Tuesday, November 22, 2011

weekend review

Phew.  It's been a busy weekend, which is why you haven't seen a poll ballot.  Here is that ballot, provided with little explanation because we have got to get a move on here.

I think GT's drop out is because they didn't do so hot against Duke.  No, I once again have not cast a ballot for UVA.  Moving up, but they wouldn't have made it this week because Rutgers came in 2nd in the preliminary ranking, with UVA 5th.  Consider UVA 29th in my ballot, if you like.  Those darn games against Idaho and Indiana are dragging us down.  Not in the eyes of some voters, however; UVA is ranked 24th in the AP poll (woo!) and is likely to also be ranked when the Blogpoll itself comes out, as 41 blogs have given us a ranking that lands anywhere from 18th to 25th.  (The 18th-place vote comes from Track 'Em Tigers, the SB Nation blog that covers our former uniform pants sister school, Auburn.)

So I'm getting increasingly lonely in my holding out on that particular issue.  Last week - before the FSU game - UVA garnered votes from seven or eight blogs, including VT people Gobbler Country (with whom we will have a Civil Conversation later this week) and - this may come as a surprise to those of you who paid particular attention to the part of last week's Civil Conversation in which was listed a bevy of three-loss-or-worse teams that they felt were better than UVA - Tomahawk Nation.  The bloke who answered that question and the bloke who cast the ballot were two different blokes, however.

Anyway, I promise you this: if we beat Tech, I'm casting a UVA vote, regardless of what my system says to do.


 So let's check out predictions real quick.  I didn't have that many this week.

- Perry Jones and Kevin Parks combine for about 3.8-4.0 yards per carry.
Nope, they got stuffed, pretty much.  The FSU run defense was as advertised.  By them, not me.  Even if I include Clifton Richardson here, which I was considering doing, we only get to 3.4.

- The UVA rushing game totals about 140 yards.
If you take out the sacks, which you're supposed to do, it's about 95-100.  Not close enough to give me this one.

- Mike Rocco throws more TDs than INTs.....if even any INTs at all.
FSU fans may have been right about the run defense but they were oh so wrong about their secondary, which they hella bragged on and called me a homer when I praised ours in the Q&A.  I'm a blogger.  Of course I'm a homer.  But I also know what I'm talking about, and the FSU pass defense was little better than any other we've seen this year.  Rocco threw a beautiful toss to Superman Jones for his TD; when you let a 5'7" elf catch a quasi-fade route throw, you're doing it wrong.  And he had zero picks.

- Devonta Freeman also gets about four yards a carry.
Freeman had lotsa yards per carry, actually, and besides that the FSU coaches decided to use Jermaine Thomas as the primary back and he had almost five himself.  The run defense was more of a good-when-it-had-to-be kinda deal than actually good.  So I get another nope.

- Florida State has at least one scoring play of 50+ yards.
With apologies to Chase Minnifield, executor of the play of the season so far, I am gonna take credit for this one because I think I was right in spirit.  Bert Reed's 68-yard reception was precisely what I had in mind, and FSU knocked out a couple other 50+ yard plays, one of which got called back on a holding call that was kinda semi-holding.  (That's OK, their TD drive was full of actual holding that went unflagged.)  I'm taking credit for this one, thanking our lucky stars and the aptly named (on that play) Chase Minnifield that it was a 68-yarder and not a 69-yarder, and chalking it up to a backhanded way of giving props to the play because who could foresee that kind of superhuman effort?

- FSU converts a long third down (10 yards or more) by picking up at least twice the necessary yardage.
The Noles only had two such opportunities; one was a 3rd-and-14 that was picked up with a 17-yard pass and one was a 3rd-and-11 that just so happened to be Steve Greer's NO-FG-FOR-YOU sack on E.J. Manuel.  No dice on this, which is good because I hate when this happens.

Two-for-six moves me to 33-of-82 for the season.  And I'm now doing better against the spread (6-4-1) than I am on real score (6-5.)


OK, Senior Seasons continues to wind down, but playoffs continue for a few.  Here are this week's high school results:

St. John Lutheran 28, Victory Christian 26: Demeitre Brim ran for a 70-yard and an 81-yard touchdown, but his season comes to a close in overtime.  He ran or threw for all four touchdowns, but Victory couldn't get a necessary 2PC in OT.  It also comes out that Brim's shoulder was hurt three weeks ago, but he's been playing through it and not throwing the ball much.

Salem 35, Bayside 21: Anthony Cooper had four catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn't enough as Bayside bows out.

L.C. Bird 21, Varina 16: Maurice Canady fumbled on Varina's last-gasp drive, and Varina is denied a rematch in the regional championship with Hermitage.

Buford 31, Jefferson County 0 (C.J. Moore)
Garnet Valley 52, Central Bucks South 48 (Matt Johns)
Nederland 21, Houston Stratford 14 (Kelvin Rainey)
North Cross 26, Norfolk Christian 14 (Moore/Nixon/Wahee/Wynn)
I.C. Norcom 20, Hampton 14 (Jamall Brown)
Hermitage 14, Thomas Dale 0 (Andre Miles-Redmond)

All in all not the kind of weekend you'd hope for.  Especially for Norfolk Christian, upset in the state championship game.  Most other recruits' seasons have ended as well; only Hermitage, Buford, and St. Joseph are still alive.  (St. Joseph, Max Valles's team, didn't play this week, and in fact doesn't play their state championship game until the first weekend in December.  They have a game against in-town public school rival Hammonton next weekend.)

Hermitage will play Bird in the Division 6 Central Region final; if they win, Miles-Redmond will get an early taste of Scott Stadium in the state semifinals.  As for Buford and C.J. Moore, they are now in the state quarterfinals.


Are you disappointed that the hoops team lost its first game in the Virgin Islands to TCU?  Don't be.  At least, not too badly.  For one thing, they still finished 2-1, and for another, they still got Drexel on the schedule, a reasonably good CAA team, and Drake isn't half bad either.  Losing to TCU won't look good in the committee's eyes, but RPI-wise it wasn't a disaster.  (Although, the way Norfolk State played down there, they might just end up tearing up the MEAC and turning into an RPI boost themselves.)

The offense still needs plenty of work, as the TCU loss and Drexel win (49 points) are perfect evidence of.  But the defense has been nothing short of outstanding in the first five games, and if that continues it'll carry the Hoos a long way.  KenPom's numbers now have UVA as the 12th-best defensive team in the country, and don't be surprised if that kind of success lasts all season.  Of course, the ACC being what it is, right now there are six conference teams in the top 25 in that category.

The weekly RPI tracker has been updated and added to the sidebar for your edification.

Lastly, there's no lacrosse schedule yet, which drives me a little bit crazy even though it's not really time yet, if history's any guide.  (There is a baseball schedule, but I never bothered pointing it out because it's lame.)  However, one more game has been announced: in addition to Cornell in Baltimore (not entirely newsworthy since UVA typically always plays an NFL-stadium game in either Baltimore or New Jersey) the Hoos will also head out to Denver to play Penn at Mile High Stadium or whatever the hell the Broncos play in these days.  So that's cool.  I'm always in favor of this kind of game because it usually, if not always, means TV.  Like last year's game against Penn, this one will also take place after the ACC tournament, or at least, so I'm assuming, as the date is April 27.


Some programming notes for this week.  Obviously it's a shorter one.  Game preview will go up on Wednesday instead of Thursday because if you think I'm spending all that time putting that thing together on Thanksgiving Day you're nuts.  Thursday posting will be limited to the standard Thanksgiving Day greeting.  I do expect we will have a Q&A session with Gobbler Country on at some point.  This game will not be one in which you can find me on the Twitters, but you should follow @MaizeNBlueWahoo anyway because I'm greedy for followers.  As it's a holiday weekend, take yourself a holiday after the game preview and don't expect much out of me til Sunday or Monday.

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