Tuesday, October 15th, 1996

Hokies Smash Owls

This past Saturday, for their Homecoming game, the Hokies rode a surprisingly strong defensive effort and an awesome running game to a 38-0 rout of Temple. The game featured two runs of 70-plus yards, one by Marcus Parker and one by Ken Oxendine, a feat which had previously never been accomplished in Hokie football history. Check out my game analysis for my take on what went down.

Oxendine Big East Player of the Week

Channel 10 reported on Monday night that the Ox was named Big East player of the week for his 163-yard, 3-TD performance against Temple. I'm assuming that he meant "offensive" player of the week. Congratulations, Ox! Keep it up!

Where was Cornell?

Much was made of the fact that Cornell Brown was no where to be seen during Saturday's game. According to the television reports yesterday, Cornell received a ride to the game, but his ride didn't have the proper parking pass, so Cornell was turned away. Faced with "trucking across campus on his crutches," as the TV report put it, Cornell went home and listened to the game on the radio, instead.

Read into that incident what you will, but I'm sitting here thinking to myself, "We haven't got one person working the parking lots who recognizes our All-American defensive end? Who's running the asylum?"

Hospital Visit

Some of Tech's biggest stars (Cornell, Druck, and about five or six other guys, including the Hokie Bird) spent Monday afternoon visiting kids in Montgomery Regional Hospital on the outskirts of Blacksburg, trying to lift their spirits. It was one of those goodwill, community service gestures that the team makes on occasion. Good luck finding a report on THAT in The USA Today. They would only report it if Druck slugged one of the kids while he was there. It's a sick comment, I know, but you get my point.

Some Observations About the Polls

Lately, I've been getting a little wound up by the screw job the Hokies have gotten in the polls. Take the AP poll (please). How many times in the past has a team been ranked 16th to open the season, won four of their first five games, and DROPPED 11 places in the poll?!? Contrast that with, for example, UVa, who started the season somewhere around 23rd or 24th, also won four of their first five, and rose to 17th in the rankings. And don't start in on me about who we've played and how many points we have or haven't beaten them by. The biggest screw over came last week, when we were idle and DROPPED four places. Unheard of.

Anyway, Rob Cunningham, a '91 Tech grad, was kind enough to take time (which I don't have right now) and do an in-depth analysis of both polls. Here are Rob's observations about this week's poll, in his words:

AP Poll: Tech gained 35 points to go from #30 to #27. Southern Miss and Washington are in front of us, and Syracuse is one spot (and 47 points) behind us (which is kind of funny).

Five biggest gainers:

  1. BYU (up 139 points from #19 to #18) They are the biggest point gainer in the poll after beating UNLV.
  2. Notre Dame (up 138 points from #11 to #8) by defeating Washington.
  3. California (up 129 points from #21 to #19) by NOT PLAYING THIS WEEKEND!
  4. West Virginia (up 113 points from #17 to #15) by NOT PLAYING ANYBODY.
  5. Georgia Tech (up 111 points from #23 to #22) by NOT PLAYING ANYBODY.

So, trouncing Temple is worse than not playing anybody. This kind of thing could really hurt Tech later in the year. I think there is something in the Big East tie-breaking procedure that deals with "if one team is ranked more than four places in front of the other."

Coaches Poll: Tech gained 22 points and stayed at #23.

Biggest Gainers:

  1. Northwestern (170 points from #18 to #15) by beating Minnesota.
  2. North Carolina (151 points from #14 to #11 by beating Maryland.
  3. California (148 points from #22 to #21) by NOT PLAYING.
  4. Notre Dame (148 points from #12 to #9) by beating Washington.
  5. Auburn (116 points from #19 to #16) by beating Mississippi St.

If some teams ranked immediately in front of Tech lose next week, will the voters extend to Tech the same courtesy extended to Cal, WVU, and GT got this weekend when they didn't play and yet benefited in the polls?

It seems to me that Tech has completely dropped off the national scene. With Pitt, SW Louisiana, and ECU coming up, I doubt that we will garner much more attention in the coming weeks. Unless all the teams in front of us start losing and let us up into the polls, we will be ranked very low in the Top 25 going into the Orange Bowl. That would place HUGE importance on that game; if we lose to Miami, we will go away (in most people's minds).

Will here again: Rob's analysis speaks for itself. The polls are generally a no-win scenario for the Hokies, and this season is no exception. After emailing all of this to me, Rob asked me if I had an opinion. I've got an opinion, all right, but I've got to keep it to myself, thanks to the recent Communications Decency Act, or whatever the hell that piece of legislation Clinton signed a while ago was called.


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