Game Time
by Jim Alderson, 8/31/01

Finally! In a matter of hours, football season will again be upon us. It is high time, I say. After a Dead Zone spent watching game tapes of prior years so much that I now have committed to memory every sequence of plays in every televised Tech game ever played, now I can observe action where I do not know the outcome beforehand, although, with UConn up first, the outcome has been fairly well determined from the moment the contracts were signed. This game should not be close, and if it is this Tech team will not be nearly as good as most everybody thinks it will be. Perish that thought.

Tech could have already opened the season, but in retrospect, the decision to not grab one of the ‘preseason’ games looks like a good one. Other than Fresno State, nobody seemed to come out of last weekend’s action looking good. I wouldn’t give a plugged nickel for Colorado’s season, TCU certainly wrote the primer on how to defend Nebraska (Crouch for the Heisman? Give me a break), information that should be put to good use by Big XII coaches. algroh, as he eyes Antoine Womack on crutches must be questioning the wisdom of scheduling a game on turf that looked suspiciously like what used to plague Veteran’s Stadium (now we know what they did with it), Yoda gave solid evidence that he plans to finish the job of squandering the immense talent of Ronald Curry, a task begun by Steve Marshall (no, Carolina, you can’t have our Head Coach, or another former Tech Offensive Coordinator, either), Georgia Tech showed mainly that they really miss Ralph Friedgen and Syracuse still doesn’t have anything remotely resembling a quarterback. Maybe it was just as well we didn’t play one.

Saturday’s game will give us an early look at Temple’s replacement in the Big East, and while it may not show this weekend, the Huskies have tons more of an upside. They will join the BE with a well-financed program (they are spending more on football than the Owls even now) that will be playing in a killer new stadium. It might (and probably will) take a decade, but these guys will eventually be a force with which to be reckoned.

From Tech’s standpoint, the major over-under seems to be the number of minutes it will take to get Bryan Randall into the game. I would just as soon it be a while, because if Tech is to have the season we all hope for it will not be accomplished with a true freshman at quarterback, and Frank desperately needs for Grant Noel to be up to the job, and my guess is he will. Other than the uncertainty at quarterback, there are not a lot of questions about this group of Hokies; September will provide ample opportunity for the reloaded offensive line to come around.

Ah, the September schedule. While it is not the most challenging one around it is, as our esteemed Athletic Director pointed out last Sunday on the Tech television show, a comfortable one with which to develop a new quarterback. I still see a potential pratfall in the second game. Western Michigan is a good team by MAC standards and I imagine Gary Darnell is still a bit irked about prior circumstances and should have his team more than ready to play. I would also think it will be an interesting conversation between Frank and Darnell at midfield during warm-ups.

The Rutgers game will give us our first look at new dorks coach Greg Schiano, another in the ‘Let’s hire an alumnus since it worked at Tech’ method of hiring coaches currently in vogue in the area. You know you have a major job on your hands when you have to teach your team how to run onto the field.

Central Florida will round out September and a month spent rising very early on Saturday mornings. Does anybody else have two games in September against teams with 'Knights' in their nickname? The best thing about this game is when it is over, Tech football will get a lot more interesting.

No, the September schedule is not the best one ever concocted, but it is Tech’s schedule, and we are Tech fans -- most of us, anyway. The large amount of mail I have received from irate fans of other schools would indicate that quite a few are reading TSL. I encourage them all to spend lots of money at TechLocker and subscribe to the TSL Extra, especially those griping Temple fans that will soon need a new team to root for.

It is time for Tech football. Like the team, I am ready to hit something; unlike the team, what I am ready to hit are Routes 58 and 220 and Interstate 81, the parking lot, a cooler full of iced adult beverages, and my seats in Lane Stadium. Let’s get it on. See you Saturday.

Jim Alderson, who first made his mark with his biting political commentary on the A-Line email newsletter, also brings a unique, sarcastic, and well-informed perspective on college sports, particularly (1) Virginia Tech sports and (2) ACC sports.  While Hokie fans currently have very little use for subject number 2, Alderson is an entertaining and informative columnist on subject number 1.  For even more fun, visit Jim's A-Line home page.


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