Heroes and Goats, Week Zero
by Matthew McKinley, 8/27/03

It’s been a long summer. A long, hot summer. Vacations, barbeques, and whatnot. It’s nice, in its own way. Sooner or later, however, the summer comes to an end. The days start to grow shorter. The air catches a bit of a chill. And thoughts turn to Blacksburg. Sounds of helmets crashing…smells of grass crushed by cleats…I can hear and smell it already. And with those thoughts comes my mantra…

[cue the guitar]
I…love…Hokies on TV…
Shots of KJ’s speed…
Tailgatin’ with my friends…
And twins!
I…love…quarterbacks getting’ sacked…
Wilford’s long catch…
Another Hokie win…
And…and twins!

And so, for me, it’s another year, and another column. Having ADD means I can’t focus too long on one thing. First it was the Weekend Rooting Guide, but that got way too long. Then it was Around the Big East, but, well, who wants to think about the Big East anymore? So this year, it’s Heroes and Goats.

Each week we’ll focus on some of the best and worst of the previous weekend, visiting the Hokies, the rest of the Big East, and a few other games. Oh, and of course, the Games to Watch From the Parking Lot. (Hey, I had fun with that one, so it stays.)

So who were the Heroes and Goats from the offseason and Week 0? Let’s take a look…

Offseason/Week 0 Heroes and Goats

Heroes: VA Governor Warner, UVA President Casteen, and VT President Steger. Steger worked tirelessly, Warner brought the heat, and Casteen took an unpopular stance with his constituency in order to do the right thing…..to bring the Hokies into the ACC. What was potentially a disaster for VT athletics (in being left out) turned out to be one of the best things that’s happened to Tech since the hiring of some guy named Frank Beamer.

Goats: UM President Shalala, BE Commisioner Tranghese, ACC Commissioner Swofford. These three created one of the biggest messes in college football since the death of the SWC. Shalalalala started it by dealing behind peoples’ backs, Trained Geese intensified it by bringing the whole mess public, and Swofford, well, he did right in the end, but he still gets a "Goat" for not picking VT in the first place.

Heroes: ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN's Mel Kiper, ESPN's Trev Alberts, and CNN/SI’s Stewart Mandel. For believing in the magic again, and telling the world what we already know, that we’re going to the Sugar Bowl.

Goat: Maurice Clarett. Basically for being an idiot. Here’s a tip, Mo. If someone breaks into a dealer-owned car you shouldn’t be driving…pssst…call the dealer first.

Heroes: Adibi, Booker, D. Brown, M. Brown, Carroll, Clowney, Ellis, Gordon, Griffin, Hall, Hinton, Holt, Hyman, Kinzer, Lewis, Marshman, Minor, Parker, Powell, Robertson, Warren, Welsh, and all the walkons. For making a commitment to greatness, and for joining the VT family. Thanks in advance for the next five years.

Goats: Anybody who went anywhere else. Thank you for playing. You shouldn’t have thrown down your stack on a full house (or a pair, or whatever you got) when Beamer was holding the Royal Straight Flush. House wins.

Hero: KSU RB Darren Sproles. The 5’7" 160lb-er ran for a career-high 175 yards, and became KSU’s leader in 100 yard games, while torching the California defense in their game last Saturday night.

Goat: Grambling’s offense. 260 yards of total offense netted what on the scoreboard? A BIG…FAT…ZERO! C’mon, it was only San Jose State, they of the "Speedbump Defense".

Games to Watch From the Parking Lot

Lots of quality games on this weekend. Here’s the best for each time slot. (Other than the one the Hokies are playing in, of course.) These are the games that you should set your TV to while you’re tailgating in Blacksburg…

(#3)Miami @ Louisiana Tech (@ Shreveport, LA), Thursday @ 7:30pm, ESPN
Face it, folks, this is going to be a snoozer. But (A) there’s nothing else on at that timeslot, and (B) at least we can watch a future opponent. This game should be well over by the time the next game starts….

Georgia Tech @ Brigham Young, Thursday @ 9:30pm, ESPN2
Not a bad matchup here. The "other" Tech vs. Bring ‘Em Young. I guess I can start rooting for GT again, since we’re going to the ACC now instead of stuck in the BE.

(#9) Georgia @ Clemson, Saturday @ 12:00pm, ABC/ESPN Gameplan
I know, I know, Wisconsin at West Virginia is on at the same time, but what are we really going to see there? It’ll be a tame WVU crowd, because they’re saving their trajectory bodies for the VT game, I’m sure. Clemson may have a shot in this game, as it’s in Death Valley.

(#24) Oklahoma State @ Nebraska, Saturday @ 3:30pm, ABC
Rashaun Woods may be the best WR in the country. And Nebraska is down. This may be a recipe for the first OSU win in Lincoln, I believe. Whether OSU has won there or not, this should be a great game.

(#19) Washington @ (#2) Ohio State, Saturday @ 8:00pm, ABC/ESPN Gameplan
How good should Ohio State be without their star running back? Watch and find out.

Louisville @ Kentucky, Sunday @ 6:30pm, ESPN2
I still hate Loserville. And we were almost in a conference with them. *shudder* Watch this while you celebrate a Hokie win at the post-game tailgate.

East Carolina @ Cincinnati, Monday @ 12:00pm (Labor Day), ESPN
Two more almost conference-mates. *shudder* But there’s nothing else on. Oh, and root for ECU, because two of my coworkers are Cincy fans. And they’re soooooo obnoxious when it comes to basketball.

Well, that’s about it for the first ever Heroes and Goats. Tune in next week for the Heroes and the Goats of VT/UCF, and the rest of Week 1.

-- M2


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