Thursday, September 11, 1997

Some Thoughts on This Weekend's Game

"Hey, Will, who’s going to win this weekend?"

Boy, if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that question this week…..the answer, as I proved last year, is "I DON’T KNOW!!"

Which school of thought do you belong to:

  1. Syracuse is demoralized and banged-up. They are coming in to our house, where the ferocious, motivated Tech defense and big-play offense, combined with the packed house, will provide the killing blow that sends them to 1-3 and leaves their season in ruins.

  2. Syracuse is a cornered animal, the most dangerous thing in existence. They are 1-2 and facing a "lost season" if they drop to 1-3 against the Hokies. They’ll come out smoking and give the young Hokies more than they can handle, just like they did last year in the Dome. A talented team like Syracuse never loses three in a row, and their lamentations to the press about their poor mental and physical condition is just a ruse to catch the Hokies napping.

The bottom line is, we have no clue which scenario will transpire, although after the game, it will seem obvious in retrospect. As they say, that’s why they play ‘em. While we can’t predict with certainty what’s going to happen, here’s what we do know:

  1. Syracuse has indeed been showing signs of wear and tear. Starting defensive back Tebucky Jones is out with foot surgery. Fullback Rob Konrad has a cracked rib and may not play, or so SU has told the media. During the N.C. State game, QB Donovan McNabb showed signs of exhaustion, and last week, in the wilting heat in Norman, Oklahoma, he actually threw up on the field. One or two other players received IV treatments for dehydration during the game.

  2. Virginia Tech players are thirsting for revenge from last year’s whipping. The 52-21 Syracuse victory humiliated the Hokies, cost them pride and prestige, and may have even prevented a Top-5 ranking, given that Tech won all their other regular season games. Without the loss to SU, the Hokies may have won the Big East outright and entered their Alliance Bowl game with an 11-0 record.

  3. The Tech players aren’t buying into Syracuse’s "troubles" for a second. They respect the Syracuse team and expect them to bounce back and give the Hokies their best shot this weekend. To think otherwise is to be foolish, and the Tech players know it.

In my mind, this game simply cannot be predicted. I want to jump in with both feet and say that we’re going to maul them, but I’m too wary. Syracuse is too talented, too dangerous, and too motivated.

The hardest thing I’ve done the past week and a half is NOT get excited about this game. I’ve been trying to control myself, but as game time approaches, I’ve been getting that fluttery feeling in the pit of my stomach whenever I think about the Hokies and ‘Cuse teeing it up on ESPN. Fortunately, I've had a little tailgate party planning to do that's been keeping me busy.

Whatever the outcome, this is big-time college football. This ain’t no UAB, Arkansas State, or Miami (OH) playing against Tech in front of 40,000 snoozing fans. This is the first step towards a third consecutive Big East title, playing against an excellent college football team in front of 51,000 foaming-at-the-mouth diehard Hokies.

The wait is killing me! Let’s get it on!

Turkey Bites

  • Major kudos to the Virginia Tech men's soccer team, which used a 2-0 road victory over #9 Wake Forest last week to land their first-ever ranking, coming in at #17 in the country this week. Although we like to talk football and basketball here at HokieCentral, good depth in the non-revenue sports is indicative of a strong overall athletic program. Here's hoping they can keep it up - the team's mettle will get tested next week when they take on perennial power Virginia.
  • A sarcastic "nice job" goes out to the Boston College football team, which officially joined the dung heap at the bottom of the Big East by losing to Temple last week, 28-21. BC had been hanging out in the ether, not as good as the Miami - Syracuse - Tech - WVU contingent, but not quite as bad as the Rutgers - Pitt - Temple "Bermuda Triangle" - until now. I'm happy for Temple, but BC's loss is bad for the Big East. Pitt and BC in particular are two teams that need to get their act together and do well in order for the Big East to improve its image. Heck, never mind the image! How about just "in order for the Big East to improve"?
  • The weather for Saturday's game, which was looking good in early forecasts, is up for grabs now. The USA Today's Roanoke weather map is predicting cloudy, with periodic showers, and temperatures in the 70's. But a Netcast link provided by Culpeper Hokie on the message board for Blacksburg doesn't say anything about rain. I'm not sure what I think about it possible raining on Saturday. I'd like good weather for the tailgate, but if the rain makes Donovan McNugget slip and slide, that's cool by me. By the way, don't worry about the tailgate: we'll have one tent set up, maybe two.
  • The Syracuse game sold out on Monday. The only tickets available will have to be purchased as part of a season ticket package - Tech has held back a few hundred Syracuse tickets for those wishing to purchase season tickets.
  • HokieCentral now has one of the engraved bricks in front of Cassell Coliseum! I purchased one early this year, and it has been installed just in time for the Syracuse game. It is engraved with the words "HOKIE CENTRAL MEMBERS 1997" and here's how to find it: stand on Washington Street and face Cassell Coliseum, and the brick is towards the back right corner of the brickwork, close to Cassell Coliseum. I haven't actually seen the brick yet, but the location was roughed out for me in a letter I received Tuesday from the athletic department.


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