now. Friday? I like it. But Tuesday? It may be strange, but that makes 4, count ‘em, 4 days a week for college football on the tube! Yeah! Oh, yeah, root for ECU.

Michigan State (3-2) @ Wisconsin (4-4) – (0-1, 12:10pm): "Well, if we build this wooden badger…."

Vanderbilt (1-5) @ Duke (0-¥ ) – (0-1, 1pm): This game should not be allowed, except to root against Duke. We shouldn’t, but we will.

Liberty (2-4) @ South Florida (4-3) – (1-2, 7pm): C’mon, USF, y’all beat Pitt. Y’all can play better teams than Liberty! Oh, yeah, nevermind. Pitt sucks this year. Da Bulls!

Cal State- Northridge (1-5) @ Eastern Washington (4-2) – (0-1, 5:05pm): EWU may be 4-2, but for SOS purposes they’re 1-2, and the 1 was against UConn. *sigh* Root for ‘em not to lose.

Northern Iowa (6-1) @ Illinois State (0-7) – (0-1, 3:30pm): Now would be a good time for you to get your first win. Really.

Rhode Island (7-0) @ Richmond (1-5) – (0-1, 1pm): Ditto for the second win.

Georgia Southern (7-0) @ East Tenn. State (2-4) – (0-1, 7pm): Ditto for the third.

Southern Utah (1-5) @ Troy State (3-3) – (0-1, 3pm): Man, it’s late, and I really cannot think up something snappy to say here using Troy. I mean, of course there are the obvious play on their mascot, the Trojans, and there is the ancient city of Troy. There just ain’t anything funny out there as I’m writing this late at night. Oops, early in the morning. Help me out here! (Oh, BTW, root for Troy State.)

And that wraps up this week’s edition of the Weekend Rooting Guide. I’ll be in Blacksburg this weekend for the game, and for the first time this year I’ll be bringing some Captain Morgan’s, so if anybody sees me, please do me a favor: push me from where I’m passed out on the floor to under a table or something so I don’t get stepped on. ;^)

See you in da Burg.

-- Matthew McKinley (Freddyburg Hokie)


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