November 30, 2011

Wahooze Pix -- Week 14

Kendall -- 14 (rally time!)
Doug -- 12
Pierce -- 8
Mike V -- 7

Pierce -- 97
Kendall -- 97
Guest Pickers -- 95
Mike V -- 86

I had to go back and double-check all of the scores and correct some miscounts.  The above scores are current and correct, and set up a very nice battle down the stretch.

This week's guest picker is mystery man KATO!

Yep, that's really him, and yes we really do actually know this guy.  He's honestly one of the nicest human beings you'll ever meet.  I call him "show muscle" just to mess with him, because I'm a prick.  But Kato laughs it off, and I think he actually finds it funny.  Anyway, he's a great dude, but I'm not sure he's much good at picking football games.  Mike brought him in so he could have a chance to catch up with the guest pickers.  GO KATO!

It's CHAMPIONSHIP WEEK!  But only one point per pick while we re-group from last week's carnage.

Logo grade: B+

Ohio vs. Northern Illinois (-3.5)
Ohio: Kendall
NIU: Pierce, Mike, Kato

Pierce Sez: I follow these guys religiously - bet the house on this one - Bobcats got nothin.

Mike Sez: Love the MAC. Northern Illinois is a RB factory. I assume they have a good one this year based on that.

Kendall Sez: The Friday night game I'll actually watch.  I've seen each of these teams play a couple of times this season.  I think the Bobcats are the better team.

Logo grade: C+

UCLA vs. Oregon (-31.5)

Pierce Sez: The Bruins just lost 50-0 last week. Then their coach got fired. A 35-point win doesn't seem out of question here for the Ducks.

Mike Sez: I would still take Oregon (-100).

Kendall Sez: Quick, somebody give me a million bucks, I gotta run to Las Vegas.

No logo for a shitty regular-season Big East game.

Syracuse @ Pittsburgh (-11)
'Cuse: Mike and Kato
Pitt: Pierce and Kendall

Pierce Sez: I'm sure as hell not betting on Syracuse again.

Mike Sez: I'm going down with the ship.

Kendall Sez: Screw you, Syracuse. I know you'll win this game just because I picked against you.

Logo grade: D

Southern Miss vs. Houston (-13.5)
Houston: EVERYONE!

Pierce Sez: Easy one - USM is a fine team, but Houston scores waaaay too many points to hang with.

Mike Sez: Houston needs to beat USM down to make a legit claim for a National Championship appearance.

Kendall Sez: I'm not a bleeding heart mid-major liberal, but I need somebody to explain to me why undefeated Houston won't be playing undefeated LSU for the national championship.  Seriously, playoffs.  Jeez.

Logo grade: C+

Georgia vs. LSU (-13)
UGA: Kato!!!
LSU: Pierce, Mike, Kendall

Pierce Sez: LSU wont let this be close.

Mike Sez: They are just so good. So much better than everyone else. It's unreal.

Kendall Sez: I bet they lose focus a little bit in this one and Georgia keeps it close.  If the spread were 15, I'd pick the Dawgs.  31-17, Bayou Bengals.

Logo grade: A+

Oklahoma @ Oklahoma State (-3.5)
Boomer Sooner: Pierce
Poke State: Mike, Kato, Kendall

Pierce Sez: I'm betting the Sooners spoil the Cowboy's senior day and any hope they had of making the BCSCG.

Mike Sez: This is the year for the Pokes. They've only won 5 times since 1977. Ouch. I expect a big win.

Kendall Sez: I'm all in on the Pokes.

Logo grade: D-

Virginia Tech (-7.5) vs. Clemson

Pierce Sez: Then the Hokies will get to beat up on a beyond terrible 7-5 Big East team in the Orange Bowl. Yawn.

Mike Sez: My hatred for Tech is peaking. I really hope Clemson wins. But they have been playing terrible football of late.

Kendall Sez: Tech is really, really good.  Clemson was really, really good.  Big difference.

Logo grade: C-

Wisconsin (-9) vs. Michigan State
Wisconsin: Mike and Kato
Michigan State: Pierce and Kendall

Pierce Sez: Sparty should keep it close, if not win outright.

Mike Sez: Sweet revenge.

Kendall Sez: Spread's too high.  Sparty will probably lose by a field goal.

Logo grade: A+++++

Bowl Practices Expected to Pay Dividends in 2012

From Jeff White:

Bowl Practices Expected to Pay Dividends in 2012

Check it Out ------------>

We will be updating Virginia's current NCAA Tournament resumé in the space to the right.  I'll stay on top of this all season, unless we fall completely off the bubble and it's too painful to see every day.

B1G Win.

The Hoos got the ACC off to a nice start in the Big Ten / ACC Challenge tonight with a 70-58 win over #15 Michigan.  Of course, you saw the game on ESPN2.

Emptying my notebook...

-- I don't like scoring less than 50 points in a loss, but I love scoring low in a win in which we clearly dictate the tempo and frustrate the opponent.  It's grind-it-out Bennettball, and I absolutely love it when it works.  70 points isn't "low" but you understand my point.

-- 38, 48, 57, 35, 52, 42, 48.  Those are the point totals our defense has allowed this season.  It's a slow-it-down game we play, but this means we are successfully dictating tempo and playing good defense.  Bodes very well, moving forward.

It also helps to have a good shot blocker on the floor.

-- Only eight turnovers tonight.  Seems like we're getting that problem under control.

-- 77.3% from the line.  I don't see us losing many games in which we shoot better than 75% on free throws.  (66% in the loss to TCU.)

-- I think tonight showed us what the rotation will be this year: Mike Scott (30 minutes tonight) and Joe Harris (36 minutes) always starting and playing big minutes, Jontel Evans (29), Assane Sene (19 while battling some foul trouble), Sammy Zeglinski (34), KT Harrell (10), Malcolm Brogdon (24), and Akil Mitchell (15) rounding out the eight-man rotation.  Darion Atkins (3 minutes) and James Johnson (0) in bit time or if the bigs get into foul trouble.  And that's it.

-- Speaking of Johnson, I'm pretty disappointed in Big Red so far.  I expected him to be a lot better.  I at least expected him to be playing.

-- Mike Scott (18 and 11 tonight) is a frickin monster.  It looked like he was battling some thigh cramps, but still played 30 minutes.  Whenever we need a bucket, we can feed the beast.  And he's also a phenomenal rebounding force.

-- I think it's safe to say that Joe Harris' slump is over.  He look fluid and confident shooting the ball tonight.  He was also our designated free-throw shooter in the endgame.  (I was wondering who would replace Farrakhan in that role.)

-- Jontel Evans still drives me crazy, but his 4:1 assist to turnover ratio was good tonight.  I think he shot too much and got too crazy with the ball at times.  It's a conservative offense, and he has a gambler's mentality with the ball in his hands.  It's not a good fit.  His play will cost us a couple of wins this season, mark my words.

-- Sammy was bound and determined to make some threes tonight.  At one point, it got a little bit black holeish.  We need him to shoot and make shots, but we don't need him jacking 'em up willy nilly... especially when his shot is a bit off.

-- Malcolm Brogdon is legit.  Cool, confident kid with a sweet-looking jump shot.  He's outplaying KT Harrell, and should take control of the shooting guard position in short order (HATE Sammy and Jontel on the floor at the same time).  Brogdon's defense looked very good for a freshman in his seventh game.

-- The team is coming together a little bit, starting to gel.  This was a big, big win against a quality team that will no doubt go on to many wins of their own.  I think we're back to even money, this good win and two solid wins (Drexel, Drake) overcoming the RPI hit we took from losing to TCU.  We were at 78 before tonight, but this win should put us solidly in the 50s.  The goal is to be in the top 35 of the RPI when the season ends, lest we have to sweat the bubble on Selection Sunday.

-- We should coast past Longwood on Saturday to get to 7-1.  Our next test is a week from tonight against always-tough George Mason.  That's a big game.  After that, it's exams and then off to the West Coast for the Oregon and Seattle U games.  Maryland -- Eastern Shore and Towson wrap up the 2011 slate.  We need to emerge from this upcoming stretch at no worse than 11-2, though 12-1 is obviously ideal, and honestly attainable.

-- For the first time after watching this team play this season, I'm convinced we're a tournament team.  This was an impressive win tonight.  Bennettball clicked on all cylinders, and I am very encouraged.  Scott and Harris give us too good go-to scorers, with Zeglinski, Brogdon, and Harrell good in support scoring roles.  The defense is fantastic, and the rebounding is solid (especially with Scott on the floor).  I still think we need a guard who can get to the basket and find his own shot, but that is mitigated by being able to spread the floor with so many shooters and then moving the ball smartly.  It's going to be ugly at times, especially when the perimeter shots aren't falling, but I think there is too much substance here for us to not be a very good team.

-- Nice orange shoes, Jontel.


November 27, 2011

My Top 10 Most Painful Losses to the Hokies

I'm still struggling to find my catharsis after yesterday's woodshedding by the Hokies.  Those hilljacks have now beaten us eight straight times, and 12 of the last 13.  Good Lord and God bless.

The post title says it all, let's dig right in to this painstravaganza!  (Relive all of the horror HERE.)

Fine Print Disclaimer: DO NOT read this if you are easily offended.  My blog, my rules, and I'm taking this one to some dark places.  Read at your own risk.

#10 -- 2006: Hokies 17, Hoos 0
This was the first of Al Groh's losing seasons, but we had a chance to scratch out a .500 record and a potential bowl appearance with a win in this game.  The Jameel Sewell-led offense managed 112 total yards and five first downs in the game, in what was possibly the worst offensive showing I've ever seen (even worse than the 7-5 loss at UNC in 2005).  The game felt like the bowel movement you have 10 days after OD'ing on Imodium.  Call it a punch bowl.

#9 -- 2008: Hokies 17, Hoos 14
Al Groh finally pulled his head out of his ass and started Vic Hall at quarterback... on the road in the most hostile environment of the season.  Vic played a whale of a game, but mysteriously (and stupidly) got the hook on the last series with the game on the line.  Marc Verica threw it late across the middle, and the inevitable interception ended the game.  Knife twisting in belly, entrails sliding out onto the floor... of the Madison Heights Sheetz men's room.

#8 -- 1999: Hokies 31, Hoos 7
My 4th year.  The last home game against the turkeybirds during my college years.  Weirdly, the game was played on October 2nd.  Of course, this Vick-led VT team was loaded.  Thomas Jones had a decent game, but Dan Ellis was sacked six times by the overwhelming Tech defense.  The Hokies went on to play in the national championship game that year.  Virginia Tech in the national championship game -- three-and-a-half hours of nails on a chalkboard.  Thank God for Florida State.

#7 -- 2002: Hokies 21, Hoos 9
This was the breakthrough razzle-dazzle year for the Bill Musgrave offense in Al Groh's 2nd season.  The offense's success was predicated on the precision passing of Matt Schaub.  Of course, this game in Lane Stadium was windy as hell (20-25 mph with gusts to 40).  Our passing game was doomed, and stupid-ass Beamerball (herp-a-derp-derp) was in effect, notching a blocked punt for the Hokies' first points of the game.  This game played at home or in decent weather, we win.  Instead, we had to play in that hellhole Bleccchsburg, with sawblades of ice blowing down from Sheepfuck Mountain.

#6 -- 2005: Hokies 52, Hoos 14
On a clear night, if you squint your eyes and look really hard, you can still see the mushroom cloud hanging over Scott Stadium.  A 38-point loss, and it easily could have been a 70-point loss.  At the end of this game, I honestly wondered if we'd ever be able to beat them again.  I'm still wondering.

#5 -- 2007: Hokies 33, Hoos 21
Chris Long was held badly (no call, of course) on the touchdown pass to Eddie Royal that ended the first half, and Jameel Sewell sprained his labia majora and had to leave the game early.  This game was for 10 wins, the ACC Coastal, and a trip to the conference championship game.  Of course we crapped the bed.  The game was like picking up a hot chick in a bar -- she looks good, batting her eyes, giving you great signals, lots of hot talk, but then you take her to your hotel room and find out she's a dude in drag.  A dude in drag with a butterfly knife and every intention of robbing you, stealing your identity, and then stabbing you.  Up the butt.

#4 -- 1995: Hokies 36, Hoos 29
This was my 1st year in college.  Loss via Hail Mary in Ann Arbor.  Loss via 55 yard field goal into the wind in Austin.  33-28 win over FSU.  Great season.  And then this.  It was like falling down a flight of stairs.  That's it, just falling down some stairs.  Okay, maybe it was falling down the stairs at the prom, and maybe during the fall you split your tuxedo pants.  I don't know.  Fell into the punch bowl?  Concussion?  I got nothin.

#3 -- 2011: Hokies 38, Hoos 0
I know what you're thinking -- oh, he's overrating this and overreacting because the wound is so fresh.  Maybe you're right.  Or maybe we just had our asses handed to us on our home field in such a way that it felt like all eight of our previous wins were rendered meaningless.  Maybe we experienced such a Hokie invasion that it seemed like they had a freaking majority of the fans in our stands.  Maybe it's that - for the first time since '96 - I had my mind right, was gracious and [generally] polite, glad-handing and wishing well, smiling and back-slapping, welcoming our "Virginia brothers" to the game, only to have my head ripped back and a firehose spray of shit blasted straight down my throat.  Like a beer bong of hot liquid feces.

#2 -- 2004: Hokies 24, Hoos 10
2004 was supposed to be our year.  We were loaded.  Listen to this list of future NFL players on the roster for this game: Marques Hagans, Alvin Pearman, Wali Lundy, Jason Snelling, Heath Miller, Tom Santi, Elton Brown, Brad Butler, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Chris Long (was a freshman, not really playing), Chris Canty (injured and out for the Tech game), Ahmad Brooks, Kai Parham, Isaiah Ekejiuba, Darryl Blackstock, Marcus Hamilton.  We had all of the momentum early, but kept fumbling away scoring chances.  Then Tech took control in the second half and slowly pulled away.  We never really put up much of a fight.  In all honesty, it was the kind of game that makes you hate Virginia Football.

#1 -- 1996: Hokies 26, Hoos 9
Not because of the game, but because of what happened after the game.  Those guys are still out there somewhere, and I bet they were having a jolly good time this past Saturday.

The saddest part about this is that after about 23 years of following Virginia Football closely, it wasn't hard to do this top ten list, and I could easily rattle off five other games for honorable mention.

I believe in Mike London, but he has to - at some point, sooner than later - beat Virginia Tech.  He has to.

Until then, we fight the good fight.  Go Hoos.

Waiting for the Invitation

While it's possible (probable?) that the bowl invitation won't be extended until this time next week, I think we can pretty well triangulate where we're heading for the holidays.

Starting at the top:

Orange Bowl
This bid goes to the ACC champs, which ain't us.  VT or Clemson, probably VT.  Probable matchup: Louisville.

BCS At-Large
I list this here because I suppose it's possible the turkeys could lose in Charlotte and still get a BCS invitation.  It's an extreme outside shot, though.  If it happens, it slides all the rest of the teams up a tier.

Chick-fil-A Bowl
The loser of VT/Clemson.  Probably Clemson.  Not UVA.  (Note: The loser of the ACC championship game can slide no further than the Sun Bowl.)  Probable matchup: Auburn.

Champs Sports Bowl
Florida State.  Book it.  The Seminoles haven't played in Orlando since 2008.  This is a slam dunk for FSU and for the bowl game itself.  Probable matchup: Notre Dame.

Sun Bowl
Apparently, the Sun Bowl has tweeted that they will take Georgia Tech if the Yellow Jackets are available at this pick.  Fantastic.  Enjoy El Paso, Wreck fans.  Then again, if they know nobody will travel to attend this game, might the other ACC bowls sweeten the pot to have the Sun take the worst-traveling ACC option at this selection?  That would be Wake Forest, who barely nudges us out.  Probable matchup: California.

Belk Bowl
They have to choose between what's left from Virginia, Wake, and NC State.  I'm guessing they go with State, to draw the big local audience.  Wake would also be a decent option in this regard, but the Deacs don't have nearly the traveling fanbase of the Wolfpack.  Probable matchup: Rutgers.

Music City Bowl
UVA or Wake?  It sounds like this game has a laser-lock on hometown Vanderbilt for the game, a team that Wake Forest just played.  So guess what?  The Hoos are heading to Nashville to face what is essentially a home game for an SEC team.  I like the challenge and I like the matchup, and I love Nashvegas.  Probable matchup: Vanderbilt.

Independence Bowl
This game is officially the furthest we can slide.  I hope we don't slide here.  Sorry Wake.  Probable matchup: Wyoming.

Military Bowl
This is North Carolina's bowl game, due to their 3-5 conference record.  Probable matchup: Air Force.

Virginia's Bowl Game Odds:
Sun -- 15%
Belk -- 20%
Music City -- 50%
Independence -- 20%

They Are NO LONGER Scared


How do you deal with annihilation?

If this post comes across as scattered and not cohesive, apologies.  Just a brain vomit.  Nothing but anger, frustration, and disappointment to vent, and this is my only good outlet.  There will be profanity, so if that's not your jam, you might want to skip this post.

First up, an analogy: How do you stop a dog from shitting on the floor?  You rub his nose in it.  We just had our noses rubbed in it yesterday.  Hopefully we won't shit on the floor next time, right?  No but seriously, being drubbed by the Hokies can only help the young guys who played in yesterday's game find the proper motivation to play a little better next time we face the turkey birds.  Hopefully.  We certainly need some sort of an added edge against that team.

Sorry, Coach
At the post game press conference, when Mike London was asked what he makes of the losing streak to VT:
"It is just another game on the total. The team needs to continue to improve and build off this year's progress."

That's the main problem. It's not "just another game" to the Hokies, and we will continue to struggle against them until it means as much to us as it does to them.
Great season, 8-4 is fantastic. No doubting that. But there's also no doubting that it feels a little bit hollow this morning after absorbing a 38-0 beatdown against our biggest rival as we played an away game in our home stadium.

Nice sweater, you old bag.

An Away Game in Our Home Stadium
Seriously, we have some shitty, shitty fans.  Selling or giving your tickets to a Hokie is an act of treason.  The Hoo-Hokie split in the stands was closer to 50-50 than anyone would like to admit.  I tried to do my part to make the Hokies sitting around me feel uncomfortable.  I made sure they all understood that if they shook their keys anywhere in my vicinity they would be snatched away and chucked as far as I could throw them.  But way too many Hokies were there, and they were feeling way too comfortable.  I don't know what the solution to this problem is, other than making it a lot less fun for them to attend this game.  That's my singular mission in 2013.

One Regret
Up five touchdowns as the 4th quarter wound down, VT's starters were still in the game.  David Wilson running sweeps and Logan Mother Fucking Jesus Christ Thomas throwing passes. I wish we had been able to put a helmet on one of Wilson's knees or a shoulder into Thomas' ribs.  Not enough to hurt 'em bad (that's not my style, though I probably thought "break his fucking leg" once or twice in my mind late in the game), but enough to teach Herr Beamer a lesson.  Running up the score won't be tolerated in this game.  Too bad we laid down and tolerated it yesterday.

The Officiating
Of course it was horrendous.  Of course the ACC wanted to see VT in Charlotte next weekend, and not the Hoos.  Of course we got jobbed on several calls and several non-calls.  The bevy of make-up calls when the game was no longer in doubt were meaningless.  The officiating in the Atlantic Coast Conference is an embarrassment to the league.  Bush league mickeymouse bullshit.

Not Rocco's Fault
As we play the blame game, let's avoid firing the laser at Mike Rocco.  He did his best, and made some good throws.  Stepped up in the pocket to avoid the pass rush.  Played pretty well, all things considered.  Don't fail to see the forest for the trees on this one.

They are just the better team.
In fact, there is no need to blame anyone, not even the refs.  We just got our asses kicked because Virginia Tech is the better team.  We needed to play way over our heads to beat them, and we didn't.  They needed to play poorly to give us a chance, and they played well.  I expected the game to be closer than 38-0, but that's how the stars aligned.

8 (EIGHT!?!) Losses in a Row

Today or tomorrow, we'll know our bowl destination.  How to deal with annihilation?  Wallow in it and stew on it for now, but once the bowl game is announced, time to turn the page.  Hiroshima is a thriving city today, we can pull ourselves out of the ashes too.

And do yourself a favor: Don't watch the ACC Championship game.  Go see a movie or something next Saturday night.

(Photo Credit: Eve Russo / Richmond Times Dispatch)

November 25, 2011

They Are Scared

Friday, November 25th, 2011, 2:52 PM, Madison Heights Sheetz:

"Y'all gon' lose tomorrow."

But this phrase (uttered through the salt and pepper goatee of a true Lynchburg-style hilljack rocking the standard-issue dead leaves mix of maroon and orange) wasn't a statement of fact.  It was a question.

All through this week of consternation and hand-wringing (worry over the idea that a loss on Saturday renders this season's immense accomplishments hollow), it had finally dawned on me.

They're scared.  They are scared.

Hokie fans are scared of this Virginia team.  They are smart enough football fans to see the truth -- Virginia has a really good shot to beat Virginia Tech tomorrow in Scott Stadium.

But more than that, I think they are scared of this program, and that goes way deeper and is much more profound that the skin-deep shortsightedness of a win or loss in tomorrow's game.

They know Mike London has already laid much of the foundation for a program capable of finding success and then sustaining that success.  This extends further than blockers and tacklers; it's more than quarterbacks and cornerbacks.  It's a head-to-toe belief and confidence. It's a "run to the roar" mentality, where elusive hazy-smoky hope is readily traded in for the tangible granite of heightened expectations.  Virginia players now seek out the big stage, instead of shying away from it or suffering from big heads once they arrive there.  London has found a way to keep the team balanced and on point, a tightrope act Al Groh (and to some extend George Welsh) was never able to pull off.  Confidence without overconfidence.  The key to sustained success in college football, and the very essence of Frank Beamer's impressive regime.

London is building a competent, capable football program.  He is recruiting with a vigor and energy never before seen from either of the D-1A football programs within the Commonwealth.  He is making Virginia Football the sexy brand, not just in the state of Virginia, but in the ACC.

We might lose to the Hokies tomorrow.  Heck, we probably WILL lose to the Hokies tomorrow.  But it doesn't matter.  We've found enough success this season to validate the upward trajectory of the program and to prove that Mike London has the organizational and management chops to guide Virginia Football to new heights.  He's recruiting the talent he needs to build an important team, he is surrounding himself with the coaching ability to mold that talent into a game-winning machine, and he is reinventing the image of Virginia Football into that of a tough, scrappy, smart outfit that walks with a swagger and plays with a purpose -- confident without overconfidence.

The win against the Hokies might not come tomorrow.  It might not come in what is sure to be a half-step-back 2012 season.  But it's coming.  And when it comes, it will be the opening of the floodgates.

Hokie fans know this, even if they might not choose to acknowledge it.  And rumbling down in their guts with the Busch and Bojangles are angry little butterflies.  It's nerves about tomorrow's game, and it's worry about the see-saw of state dominance starting to dip toward Charlottesville.

I hope we win tomorrow.  But it's not necessary.  We're already on our way.  And I now know this to be true:

They are scared.

A Mikey-V original.


November 22, 2011

Wahooze Pix -- Lucky Week 13

Kendall -- 6
Mike -- 6
Pierce -- 7
Dennis -- 3

Pierce -- 89
Kendall -- 83
Guest Pickers -- 83
Mike -- 79

Getting tight...

It's Virginia / Virginia Tech week, so of course our guest picker is my favorite Hokie fan ever, Doug!  If you only know him from the blog, you first met Doug in our popular and successful Q&A With Doug piece from last month.  That serves as enough of an intro, I think.  Just click the link, you lazy ass.

Yep, he's married to a Hoo.  He has impeccable taste.

Anyway, on to the picks!

3 points: 
Virginia Tech (-5.5) @ Virginia
Hokies: Doug and (sadly) Kendall
Hoos: Pierce and Mike

Pierce Sez: I'm not going to be the one to pick against us. I think we could win this. Hell, I think we could win big. I also think we can lose. I really don't have anything unbiased to say. Tech sucks. Hokies tremble even more about Mike London after their first loss in forever to us.

Mike Sez: All rivalries aside this should be a great game. Nothing beats a rivalry game where both teams are good and a lot is on the line. I expect a very close game. UVA wins with a late field goal.

Doug Sez: I could probably write a few pages on this matchup, but I try to keep it short. Like Mike,  this is what a rivalry is all about. the two best teams in the ACC (at the very least momentum wise) for a winner take all. I have to admit I actually have some butterflies about this game. That being said, VT scores a late touchdown after a tight battle to win and beat the spread, and UVA fans tremble with fear that their best opportunity to defeat VT is lost. (Seriously... you didn't think I would pick UVA did you?)

Kendall Sez: I'm nervous as hell about this game.  Nervous... because I'm afraid that our awesome 8 wins ring a little hollow without a win over the Hokies.  I don't care about the ACC Championship Game or any of that.  I just want this streak to end.  This streak kills me.  Seven years in a row we've lost to the castrated turkeys.  And we have a unique chance to hold VPI out of the national championship conversation this year.  We have to win.  But it's never that simple for UVA, and I've gotten so used to unhappiness the week after Thanksgiving that I just come to expect it now.

Harvest Bowl?

1 point each:
Boston College @ Miami (-14)
BC: Doug and Kendall
Miami: Pierce and Mike

Pierce Sez: BC's been playing pretty solid recently and Miami hasn't exactly been lighting up the scoreboards. Therefore, I assume they'll blow BC out.

Mike Sez: Last game of the year for the Canes. Harris and Spence go out with a bang. Get your viewing in now because it might be a while.

Doug Sez: Miami laid it all on the line for that dramatic 6-3 win last week. having bowl taken away further deflates the team. Miami in a close one.

Kendall Sez: What do the Canes have left to play for?

Pittsburgh @ West Virginia (-7.5)
Pitt: Kendall
West Virginia: Pierce, Mike, Doug

Pierce Sez: Going with the home team because the Big East is garbage.

Mike Sez: Too much offense from West Virginia.

Doug Sez: Pittsburgh continues sucking as both a city and as a future ACC team (Don't worry WVU fans, you suck too).

Kendall Sez: Anything can happen in the Backyard Brawl, especially when both teams are middling like this.  Just a hunch on the upset pick, I guess.

Georgia (-6) @ Georgia Tech
Georgia: Mike and Doug
GT: Pierce and Kendall

Pierce Sez: ACC! ACC! Seriously though, I think the Dawgs will come in too confident. GT gets the lead early and holds on enough before Georgia regroups.

Mike Sez: Let's rub some more salt in GT's wasted season.

Doug Sez: Just because Georgia always beats GT, and usually by healthy margin.

Kendall Sez: This game is always close, within 5 or 6 points.  Georgia will probably win, but the spread is too high.

Cincinnati (-3) @ Syracuse
Cincy: Pierce, Mike, Doug
Syracuse: Kendall

Pierce Sez: Bearcats almost sounds like "Beercats." Go Beercats!

Doug Sez: Syracuse = future ACC team, hence continued sucking.

Kendall Sez: All the way to the poor house.  I'm with you, 'Cuse!

Maryland @ NC State (-13)

Pierce Sez: If they can do it to Clemson, they can do it to the worst team in the country.

Mike Sez: Everyone beats Maryland. NC State puts them out of their misery.

Doug Sez: Maryland is just a flat out bad football team right now.

Kendall Sez: I honestly don't know where they go from here.  Fire Randy Edsall?  How can this program be rebuilt?  My guess is that it isn't rebuilt for a good long while.  Welcome to your rightful place eating shit in the cellar, Terrapin fans.

Duke @ North Carolina (-13)
Duke: Doug and Kendall
UNC: Pierce and Mike

Pierce Sez: I used to root for Duke in this game. Used to.

Mike Sez: David Cutcliffe still sucks.

Doug Sez: North Carolina wins this, but I don't think they win by this many points. UNC suffers from tin-man disease.

Kendall Sez: It's clichéd, but this is Duke's bowl game.  I think they'll play the Holes very tough.

Vanderbilt (-1.5) @ Wake Forest
Vandy: Mike
Wake: Pierce, Doug, Kendall

Pierce Sez: Vandy's a trendy pick to win games, but like last week, they can't get it done. Yet.

Mike Sez: Bounce back game, before the Danny O'Brien era begins.

Doug Sez: Deflating loss last week for Vanderbilt. One can argue that WFU is the fourth best team in the ACC.

Kendall Sez: Both teams are sneaky good, but I give the edge to Wake playing at home.

Florida State (-2) @ Florida

Pierce Sez: Ohhh buddy. I bet the guys play even sloppier this week. Luckily for them, UF's strengths are not the same as UVA's. FSU should score plenty.

Mike Sez: Let's see how the refs can screw Jimbo over in this one.

Doug Sez: It's possible they only win 3-0 but that will be good enough. FSU has scarecrow disease.

Kendall Sez: The 'Noles have some good karma built up.

Clemson @ South Carolina (-4)
Clemson: Pierce and Doug
Gamecocks: Mike and Kendall

Pierce Sez: I think Clemson gets it done in bounce-back fashion. Yes its on the road against an SEC team, but this USC team isn't the same one that started the season. No star RB and no intoxicated QB = surprising home loss to your rival.

Mike Sez: Clemson is mailing it in.

Doug Sez: I'll give the Tigers the nod here, but a team really should not be that devastated by the loss of one guy. Watkins I assume will be back.

Kendall Sez: Clemson is suddenly more choke than bite.

STONE COLD LEAD PIPE LOCKS -- 2 points each -- in honor of rivalry week, we are going to pick the winners for ALL of the following:

Texas @ Texas A&M (-8.5)
Texas: Doug and Kendall
A&M: Pierce and Mike

Pierce Sez: Texas has fallen apart this year. Aggies at home should cover.

Mike Sez: Gig 'Em. Tannehill is good. Cough Cough Mike Shannahan.

Doug Sez: If two mediocre teams play football in Texas and no one cares does it actually happen? Texas A&M caps its underwhelming season with one last underwhelming performance.

Kendall Sez: One last parting gift for the Ags as they depart for the SEC.

Arkansas @ LSU (-13.5)
Arkansas: Mike and Doug
LSU: Pierce and Kendall

Pierce Sez: BSC BUSTER! SEC WEST MADNESS! 3-Team National Championship game! Nah, LSU makes a statement. They're the top dog in this mess.

Mike Sez: Upset Special

Doug Sez: Arkansas keeps it close enough to have almost cause BCS Armageddon. LSU scores late to win by 10.

Kendall Sez: LSU flexes nuts, wins by 30.  This is Arkansas, people.  A totally schizophrenic program.

Ohio State @ Michigan (-7.5)
Michigan: EVERYONE!

Pierce Sez: The boys in Ann Arbor exorcize their rival demons much like UVA does.

Mike Sez: Freshman QB at the big house = disaster.

Doug Sez: Sort of a familiar setting. Recent one sided rivalry, with best opportunity in a while to break the cycle. This time I go with the upstart.

Kendall Sez: Michigan is just the better team.  Playing at home, motivated by the one-sided rivalry, it's a no-brainer.

Alabama (-21) @ Auburn
Bama: Pierce, Doug, Kendall
Auburn: Mike

Pierce Sez: Bama has won every conference game besides LSU by more than 21 points this season. I did the research.

Mike Sez: No way this is a blowout.

Doug Sez: Alabama rolls, effectively claiming their spot in the BCS without having to play another game.

Kendall Sez: Betcha they win this game and then go on to win the national championship.

You didn't think it would ONLY be old-time football posters, did you?