Friday, November 16, 2012

trampled underfoot

If you're the bright-side type, here's the nice thing about what happened last night: we avoided the full UVA treatment from this season.  The way things go, the only proper UVA course of events for 2012 would've been to set up the Bowl Eligibility Bowl, with the Hoos taking a three-game win streak into Blacksburg, and then lose by 10 with the Hokies returning a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns.

Oh, we'll still lose, probably in the stupidest way possible, but at least it won't matter.  (Again the bright side of a shitty situation: when the losing streak is this long, the next one sucks for a day and then it's just the status quo again.)  Yes, I'd rather have won obviously, but now there's nothing to lose and everything to gain.  If we beat the Hokies next week, woo times 1000.  If we lose, oh well, the season ended on Thursday night anyway, and VT is 6-6 anyway so it's not like they're happy either.

This silver-lining stuff is real important, because the basketball team is 1-2 with a loss to a MAAC team and no particular way of knowing when it'll ever have a proper point guard, which is to say it's a long and dreary three months til lacrosse season.  Looking ahead to next year's schedule doesn't offer a lot of optimism either.  If our own team will be better, that's great, and it should be.  The schedule still includes BYU, a road trip to Penn State, and a Ball State team that's not looking too shabby this year and will bring back a very good senior quarterback next season.

Oh well.  Let's go bowling in scenic Blacksburg, Virginia.

Further stuff in brief:

-- I'll never criticize going for it on fourth and goal.  I hated the playcall.  Of course I did.  After you've already been stuffed, doing it again is silly, and it shows a lack of familiarity with how good your O-line is as compared to their D-line.  Better play call: same exact blocking scheme, but give the ball to your fastest guy and give him one tight end running interference and tell him to run as fast as he can toward the opposite pylon.

-- That playcall isn't why we lost, though.  If UNC can drive 97 yards for a touchdown, they can probably get one from whatever short field our special teams would've handed them.

-- People are hella hating on the soft man our secondary was in, but I don't mind it.  People always want AGGRESSIVENESS.  If the corners - and ohbytheway we were missing one of our better ones - had been in press coverage then people would've been hella hating on our safeties instead, because they would've given up 70-yard touchdown throws.  We have one of the better pass defenses in the country because our coaches haven't overloaded the very young safeties with too many reads.

-- Steve Greer gave up a very bad touchdown to Gio Bernard, but it's not because he's slow.  It's because he made one of the worst reads of his career.  The guy was streaking out of the backfield without the ball; where exactly did Greer think he was going?

-- Every time I think "oh good, the coaches have stopped using Perry Jones as the short-yardage hammer and look what it got us" they show a replay from behind the line and it turns out Kevin Parks was running through a hole the size of an elephant.  They still shouldn't use Perry Jones as the short-yardage hammer, though.  Our offense will improve next year in that regard simply because the coaches won't be tempted to do that.

-- One reason I hate the QB platoon is that nobody ever tells the announcers about it ahead of time and they're always baffled and then they start questioning Mike London's sanity for pulling the quarterback.  I always want to grab them by the tie and go, dude, it's predetermined, now talk about something else.  Yes, this is crazy, but not for the reason you keep saying.

-- I would say "Darius Jennings has GOT to catch that ball" but I think he knows that.  One of the worst things about writing about and rooting for college football teams is that when that kind of thing happens, it ain't really fair to vent your frustration.  Pros, yes, they're paid and they can be cut.  For better or for worse, Jennings is our top receiver, we need him, we don't need him thinking he can't catch for shit, and nothing good can come from piling on.  But damn, he has GOT to catch that ball.

Let's go over the predictions.  First and most importantly, the streak is over: I finally picked a game correctly against the spread, and am now 1-7-3.  And the Hoos might be 4-7, but my own record is 5-6.  I'd be killing it if I'd jumped off the bloody bandwagon fast enough in October.  As for the specific predictions:

-- UVA's backs average about 2.5 yards a carry.  They had 3.65, which isn't close enough.  We weren't, like, great at running the ball, but it wasn't too bad either.  Playing better in other aspects of the game would've let that be good enough to win.

-- Jake McGee has a big game, with a per-catch average of about 15 yards and at least 3 receptions.  Three catches for 46 yards is 15.3, and makes this my top prediction of the year.

-- UVA's quarterbacks combine for at least a 300-yard passing game.  Total of 205 yards, and Sims managed just 55 of those.  Rocco's interception masked an otherwise pretty solid and efficient game from him.

-- Giovani Bernard reverses his downward trend and averages about 5.5 yards a carry.  In a very pleasant surprise, the Hoos stuffed Bernard.  He wasn't easy to take down, but the best running performance of the day was Parks's, not Bernard's.

-- One of UNC's receivers has a six-catch day, or better.  What happened was just about exactly what I had in mind: someone was going to go haywire because Bryn Renner was going to throw the ball effectively and our defense wasn't going to be very successful stopping everyone that UNC put on the line.  I didn't really expect sixteen catches for Quinshad Davis, but still.

I'm 22-for-53 on the season now.  Next week we can wrap up a dismalish performance all around; we'll see if I've watched enough Virginia Tech Hokie football to know what they'll be up to.


Anonymous said...

There's a part of me that takes the potential Maryland exit for the Big 12 in a "it's Maryland ... do we really care that much?" way. They aren't exactly a threat in the major sports.

That said, there's a 2nd part of me that wonders whether or not all the attention paid to Georgia Tech and Clemson might not compare to the actual hit Maryland leaving would cause. THere's some basic things - for example, whereas MD was once the outlier in the conference, it now is a bridge to the northern institutions. Let's face it - the Virginia schools are more Southern in their appeal.

Along with that, Maryland is about the only school that can lay a strong claim to being able to tie the DC/Baltimore markets and definitely bring eyeballs along. They don't actually do it (in the same way that their potential partner in the Big 10, Rutgers, doesn't actually bring in New York). We can't, and neither can the Hokies.

I'm kind of concerned about the impact of MD leaving. They seem confident that they either won't pay the 50 mil, or that the Big 10 will give them enough short term incentive to bolt (as the actual reason for leaving, bolting over football money, likely won't kick in for a few years). Then there's the issue of who would be the replacement school. UConn doesn't add that much. I'd almost rather consider Louisville from an athletic perspective, but they seem unlikely. Anyone wishing for Penn State is dreaming - they aren't going to bolt the Big 10 for us if Maryland is bolting. Poaching from the SEC is unlikely.

If Maryland leaves, and the 50 mil isn't a big factor, then FSU and Clemson are bound to revisit the Big 12, and the ACC could be left in a weakened position. Thus, bruised feelings aside, the best thing for the ACC would be for Maryland to stay.

That said, MD is the one program I can sort of understand bolting. They are simply in a gigantic monetary mess and if the exit fee is something they can negotiate their way out of, the additional money from the Big 10 network has to seem appealing.

Anonymous said...

Well, Maryland's gone. Rutgers going to the Big 10 sort of hurts as well, as it limits the remaining spots left in the Big 10 if things go to 16 team super-conferences. After all, the chances are high that the Big 10 will leave a spot open for Notre Dame. With all the money they print, they can afford to wait until Notre Dame is willing to go all-in.

As of this moment in time, the ACC isn't that hurt by it. UConn is probably the favorite to jump in. Louisville/Cincinnati seem a bit on the outside looking in.

The problem for the ACC comes if Maryland's ability to exit isn't huge. The recent history of teams leaving actually tends to make the argument that their fees increase to allow them to leave early. If the ACC can hold firm the 50 million, the chances are slim that any school will bolt in the near future. The main reason is that few leagues can offer to swing money the way the Big Ten can, and I imagine for Terps to bolt, some promises were made to help them with the fee, if they can't lower it.

If some combination of FSU/Clemson/Georgia Tech bolt, though, then the ACC is in big trouble. Swofford needs to push Notre Dame hard. At some point, Notre Dame has to be aware that they don't have the capability to stay independent forever. I'm not sure what other moves can be made, though.

I love the ACC, and have been a fan forever, and the shame of it all is that, with only two spots left in the Big 10, the chances are slim that UVA would get one of the bids if the ACC breaks down. The Big 10 was the better fit for UVA if things fell apart. The SEC would probably be a distant 2nd.

Anonymous said...

So you'd rather have us defend the bubble screens the same way we've done all season, which is to say we haven't defended them, and play off the line 8-10 yards? Sorry, but I didn't, especially once we went down by two scores. Why not gamble at that point?