The Other Side of the Coin

by Bill Glose, 7/21/00

Well, Will did it now. He opened up the door on the age-old subject of scheduling, so I’d like to take a chance to kick the almost-dead-horse a few times myself. I guess I should start off by saying that I agree wholeheartedly with his football scheduling manifesto. I, too, get frustrated with the schedule at times, but he did a very good job of showing the necessity of those 2-for-1 deals. Like lawyers, taxes, and Hoos, they’re necessary evils.

There’s actually one more argument in favor of scheduling weaker opponents that wasn’t mentioned in Will’s article. Weak opponents are only a detractor for two teams in the entire nation – the two teams competing for that year’s National Championship game. Unless a team is competing for the MNC that year, the BCS points don’t matter one bit, and neither does strength of schedule. BCS points decide the top two teams, and that’s it. Conference victories and bowl tie-ins decide a team’s New Year’s destination.

However, there’s another side to the scheduling coin. I don’t know how many of you have realized this yet, but the Hokies are championship contenders in 2001. They’re one of those two teams in the nation that needs to worry about their strength of schedule, and they have plenty to worry about. That year, the only thing holding Tech back will be the BCS. Which is funny when you think about it because the BCS acted as the Hokie’s savior this past year. If the BCS had not been in place, there was a VERY strong possibility that Nebraska would have taken Tech’s place in the title game. Thankfully, no one will ever know.

Even with the BCS in place, there were quite a few pieces that had to fall into place as well. As each week passed, another team blocking the way fell – Penn State, Michigan State, Nebraska, Tennessee. And the team that could have caused the most damage – JMU – played an amazing season as if they were privy to the VT Cinderella script. Virginia Tech better count on those same fortuitous events in 2001, because the schedule that year is just so pathetically weak that unless they do, an undefeated Tech team may be on the outside looking in.

Before anyone gets started up with the "one-game-at-a-time" war cry, I’ll admit it can be a bad idea to get ahead of yourself in sports. Concentrate on this year, and once the season is over, you can worry about the next one. This year’s team raises enough daily debates with a solid offense returning and great talent on defense. Certainly, a good season in the making. But, I do think there will be a loss – maybe more. Great if I’m wrong, but that’s just how I see the chips falling. Let the coaches and players concentrate on this season, but not the administrators. They have to make plans several years in advance. They need to be worried about next year right now. It’s possible that Tech may receive a spot in the Kickoff Classic, which would most likely save VT’s SOS. But, until that deal is signed, I’m not counting on it – and the administration shouldn’t either. They need to strengthen the 2001 schedule, and they need to do it soon.

Will pointed out very eloquently that in order for Tech to add strong opponents, it is necessary to add a healthy dose of 2-for-1 patsies. What if the only way to strengthen the 2001 schedule is with a 1-for-1 deal that puts Virginia Tech even further behind the curve? Or even worse, to play a 0-for-1 deal at an opponent’s site? Egads! Those kinds of suggestions make finance-minded administrators want to kill themselves just so they can turn over in their graves. THIS is the point where I disagree with the VT scheduling theory – sorry it took me so long to get to it.

Have there been any monetary benefits due to the Hokies' fantastic season last year? Student admission applications are skyrocketing. Season tickets are sold out, as are all home games. TV has picked up every one of the Hokies’ games this year. This year, there is not a magazine that mentions college football without mentioning the Hokies in some manner. The reason for this is, of course, number seven himself, Mr. Vick. The publicity surrounding him will grow even more this year and once more, Virginia Tech will benefit.

With Vick (if he returns in 2001) and most of the offense coming back for a third season, I think the Hokies are a serious title contender that year. The much-debated topic of this year’s defense will be settled and the Hokies will have two strong units returning. It would be a travesty if Virginia Tech squandered a title shot in order to promote gate revenue. Tech is seeing increased gate revenue due to last year’s fantastic season. Imagine ticket sales AFTER Virginia Tech wins a National Championship! Can you say 67,000-seat sellout crowds? I knew you could. If dropping a home game in 2001 is the only way to strengthen the schedule that year, then it needs to be done. The short-term loss would be greatly offset by the fortunes gained with the MNC.


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