Heroes and Goats, Week One
by Matthew McKinley, 9/4/03

I acquired a new boss a few weeks ago. Why is this relevant? Well, I had to explain, yet again, why I wasnít able to speak on Tuesday. This is a condition that, gauging from the crowd noise on Sunday, must be a common one throughout the Hokie Nation. And I donít think itís going to change soon. So, a bit of advice to bosses everywhere: No early-week presentations for the Hokie faithful in your department.

Wow, college football is finally here. And with a Sunday game, my friends and I were able to spend a leisurely Saturday at BW3ís in Blacksburg watching a bit of it. There were some pretty good games, and some pretty bad games out there. And Iím here to give you a snapshot of some of them.

Hokie Heroes and Goats

These are just some observations of a guy in the stands who used to play football. Once. When he was 12. Take that as you will.

Heroes: Bryan and Shelley Stinespring. Coach Stinespring only had 3 hours of sleep the night before the UCF game. Thatís because he was at the hospital, where his wife Shelley just delivered a baby girl. Congratulations, coach! And welcome, Ella Grace, to the Hokie Family!

Goat: Jim Weaver. Paint the field, already! It looks like a high school field out there! [neigh] What was that? I thought I heard a dead horse being beaten off in the distance.

Hero: Bryan Randall. Randall solidified the starting QB position on the field with a masterful performance Sunday, completing something north of 78% of his passes, earning a QB rating of 197.3. Randall showed great poise in leading the Hokies through TD drives of 80, 62 and 76 yards to start the day.

Goat: Marcus Vick. Marcus, Marcus, Marcus. You played great during your debut, no doubt about that. So why the goat? Well, a suspension against JMUóone of two chances to show your stuff before the Texas A&M gameóis not what you needed here. One little mistake could cost your chance to start later on down the road. Well, thatís what life is for, to learn from them.

Hero: Bud Foster. Coach Foster gets a hero this week for a gutsy call. UCF had the momentum fully in their favor after pulling to within 7 points. Tech scores a touchdown, but the mo hadnít quite fully shifted, and you call for a jailbreak blitz, dropping a DT back into coverage. It was the perfect call at the perfect time, causing an interception and a Tech touchdown. Great call, coach!

Goat: The "Swarm" in the VT defense. From my seat in the stands, it just didnít seem like the Tech defense seems to swarm to the ball like they used to. I donít know if itís more talented players making solo stops or if itís something else, but we just didnít see a host of maroon around the ballcarrier at the end of the play as much as we used to. Maybe Iím just spoiled.

Other Heroes and Goats

There were a lot of games featuring heavyweights vs. lightweights, but a few still stood out.

Hero: Ohio State. There was a lot for the Buckeyes to be distracted about. Maurice Clarett. Celebrating a National Championship. Maurice Clarett. Losing your #1 ranking in the offseason. Maurice Clarett. NCAA investigations. And without their star running back, what do they do? Beat the #19 team in the country in convincing fashion, 28-9. Looks like the same OSU defense is back. And as good as last year. So what if Clarett may be gone for the year? Didnít look like they needed him.

Goat: Auburn. Oh, my, itís fun having an office mate who went to Tech, went to Auburn for grad school, and now hates Tech and loves Auburn. Youíd better believe there was smack on the white board when he came in on Tuesday. "Do the numbers 43 and 36 mean anything to you?" They should. Try 43 rushing yards on 36 carries. For those of you without calculators, thatís 1.19 ypc. How could a National Championship contender known for its running game allow USC to stack the box against them? Easy, they couldnít throw the ball. USC rolled, 23-0.

Hero: Navy. They won a game. No, really, they WON a GAME! Granted, it was against VMI, which granted me another smacktalk session with my new boss. But this is NAVY weíre talking about here! On a side note, it sure is fun having a lot of coworkers lose their first games. Now if only Cincinnati had lostÖ..

Goat: Maryland. The Terps had high hopes of winning the ACC this year. Now, after an overtime loss to Northern Illinois, 20-13, they may want to be watching their backs for Duke and UNC. Good luck with Florida State this weekend!

Hero: Jim Grobe. After taking over a lackluster Wake Forest program in 2001, he immediately captains them to records of 6-5 (2001) and 7-6 (2002), including a bowl win over Oregon. What next for the Demon Deaconís coach? How about a season-opener win over a pretty good Boston College team. How long will it be before Wake is playing with the big boys in the ACC? Not very long, IM(ns)HO.

Goat: Tommy Bowden. Okay, now Georgiaís a pretty good team. A loss to them at home wasnít all that unexpected. But what has the Tiger faithful fuming is (a) a 30-0 shutout in Death Valley, and (b) a lackluster performance in general by the Tigers. The last time they were shutout at home was 1998, against Virginia Tech. And they fired their coach. Coincidence? Weíll see.

Games to Watch From the Parking Lot

Thereís a few good games to watch this weekend, but they all seem to be at the same time slots. So bring your 2nd TV to the tailgate, and hook up the double satellite, because youíre going to need them both. Oh, and before I forget:

Goat: Matthew McKinley. For completely missing the Auburn/USC matchup in GtWFtPL. Nah, I donít deserve that. It was a snoozer anyways.

Oregon State @ Fresno State, Friday @ 10:00pm, ESPN
Thereís nothing worth watching Thursday night, so hold your football fix until youíre setting up your tailgate Friday night. This might be a decent one to watch as youíre preparing for the festivities the next morning. Early. Very early.

Washington State @ (#16) Notre Dame, Saturday @ 2:30pm, NBC
Everybody either loves or hates Notre Dame. And nobody really cares about Washington State. Thatís why this might be a nice one to watch, just in case the Cougars win.

(#19) Auburn @ Georgia Tech, Saturday @ 3:30pm, ABC/ESPN Gameplan
Can Auburn rebound from an embarrassing loss? I donít know, but Iíll bet you a dollar that Georgia Tech is going to stack the box against them.

Forget Maryland/FSU at 7:15. If you can hold on for 30 minutes, there are 2 great games coming on:

(#1) Oklahoma @ Alabama, Saturday @ 7:45pm, ESPN
This could be a tough test for Oklahoma, or it could be a blowout of epic proportions, depending on how Alabama recovers from the Price scandal. (Which reminds me, why didnít I give him a goat last week?)

(#18) Florida @ (#3) Miami, Saturday @ 8:00pm, ABC/ESPN Gameplan
This is a heated rivalry, and no matter how each team is doing in the polls, should be a great game to watch. Too bad the Richmond NASCAR race is on at this time. WAR RYAN NEWMAN!

Well, thatís about it for this weekís Heroes and Goats. Tune in next week for the Heroes and the Goats of VT/JMU, and the rest of Week 2. See ya at the tailgate!

-- M2


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