List of the Week: 5 Head Coach Dilemmas – Call the Athletic Director or the Cops?

This week the world of college football was rocked by the revelation that beloved Penn State Defensive Coordinator Jerry Sandusky was a serial child rapist.  I, personally, was amazed that a team in the Big Ten could actually find a new way to suck – even moreso when it turned out to be a team other than Ohio State.  Sandusky was caught in red-penised red-handed by a Graduate Assistant in 2002 who went on to join Head Coach Joe Paterno’s coaching staff.  The Assistant reported the incident to Paterno, who then informed the school’s Athletic Director that Sandusky is a…uh…let’s say “4chan user” when it comes to sex.  Paterno then went about his business quasi-coaching a football team that needed a new head coach 20 years ago, never to think of it again.

Alright, well in retrospect I guess this looks pretty bad

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Guesting for Gobble Gobble Gameday

This week I filled in for The Fat Man on my good friend Zach’s podcast Gobble Gobble Gameday.  It’s 25 minutes of me, Zach, and Zach’s cat talking about the upcoming Virginia Tech-Miami game and the rest of college football happening this weekend.  Head on over to the eponymous blog to give it a listen.  If you want to make it interesting, take drink every time I say “you know.”  You’ll get drunk.

(Gobble Gobble Gameday)

It’s Real: The Legend of the Scott Curse

For those of you who missed the atrocity that occurred at Lane Stadium last night, the Virginia Tech Hokies fell to the Clemson Tigers, 23-3.  Our play was every bit as bad as the score suggests.  Quarterback Logan Thomas was sacked four times, we produced nothing in third-and-long situations, and the only score we put on the board was a field goal.  It was the first home game without a touchdown for the team since 1995.  The worst part of watching this unfold, for me, was what only I and my friends knew: It was my fault.  It was the Scott Curse at work.

I graduated college in 2007, so the last game I attended in person was during the fall of 2006.  It was a win.  Had I known it was the last I’d ever witness I would have savored it more.  Since graduating college, Virginia Tech has lost every game I have attended.  It’s gotten bad enough that I actually attend fewer games for the sake of my fellow fans.

Phase I – Origin

It all started in 2007.  In mid-October of that year the Boston College Eagles were the #2 team in the country.  They were led by Quarterback Matt Ryan, who has since gone on to ruin the Atlanta Falcons for Virginia Tech fans everywhere.  He was being compared to Doug Flutie, the only other BC quarterback who was ever worth talking about.  They were set to play in Blacksburg on a Thursday night, a traditionally strong time slot for the Hokies.  Since 1994 the Hokies had lost only two Thursday-night games – both to Boston College in 1995 and 2006.  The #2 team in the country was coming to town and we were poised to both beat them and redeem the only blemishes on our Thursday night record.

Hokie Nation was ready for action and I was no different.  I had started my new job three months before, and that morning I informed my boss of the situation, who replied with a simple “go.”  My boss is one of the good guys, despite having gone to a school that, at the time, didn’t have a football team.  So at about 11 am I logged out of my computer and headed to Blacksburg for what was sure to be a legendary victory.

For the first 56 minutes Virginia Tech dominated.  The score didn’t show it – it was only 7-0 – but the Hokies were full-on out-playing BC.  Then it happened – it started raining and our coveted top-ten win washed away.  Two consecutive pass plays – 22 and 23 yards – were just the beginning of a successful 92-yard drive ending in a touchdown.  Virginia Tech 10, Boston College 7.  Two minutes left.  BC goes for an onside kick, the Hail Mary of special teams plays, and improbably recovers.  Shit.  Matt Ryan then proceeds to complete 5 of 7 passes, putting BC into scoring position.  Pass complete to Andre Callender in the end zone, Boston College wins 14-10.  Our hopes were crushed.  My leaving-work-for-football best weekend ever story gained an abrupt, sad ending.

Photo by Chris Keane - Reuters

It was football trauma.  We recovered later that year in the ACC Championship game, where we beat BC and took home the conference trophy for the second time.  The team redeemed itself, but I was still dogged by the stench of fan failure.  The answer, of course, was to witness Boston College’s defeat at our hands in their own stadium the next year. Continue reading

Solved! – Soccer In America

If you’re a trendy American you’ve probably been pretending to like soccer since a few months after everyone forgot that France won the World Cup in 98.  Good for you!  You obviously have a lot of culture and do other smart people things like dislike Garfield and use the metric system.  Here’s the problem – there are a LOT of people out there who aren’t into it.  They’re still eating non-organic vegetables, they think Rick Perry has a lot of fresh ideas that are worth trying, and they don’t like soccer.  They may find the time to watch the three World Cup matches the US plays in before the team gets bored and goes sightseeing but that’s it.  Soccer is so unpopular in America that it makes women’s soccer seem popular.

So how do we get them on board?  They already sell beer at MLS games, the only safety equipment in the game protects exactly one of the players’ bones, and they don’t even stop the damn clock for penalties.  There’s one thing ye olde football is missing – scoring.  The players run up and down the field, offense strikes, defense defends, and after 90 minutes and change if you’re lucky enough not to end up with a tie you might see a team slug their way to the god-like sum of 3 goals.  Why the perpetual stalemate?  One asshole with a special shirt who gets to use his hands.  Every time the defense gets beaten and the ball is sailing into the goal there he is, catching it in midair, drop-kicking it to midfield, and bringing half the wristwatches in the audience up to eye level.

America demands that the goalie be destroyed.

America hates defense.  Its boring – they’re barely ever trying to score.  The gold standard of NFL football teams, the New England Patriots, only fields a defense because the league rules say  they have to.  The goalie tips the balance too far in the defense’s favor.  Even if they completely fail he can salvage the situation with all four limbs and bring the game to a standstill until he decides it’s time to foot-hurl the ball down the field.  Take him out and the game is pure offense versus defense.  “But what if they just put a guy in front of the goal?”  Well unlike the disposed-of Goal Warden, that planted defenseman can’t use his hands.  While you may feel like placing a pseudo-goalie at the end of the field, the other team may just put that body on offense, and he’s coming at your handless goalie.

But don’t despair!  If your offense gets past their defense their goal is wide open – open enough for America’s Favorite Sports Thing, the long bomb. We’re talking scores from midfield.  Every game.  Precision long-distance strikes.  Every major sport needs a long bomb.  Baseball as the homerun, basketball has the three-point shot, and football he the…er…long bomb pass.

“Well this isn’t the futbol I know and love, guv’na,” I hear you exclaim because you’re some sort of European or South American.  Well, you’re right, Gunter.

It’s not futbol.  It’s soccer.  Pledge allegiance.

You Can Add “Oregon” To The List of Things Maryland Is Not

As my friends over at Gobble Gobble Gameday have no doubt noticed, tonight’s Maryland-Miami football game is looking a bit…ugly.  The play has been fine, with short-handed Miami currently trailing Maryland.  Miami’s defense is being pretty well outpaced by Maryland’s offense, but Miami’s Special Teams squad probably has some surprises in store for them.

The real story, though, is Maryland’s uniforms.  They’ve done it – the always-overrated Maryland, who is perennially “poised” to make a run at the ACC Championship but never fails to disappoint – they’ve found a new way to suck.  Have a look:

Photo Hat Tip: SportsGrid

Jesus Christ.  They look like an anime version of Lord Baltimore projectile-vomited onto an Under-Armour shirt (side-note: Why does Under-Armour get to use the “-our” version while flying an American flag?).  I know what you’re thinking – but what about the shoes?  Behold:

Photo by Patrick Semansky - AP

FAB-U-LOUS!  This right here is proof that money plays too big a role in college football.  I know season-opener unis can get a little weird but this is insane.