Thursday, October 14, 1999

Michael Vick - Just a Few Throws Away From Being the Best

After burning up Virginia and Rutgers for a combined 18-21, 470-yard, 5-TD, 0-interception performance, Tech QB Michael Vick is now the number one quarterback in the country in passing efficiency Ö almost.

If you peruse the USA Todayís list of passing efficiency leaders, you wonít find Vickís name anywhere on the list. But if you check out CNN/SIís quarterback ratings, Michael is #1 with a bullet, outdistancing #2 Joe Hamilton, a Heisman candidate from Georgia Tech, by a mile.

So what gives? Is Vick really the pass efficiency leader, or not?

Well, yes, and no.

CNN/SI is not kidding. With Vickís stats, he grades out to the rating that you see on their site, a whopping 217.3. The reason Vick doesnít even show up on the USA Todayís ratings is that he doesnít have the required number of attempts, which is 15 per game. The USA Today posts stats according to official guidelines, so if a player doesnít have the required number of attempts, he doesnít get listed.

Youíll notice that itís not only Vick who is present on the CNN/SI list but missing from the USA Today list. Thatís also true for numbers 3-11 on the CNN/SI list. Not one of them is on the USA Todayís list, because they donít have enough attempts.

Michael has 44 attempts in the five games that Tech has played, which means that heís 31 attempts short of hitting the official ratings. So Michael would need to throw the ball 46 times against Syracuse to catch up. Letís hope that doesnít happen, because if it does, that means the Hokies arenít doing well and are putting the ball up in the air a lot, something they havenít done against Virginia (9 attempts for Vick) and Rutgers (12 attempts for Vick, 4 for Dave Meyer).

So Michaelís got a long way to go to catch up in the number of attempts, if we hope to see him listed in the pass efficiency ratings. In a different sense, he also has a long way to go in terms of the number of games we have left to play, and the quality of the defenses heís going to be playing against.

The Syracuse defense is perhaps the best team defense heíll play against during the regular season. Weíll find out a little bit more about Mr. Vick and his capabilities come Saturday night when he lines up against a good Orange defense, with Techís starting center (Keith Short) on the sidelines.

But one thingís for certain: if the ESPN guys are doing their job, youíll hear this more than one time during the telecast Saturday night:

"If he had enough attempts, Michael Vick would be leading the country in passing efficiency. Heís THAT good."


ESPN GameDay Info

One more time: for ESPNís College GameDay broadcast, gates 1-3 of Lane Stadium will be opened in the South (scoreboard) end of the stadium at 9 a.m. The ESPN GameDay set will be situated near the playerís entrance tunnel, presumably on the field. The cameras will shoot back toward sections 2-4 in the West (press box) stands, which is where fans will gather. The show is on air from 11 a.m. to noon, with a rehearsal at 10:30.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it (and we do), is to put more than 10,000 fans in the seats. Thatís the record set at Kansas State last year, and although I have a lot of respect for K-Stateís fan base, I think the Hokies can top it. I challenge each and every one of you out there to show up and at least double K-State's record, with 20,000 Hokie fans.

Although there are a lot of Hokie diehards who will be there, perhaps youíre on the fence about whether or not you want to go to GameDay. Maybe you donít want to get up that early, or maybe you donít want to spend all day (essentially from 9 to 6) at Tech, waiting for the game to start.

If thatís the case, then clear your head and think one thought: this may never happen again. This could be a once in a life time opportunity. As such, it should be grasped and taken advantage of.

For example, for me personally, I treasure the time I spend with my nine month old son. I donít get to see him much during the week (only about 3 hours a day), so Iím very protective of the weekends, and I try to see him as much as I can on Saturdays and Sundays.

Iíve already got the HokieCentral Tailgate to do this Saturday, which starts at 2:00 (see the last News and Notes update for all the details), so originally, I was hoping to spend time with my family Saturday morning before heading out.

But this is a no-brainer. Sure, I donít want to sacrifice the morning, but believe me, Iíll be there for this one Ė I mean, weíre talking College GameDay. And the whole time Iím there, Iíll be thinking to myself, I may never get the chance to do this again.

Weíve had big games before. Weíve had games on ESPN before. Weíve had night games before. And weíve had Homecomings before. But weíve never had something like this. Never. And we may never again.

So yeah, Iíll be there. And Iím guessing Iíll see you there, too.


Tech Notes
  • All reports that I have seen indicate that starting center Keith Short, who suffered a knee injury in the Rutgers game, will not play in the Syracuse game. This is a big loss for the Hokies, who have already lost backup center Tim Schnecker. Into the void steps walk-on junior Steve DeMasi, who will have to shoulder the load. Redshirt freshman Jake Grove will dress for the game, but the coaches would rather not use him.
  • Tech has installed extra temporary bleachers to the left and right of the new permanent bleachers in the North (Cassell) end zone, as well as a seat of temporary bleachers on the field, behind the North end zone. The seats look like they might add additional capacity for about 1000 more fans, which means that the total capacity for this game (51,907 + 1000 = 52,907) will fall short of the record set against UVa in 1990 of 54,157 fans. Perhaps Tech will sell standing room only tickets to put us over the top. Reports indicate that the Corps of Cadets will sit in the end zone bleachers.
  • Midnight madness with the men's and women's basketball teams will be going on Friday night in Cassell Coliseum. This year, Tech is calling it "Midnight with the Hokies: Basketball Madness" (which makes me think that someone must have copyrighted the "Midnight Madness" name). The event kicks off at 11:00 p.m. with an autograph session and culminates in two scrimmages, beginning at midnight. There's all kinds of fun stuff and giveaways going on in the hour between 11 and 12.
  • I'm getting tons of email from folks telling me that their message board passwords from the old board donít work with the new board. That's because you have to re-register with the new board, folks. Just click the "Register" link near the top of the board, and once you fill out the form and submit it, a new password will be emailed to you in short order.
  • Can't get enough Tech sports?  When you're in town, be sure to check out these other Hokie sports that are happening this weekend:  the swim team goes up against William and Mary in the War Memorial gym at 4 pm Friday, and the women's volleyball team meets Rhode Island at 7 p.m on Friday in the Cassell.  The volleyball team also goes head to head with UMass at 7 p.m. on Saturday -- unfortunately for them, there's a little football game going on around that time.


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