Georgia Tech Q&A with Talkin’ ACC Sports

This week we are joined by Jeffrey Fann from @TalkinACCSports.

Tell us about yourself and All Sports Discussion. 

I am graduate of Georgia Tech and Clemson grew up a fan of ACC Basketball. Those were the collegiate sports I’ve watched the most and I started All Sports Discussion about 10 years ago because I spent so much time talking about ACC sports, I figured I’d start sharing it. I didn’t think the ACC got fair coverage in media and I want to the voice that too. I started an ACC podcast with @Hokiesmash_ASD a couple of years after that and that’s a lot of fun. He usually lines up the guests freeing me up to write. 

Tell us about your team this year. What are your thoughts on Georgia Tech this season?

The best thing about the Georgia Tech season was the day Geoff Collins was fired. He was a total disaster as a head coach. The season was going nowhere when he was there. For a couple of games after his firing Georgia Tech played some inspired football and beat Pittsburgh and Duke, but with the injury to QB Jeff Sims and his status unknown the offense just can’t move the ball. Defensively, they have had some good moments since Collins was fired, and is a decent unit. I feel like the bowl chances are gone, but there will be a game where things break right and they win one more time. 

What do you think about the job that Brent Key has done so far?

He’s made the special teams a respectable unit. That in itself is a win as it was a total mess with Collins. He brought accountability to the team and a sense of cohesion. The back to back wins made you feel good about Georgia Tech football for the first time in years. Unfortunately, the injury to Sims limits what he can do. Overall, he’s done a pretty decent job taking over and making Georgia Tech look functional. Just getting functional was a big upgrade over the previous coach. 

How do you feel about the Georgia Tech-Virginia Tech annual rivalry coming to an end?

I think it’s had better days for sure, but in it’s hey day when both were competing for Coastal division titles, it was one of the most underrated annual games in the ACC. With the frequency that they will still play I will miss the game, but they’ll meet often to maintain a good sense of rivalry.  

What’s your favorite memory from the rivalry? 

The 2009 game that Georgia Tech won 28-23 over a top 5 ranked Virginia Tech. There was a lot of talk that the 2nd time around seeing Paul Johnson’s triple option that teams would be on to it. That was a really good Hokie team and it convinced me that Paul Johnson had a chance to win a lot more games. He did and it start with game. QB Josh Nesbitt was warrior in that one. 

What’s your outlook on the future of the ACC? 

 That’s a good question. I think for the next 5-7 years nothing happens regarding team movement, but the TV Deal in comparison to the Big 10 and SEC is a problem. I don’t think the ACC is catching them, no matter what they do. What the ACC must do is get well ahead of the Big 12 and Pac 12 to be solidly in third. I do think you’ll see adjustments to the TV deal, but will it be enough? It would be nice if ACC commissioner Jim Phillips would be more transparent in what he is doing to raise ACC revenues. He’s been far too quiet on the matter. 

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

It all depends on the status of QB Jeff Sims. Zach Pryon showed some ability against Florida State, but he’s really inexperienced. That’s a bad combination on the road, against a pretty good defense. I think the defense can limit Virginia Tech’s inconsistent offense and I’d like see Pryon continue to develop. 

What’s your prediction for the game?

I expect Sims to not play or be very limited, and Virginia Tech showed some good things on offense against NC State. 

These feel like a defensive battle but one that goes in the Hokies favor 20-10.  

NC State Q&A with Tuffy Talk

This week we are joined by NC State podcast Tuffy Talk (@TuffyTalkNow).

Tell us about yourself and your podcast.

Tuffy Talk is an NC State Youtube Channel that covers and discusses ALL NC State Sports, and is run by five die-hard NC State fans.  We post 2 episodes a week, along with doing a Live Show every Monday Night at 8:00 PM, along with doing different content, such as vlogs and watch parties. We also export the audio for our content, so if you can watch us on our Youtube Channel, you can listen to us on ALL major podcast platforms.

Tell us about your team this year. What are your thoughts on NC State so far this season?

Definitely has been a roller coaster to say the least.  Very grateful to escape ECU and FSU with a win, as those were games that history has shown, would not normally be in our favor.  We were dealt a HUGE blow last week, with the announcement of our starting QB, Devin Leary, being ruled out for the season.  We still have a lot of key weapons and both of our losses are against Top 20 teams on the road. 

How do you feel about Virginia Tech finally coming back to play a game in Raleigh?

Should be an EXCITING environment!  Excited to play under the lights and see what will come of this ACC matchup!

Are you happy with the ACC’s new scheduling model?

I think every team in the Atlantic Division LOVES it, and every team in the Coastal Division HATES it lol.  Was definitely bummed that we will not be playing WF every year anymore, as that is one of the nation’s longest running rivalries.  But looking forward to having a more balanced schedule across the ACC and playing different opponents each year.

What’s your outlook on the future of the ACC? 

A TON of new coaches and a TON of programs on the rise.  I think the new scheduling model will really stir up the future ACC seasons.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

For this game, I am really focusing on what NC State does.  Offensively, we GOTTA figure out a way to put Jack Chambers in a position to be successful and get our WR’s move involved.  We really have relied on Thayer Thomas this year, but have guys like Devin Carter and up and coming WR Julian Gray, get more involved.  Defensively, we need to be more technically sound.  Missed a TON of tackles and had many missed assignments and missed opportunities, but this is a defense that CAN be dominant, if they play like we expect them to.

What’s your prediction for the game?

I think the bye week could not have come at a better time.  Having that extra week to regroup and get some players healthy and play back at home next is HUGE.  Should be a tough environment for VT to come into, and I think that will definitely have an effect.  A lot of questions for NC State coming into this game, which could make this game go in 100 different directions.  But I am going to say that we have a huge bounce back game, defense gets back where it needs to be, and we take care of business, 24-14.  

Miami Q&A with Dirty Bird from The Cane Gang Radio Show

This week we are joined by Miami radio show host Ryan (“Dirty Bird”) from the Cane Gang Radio Show. You can follow him on Twitter (@dirtyyybird) and listen to his radio show every Friday from 11a-1p ET on SiriusXM channel 145.

Tell us about yourself and your radio show. 

My name is Ryan, but I go by “Dirty Bird” on Twitter (@dirtyyybird) I worked in the equipment room during the late 90s for the Atlanta Falcons and the name has always stuck with me through fantasy football and social media platforms. I am a lifelong fan of the Canes having grown up in South Florida and watching the teams of the late 80s and early 90s, I fell in love with them at an early age and despite how rocky our relationship has been over the last 20+ years, I get more and more into it every year! Recently, I have started to contribute on a Canes focused radio show called The Cane Gang Radio Show that airs every Friday from 11a-1p on SiriusXM channel 145 SLAM! Radio. I do the show with Derek Coe who is one of the most well known recognizable fans around our program and John Michaels who is based in Atlanta and is on The Locker Room on 680 the Fan. We are just a couple of old guys who hop on the air and talk completely unscripted and unfiltered. Our show has had a number of recognizable guests including Vince Wilfork, Santana Moss, Uncle Luke, Brett Romberg, and even former VT WR Isaiah Ford.

Tell us about your team this year. What are your thoughts on Miami so far this season?

Clearly, we had higher hopes for our team so far this season. We fought hard at Texas A&M, just came up short in the end. I think that loss sucked a ton of the life out of us. Then you come back and think you have a layup and the game proves to be anything but that. The loss to MTSU was shocking and the perfect storm of everything that could possibly go wrong going wrong in one single game. Nevertheless, you have to win those games so there is no excuse you can make! We are still licking our wounds from that one and then walked into a matchup with a team in UNC that has always given us fits. We fought hard, and despite the loss, there was some good to unpack there.

I remain optimistic knowing that this is a process and as much as we want to win now, it is going to take time to get it going. We are pointed in the right direction, yet have a long way to go to get where we want to be.

What do you think about the job that Mario Cristobal has done so far?

Mario Cristobal is focused in the right areas building through relentless recruiting and putting funding in the program to build out the support staff to a level needed to win in the current landscape of college football. Some are screaming the sky is falling in our fan base (I am sure VT has those too) but we are 5 games into what we know is a major rebuild of a program that has been hurting for decades. Nobody cares more than he does. I (and most of our fan base) remain “all in” on him!

 How do you feel about the Miami-Virginia Tech annual rivalry coming to an end?

Well, I love the new format for scheduling and think after these 4 years (where we still play twice) they will get us back on the annual matchup! Hopefully we get to meet in the ACCG!

What’s your favorite memory from the rivalry?

I think anytime you look at these rivalries, you have to look at when both teams are ranked high and there is a ton at stake. The games between us should mean something. Unfortunately, for both of us, that has not been the case for a while. But for my favorite memory, I will go to 2017 to the time that we were both really humming and VT came to Hard Rock ranked 13 to play the Canes ranked 9th. We had won the previous 4 in really close fashion, so there was a ton of talk that despite a record of 7-0, we were fraudulent. That night at Hard Rock was electric and VT fans showed up in force too! We won the game in convincing fashion (sorry VT fans!) and it really catapulted us into a feeling we had not felt in forever!

 What’s your outlook on the future of the ACC? 

I think the ACC has two things going for it making it really hard to break it up. #1 the TV contracts and grant of rights making it nearly impossible for anyone to break off 1 or 2 teams. Plus, #2 the ACC is still really the premier basketball conference even though the SEC and Big12 have had better basketball the last few years. I think lots of important TV executives (who are really the ones who run all of this) would not want to implode the ACC. But hey, who really saw USC & UCLA to the B1G! Anything is possible!

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

Well, first and foremost I respect VT as an opponent and always will despite either teams record. I do feel as though we are in a back against the wall position and I think (hope) we come out swinging. We are due for a good effort and honestly think we get it here. The thing is, I see the same being true for your program as well. Hard to gauge, but I see us coming out on top!

What’s your prediction for the game?

Miami 34-21

Pittsburgh Q&A with The Loyal Sons

This week we are joined by Pittsburgh podcast The Loyal Sons. You can follow them on Twitter (@TheLoyalSons) and listen to their podcast here.

Tell us about yourself and your podcast. 

John “Squid” Cotton, 26

Dylan Mitchell, 26

David Haddad, 27

The Loyal Sons started as Dylan’s burner account under the name “Capel Faithful”, honoring the new savior of Pitt Basketball. While Jeff Capel’s tenure has not exactly been a success, the Twitter account was able to gather a surprising following. As a group of dudes in our mid-20s, modern social mores demanded that we then start a podcast. And so in September of 2021, The Loyal Sons Show was born.

While none of us could break down an All-22 to save our lives, we take pride in capturing the zeitgeist of Pitt Football fandom better than anyone: snake-bitten, yet relentlessly hopeful. Reactionary, but surprisingly patient. And above all, emotionally dependent on Kenny Pickett.

Tell us about your team this year. What are your thoughts on Pitt so far this season?

If we only had one word to describe the theme of Pitt’s first four games, it would be “injuries”. To date, 14 players on Pitt’s 2-deep have missed time, many of whom are crucial pieces with huge expectations. Plugging so many holes has forced Coach Narduzzi to play conservatively against overmatched opponents, This has resulted in unnecessarily close games, including this past weekend’s absolute meltdown against GT – the worst loss of the Narduzzi era. The game plan has been simple: run the ball, do the bare minimum to win, get back on the bus with as many guys as stepped off of it, and get healthy for the meat of conference play. But now we’re 0-1 in the ACC and getting completely (and fairly) written off, so a lot of good that did us.

Pitt fans will tell you we know very little about this team. It felt like all the pieces were there for an ACC Championship contender (or better) until Saturday’s loss. This defense has the potential to be one of the better units in the country once it gets both starting DEs and its Top CB back and in a rhythm. The offense should be capable of more than its paltry output thus far. This team could still be dangerous down the stretch. Or they might totally suck. We just don’t know yet.

How have Pitt fans responded to winning the ACC last season? 

Pitt fans couldn’t have dreamt of a season like 2021. Older fans thought they would die without ever having seen something like it again. Truly a magical ride that will never be forgotten.

Then came 2022 and the dream became an expectation. We went from praying for a 10-win season to getting greedy about rankings and playoff buzz. We came into the season feeling disrespected about the narratives that have surrounded this team. All we heard was “No Kenny, no Addison, no Whipple.” We became an afterthought despite returning everyone in the building but those three. It gave everyone – players, coaches, and fans – a bit of a chip on their shoulders. But the disrespect may have been for good reason.

This season is viewed as a make-or-break for the program. It’s massively important for Pitt to build on last season’s success if it ever wants to return to the glory of the 70’s and 80’s. Kenny Pickett opened a window, and Pat Narduzzi needs capitalize on it. Because we can’t go back to the fucking Sun Bowl.

What are your thoughts on having Virginia Tech added as a permanent rival after this season? 

We’re pretty pumped about it. Pitt hasn’t really developed many “true” rivalries since it came to the ACC, so this could be a huge opportunity. VT and Miami feel like the closest thing Pitt has, given their shared histories in the Big East. The increased familiarity could be big for this rivalry, considering we’ve barely played 20 times.

Also, pretty pumped to get to come to Blacksburg more. Cool town, good food, Enter Sandman, etc.

Do you view Virginia Tech as a rival program? 

We dislike Virginia Tech. It seems like Virginia Tech dislikes Pitt (or at least Pat Narduzzi). We play yinz every year and it always feels like a meaningful game. But The Loyal Sons don’t loathe Virginia Tech. We loathe Penn State. We loathe West Virginia. For VT, it just isn’t there yet.

But it could be! It would be good for both programs for this matchup to grow in importance. The new scheduling wrinkle is going to go a very long way in making that happen. But we also all bear some individual responsibility in pouring a little more gasoline on the fire. So screw you, Treadmill Horse. What kind of name even is that?

What’s your favorite memory from the rivalry? 

Not just our favorite Pitt-VT memory, but one of our favorite football memories, period…

Lousaka Polite’s go-ahead touchdown to put #25 Pitt over the top against #5 VT in 2003. All three of us consider it our earliest memory of watching Pitt Football.

The matchup between Pitt and VT at Heinz Field in 2018 is a fan favorite too. Pitt controlled their own destiny to win the ACC Coastal, and for that reason, Pitt fans were expecting the worst. Plot-twist, Pitt wins by 30 and nearly ran for 500 yards. We still talk about Qadree Ollison stiff-arming Caleb Farley on his 97-yard TD run to this day.

But if you want a least favorite memory, we have one that’s a bit more favorable to your side. In 2019, we rolled about 20 people deep to Blacksburg to watch the Hokies go up 28-0 before halftime in an absolute downpour. We didn’t stay much past that point. Our last memory leaving the stadium was hearing the PA man announce Paris Ford’s targeting ejection. Salt in the wound. 

What’s your outlook on the future of the ACC? 

The ACC is in a pretty stable place despite how un-sexy it’s been for like 10 years. The Grant of Rights ties all 14 teams to the conference until 2036 save a majority of schools vote to nullify it and leave. But that would almost require all of the other power conferences in CFB to coordinate together to divy up the 8+ most attractive programs in the ACC, recruit them, whip the votes, and then negotiate their exit – all behind closed doors. 

So that doesn’t seem likely. But that doesn’t do jack for the value or respectability of the ACC in the meantime. The ACC needs to be proactive about the changing winds of college football. And that starts with picking off some desirable brands from the PAC12, Big 12, and maybe even some G5 powers. Realignment is going to continue, and a P5 conference is likely to crash and burn and be picked apart by the vultures circling overhead. It would be easy for the ACC to fall behind if it doesn’t make moves ASAP. Do it for pride, do it for the TV money. Whatever. Just do it.

On top of that, the big brands of the ACC need to stop being pathetic. What the hell happened to Florida State and Miami? Hell, even GT and VT aren’t what they were 20 years ago (rich coming from Pitt fans, we know). We can’t lean on the GoR to survive. At some point, we have to do football good.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

Brent Pry is in a true Year 0. Justin Fuente left the cabinet pretty bare, and in theory there’s a not-insignificant talent deficit between these two teams. Pry has all the resources to build something special in the Commonwealth, but that doesn’t do you much good this season.

We said the same about Georgia Tech though, and we all saw how that ended up. So maybe coaching and preparation might have something to do with wins and losses as well. It doesn’t matter how much deeper we think Pitt is if they keep coming out in a tight 2-WR set on 3rd & long and either running a draw or eating a bad coverage sack. 

VT has the defensive power to keep this game slow and sluggish to start, but at the end of the day, I think Pitt pulls it out because there’s a few starters and coordinators whose jobs might depend on it.

What’s your prediction for the game?

Before the GT game we said Pitt wins 34-10. But now we’re sad and angry so we predict 17-10. Neither team’s offense is going anywhere right now.

North Carolina Q&A with Tar Heel Nation

This week we are joined by Tar Heel Nation (@unc_tarheelfan on Twitter).

Tell us about yourself and your blog.

I primarily stick to Twitter (@unc_tarheelfan) but during basketball season we’ll trot out the Tar Heel Nation weekly to help folks stay caught up.

Tell us about your team this year. What are your expectations for North Carolina this season?

UNC has been a bit head scratching so far. They played two tough road match-ups at App State and at Georgia State and then came home and kind of stalled out after the bye week to Notre Dame. If we’re going to see more of what we just saw then I expect a lot of wacky, close match-ups as we head through conference play. I think they can play better though… especially on defense. 

What are your thoughts on not playing Virginia Tech on an annual basis anymore?

I’m a little disappointed. These games have been a great source of entertainment and hair loss over the years. I knew it was coming but I’m not excited to see divisions go anyway. 

Would you have liked to have seen Virginia Tech added as a permanent rival?

If we had more choices, sure. I think right now this was the best we could get given the circumstances.

UNC has had a lot of success recruiting in Virginia, do you think that has been an effective recruiting strategy for the Tar Heels?

I really do, being that it’s not that far from Chapel Hill but ripe with talent I know Mack Brown and staff have made the region a priority.

What’s your favorite memory from the rivalry?

You’re not going to like this one but that thriller involving Coach Beamer’s last home game. Not just because of that though, that was a great year overall for us. 

What’s your outlook on the future of the ACC?

I’m a bit pessimistic by nature but not great, overall. Same major changes need to happen starting with that TV deal and our overall contributions on the field. We’ll see what the commish and company can do in a few years though. 

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game?

I know you’re coming off that tough game against West Virginia but UNC is also coming off a tough home loss to Notre Dame. I expect an entertaining first half to say the least.   

What’s your prediction for the game?

45-31 UNC. I expect a close first half with UNC being able to pull away late at home. 

West Virginia Q&A with Couz’s Corner

This week we are joined by Justin “Couz” Walker from West Virginia football podcast Couz’s Corner.

Tell us about yourself and your podcast.

My name is Justin “Couz” (pronounced Kooz) Walker and I host a podcast/YouTube channel called Couz’s Corner. I talk primarily about West Virginia football, but also touch on a lot of Big 12 and national college football storylines. I will also touch on major West Virginia basketball games and storylines as well. You can also follow me on Twitter @couz206 and IG @couzscorner206.

Tell us about your team this year. What are your expectations for West Virginia this season?

Well, going into the season I had high expectations of at least 8 wins. After the debacle that happened last Saturday and WVU losing to Kansas at home, I am now concerned about the direction of the West Virginia program. The majority of fans are now wanting Neal Brown fired. I’ve now changed my expectations to a 4-5 win season. This team has a lot of holes, especially on the defensive side of the ball. The biggest concern is in the defensive backfield where we have a lot of new faces that don’t seem to be picking things up as quickly as we hoped.

What are your thoughts on playing Virginia Tech again?

I think it’s great for both programs, especially the fans. This became a great rivalry for both teams when they were in the Big East together. It’s a shame they don’t play more often. As a resident of the southern part of West Virginia, I’m within an hour of the Virginia Tech campus. So, I’ve always considered the VT rivalry as big as the Pitt rivalry. Adding the Black Diamond Trophy to the mix just made it even more special.

How do you view the Virginia Tech program?

I view them as a top 30-40 program all-time, very similar to West Virginia in brand value. As for the current state of the program, I think they are in a similar spot as WVU. A bad coaching hire has set the program back a few years, but they will get back on their feet very soon. I expect VT to be competing for ACC titles again in the next 3-5 years. As for this season, I think the Hokies’ schedule lines up well for them and they should be able to pick up around 6-7 wins and make a bowl game.

With no future games against Virginia Tech on the schedule, do you hope the two schools find a way to keep the rivalry going?

Absolutely. It’s a win for both programs and fanbases. Maybe one day we can even be in the same conference again. LOL.

What’s your favorite memory from the rivalry?

Personally, it’s the 2002 game when an unranked Mountaineer team went into Lane Stadium and upset the #12 ranked Hokies 21-18. The Hokies were driving in the final seconds to try and win the game when WVU Defensive Back, Brian King, intercepted a Bryan Randall pass in the end zone to seal the game for the Mountaineers. It was the first big win of the Rich Rodriguez era for West Virginia.

Would you like to see WVU join the ACC?

As a fan, yes. I’d love to see West Virginia playing teams like Virginia Tech & Pitt every year again. It would also be much easier for our teams and fans to travel to away games. However, it may not make sense financially. The ACC is stuck in that very long Grant of Rights deal and I’m not sure the Big 12 won’t end up earning more revenue from a TV perspective long term. The Big 12’s current deal will be up in the next 2-3 years and they can likely sign 2 more media deals before the ACC gets to sign their next one. This is an advantage in my opinion. 

What are your thoughts on coming back to play at Lane Stadium?

For me personally, it will be my first time attending a game at Lane Stadium. I’ve heard nothing but good things about the atmosphere there and as a rock music guy, I of course can’t wait to hear Enter Sandman blaring throughout the stadium. It’s also close enough to home that I won’t need to get a hotel room. That will be nice. However, for the WVU football team it’s not ideal. They already had to play their other biggest rival, Pitt, on the road. So, playing both of your power 5 rivals on the road in the same season makes for tough sledding when added to the Big 12 conference slate. 

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

My expectations are for a close game. Both teams are in similar spots in their programs, except one is breaking in a new coach and the other is stagnant with their current coach who is now on the hot seat. I think it will probably be a game where both teams score in the 30’s. WVU has a solid offense now with J.T. Daniels at QB and Graham Harrell at Offensive Coordinator. However, the WVU defense hasn’t looked great so far in 2022, so VT will likely be able to move the ball. I think the game will come down to which team can make the fewest mistakes and turnovers.

What’s your prediction for the game?

My prediction is that the Hokies win by a score of 34-31. This West Virginia team is as talented a team as Neal Brown has had since coming to WVU in 2019. However, the team continues to make mistakes at critical times and the program is not in a great spot right now. I’m not sure Neal Brown and his staff will be able to pull the team out of this funk. With an already unhappy fanbase, if West Virginia loses this game after also losing to Pitt, it will be hard for the WVU admin to justify keeping Neal Brown around for another season. 

Wofford Q&A with Joe James of WoffordFans.com

This week we are joined by Joe James of WoffordFans.com. You can find Joe on Twitter at @Village_Terrier.

Tell us about yourself and your blog. 

I’m a Wofford graduate who lives in Arlington, Virginia. I made the move up here during the pandemic. I’ve been watching Wofford football since 2003, the year we made the 1-AA semifinals. I’ve watched Wofford athletics for 20 years (which makes me sound old, but I’m not yet 30). Wofford had a message board for a long time that went under during the pandemic (the guy who bought the domain didn’t renew it and was MIA). So some passionate fans reached out to me, an avid poster, to start it up, and it went from there. Thankfully, we have a computer science professor at Wofford who does all the technical stuff. I do the moderation of the forum, and I also occasionally blog, because I like to write and go in-depth with “effort posts.” Unfortunately, it’s a dark time of Wofford football (and I’m not smart enough at basketball to produce anything valuable there) and so I’m laying off the blog posts because they’ll turn unavoidably negative. Things aren’t great right now… we’ll get to that in a second.

What are your thoughts on Mike Young and his departure for Virginia Tech? 

I love Mike Young so much and I’m rooting for him to win a national title at Virginia Tech. We were so lucky to have him for as long as we did, and he was probably fortunate that Wofford, in his early years of employment, didn’t have an expectation of instant gratification or winning consistent conference championships. It took him a while to find his feet, but man, when he did, it was amazing.

But also, Mike Young is a great guy and I just want to share a short story about that. For the 2018-2019 Wofford basketball season, we made the championship game in Asheville, North Carolina, and Wofford fans made the pilgrimage for the game. It sold out! My friend was a mutual Twitter follower of Coach Young and tweeted that she couldn’t get a ticket. He heard and found a way to get her in. Terriers won! That’s not even the nicest story I’ve heard about him, but the point is MIke Young is an amazing human being, and I know he’s from the Roanoke Valley and he wants to bring home a title at Virginia Tech. He also has an amazing sense of humor that I would summarize as “Steve Spurrier but not a jerk.”

Wofford still loves Coach Young. Go Hokie Basketball!

Tell us about your team this year. What are your expectations for Wofford this season?

This is where we turn negative. As I write this on the Sunday before Wofford plays Virginia Tech, I’m not sure if Wofford can win a game this season. It really pains me to say this and repeat it to other fans, because I don’t like trashing my team or flowing the virtual air waves with negativity. Players and coaches read this stuff and it can be demoralizing and I don’t like contributing to that.

Having said that, the reason why Wofford is bad this year is not because fans are mad online but because our head coach has basically run our program into the ground. When he first started out, we were good, as we had talent and staff from our previous coaching legend, Mike Ayers. We were able to tie together two Southern Conference championship teams in Conklin’s first two years. 

But even then, there were cracks in the armor that suggested some deeper problems. We have been trying to move away from the triple option, which is what we ran under Ayers for 30 years. For the first 2.5 seasons (.5=Spring 2021), we had our previous OC, Wade Lang, a Triple Option guy calling the shots, and we were actually pretty good still. We had the same typical limitations of an option team, but we scored points and we generally knew what we were doing. Heck, in the Spring under Lang (editor’s note: FCS played football in the Spring of 2021), we averaged 26 points a game and we weren’t a triple option offense at all.

Well, Lang retired before the 2021 fall season and our defensive coordinator for the two championship games also left. We suffered from lots of injuries in the fall, ran a non-existent offense, and our defense was also bad. We finished 1-10, our worst record since 1987 (the year before Mike Ayers). And our administration…did nothing? Well, they fired half the staff and brought on two new coordinators, but the net outcome is we are likely better on defense but certainly worse on offense.

We have played 120 minutes of football and haven’t scored a point, and even though our defense isn’t awful (averaging 25 points a game against decent FCS opponents) you just can’t overcome that.

There’s a lot of other things that contribute to our dysfunction, but I will spare you the details. What Hokie fans need to know is Wofford isn’t good on offense and we’re likely not going to get better. 

A big elephant in the room is that basically every fan at Wofford wants Josh Conklin fired. He tried to leave our program twice before we went downhill (once as a defensive coordinator position in Tennessee and once as the head coach of South Carolina – you can google the articles), and we’ve been awful ever since. From our perspective, he came in, rode the coattails off Ayers’ success, saw us as a stepping stone to greener pastures, failed, and is in over his head. It’s wild he hasn’t been fired yet in my opinion (coming off a 13 game losing streak in conference play, 12 straight losses overall)

What are your thoughts on the playing Virginia Tech?

I would be excited for this game if it were played at any point in 2017-2019. Now I just expect pain. Usually when a FCS team plays an FBS team, you don’t expect to win, but you expect if you’re good to be competitive for a few quarters, if not possessions. And if you’re not, well, you have nothing to lose because you’re outmatched. Nothing ventured, nothing gained. But knowing what I know about this team through two games, I would rather just not think about this game.

How do you view the Virginia Tech program? 

I think they’re a program like Clemson, that has a vibe, tradition, and enthusiasm about itself that wants to compete for national titles, but things haven’t worked out. They’re 1 or 2 variables away from turning heads, they’re just not there yet. A sleeping giant.

What are your thoughts on coming to play at Lane Stadium? 

I honestly don’t have any opinion! Enter Sandman is hype though.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game? 

I honestly don’t have any.

What’s your prediction for the game?

Wofford pulls a major upset by actually scoring some points, but Virginia Tech’s superior athleticism and coaching is just too much. Virginia Tech 49 Wofford 6 

Boston College Q&A with AJ Black from Eagle Insider

This week we are joined by AJ Black from Eagle Insider.

Tell us about yourself and your podcast.

My name is AJ Black and I’m the publisher for Eagle Insider, part of the 247 Sports Network. I am also the host of Locked on Boston College, the only daily BC podcast out there and you can listen to that on Youtube or wherever you get your podcasts.

Tell us about your team this year. What are your expectations for Boston College this season?

Before Saturday’s game, I was pretty high on my expectations about the direction of the Eagles. I thought that their offensive line would be problematic, but had some faith that even with five new guys they would be serviceable and that would be enough to keep them competitive. Well, after Saturday’s loss to Rutgers, we got a first hand glance at how wrong I was. BC’s line was okay in the first half in pass protection, but once Rutgers dialed up the heat they fell apart in the second half, and the offense went with it. This is a major problem for the Eagles, and one I don’t see them fixing any time soon. 

What are your thoughts on the annual rivalry series with Virginia Tech being discontinued?

Given the three teams that Boston College ended up with, I’m fine with it. I was a student at BC during the ’07 and ’08 ACC Championship games and look back fondly to Matt Ryan’s heroics in Blacksburg, but I think the “rivalry” has run it’s course. Talking to multiple Tech fans and writers, there isn’t much juice left in it, so for BC getting three teams (Pitt, Syracuse and Miami) that they have history with is a fair trade off. 

How do you view the Virginia Tech program?

Love the hire of Brent Pry, and think he was a perfect fit for the culture and history that VT has put together. That being said, it probably will be a few years to get everything in order after a disastrous run with Justin Fuente. But if he’s given time, I think he will have the Hokies back to where they were under Frank Beamer in a few years. 

What are your thoughts on coming to Lane Stadium to play a night game?

Funny you ask this. On my podcast before the season and before the game time was announced, I had BC as a favorite in this game. But when I heard it was a night game, my expectations changed. Lane is a different animal at night, and ESPECIALLY given how BC’s offensive line has been playing, I think this is a perfect situations for the Hokies.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game?

A bit of a mess? A low scoring affair, with mistakes on both sides. 

What’s your prediction for the game?

Given what I saw last week out of the Eagles, and the fact that VT lost to Old Dominion so they are going to be riled up at home and at night, going to go with VT winning this 24-14.

Old Dominion Q&A with Mike Langston of ODU Monarchists

Mike Langston is the founder of ODU Monarchists and an ODU alum. You can follow him on Twitter at @ODUMonarchists. You can also check out his podcast at the-monarchists.captivate.fm. Mike joined us this week for a game week Q&A.

Tell us about yourself and your podcast.

Our group, the Monarchists, is made up of about 18 folks and our significant others. I started the group as a Twitter Direct Message chat during a really bad season, so we could air our grievances with no filter and in private. That evolved into going to games together, tailgating as a group and we eventually started some social media campaigns to raise money for ODU athletics and Toys for Tots. And through those successes, we have done our best to find the next charity or ODU sport to support. So far, we’ve helped raise over $25k for ODU baseball, collected hundreds of toys and thousands of dollars for Toys for Tots, and over $30k for ODU football. We take a lot of pride in that. This past spring, Aaron Zielinksi and I decided to start a podcast to help support our fundraising efforts. And it’s taken off pretty quickly and we’ve landed interviews we didn’t think would be possible for a while. We’ve interviewed most of ODU’s coaches including Ricky Rahne and Jeff Jones, ODU’s athletic director Wood Selig, Sun Belt commissioner Keith Gill and Phil Steele. This fall we have lined up interviews with every beat reporter for ODU’s football opponents including Andy Bitter. We’re pretty excited for the future of the show and think Hokie fans will enjoy our discussion with Andy Bitter. It should be released on Tuesday (Aug. 30th) the week of the game.

Tell us about your team this year. What are your expectations for Old Dominion this season?

Last year, we were the youngest team in the country, coached by the youngest staff in the country, coming off a year where we didn’t play football due to COVID and the restrictions placed on Hampton Roads. That young team started out rough going 1-5 but showed big signs of progress from 2019. The defense was flying to the ball and finally wreaking havoc after a decade of what many referred to as NoDU football. Changing to the 4-2-5 allowed ODU to start playing “Speed D” and get the best athletes on the field to make plays. The offensive line benefited from an RPO based offense where they could pull and punish in the run game while disrupting blitz packages. We just lacked a consistent passing game early in the season, allowing teams to stack the box. After that 6th game, we made a quarterback change to Hayden Wolff, the offense got on a roll (PPG went up 9 points and ypg went up 100) and we pulled off 5 straight wins to qualify for a bowl game.

Most of that team returns. We replace our center, leading tackler and a couple starters in the secondary but pretty much everyone else returns and we’ve landed some good pieces in the portal to fill those holes. Our defensive line is the best unit and with the improved secondary, I believe our defense could be pretty good in the Sun Belt with 5 of our top 6 tacklers returning and great depth in all three levels. Offensively, we return a 1k yard back in Blake Watson, a preseason All-American at tight end in Zack Kuntz, 1k yard receiver Ali Jennings, Hayden Wolff at QB, and 4 of our 5 starting OL from a year ago. If the communication is good on the offensive line, this unit could be very good because they have P5 size/speed and another year of experience blocking in an RPO system. They’ll want to establish the run and open up passing lanes. Kuntz is a stud that can give defenses fits (Bruce Feldman had him on his freak list) at 6’8, with a 40 inch vertical and a 4.5 forty time. Ali is a speedy receiver who can take the top off of defenses. And Blake is a good all-purpose back but will need to be more active in the passing game. There’s a ton of talent in the receiver group but it will be important for a second option to become a legit outside threat opposite of Jennings. If a solid #2 deep threat emerges, this offense could be Top 3 in the Sun Belt.

ODU has a brutal schedule this season with Virginia Tech, UVA, Liberty and ECU plus a run through the best G5 division in the country. 6-6 is a realistic goal given the schedule but I wouldn’t be shocked if this team gets rolling early offensively and ends up 9-3.

What are your thoughts on playing Virginia Tech for the next 10 seasons?

This series is a great one for ODU. It provides our fans with an easy and fun road trip to make, something we didn’t have much of in CUSA. But even with the move to the more regional Sun Belt, it is still one of our easier trips to make as fans. More importantly, it provides a measuring stick for our program and how we are progressing. We still are a pretty young program, so getting to play Virginia Tech annually gives us a good idea on if we’re on the right track or not. It’s a game ODU fans circle as one they have to be at, especially in Norfolk.

How do you view the Virginia Tech program?

Virginia Tech has been the flagship program in the state for the last 20-plus years. While Fuente took some of that luster away, I think y’all made a great choice in Brent Pry and getting back to the standards Hokie fans have for the program should be coming soon.

How do you feel about Virginia Tech coming to play games in the 757?

I think it’s a net positive for both programs. Obviously, ODU gets a marquee game for our fans to get excited about and our players/recruits to play. Virginia Tech gets to visit/host the 757 recruits, allows their 757 guys a chance to play in front of family and gives an easier trip for all of their local fans to make. This year’s game being played on a Friday night in Ballard (while not ideal for recruiting purposes) will be electric. Our stadium may be small compared to Lane, but it can get pretty loud. It’s gonna be a lot of fun.

What are your expectations for the Virginia Tech game?

I expect this to be a defensive battle, a low scoring affair. It sounds cliche, but the offense that makes fewer mistakes will end up the victor. Special teams will play a big role as well. I know our staff puts a lot of emphasis on having talented players on the special teams units and it was the deciding factor in a lot of our games last year. KR Lamareon James is as fast as they come and if he can find a hole, he’s taking it to the house. I imagine with the similar background of Coach Pry’s staff and the Hokie ball history of Virginia Tech, the same could be said for y’all this year.

What’s your prediction for the game?

I think the Vegas line is about right but Virginia Tech has so many unknowns on both sides of the ball. ODU is familiar with Grant Wells and the two coaching staffs are very connected, that chess match will be fun for years to come. Both teams will lean on defense and special teams early so expect a good bit of ground and pound with sneaky explosive plays mixed in from both new offensive coordinators. Third down and red zone conversions are likely the make or break for both teams. First to twenty, wins. Hammer the under.

Hate Week Q&A with @HoosFootball

This week’s guest is @HoosFootball. You can follow him on Twitter and visit his website with tons of photos and historical data on UVA football at HoosFootball.com.

Tell us about your team this year. Has the season gone as you expected?

I had us at 7-4 at this point, so record-wise we’re pretty close to what I expected. But the way we’ve gotten here has been a surprise. I was concerned that our offense might lack explosiveness compared to last season after we lost Lavel Davis to a knee injury, but I thought we’d make up for that by being better on defense, particularly in the secondary. So I was wrong about pretty much everything.

What’s the status of Brennan Armstrong?

I thought the coaches might hold Armstrong out against Pitt to make sure he was ready for the Tech game, but he was a full go last week. I thought he looked great against Pitt and I’m not aware of any setbacks, so I expect the Brennan Armstrong Aerial Circus to be in full effect.

What are your thoughts on Bronco?

I thought Coach Mendenhall was a great hire in 2015 and I still think that today. He has a clear vision of what he wants his program to look like and has shown that he can win consistently at a school with high academic standards. He is also very good at identifying and developing talent when it comes to his coaching staff, as evidenced by the fact that he has several position coaches – Jason Beck, Marques Hagans, and Garett Tujague, to name a few – who are among the best in the country. And on a personal level, he has created an environment that fosters loyalty and trust within the program. That’s not to suggest there isn’t room for improvement. We need to do a better job recruiting in-state, the 757 in particular. Also, I think there is a perception that Mendenhall can be loyal to a fault when it comes to his staff. It will be interesting to see what changes, if any, he makes on the defensive side of the ball this offseason.

What are your thoughts on the current state of the rivalry?

I’m not gonna lie, losing 16 of the last 17 has been… sub-optimal. It has also made the back and forth between our fan bases stale and predictable. You mock us for only beating you once since 2003, we mock you for never winning a natty, blah blah blah. If you’re going to talk trash, at least have the courtesy to be creative and mean-spirited.

Who do you think Virginia Tech’s next coach will be?

Let me preface my response by saying the Justin Fuente era was truly magical, both on the field and on Twitter. I miss him already. I’d love it if you guys hired a dumpster fire like Hugh Freeze or Bobby Petrino, but unfortunately I don’t see that happening. I’ve been hearing Napier’s name quite a bit lately.

What is your favorite memory from the rivalry?

For the 1998 game, my wife (then girlfriend) and I were down in South Carolina for the wedding of one of her college friends. I think the game started around noon and the wedding was scheduled for like 3:30, but the venue was kind of a haul so I was pretty sure I wouldn’t get to watch the whole game. That seemed like a blessing when we went into halftime down 29-7, but then we started chipping away at the lead. Right when we were about to leave for the wedding, Thomas Jones scored to cut Tech’s lead to 32-29. I stood up to turn off the TV, and my wife said, “Screw that, we’re watching this till the end.” Shortly thereafter, Ahmad Hawkins capped off the historic comeback, and my wife and I slid into the back row of the church about 30 seconds before the ceremony ended. Oh, and later that evening at the reception I saw the groom throw up in a urinal. The whole day was awesome and almost made up for the fact that my wife caused me to miss our 1995 win over FSU because she got us tickets to see Carrot Top.

What’s your prediction for the game?

38-35 ‘Hoos.

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