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   Welcome to TSLMail #252 - Friday, November 17, 2006    
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Magic 8-Ball Says ... Bowl Outlook Still Hazy

by Chris Coleman,

Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of talk about bowl games and where the Hokies are going to be spending the Holidays. The popular choice amongst Tech fans is the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, GA. But there are a lot of other teams in the ACC vying for that spot. First, letís take a look at the ACC bowl rules.

The ACC is aligned with eight bowl games:

1. BCS Bowl (Orange Bowl)
2. Chick-fil-A Bowl (Atlanta)
3. Gator Bowl (Jacksonville)
4. Champs Sports Bowl (Orlando)
5. Meineke Car Care Bowl (Charlotte)
6-8. Music City Bowl (Nashville), Emerald Bowl (San Francisco), MPC Computers Bowl (Boise)

The winner of the ACC Championship Game will get the ACCís automatic bid to the Orange Bowl. After that, the Chick-fil-A Bowl gets the second selection, but they do not have to choose the loser of the ACC Championship Game. For example, if Wake Forest loses to Georgia Tech for the ACC Championship, they wonít automatically go to Atlanta.

In fact, the ACC Championship Game loser can fall as low as the Music City Bowl in Nashville. Thatís a new rule that is taking effect for the first time this season. There is one other rule in place for the first time this season.

A team canít be selected for a bowl game above another team if they are not within one game of each other in the conference standings. For example, Florida State is done with their ACC schedule, finishing 3-5 in conference play. Clemson finished 5-3 in the ACC. By rule, a bowl game could not select Florida State over Clemson, because the ĎNoles trail the Tigers by two games in the ACC standings. But if FSU had won just one more ACC game and finished 4-4, they would be eligible to be selected before Clemson.

That rule was put in place to protect teams who played well on the field, but whose traveling fan base caused them to continually be passed over by the better bowls. With the new rule, bowls can still select teams based on how they travel, but their choices are more limited.

Here are the ACC standings:

Atlantic Division Standings
School ACC Overall
Wake Forest 5-1 9-1
Maryland 5-1 8-2
Boston College 4-2 8-2
Clemson 5-3 8-3
Florida State 3-5 5-5
NC State 2-5 3-7
Coastal Division Standings
School ACC Overall
GeorgiaTech 6-1 8-2
VirginiaTech 4-2 8-2
Virginia 3-3 4-6
Miami 2-4 5-5
NorthCarolina 0-6 1-9
Duke 0-6 0-10

There are no undefeated teams left in the ACC. There are still three teams with just one conference loss, but at least two of those teams will finish with two ACC losses. Maryland and Wake Forest are battling for the Atlantic Division crown, and they both sit at 5-1 in ACC play. Georgia Tech, the Coastal Division Champs, are 6-1, with one conference game remaining against Duke.

Wake Forest has games against Virginia Tech and Maryland remaining. Maryland tangles with BC this weekend, and then Wake Forest. Georgia Tech should easily get by Duke and will play in the ACC Championship Game. There are plenty of opportunities for these three teams -- Wake, Maryland, and GT -- to drop another conference game.

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The only thing we can be certain of is that the Hokies are not going to a BCS Bowl, and they arenít heading out West to the MPC Computers Bowl (Boise) or the Emerald Bowl (San Francisco). They could conceivably land in Altanta (Chick-fil-A), Jacksonville (Gator), Orlando (Champs Sports), Nashville (Music City) or Charlotte (Meineke Car Car).

Atlanta, Jacksonville or Orlando would seem to be the most desirable. Of those games, the Gator Bowl would seem the least likely. Raise your hand if youíve been to Jacksonville? Yeah, I thought so. The Hokies have gone to the Gator Bowl after the 1994, 1997, 2000, 2001 and 2005 seasons, not to mention a trip to the ACC Championship Game last year.

The Gator Bowl is probably very (and rightfully) skeptical that a huge number of Tech fans would make the trip for the second consecutive year, and third time since December 2005. The Hokies would take a good crowd, but not quite as good as in the past.

The Gator Bowl knows this, so Clemson would then become a very attractive team. At 5-3, Clemson will be within one game of any 2-loss teams in the ACC, so they would be eligible to be selected. Clemson and Virginia Tech have the best traveling fan bases in the ACC, so Clemson is the logical choice of the Gator, since the Hokies have been there so many times recently.

That would leave the Chick-fil-A and Champs Sports as Virginia Techís likeliest postseason destinations. First, letís talk about the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl recently said that the winner of the Georgia-Georgia Tech game will stand a good chance to be selected. So if Georgia Tech beats Georgia in their season finale, but then loses in the ACC Championship Game, the Chick-fil-A Bowl would be their likely destination, according to the bowl officials themselves. But if Virginia Tech wins out, and Georgia Tech goes to the Orange Bowl, the Hokies will likely be headed to Atlanta.

If the Hokies win out and the Yellow Jackets drop to the Chick-fil-A as a result of losing the ACC Championship Game, then Tech would go to either the Gator Bowl or Champs Sports Bowl. The Gator Bowl would face a dilemma, as the Hokies would have a better ACC record and better overall record than Clemson, but would Tech fans travel back to Jacksonville?

If the Hokies finish 9-3, then the Champs Bowl, Music City Bowl or Meineke Bowl would be their likely destination. With a reputation of a traveling fan base, the Champs Bowl would likely take the Hokies. Virginia Tech would face a team from the Big 10 in a city they have never played, so the trip would be attractive to Tech fans.

The Chick-fil-A Bowl would also be very attractive. The Hokies havenít played in Atlanta since the 1986 Peach Bowl. With the game being played on December 30, Tech fans could also enjoy New Yearís Eve in Atlanta.

At this point, donít make your reservations for any city. The bowl picture is still very hazy. But Atlanta or Orlando are as solid bets as any.

MDA Lockup Event a Big Success

TSL's Will Stewart "went to jail" on Tuesday, November 14th, as part of an MDA Lockup fundraiser. For three weeks, from October 25th to November 13th, TSL raised funds online for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and at the conclusion of the fundraising, Will spent an hour in the MDA "jail" to deliver his bail, the money donated by TSL readers.

TSL was the top fundraiser for this event! Nearly 100 readers donated a total of $4,106, an amount that the MDA reps were thrilled to see come in. TSL wants to thank everyone for their donations and their generosity. Good job! 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 at Wake Forest

November 17, 2006
The #19 Hokies travel to Winston-Salem to play the ACC's highest ranked team, the #14 Wake Forest Demon Deacons, currently tied for first place in the Atlantic Division. Yes, that's right... Wake Forest is currently the top team in the ACC. Both teams are on four game winning streaks with post-season bowl positioning on the line, so expect a close, hard-fought battle between the two different, but evenly matched squads.

TSL Recruiting Report from "SportsBeat With Mike Harris", for 11/15/06
November 16, 2006
This week, TSL's Chris Coleman substituted for Chris Horne, and Chris and Mike talked about a little bit of everything: football recruiting, basketball recruiting, football, and hoops. (MP3 format, compatible with Windows Media Player and MP3 players, 3.1 MB, 21:05)

Bourbonstreet's Championship Series (b-streetC.S.): Week 12
November 16, 2006
Last weekend, there was a lot of action in college football, with some major upsets in the top 10. Did that change Bstreet's BCS Outlook? And what will happen in this weekend's Michigan-Ohio State game? Find out inside.

Is VT Still Recruiting Jones?
November 16, 2006
Gerald Jones, a 6-0, 190-pound athlete recruit out of Millwood (OK), was scheduled to take an official visit to Virginia Tech back in September. He didnít make the trip and has not rescheduled an official visit at this time. Are the Hokies still recruiting the talented prospect?

Football Game Preview: Virginia Tech at Wake Forest
November 15, 2006
Ever since Jim Grobe arrived in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest has been regarded as one of the ACC's most dangerous teams. Not that they were expected to win a lot of games and challenge for the ACC title, but that they were the team that could pull the upset on any given day, and maybe even knock a team out of bowl eligibility, such as they did to NC State in 2004. But this year the Demon Deacons are the team sitting at the top of the conference standings, and they expect to beat Virginia Tech on Saturday night.

Drager Enjoys VT Win over Kent State
November 15, 2006
For Chris Drager, his experience at Virginia Tech last weekend was a family affair. His brother, Jon Drager, is a running back/returner for the Golden Flashes, so the talented tight end/defensive end recruit was slightly torn in terms of who to pull for Ė his brotherís Kent State squad or his future team.

Hokies Rout West Florida 95-47
November 15, 2006
The Virginia Tech men's basketball team knocked off their second cupcake of the season on Tuesday night, defeating West Florida 95-47 in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies improved to 2-0 on the season, and now look forward to playing in the Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving weekend.

Kent State Game Analysis: Hokies Not Sharp, but Get the Job Done
November 14, 2006
Well, that didn't exactly go as planned did it? For Virginia Tech, this was a game where the starters were expected to get some extra rest and the backups were expected to get extended work. Kent State was reeling a bit after an embarrassing loss to Buffalo, so it figured the Hokies would make short work of them and get some quality snaps for the subs. It didn't quite work out that way. The offense came out sluggish and uninspired, leaving the Hokies in a 6-0 dogfight at halftime. But thanks to another dominating performance by the defense, the Hokies finally were able to pull away in the second half for a 23-0 victory.

Cris Hill Schedules Official Visit to VT
November 14, 2006
Cris Hill is one of the top remaining targets left on Virginia Techís board. The Hokies staff will have its shot to impress the Highland Springs (VA) standout cornerback/wide receiver next month, when Hill makes an official visit to Blacksburg.

Hokie Hotline Notes for 11/13/06
November 14, 2006
Monday night's show featured defensive coordinator Bud Foster, athletic director Jim Weaver, and head football coach Frank Beamer. They discussed a variety of topics, including the Kent State game, and the huge game this weekend against Wake Forest.

Checking in with TE/OT Greg Nosal
November 14, 2006
Kellam's (Virginia Beach, VA) season may have come to an end with a loss last week to Salem. While Greg Nosal is certainly not happy that the season is over, the 6-7, 265-pound Virginia Tech recruit is happy with the way his team Ė a young team Ė played this season and is proud of their 7-3 record.

Bourbonstreet's ACC Capsule: Week 12
November 14, 2006
The ACC Coastal crown now rests comfortably upon Georgia Tech's head, but the Atlantic Division still has some shaking out to do. Wake will host our Hokies, then the Demon-Deacs travel to play Maryland, who has a tough game up on Chestnut Hill this weekend vs. a still improving Boston College. My Atlantic pick? I'm taking an intentional Delay Of Game penalty, as I need more room to punt. Why? Because it is my prognostication that both Wake and Maryland will be beaten this weekend.

Monday Thoughts: The Kent State Game
November 13, 2006
Sloppy. Unfocused. Unmotivated. Not taking the opponent seriously. Playing around instead of concentrating. Taking plays off. Not paying attention. Knowing that a half-hearted effort would mean victory anyway. That pretty much describes how I was at the Virginia Tech-Kent State game Saturday. Oh, and it appears that the VT players and coaches weren't very focused, either, as Tech struggled with the Golden Flashes in the first half and then pulled away.

Hokies Sign Gilchrist for Men's Basketball
November 13, 2006
The Virginia Tech men's basketball team got good news late Monday afternoon when they received a letter of intent from the fifth member of their 2007 recruiting class, center Augustus (Gus) Gilchrist. Gilchrist's signing means that the Hokies have received LOIs from all five of their 2007 commitments, a class that collectively is ranked higher than any Virginia Tech recruiting class in history.
Also: Virginia football game time announced.

Hokie Defense Back at the Top
November 13, 2006
In 2005, Virginia Tech finished the season with the #1 defense in the country. In the offseason they lost Darryl Tapp, Justin Hamilton, Jimmy Williams, James Anderson, Jonathan Lewis and Tim Sandidge to the NFL. Despite those losses, the Hokies find themselves #1 in the nation in total defense following the Kent State game.
Also: VT Offensive Rankings, ACC in the Top 25, Wake Forest Kickoff Time Set, Wake Forest Tickets Still Available.

Decisions on the Horizon
November 13, 2006
With 22 commitments already in the fold, the Virginia Tech staff doesn't seem to have a whole lot left to worry about with respect to filling the 2007 recruiting class. But while most of the class is filled, there certainly are some key targets still remaining on the board. That list, however, could be shortened by a few within the coming weeks.

Hokies Blank Kent State 23-0
November 12, 2006
Blacksburg, VA --#20 Virginia Tech overcame a sloppy offensive effort to pitch their third shutout of the season, beating visiting Kent State 23-0 on Saturday. The Hokies improved to 8-2 overall and remain 4-2 in the ACC. The Golden Flashes drop to 5-5 overall.

Hokies Crush Coppin State in Season Opener 94-43
November 10, 2006
The Virginia Tech men's basketball team got the 2006-07 season off to a great start, beating visiting Coppin State 94-43 in Cassell Coliseum on Friday night. The Hokies are 1-0 on the year, and their all-time record against schools from the MEAC improves to 20-0.

Game Projection: Virginia Tech vs. Kent State (and Others)
November 10, 2006
Virginia Tech faces the classic MAC trap game as Kent State comes to Blacksburg with nothing to lose. The coaching staff has preached about Ball State giving Michigan a scare last week and Akron knocking off N.C. State, but the test will be the players' focus coming out of the tunnel on Saturday. On paper Virginia Tech should win this game easily, but the Hokies could experience a let down after the big win against Miami last weekend in the Orange Bowl. Hopefully, Tech will be able to maintain the momentum gained in the last three weeks.

Basketball Game Preview: Coppin State
November 10, 2006
Virginia Tech will begin its 2006-07 basketball season on Friday night at 7:30 when they host visiting Coppin State in Cassell Coliseum. The Hokies have high hopes for the upcoming season, but if they want to reach their goal of an NCAA tournament berth, theyíll need to fare well out of conference, and that begins on Friday night.
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