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   Welcome to TSLMail #249 - Friday, October 20, 2006    
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Surprising Home Results Since 2001

by Chris Coleman,

Is Lane Stadium truly one of the best home field advantages in college football? Do good teams really have trouble winning in the place Corey Moore dubbed “The Terror Dome”? Let’s take a look at how the Hokies have done at home since 2001 against teams who finished the season with winning records.

Back in 2001, the Hokies got off to a good start at home against teams that finished with a winning record. The Hokies knocked off 6-5 Central Florida in September 46-14, and later beat 8-4 Boston College 34-20 on a Thursday night. But Virginia Tech closed out the 2001 season by dropping a 22-14 game to 10-3 Syracuse, and lost a nail-biter to #1 Miami 26-24. They finished the year 2-2 against winning teams at home.

The 2002 season also started out very well. The Hokies knocked off a highly-touted LSU team 26-8 in the second week of the season. ESPN analyst Lee Corso had picked the Tigers to win the National Championship that season. LSU went on to go 8-5, but that would have been a much better mark if their starting quarterback didn’t miss most of the season with an injury (he played against the Hokies). Tech followed that up with a 47-21 thrashing of a Marshall team led by Byron Leftwich. The Thundering Herd finished the season 11-2.

Unfortunately, things went downhill at home later in the season, losing two consecutive games in Lane to Pitt (9-4) and WVU (9-4). They rallied to knocked off UVA (9-5) on Senior Day to go 3-2 at home against teams with winning records.

The 2003 season was filled with low points and high points in Lane Stadium. Tech blew out 9-3 UConn 47-13 and later achieved one of the program’s greatest wins with a 31-7 rout of #2 Miami on November 1. But then the infamous 2003 meltdown began, and the Hokies wound up losing at home to Boston College 34-27 on Senior Day. The Eagles finished the year 8-5, and Tech was 2-1 at home against teams with winning records.

The 2004 Hokies, despite losing a home game, were undefeated at home against teams with winning records. They knocked off West Virginia (8-4) 19-13 when the Mountaineers were ranked in the top 10. Later in the season Tech pulled off a come-from-behind 24-10 victory over in-state rival UVA (8-4). Those were the only two teams with a winning record that the Hokies played in Lane Stadium that season. Their lone loss came to N.C. State, who finished 5-6 on the season.

In 2005, Virginia Tech played three teams with a winning record at home and went 2-1 in those games. The first win came in late September, when the Hokies blasted Georgia Tech (7-5) 51-7. It was a huge win for the Hokies, with College Gameday in town, and the stereotypical woodshed beating and snowball effect that is associated with Lane Stadium.

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The Hokies hosted 9-3 Boston College on a Thursday night later in the season and came away with a relatively easy 30-10 victory. But things went south the very next week when the Hokies were beaten soundly 27-7 by Miami in the biggest game of the season. Tech went 2-1 at home against teams with winning records in 2005, but the Miami game certainly left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.

So far this season, Virginia Tech has lost their only home game against an opponent that is projected to finish with a winning record (Georgia Tech).

That puts Virginia Tech’s record at home against teams with a winning record at 11-7 since 2001. If you count only BCS conference teams and throw out UCF, Marshall and UConn, then the Hokies are just 8-7. Not to mention that Virginia Tech lost to a 5-6 NC State team in 2004, the season the Hokies won the ACC Championship! These numbers aren’t pointing to a team that is as strong at home as the hype would have you believe.

In Tech’s seven losses against teams with winning records, the Hokies are losing by an averaged of 8.14 points per game. That average is driven up by the last two losses, by 20 to Miami in 2005, and by 11 to Georgia Tech in 2006.

So the Hokies have a winning record at home against winning teams, but the number (11-7 or 8-7, depending on whether you count the non-BCS schools) is not that impressive. For a stadium that is rated one of the toughest places to play in college football by almost everybody, you’d think that the Hokies would have a higher winning percentage.

The Hokies have lost some squeakers in Lane by margins of 8, 2, 8, 3 and 6. Playing at home with such a hostile crowd, the Hokies should have been able to pull off some of those out. Also, games against Miami (27-7) and Georgia Tech (38-13 at one point) should have been closer.

The strange part is that Virginia Tech hasn’t played very well at home since the stadium was expanded prior to the 2002 season, losing big games to Pitt, West Virginia, Boston College, NC State, Miami and Georgia Tech. Odd results for one of the greatest atmospheres in college football.

Think you know the reason for the Hokies’ struggles at home? Talk about it on the TSL message boards! Next week we’ll take a look at how the Hokies fare against good teams on the road. Pass - Your Ultimate Ticket to Hokie Sports!

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For more info on TechSideline Pass, and to subscribe, click here. Updates From the Past Week

Keys to the Game and Matchups to Watch: Virginia Tech vs. Southern Mississippi

October 20, 2006
Last week's Boston College game seemed eerily similar to an October visit to Morgantown, West Virginia in 2003, at least to me. Critical mistakes on offense, defense, and special teams, stupid penalties, players sniping at players, ESPN announcers criticizing the program, fans calling for a new quarterback, fans calling for coaching changes, not to mention a humiliating loss to a rival in a hostile environment bring back some horrible memories. Will this Virginia Tech team rebound from the last couple of losses like the 2004 team, or will this team collapse like the 2003 team? We should get some answers this week against a very capable Southern Miss team.

Bourbonstreet's Championship Series (b-streetC.S.): Week 8
October 19, 2006
With Florida's loss to Auburn, the Gators drop out of Bstreet's BCS top 10, back into an SEC jumble for that BCS spot. Apart from the BCS stuff, Bstreet brings us his Heisman hopefuls, or as he calls them, "hopefulls."

TSL Recruiting Report from "Tech Beat With Mike Harris", for 10/18/06
October 19, 2006
On last night's show, it was rivalry night. Chris Horne and Mike Harris discussed UVa’s 2007 recruiting class, comparing it to Virginia Tech’s class thus far. They also discussed Corey Mosley, who is the primary remaining head-to-head target between UVa and VT. Chris also talked about wide receiver Jay Smith’s official visit to Virginia Tech this past weekend. (MP3 format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.8 MB, 22:01).

2008 Class: Westfield QB Mike Glennon
October 19, 2006
Mike Glennon knows about the recruiting process. He watched his brother, Sean, go through it in 2003/2004. And, like his brother, he will be able to play on the Division 1A level, as he already has an official offer from the University of Virginia.

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech vs. Southern Mississippi
October 18, 2006
One of the most dangerous non-BCS conference teams will make an appearance in Lane Stadium on Saturday night. Southern Mississippi has been one of the top minor conference teams in the nation for quite awhile. They have gone to a bowl game in eight of the past nine seasons and have not suffered through a losing season since 1993. They have the ability to beat Virginia Tech on Saturday night if the Hokies haven't recovered from their last two losses.

Is This Time Different?
October 18, 2006
Virginia Tech has been through disciplinary problems before with their football team, and at various times in the past, the football coaches and VT administration have puffed out their chests and promised to crack down on poor behavior. There has been talk before about protecting the image of the university and the integrity of the football program; steps are sometimes taken, but bad behavior and bad publicity have always cropped up again. This time the rhetoric has a different focus, and I find myself wondering: Is this time different? Or are we just hearing an old, tired song?

Morgan on the Road to Recovery
October 18, 2006
Varina’s coaching staff must have felt snake-bitten. In the 2006 season opener, they lost star quarterback/safety Davon Morgan to a broken fibula. The same thing happened last season, when Blue Devils running back Brandon Minor suffered a hip injury early in the year and missed most of the 2005 season. Minor and the Blue Devils persevered then and Morgan and his teammates have done the same so far in 2006.

Asante Interested in Transferring Close to Home
October 18, 2006
Coffeyville Community College (KS) linebacker/safety Larry Asante has garnered significant attention from schools in the Big 12 conference, landing offers from Iowa State, Kansas State and Nebraska. The 6-1 1/2, 215-pound Asante is interested in those programs, but is also interested in returning closer to his home state of Virginia.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 10/16/06
October 17, 2006
Offensive Coordinator Bryan Stinespring, Athletic Director Jim Weaver and Frank Beamer were featured on the Hokie Hotline on Monday night. The majority of the questions centered around the discipline in the program, and the steps the offense needs to take to get better.

Bourbonstreet's ACC Capsule: Week 8
October 17, 2006
The Hokies have completed half of their season, so BStreet gives us his ACC Mid-Season Awards. He also takes a look at some big games coming up this weekend, including Georgia Tech-Clemson, NC State-Maryland, and of course, Southern Miss-Virginia Tech.

Powell Puts Recruitment on Hold
October 17, 2006
Tydreke Powell had scheduled official visits to Florida and Penn State, respectively, for the first two weekends of October, but the 6-4, 285-pound defensive tackle recruit decided against making those trips. With Hertford County (Ahoskie, N.C.) at 8-1 on the season, the four-star talent now just wants to focus on the remainder of his senior season.

Monday Thoughts: The Halfway Point
October 16, 2006
Pardon the rhyme, but the Hokies are halfway through, and they're 4-2. Those of you who predicted 8-4 are on the mark so far; those who predicted 10-2 will probably be proven wrong in the coming weeks; and those of you who predicted 11-1 or 12-0 are no doubt reassessing your prognostication skills, firing off angry emails and letters and message board posts, or simply coming to the realization that this team is a ways away from reaching that level again. As for us here at TSL, here's our take on the season at the halfway point, using Phil Martin's late August "Keys to the Season" article as a reference point.

Boston College Game Analysis: Mental Mistakes Plague Hokies
October 16, 2006
After showing promise in a tough home loss to Georgia Tech, the Hokies took several steps backwards in a disappointing 22-3 loss at Boston College. Unlike Georgia Tech, this was more than just a loss to a good football team. With the outcome still in question, this was a loss characterized not only by disappointing play, but also by a final quarter marred by lack of poise, poor attitudes, and embarrassing behavior. There has been a lot written and said already, so I will just say that the character, image and leadership on this team again are in question. And to the extent those issues are dealt with will go a long way in determining how the rest of the season plays out.

An In-State Battle for Mosley
October 16, 2006
Corey Mosley certainly is the subject of an in-state recruiting battle between Virginia and Virginia Tech. Both staffs are working the 5-9, 192-pound prospect hard and he plans to give both schools a hard look. In fact, the Henrico High School (VA) star has set official visits to both programs.

Rudderless Hokies Take a Big Step Backwards
October 13, 2006
In the loss to Georgia Tech, there was so much promise in the way this team behaved and in the way they played. You could see a team coming together in focus, playing hard and poised, and improving on the field, even though they didn't win. Things seemed to be on the right track. But it all came unraveled in Boston Thursday night, amidst a flurry of infighting, personal fouls, and even ... dancing. This young Tech team is almost completely devoid of leaders, and the rest of the season is now up for grabs.
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