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   Welcome to TSLMail #203 - Friday, December 2, 2005    
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Hokies About to Take Part in a Groundbreaking Event 
by Chris Coleman,

For the first time in its history, the ACC will hold a conference championship game this Saturday in ALLTEL Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Conference championship games have not been around for very long, but there have been some great games from the Big 12 and SEC Title games.

The Big 12 Championship Game has been in existence since 1996. One of the greatest memories came from the very first championship game. Nebraska and Texas were in a dogfight late in the game. Nebraska was heavily favored, but Texas held a 30-27 lead with 2:40 remaining. Facing fourth down at their own 28, the Longhorns went for it rather than punting. It was really a dumb decision, but it worked. Quarterback James Brown executed the play-action perfectly and found tight end Derek Lewis for a 66 yard gain. Tailback Priest Holmes scored from 11 yards out and Texas pulled the upset, 37-27.

In 1998, #1 Kansas State was knocked off by #10 Texas A&M in overtime. The Aggies overcame a 27-12 deficit before rallying and locking up a BCS invitation. Aggie tailback Sirr Parker scored on a 32 yard touchdown pass in the second overtime period to clinch the game.

The Oklahoma Sooners locked up a trip to the National Championship game with a 27-24 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats in the 2000 Big 12 Championship Game. The game was tied at the end of the third quarter before the Sooners took a 27-17 lead with 1:25 to go. The Wildcats would get a touchdown from Quincy Morgan with six seconds left, but the onside kick failed.

The SEC Championship Game was first played in 1992. It was played on Legion Field in Birmingham for the first two years, and has been held in the Georgia Dome ever since 1994. This is different from the Big 12, which has held championship games in many cities, such as St. Louis, Houston, San Antonio and Kansas City. The SEC Championship Game will be in Atlanta again this year.

The Florida Gators used to be a fixture on the SEC Championship Game. Steve Spurrier’s Gators played in the game every year from 1992-1996, winning all but the 1992 game. Their dominance has cooled off recently however, as they have only played in the championship game twice since 1996 and not at all since 2000.

The SEC Championship game is generally never close. Only three times since 1992 has the game been decided by less than ten points. The last time a game was decided by less than three points was back in 1997 when Tennessee beat Auburn 30-29. The Volunteers trailed 20-7 during the second quarter, but rallied behind Peyton Manning. Manning hit Marcus Nash on a 73 yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter for the go ahead touchdown.

Besides that 1997 game, Florida beat Alabama by one point in 1994, and the Crimson Tide beat the Gators by a touchdown in 1992. Those are the only three games in SEC Championship history that have been decided by single digits. That could change this year when Georgia meets LSU. Both teams are ranked in the Top Ten and were considered national championship contenders at some point during the season.

The MAC and Conference USA also have conference championship games. This year the MAC will play its ninth conference championship. Like the ACC, CUSA will hold its inaugural title game on Saturday. Northern Illinois and Akron played for the MAC Championship last night in Detroit (Akron won a 31-30 thriller), while Central Florida and Tulsa will play for the CUSA crown on Saturday in Orlando.

If you are heading to the ACC Championship Game, make sure you check out the ACC FanFest that is being held in Jacksonville. The FanFest will feature over 70,000 square feet of games, contests, merchandise, entertainment, etc. It will take place at the Pepsi Pavilion, which is adjacent to ALLTEL Stadium. The FanFest will start at 10am both days and end at 11pm on Friday and 7:30pm on Saturday. The FanFest will also include a pep rally on Saturday. At 4:15pm there will be a pep rally for Florida State at the Pepsi Pavilion, and Virginia Tech’s pep rally will start at 5:15.

The ACC Championship Game will be the nightcap of a day’s worth of conference championship games. The CUSA Championship Game will kickoff at noon on ESPN, and the Big 12 shortly thereafter at 1pm on ABC. The SEC Championship will be held at 6pm on CBS, and the Hokies and ‘Noles square off at 8pm on ABC.

Beside the conference championship games, there are other football games being played as well. Army and Navy hold their annual clash at 2:30pm on CBS. USC and UCLA will meet at 4:30 on ABC. If UCLA wins, they will win a share of the Pac-10 title with the Trojans and Oregon. USC would still represent the conference in the BCS because of conference tiebreaking procedures.

If everything goes as expected, the winner of the ACC Championship Game will face Penn State in the Orange Bowl. Virginia Tech still has an outside shot at a Rose Bowl berth if they beat Florida State and USC, Texas and LSU lose this weekend.

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-- Will Stewart Updates From the Past Week
Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Florida State
December 2, 2005
The resurgent Virginia Tech Hokies face the slumping Florida State Seminoles in the inaugural ACC Championship Game in Jacksonville, Florida. The Hokies have regained the momentum lost in the Miami game with resounding wins over Virginia and North Carolina, while the Seminoles have lost their last three games to N.C. State, Clemson, and Florida. So, Virginia Tech should roll to an easy win, right? Maybe, but never underestimate the proud Florida State program, which still possesses a great deal of talent.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Duke
December 1, 2005
Following a disappointing 13-point loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, the Virginia Tech men’s basketball team gets an even tougher test on Sunday night when they travel to Tobacco Road to take on the #1 Duke Blue Devils. The Hokies lost to Duke 100-65 in Durham last year, but returned the favor by winning 67-65 in Blacksburg.

5-Star DT Enjoys VT Visit
December 1, 2005
Southeast (Oklahoma City, OK) defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, rated one of the country's top prospects, made his way to Blacksburg last weekend for an official visit. caught up with the 6-4, 285-pound standout who has two official visits remaining before a possible commitment.

Jacoby Ford Set to Visit UVa, VT
December 1, 2005
5-9, 175-pound speedster Jacoby Ford, who has been a breakout player for Fork Union Military Academy, has set official visits with Virginia, Virginia Tech and Clemson in the month of December. The first visit takes place this weekend.

Opportunity Awaits Beamer, Hokies
December 1, 2005
For so long this season, the focus was on Virginia Tech's drive towards a possible national championship berth. After the Hokies lost to Miami, it created a palpable hangover in Blacksburg. But now that things have settled and the Hokies are headed to the ACC championship game, Virginia Tech still has a couple of chances to advance the state of the program, and in the case of Coach Frank Beamer, his own personal reputation.
more Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris", for 11/30/05
December 1, 2005
This week, Mike Harris and TSL's Chris Horne talk about two top prospects who are coming down towards the end of their recruitment: four-star linebacker Navorro Bowman and four-star defensive end John Graves. They also discuss in-state players who might break into the next set of top-30 rankings, guys like Ras-I Dowling, Billy Cuffee, John Bivens, and Trevor Bray. (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.1 MB, 20:38)

Dowling Sets First Official Visit
December 1, 2005
6-2, 185-pound Ras-I Dowling, an athletic prospect who could play either defensive back or wide receiver on the next level, is considering offers from Virginia and Virginia Tech and recently set an official visit date with one of them. Which program will the Deep Creek (Chesapeake, VA) standout visit?

Game Preview: #5 Virginia Tech vs. Florida State, ACC Championship Game
November 30, 2005
Fifth-ranked Virginia Tech will be a part of history this weekend when they participate in the first-ever ACC Championship Game this Saturday night against Florida State. The game will kick off at 8 pm and will be nationally televised by ABC. The Hokies and Seminoles were picked by the ACC media in the preseason to meet for the ACC Championship, but no one could have foreseen the way each team would make it to Jacksonville.

Robinson Star Bides Time
November 30, 2005
Robinson (Fairfax, VA) star athlete Lucas Caparelli continues to take his time in his recruitment. With his senior season completed, the 5-11, 190-pound prospect will take the coming weeks to gather more information and talk to coaches before setting his official visits.

Jermaine Cunningham Updates Recruitment
November 30, 2005
4-star Stephenson (Stone Mountain, GA) defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, fresh off of a senior season where he made 45 tackles including 26 sacks and three forced fumbles, will head back on the recruiting trail next weekend with an official visit to the University of Florida. The 6-4, 210-pound Cunningham is currently considering four schools and maybe a fifth.

Advance Auto Parts Hokie Hotline Notes for 11/29/05
November 30, 2005
The Hotline ran on Tuesday night again this week instead of Monday, due to a basketball game conflict. Tuesday night's guests were the heavies of Tech athletics: AD Jim Weaver, head basketball coach Seth Greenberg, and head football coach (and ACC Coach of the Year) Frank Beamer.

4-star Graves to Decide Soon
November 30, 2005
Meadowbrook (Richmond, VA) defensive end John Graves may be the next state of Virginia top 10 player to make a decision. The 6-3, 240-pound Monarchs star hopes to make a commitment by Christmas and will make key official visits each of the next two weekends.

Photo Gallery: Virginia Tech vs. UNC
November 29, 2005
Saturday night's game with North Carolina closed out the Hokies regular season and the careers of Tech seniors such as Jimmy Williams (right), Will Montgomery, Jeff King, Cedric Humes, Darryl Tapp, Jonathan Lewis, and more. The seniors celebrated in style with a 30-3 victory, and we bring you two photo galleries totaling 76 pictures from the night's festivities.

Decision Date for 4-Star LB
November 29, 2005
Navorro Bowman's recruiting process is about to come to an end. The 6-0, 218-pound Suitland (MD) star has set a date when he will announce his decision among a final list of three schools. Which schools made the final cut for the 4-star recruit?

The Latest on Jarrell Miller
November 29, 2005
Highland Springs (VA) linebacker Jarrell Miller, one of the top overall prospects in the state of Virginia, continues along in his recruiting process towards his decision date of January 7th (at the Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, TX). We caught up with the 6-3, 235-pound prospect for the latest on his recruitment, including comments on an official visit to UVa earlier this month, and what he has planned for December.

Hokies Place Nine on All-ACC Teams
November 29, 2005
The ACC announced late yesterday that Virginia Tech had five first-team and four second-team players earn All-ACC honors, giving the Hokies a total of nine All-ACC players. This total was the most among all ACC teams, but it doesn't match last season, when the Hokies put eleven players on all-ACC teams.

UNC Game Analysis: Hokies Pound Heels in Second Half
November 29, 2005
It was a different week, a different opponent, and a different venue, but the second half against UNC followed the same script as the second half against Virginia the week before. After intermission, the Hokies went exclusively to the running game and pummeled the Tar Heels into the turf in the last 20 minutes, blowing open a close game into a 30-3 rout.

Ohio State Downs Tech 69-56 After Big First Half
November 28, 2005
Ohio State gave the Big Ten an early lead in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, knocking off the visiting Virginia Tech Hokies 69-56 in Value City Arena on Monday night. The Buckeyes got off to a great start, taking a 46-25 lead into halftime, but the Hokies fought back valiantly in the second half. Tech cut the Ohio State lead to three late in the game, but gave up a 10-0 run down the stretch that made the game unreachable.

Basketball Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Ohio State
November 28, 2005
There will be another first for the Virginia Tech men’s basketball program tonight. The Hokies will travel to Columbus, Ohio where they will take on the Ohio State Buckeyes as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge, the first time in school history that Virginia Tech has participated in the event. The OSU-VT game is the kickoff game in this year's challenge and the only game being played in the event tonight.

Gloster Closing in on Decision
November 28, 2005
4-star tight end recruit Drew Gloster, who received over 20 Division 1A scholarship offers, is ready and anxious for his recruitment to come to a conclusion. The 6-4, 220-pound Good Counsel (Wheaton, MD) star has set December official visits to each of his two finalists and will make a decision following those two trips.
more Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris"
November 28, 2005
Catching up after the Thanksgiving holiday: We bring you last week's show, in which Mike Harris and Chris Horne previewed the weekend's visitors, including 5-star defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and VT commit Daryl Robertson. (WMA format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.5 MB, 22:46)

Hokies Beat UNC 30-3, Clinch ACC Coastal Division
November 27, 2005
Virginia Tech took advantage of the second chance they were granted and knocked off the North Carolina Tar Heels 30-3 in Lane Stadium on Saturday night. The Hokies led just 6-3 at halftime, but used a powerful rushing attack to turn a close game into a rout in the second half. Virginia Tech finished the regular season 10-1 overall, 7-1 in ACC play, and will meet the Florida State Seminoles in the inaugural ACC Championship Game on Saturday, December 3.

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