Friday, May 14, 1999

Football Schedule Additions Announced in Hokie Huddler

In the latest issue of the Hokie Huddler, there's good news and bad news.  The good news is, Tech will play a home-and-home football series with Auburn.  The bad news is, it's scheduled for 2010 and 2011.

Although I appreciate the efforts of our athletic director, I have a hard time getting excited about a series that is scheduled 10+ years out, because my own personal opinion is that it has a veritable snowball's chance of ever happening.  The landscape of college athletics changes so rapidly these days, that football games scheduled any more than five years out are more like wish lists than games that are actually likely to happen.

I'm much more excited about the 2002 and 2003 series with Texas A&M (we go there, in 2002, and they return here a year later), because it's close enough that it will probably occur.  Heck, we've got players on our team who will still be playing for us in 2002, and that makes it a little more "realistic" to me.

There were other announcements in the Huddler article regarding football schedules:

  • Tech will host UConn to open the season in 2001.  Remember, UConn goes to Division 1-A in 2000, and will stay there provided they come up with a stadium big enough for Division 1-A within a few years.  I would imagine that UConn is trying to schedule as many Big East teams as they can, as soon as they can, before entering the Big East as a full football member some time around 2003 or 2004.
  • Tech has signed a 2-for-1 deal with Western Michigan, Jim Weaver's previous employer.   That means two games here, one game there, and the dates are not fixed yet.
  • A possible deal with Penn State for 2006 and 2007 is still being worked on and should be settled one way or the other soon.

So, for the foreseeable future, our out-of-conference (OOC) opponents look like this.   We typically have 3 OOC games at home in odd years, and 2 OOC games at home in even years:

Year Home Away
1999 Clemson, UAB, JMU UVa
2000 UVa, Akron Central Fla, ECU
2001 UConn, Central Fla, TBD UVa
2002* UVa, Marshall, TBD Texas A&M, TBD
2003* JMU, Central Fla, Texas A&M, TBD UVa
2004 UVa, TBD TBD, TBD
2005 Marshall, TBD, TBD UVa

* These years will have 12 games total, hence the "extra" home game
TBD - To Be Determined

Western Michigan will probably eat up most of the TBD's in 2001-2003.  This is a shame, because 2001 and 2002 are just screaming for a good home-and-home with a quality "name" team.  Looks like it'll be WMU instead.  Now let's just hope we put up a decent showing against them.  I'm serious here - we have struggled mightily with Midwest teams in recent years (Cincinnati, 1995 - Akron, 1996 - Miami OH, 1997).

If you take the approach that we would like to play a "name" team or an otherwise solid opponent each year in addition to UVa, then here's how the next five years stack up to that criterion:

  • 1999:  Clemson at home, UVa on the road.  Good.
  • 2000:  arguably satisfactory, with road games against CFU and ECU and a home game against UVa.
  • 2001:  If Western Michigan takes the remaining 2001 home slot, that home schedule is going to be a snooooozer:  CFU might be halfway decent, and that matchup will intrigue me and other knowledgeable football fans, but I'm not sure can count on them drawing many fans to "The Rock."  UVa's on the road.
  • 2002: Marshall and UVa at home, TA&M on the road.  Good.
  • 2003:  Texas A&M at home, UVa on the road.  Also good.

So, in the next five years, four of the OOC schedules are decent to good, but the home schedule for 2001 could be a real disaster, if Western Michigan winds up on it with UConn and CFU.

I think the biggest problem is that after playing Clemson this year, the marquee OOC names (other than UVa) disappear for two straight years, until we play Texas A&M in 2002.  By the time that game arrives in 2002, Tech fans and their football team are going to be going crazy for a quality OOC opponent other than UVa.

This little analysis is weak because it ignores the conference schedule, plus it assumes (perhaps wrongly so) that Central Florida, ECU, and Marshall won't be up to snuff.   But one things for sure:  schedules in the immediate future are still sorely lacking in big-name opponents.  I won't get into discussing why that is, because that's a whole 'nother topic that has been worn out on the message board 50 times over.

Once we get beyond about 2005, our schedules should look pretty solid, assuming that the PSU deal comes through (2006 and 2007) and the Wisconsin (2008 and 2009) and Auburn (2010 and 2011) deals hold up.  But man, that's a long time away.

For a complete look at our future schedules, see HokieCentral's Future Football Schedules Page, which is maintained by Beerman, and can also be accessed from my Football Page.


A Heavy Discussion About the Message Board

It's time to clear the air about the message board once again.   Some of you have noticed your posts disappearing the last few days, and here's why.

It has been, uh, interesting on the board in recent weeks.  Lately, with the arrests of Jim Druckenmiller and Lorenzo Ferguson, the HokieCentral message board has become a breeding ground for rumors. Most of these rumors start somewhere else, but since the HCMB is a very large gathering place, the rumors eventually make their way to it, where they seem to take on a life of their own.

If message board rumors are about a player transferring, or whether or not a certain recruit is going to commit to Tech, that's one thing. But where legal issues are concerned, such as possible criminal activities by players and former players, I have decided not to tolerate any such rumor-mongering.

On one hand, the posting of such negative, unfounded rumors regarding possible criminal activity, arrests, etc. on the message board creates too much ill will towards HokieCentral on the part of the Virginia Tech athletic department, the coaches, the players, and law enforcement officials.

On the other hand, and more importantly, such postings and rumors open HokieCentral and the HCMB posters to legal issues and liability issues too complex for me to even begin to analyze.

If, for example, you comment on or leak information about an on-going criminal investigation, law suit, or trial, you are not speaking quietly amongst friends - you are posting sensitive information in a public forum that is read by thousands of people.

I have tried to tell everyone again and again that the HokieCentral message board is widely read by EVERYONE, and to post carefully, but that message seems to be falling on at least a few deaf ears.

Therefore, in the future, I will no longer tolerate such posts, and I will not explain to anyone who posts irresponsibly why their post suddenly disappeared. I simply refuse to open up myself and fellow message board posters to the possible legal ramifications of irresponsible posting.

Obviously, determining what is and isn't an "irresponsible" post capable of causing legal trouble is a huge gray area, but it's one that I'm fully willing to try and figure out. Given the opportunity, I will err on the conservative side.

What I am not willing to do, however, is take any sort of responsibility for any posts other than those that I personally make. So look for a new disclaimer to appear soon on the message board, which says exactly that

There's one other thing you should know, in case you didn't know it already. If you're laboring under the assumption that the HokieCentral message board is an anonymous forum, you are sadly mistaken. Each post on the message board includes the IP address of the poster, which, when combined with the time and date of the post, uniquely identifies the account or location from which the post was made.

If law enforcement officials need to figure out who posted a message, they don't even need to contact me at all. They can simply record the IP address, the date and time of the post, and with a little simple investigation of those three items, they can track you down faster than I can make a million dollars boxing Mike Tyson.

So, for the hundredth time, post responsibly, and if you don't, I'll simply eliminate your post.

Sorry for covering such a heavy subject in detail, but based on the events of the past two weeks or so, some of which you witnessed on the message board and some of which you didn't, this is the direction I am now going in.

More on Just How Far the Message Board Reaches

Let me give you a few examples of how widely read the message board is, and to also demonstrate to you how easy it is to identify posters:

  1. During the 1998 football season, someone posted rather critical comments about one of our assistant coaches, going so far as to suggest that the coach's job was in danger.  Without contacting me at all, the coach figured out who the poster was, called him up on the telephone, and gave him an earful.
  2. When Jim Druckenmiller's recent legal troubles went public, the San Francisco print media were eerily quick with the story.  Within a day, we found out why:  a Bay area reporter had been following the situation on the HokieCentral message board, where rumors had been flying for days that a former Tech athlete was about to get into trouble.  In an article that appeared in a San Francisco on-line newspaper the day after the charges went public, the reporter made a remark to the effect of, "The situation has been discussed at length on a Virginia Tech sports web site over the last few days," and then he proceeded to give the web address of the HokieCentral message board.
  3. Recently, a poster made a very ill-advised comment about possible legal troubles that may be plaguing the Tech football team.  Within hours, that poster had received an email from local law enforcement officials about his post.   I don't have a calculator powerful enough to figure out the "pucker factor" you'd experience if that email hit your In-box.

Regarding situation number 3, I don't know what the content of the email from the law enforcement official(s) was, and I don't want to know.  But suffice to say when law enforcement officials start sniffing around my web site, that's where I unequivocally draw the line.  In the future, as I said above, I will rapidly drop the hammer on any posts that I deem out of line with regards to real and possible criminal matters.

Remember those three anecdotes the next time you post, and like the board says at the top, post responsibly.  I have no desire to be at the forefront of Internet law, and I'm sure you don't, either.


Tech Notes

  • Tech will have a new "student season ticket" next year.  For $42, a student can purchase a reserved football season ticket that will enable the student to (a) sit in the same seat every game, and (b) forego the regular ticket pickup rigamarole.   Last year, with 12,000 athletic cards and 18,000 student tickets, and an unlimited student guest ticket policy, Tech students ran into difficulty getting tickets for the big games against WVU and UVa.  If you can afford the $42, the student season ticket sounds like a no-brainer to me.  Call 1-800-VATECH4 for more details.
  • The most ridiculous preseason ranking I've seen for the Hokies so far?  The hands-down winner is CBS Sportsline, which ranked our Hokies 3rd in the country in their preseason football poll.  And this comes from a network that won't show our games on TV.  Go figure.
  • Kudos to the Tech women's lacrosse team, which entered the rankings at #20 last week.   Hmmm, maybe we've got the beginnings of a women's sports dynasty here at VT, and maybe Title IX wasn't such a bad thing after all (although surely our club-level men's lacrosse team, which might be a scholarship sport except for Title IX, would not agree).


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