Three in a Row
by Jim Alderson, 11/19/01

Anybody tired of waxing the Hoos? I didnít think so. Me, neither. Once again, in a victory that will see the Commonwealth Cup residing in Merryman for at least a thousand days, and keep the mathematicians working overtime on the Hotline Notes, Tech has again whacked Virginia, Frankís third in a row over the blue boys, the first time either team has accomplished a trifecta since George turned the trick in 87-89, Frankís first three cracks at them.

Times have changed, and Frank Beamer now not only has three straight, but also five of the last seven and even four of the last five at Virginiaís version of the Smith Center. He is dominating the series against the stateís other team, and given the talent disparity in the two freshman classes, is likely to continue to for a while. Next year when the Hoos come to Tech's house and play in what will by then be one of the seven largest crowds to watch football in our state [that mark of 61k is going to fall next August], nobody on their team will have known anything but crushing defeat after crushing defeat to Tech stretching from the last century. How many times over the years do you figure Monsanto Pope has watched as the back of jersey number 7 sped away from him? Who in the Hoo secondary hasnít had Andre Davis run past them? The number of UVA quarterbacks sacked by Ben Taylor is large. Is football a great sport or what?

It is obviously apparent that algroh needs better players, and the most glaring necessity is for greater team speed with which to compete with Techís greyhounds. Might I suggest holding open tryouts among the Hoo fan base? The velocity displayed by the Hoo not-so-faithful in heading for the exits was far greater than that of anybody algroh had in uniform attempting to keep up with Davis. There might be some real talent to be found among those zipping across the Grounds heading straight for the Corner to drown their sorrows or making a beeline for the base of the statue of TommyJ to reflect on the Jeffersonian principles of limited defense. Why, even mascot Wally Wahoo deciding that he had seen enough of this and racing from the field displayed a superior forty time than any seen in the Hoo secondary. Think about it, algroh.

Saturdayís pounding of the Hoos also showed us that there is nothing wrong with Grant Noel that going up against the Hoo defense couldnít cure. That was not exactly Dwight Freeney rushing him, nor did the Hoo front three put up much more resistance than the Taliban at Kabul as KJ ran to near-exhaustion. Youíve really got to tip your hat to algroh and his staff of relatives for devising both offensive and defensive game plans that played right into Techís strengths.

Rivalry games are great fun, and while the current state of the Tech-Hoo one might not currently match the close games and exciting finishes of the Hoo-Richmond one, it is still a big game. Alas, I was unable to attend, due to nobody giving me tickets or algroh leaving me any at Will Call. I was forced to a local tavern to watch the game with my buddy and shyster Hoo lawyer. Although a season ticket holder, he had read the routing on the wall and given his tickets to another Hokie friend. Judging from the composition of the crowd, he certainly wasnít the only Hoo to hand his ducats to Hokies [Following Shakespeareís advice concerning lawyers would certainly increase the numbers of Scott Stadium seats available to Hokies], but it was irritating that he gave them to a Hokie other than me. I will not forget this slight, and plan on deducting the price of those tickets I did not receive from the next outrageously-padded bill he sends me for the miniscule amount of work involved, none of it by him, of having his secretary stroll to the courthouse to search a title and type a deed. That will teach him.

He had already been there for some time preparing himself for the inevitable pounding by drinking like a fish, producing a condition that made him amenable to an impromptu bet proposed by me that involved the alumnus of the losing team downing a shot of either Wild Turkey or Virginia Gentleman. Winning rivalry games are important for many reasons, such as recruiting, the self-esteem of those not having a life, and me not having to drink cheap liquor. I am happy to report that one of the stateís esteemed attorneys, a skilled barrister who has successfully argued cases before the Virginia Supreme Court, found Communion to produce the result one would expect when introducing a generous shot of Wild Turkey into a stomach already containing a quart of gin. Once again I observed Hoo speed superior to any algroh could put on the field as the former president of the Danville Bar Association lit out for the Menís room. You just canít beat in-state rivalries.

He did endure the defeat with his usual good humor, save for the occasional outbursts of profanity he refrains from using in any court of law that erupted when Hoos treated the ball as if they had just been informed it was covered with Anthrax spores, and after the game gave an excellent imitation of Willie Pile as he intercepted the check thrown in my direction. He is a gracious loser who is a bit older than some of those goofy younger Hoos, and after watching Virginia football since his Hooville undergraduate days in the early Sixties has become inured to numbing defeat. Whatís one more?

This yearís annual Tech defeat of Virginia was great fun, and the bragging and, in my case, needling, rights it will produce for another year among people who are friends, co-workers and in some cases spouses are what make these in-state rivalries great ones. We will not always win this game, since after all, algroh wonít coach there forever, but when we do, it is great. Tech 31 UVa 17, I love it.

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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