Friday, November 15th, 1996

A Few Last Notes About Tech/Miami...

Miami is having attendance problems. I checked out the figures for the 'Canes four home games this year, and with the exception of the FSU game (a sellout, of course, at 75,000+), Miami has not had a crowd bigger than 35,700. And that was for the Citadel. Miami drew 32,700 for Pittsburgh and a paltry 31,900 for ECU. The UM football staff took an ad out in the school newspaper pleading for attendance, and the Miami AD (Paul Dee) blames the flagging attendance on playing in a city that features four professional sports.

Remember this: the Tech game is Miami's homecoming. Remember the last time a Big East opponent insulted Tech by making us their homecoming opponent? I do. It was BC in their home opener in 1994. Tech 12, BC 6. We feed on disrespect, and you can't do a team much more disrespect than making them your homecoming opponent.

I read an excellent editorial previewing the game on the unofficial U of M site, "Eye of the Hurricanes" (there's a link to it on my Links page). I came away with the following: Tech's biggest advantage is their offensive line versus Miami's smallish defensive tackles. The 'Canes have great DE's, but apparently, their tackles aren't all that great, and that could spell BIG trouble against the Hokies. Miami's biggest advantage is their great receivers (Yatil Greene and Magic Benton) against Tech's DB's, particularly with the injury to Banks (Midget, a true freshman, will start).

My take on that is simple: Tech's advantage is in the trenches, which usually matters more than an occasional big play from a wide receiver. If the Hokies can control the ball on the ground and minimize the turnovers, they've got a good chance of winning.

Something else that could work to the Hokies advantage is the weather. It's supposed to be mid-70's and raining in Miami on Saturday. If the big Hokie linemen can get a good push on the 'Canes defensive interior, they'll move them out. On the other side of the ball, conventional wisdom is that rain hurts the passing game, so it should neutralize Miami's passing game, but I say that it could put the Tech DB's at a disadvantage. One slip, and they're dead.

Weird Stuff I Heard About Through Email

Readers Patrick Bowman and John Burkard (John was my ECU source who correctly told me that Marcus Crandell would not play against the Hokies) both noticed that a Hokie cheerleader was on the cover of the latest "American Cheerleader" magazine. Neither one could really check out the issue and give me the details, but they did tell me that she was the "Cheerleader of the Month," which included an interior article and some pictures. Congrats to the mystery Tech cheerleader, and if anybody knows who she is, email me and let me know!

And from Jay Baumgardner in Florida come these tidbits:

On Monday morning I was flipping through the channels and stopped on "Good Morning America" when they started in on "the latest college rap sheet" around the nation. Of course, BC topped the list, and I was starting to cringe because I knew VT was coming up next.

Sure enough, they started talking about the suspensions, etc. I quickly flipped the channel over to the "Today Show" and they were doing that thing where they're outside the studio in New York talking to all the people on the streets who are holding up signs and trying to get on TV. Some were holding up signs for different colleges, and I saw Ohio State and some others there.

Then you saw something you couldn't miss - a huge purple and gold "East Carolina University" sign being held up. Bryant Gumbel started talking to some people, saying stuff like "There's a lot of people out here with college sweatshirts and signs", etc. and then he goes "It looks like the people from East Carolina are pretty happy ... BUT YOU JUST GOT BEAT BY VIRGINIA TECH!!" Then he started laughing and they cut away - I mean it was a classic!

Then last night I was drifting off to sleep and my wife was watching Dave Letterman when he starts talking to this lady in the audience, asking her where she's from - and she says she's from Roanoke, VA. Dave goes "What is VA called anyway, what is the state nickname?" The lady goes "I don't know - THE HOKIE STATE?" Everyone starts laughing and Dave's just like "Are you sure about that - the Hokie State?!?" He then made a few more references that would have made any Tech grad proud.

Dave Letterman talking about the Hokies? Dave Letterman? He's my hero! I'm pretty impressed that a Ball State grad would know anything about the Hokies.

Surprise, Surprise!

Not a single 'Canes fan took the bait I posted two days ago (see "About Miami" from my November 13th posting), assuming that any of them even read it. And to tell the truth, I've been watching the message boards on Mike Bakas's "Big East College Football" site and on the "Eye of the Hurricanes" site, and the Hurricane fans that post there have been behaving themselves quite nicely.

And then the other day I read a quote by Miami QB Ryan Clement, and he was talking about watching last year's Sugar Bowl, and how excited and happy for the Hokies he was. Geez, you think maybe I've misjudged the 'Canes and all their fans?

Yeah, right.

Don't forget to check out the Mailbag. Have fun watching the game Saturday!


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