Thursday, July 15, 2010

thursday linkpile

First, programming note. Or programming essay, if you will. Your humble blogger goes on summer break starting tomorrow, which lasts until Wednesday-ish. There may be a little something in the interim, but we'll see. It depends. Once I get back, it'll just about be time to jump with both feet into football mode. Starting the last week of July and going til I'm done, we get to the season previews. There are 17 in all: 11 ACC teams, 4 non-conference games on our schedule, and lastly our offense and defense. Recruit profiles will be sprinkled in there too.

If you've followed football season on these pages before, you know there's a little bit of a weekly routine. If you haven't, then here it is:

Sunday: This blog participates in the Blogpoll, the more or less official blogger's version of the weekly coaches' and AP rankings. And much better, because we don't pawn off our ballots on whichever unlucky gofer walked past the office first, it's the very model of transparency, you the reader get a say, and besides we're just smarter, faster, and better looking than your average media dork. Anyway, Sunday is when the first draft of the ballot goes up, and generally you also get my reactions to whatever travesty just took place the day before, and if we won, I try to have highlights up too.

Monday: Update the recruiting board, check in on how our commits did that weekend, and catch up on non-football stuff.

Tuesday-Wednesday: Whatever is going on, plus usually there's some kind of roundtable going on between us bloggers. Those are fun because other bloggers put on their twisted-mind hats to ask stuff and I have to figure out how to answer questions like, "if your football team was a bird, what species would it be?" This is also soccer season, so I try and figure out how to react to the games without getting to see them, because the sport is totally ignored by the networks.

Thursday: Game preview day! Ohboyohboy it's almost Saturday....

Friday-Saturday: The blog's weekend. Nothing posted unless something big happens.

So. Stuff is going on, and as you're aware, I have opinions:

- Watford. This is a big deal, because while we go head-to-head all the time with VT for recruits, it doesn't actually happen that often in the quarterback realm. It hasn't turned out well when we do. VT's been on Watford all this time - don't you believe it for a minute when Hokies claim they didn't want him that badly - so getting him is a coup. However, don't for a minute read anything into it beyond Watford himself. If you think it's a foot in the door at Hampton, from which we haven't signed a recruit for almost ten years, ask yourself if that last recruit (Marques Hagans) was a foot in the door for a new coaching staff.

I don't think it'll happen, but you'll know something really special is going on if Lafonte Thourogood decides on UVA too. Watford dropped for us several days ago now; if it was as simple as Thourogood just wanting somewhere to play quarterback without competition, he'd have committed to Tech by now, or at least will do so in the next couple days.

- UNC. Uh-oh. The NCAA's puttin' on the investigating pants again. They weren't very nice to USC just now, and now they've decided to see what Butch Davis is up to.

- Soccer schedule. Came out during the World Cup, which is kind of a good way to make sure the attentions of your soccer fans are elsewhere. If you don't count exhibitions, and I don't, there isn't a single road game on there save a few ACC games. And all the really good teams - Maryland, Wake, UNC -are at home. Klockner will be a busy place this fall.

- Soccer recruiting. Now for the bad news: our top recruit won't be coming. Parker Walsh has decided to start his pro career overseas instead of going the college route. Walsh has some U-17 and U-20 national team experience under his belt, our only recruit to do so. Sort of thing you have to worry about in sports like baseball and soccer. Especially soccer: if you're going to make a serious career out of it, the NCAA doesn't make much sense if you can get a chance with the bigger guys in Europe.

- The First Four. Dippy name for a goofy concept. I hardly even need to say anything when Jay Bilas basically said everything for me. I haven't agreed that much with anything on ESPN since they called Michael Vick a felon. I get why the NCAA insists on not calling them "play-in games" - it's because of idiot senators and attorneys general with itchy lawsuit trigger fingers, ready to go to court on behalf of West Northsouthern State that won the Corn Valley Conference and still "didn't get to play in the tournament" because of the "oligarchy" the NCAA runs. They're still play-in games, especially with the at-larges involved, playing for a middle seed. They wouldn't have to be called The First Four (TM) if they hadn't caved to dumb sentiment and just made the would-be 16-seeds play each other. Correctly promoted, that would actually be a really interesting day of basketball.

Anyway, this is the very last time you'll ever see "The First Four" referred to on these pages. They're play-in games. Literally, that's what they are. That's what people wanted, that's what the NCAA gave them, and that's what they're all getting called.

- TV deal. As we all figured, the ACC will be able to hand out about $13 million to each of its schools. Lots of people have opinions on this; mine is that it's a conference-saving deal. I think this, plus the conference's academic reputation, is good enough to prevent poachers - the SEC, mainly - from grabbing a team. Remember two things: 1, it's not about the money, it's about the competition and how you're doing relative to them, and 2, the presidents, not the ADs, make the call.

We take a lot less of a summer break around here than school does, so don't get too comfy. Back sooner than you think with football, football, football.

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