Weekend Rooting Guide
by Huntsville Hokie, 10/27/00

Well, I’m sure that most of you reading this have already perused Beerman's Picks, but this takes a bit of a different tack. Weekend Rooting Guide is a list of teams for whom Hokies should be cheering. Choices are made due to effect on our rankings, SOS calculations, conference strength, and other BCS implications. Keep in mind, I’m just saying who to root for, not necessarily who will win. Rankings are taken from the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.

TOP 25

These are pretty straightforward to pick. Usually, the best pick is the underdog, unless there is a combination of SOS, Heisman, or BCS implications. Since we’re #2, the BCS stuff should straighten itself out by itself if the underdogs win.

(#1) Nebraska (7-0) @ (#3) Oklahoma (6-0)
So far, the game of the year. This used to be one of the biggest rivalries in college football, before the Big 8 and SWC merged to become the Big XII, separating the two into opposite divisions. Of course, then Oklahoma [created a vacuum] for a while. But now they’re both back on top, and this game could go a long way to deciding the participants in the Orange Bowl. A loss doesn’t necessarily eliminate the other, but I think the Hokies best bet in this game is if all of the teams (including Kansas State) have a loss going into the Big XII title game. Since Oklahoma only has Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Oklahoma State, I think we need them to get their loss here. The best scenario, therefore, would be Nebraska winning here then losing to Kansas State. Either way, though, the Hokies will be the BCS #2 by game’s end. Pshew! Enough about this game! (I can’t be this serious all the way through the WRG, I’d go insane!)
Root: Nebraska

Pittsburg(h) (5-1) @ Virginia Tech (7-0)
Hmmm…let’s see…
Root: Go Hokies!

Georgia Tech (5-2) @ (#4) Clemson (8-0)
This is the third week I’ve done the WRG (the first was a MB post) and haven’t had to root against the Jackets yet. This week doesn’t change things. (Thankfully, or else my Dad and sister would be royally ticked off.) My folks are at the game, and let’s hope they can cheer them to victory.
Root: Georgia Tech

Louisiana Tech (2-6) @ (#5) Miami (5-1)
Another OOC game for the Big East against less-than-stellar opposition. The ‘Canes will use this as a tune-up for the big game against the Hokies next weekend. Let’s hope they roll, so that they get complacent (and give us another SOS boost).
Root: Miami

(#6) Florida State (7-1) @ (#22) North Carolina State (5-1)
Interesting game. Are the Wolfpack, with their fabulous freshman QB Rivers, for real? Or will Geritol spokesman Chris Weinke and the Seminoles show them a thing or two. NC State is undefeated at home, and since a loss drops F$U out of the Orange Bowl race, we here at WRG hope the ‘Pack can stay that way.
Root: North Carolina State

(#12) Georgia (6-1) @ (#7) Florida (6-1)
Once again, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party rolls into Jacksonville, FL, pre-empting the Hokies’ telecast in 73% of the company—a number that is shrinking slightly due to massive telephone and e-mail campaigns orchestrated on HokieCentral. Nevertheless, both teams need this game to stay in the Orange Bowl race, though Georgia needs a bit too much help to make it there. Florida is rolling, with freshman Rex Grossman taking over the helm from Palmer, and they do look tough. Hopefully, the freshman will be so overwhelmed at the Cocktail Party, that he pours himself one too many Turkey and Cokes….
Root: Jawja

(#8) Kansas State (7-1) @ Texas A&M (5-2)
The Aggies’ 12th Man will be rocking College Station, while the WRG ponders if another Wildcat loss will be beneficial to the Hokies’ BCS hopes. It will.
Root: Texas A&M

(#9) Washington (6-1) @ Stanford (3-4)
This is a tough call, as U-Dub is rather highly ranked, but a win for them would improve the Hokies’ SOS. Due to the loss to Oregon, the Huskies can win out and still not win their conference. I’d like to see one more loss by Washington, but since they still have Arizona and UCLA on their schedule, it would do better in the computer rankings if they lost to one of these, rather than a sub-.500 Stanford team.
Root: Washington

(#10) Oregon (6-1) @ Arizona State (5-2)
Same as above, excepting the SOS boost. It may be cool to root for the Ducks (quack! quack!), but that’s not what the WRG is all about. This and Oregon State are the two tough games remaining on their schedule, so this week we take no chances that they’ll win out and…
Root: Arizona State

Rice (2-5) @ (#11) Texas Christian (6-0)
All other undefeateds must die!
Root: Rice

(#13) Ohio State (6-1) @ (#16) Purdue (6-2)
This is another huge game, implicating the BCS. The winner of this team is in the driver’s seat for the Big T(elev)en championship. I would like to tap the Boilermakers here, but for two reasons: Michigan @ Ohio State on Nov. 18, and Drew Brees in the Heisman race. Although Michael has decided not to concentrate on winning the Heisman Trophy, we all know that he still wants it, so we’ll root for some help.
Root: Ohio State

(#14) Southern Miss (5-1) @ Houston (3-4)
With Southern Miss (I refuse to spell out that state) being in Conference USA, some interesting possibilities come up for us. First, they are not going to get a BCS bid, so we don’t have to worry about that scenario. Also, would ECU winning C-USA over them help us out? Since they play ECU the last game of the season (probably to decide the C-USA title), I think we hope for a Southern Miss win, and let ECU take care of the rest.
Root: Southern Miss

Washington State (3-4) @ (#17) Oregon State (6-1)
Another surprise this year, Oregon State hasn’t beaten UCLA and USC in the same season since the year Pearl Harbor got bombed. Until now. However, they must run the table and wish for a Washington loss to get to the Rose bowl. Like we care. This game has no effect on the Hokies whatsoever, so whom do we root for?
Root: Washington State

Tennessee (3-3) @ (#18) South Carolina (7-1)
Another SOS wash here. While the Gamecocks maybe the feel-good story of the year (and they’re so much fun to root for too…), and the thought of Tennessee at 3-4 makes me smile, I’m not so sure that rooting for the ‘Cocks would be a good idea. If they run the table, they could sneak into the Orange Bowl (with a lot of help, of course). But their remaining schedule is absolutely brutal. They have Tennessee, @ Florida, and @ Clemson. After much consultation with the WRG staff, we feel that a South Carolina loss here would be a good thing, as then we would be able to root for them in the games that follow.
Root: Tennessee

Air Force (5-2) @ (#19) Notre Dame (5-2)
Here’s a tough one. Notre Dame has a strong effect on our SOS, playing 3 BE teams, and Notre Dame winning out gives them a BCS bowl, and Rut(s)gers and Boston College 2 losses. An 8-3 (or even a 7-4) Notre Dame, however, gives them the ability to take away BE bowl slots. I think the best for the BE (but not for the Hokies’ SOS) is for the Golden Domers to lose out, end up with a 5-6 record, and stay home for the holidays.
Root: Air Force

Baylor (2-5) @ (#20) Texas (5-2)
Since neither team has an affect on our SOS, this is an easy pick.
Root: Da Bearssss!

Middle Tenn. State (3-4) @ (#21) Miss. State (4-2)
Another game without SOS implications, this makes it easy to root against Miss. State for all my friends that are Auburn fans.
Root: Middle Tenn. State

UCLA (4-3) @ (#23) Arizona (5-2)
Same as the Baylor/Texas game. No SOS help here, so let’s root against another ranked team.
Root: UCLA

(#24) Colorado State (6-1) @ San Diego State (2-5)
Ditto, plus the Rams have only one loss.
Root: San Diego State

Arkansas (4-2) @ (#25) Auburn (6-2)
Ditto the ditto, but I can’t root against Auburn twice in a row. They’re cool; they go for it on 4th down. (Yes, I may be losing my objectivity here, but I can do what I want, it’s my damn column!)
Root: Auburn


These picks are pretty straightforward as well, as the Hokie opponent usually has a larger SOS effect, but not always.

Marshall (3-4) @ Akron (4-4)
Pretty straightforward here, even though Marshall is an opp-opp.
Root: Akron

UAB (5-2) @ East Carolina (5-2)
Also straightforward.
Root: East Carolina

Rut(s)gers (3-4) @ Boston College (4-3)
Boston College really could use a win, as they may make a bowl. Rut(s)gers is really 3-4?
Root: Boston College

Central Florida (5-3) @ Alabama (3-4)
Can you imagine the PAMing and BAMing if Alabama goes 3-5? It would be great (if they don’t hire our coach away after the season! ;^) )
Root: Central Florida

North Carolina (3-4) @ Virginia (4-3)
Much as I hate to, I’d have to root for UVA-C just so they can have 6 wins when they come to town. I’d love to see the Hokies break their 7-win mediocrity streak! (Actually, this is even as far as SOS goes, b/c even though DSU is on our schedule, UNC is on our opponents’ schedules twice, thus making an even effect. But Wahoo State winning helps us more in the computers.)
Root: Virginia

OTHER GAMES (In order of SOS importance)
These are the games where the biggest factor is how many times they appear on Hokie opponents’ schedules. Any other implications, such as Heisman candidates, National Ranking, or other such "strength" categories would’ve most likely been addressed in the first two sections. Therefore, the non-boldfaced numbers in parenthesis (they will look like 3-2 or something like that) are the SOS effect of the two teams.

Maryland (3-4) @ Duke (0-7) – (3-2) I love seeing Duke winless.
Root: Maryland

Buffalo (1-6) @ N. Illinois (4-3) – (3-2) When the heck did Buffalo win a game?
Root: Buffalo

Toledo (6-1) @ Navy (0-7) – (0-3) No brainer here. But can they pull it off?
Root: Navy

W. Michigan (6-1) @ Kent State (1-7) – (0-2) Homecoming U won a game too?!?
Root: Kent State

South Florida (4-3) @ Connecticut (3-4) – (0-2) UConn should win at football for a change.
Root: UConn

Wyoming (1-7) @ Brigham Young (3-4) – (0-2) I like LaVell Edwards.
Root: BYU

Ball State (3-4) @ C. Michigan (1-7) – (0-1) What the heck is CMU’s mascot?
Root: C. Michigan

Miami(OH) (4-3) @ Cincinnati (3-4) – (1-1) SOS wash. Take your pick. I haven’t forgotten ’97.
Root: Cincinnati

Tulane (3-4) @ Louisville (5-2) – (1-1) Another SOS wash, but Louisville played F$U.
Root: Tulane

Penn State (3-5) @ Indiana (3-4) – (1-0) If PSU loses ugly, our SOS goes up and KJ disses em.
Root: Penn State

Well, that about does it for this edition of Weekend Rooting Guide. I’ll post the results on the message board on Monday or so.

See y’all at the tailgate this weekend.



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