This isn't the prettiest of rivalries. The games are ugly, the teams play ugly, even the team's colors are ugly. The Commonwealth Cup is a game only Hokies and Hoos appreciate. It rarely means much beyond bragging rights for more than one team with the exception of the 2007 contest. But while this game carries little significance outside the Old Dominion, it carries a lot of significance for the Hokies and Hoos.
There's a huge culture clash between the two schools and to me, UVa embodies a lot of qualities I just loathe. To outsiders, the only difference may appear to be which color the fans prefer to wear with their orange. But those who know this rivalry intimately know there's a deep unyielding hate between the two schools that is on par with some of the more mainstream rivalries in college football.
This week brings out the worst in me. Let's see what it brought out from the media and bloggers. We'll also check in on GT-UGa, NC State-UNC, The Civil War and others. Links after the jump.
Hokie and Hoo Beat Writers
Beamer wary of Cavaliers (Randy King)
"The oddsmakers have established Virginia Tech as a hefty 13-point road favorite over Virginia in Saturday's regular-season finale. That said, don't even mention the betting spread to Frank Beamer. Frankly, Tech's football coach doesn't want to hear it."
Cavaliers need a new surprise in old rivalry (Aaron McFarling)
"And even though the result seemed familiar -- a fifth straight victory for Tech in the series, 17-14 -- the teams treated us to three hours of drama and storylines, thanks in large part to the Vic Hall moment. The Hokies remember it well, and they're bracing for a similar surprise this weekend."
A rivalry that's in the blood (Mark Viera)
"In-state rivalries like the one between Virginia Tech and Virginia start at a young age. These videos illustrate that, so check them out if you feel like wasting a little time."
The day Percy Harvin ended Ryan Williams’ track career (Nathan "Tommie Frazier" Warters)
"Williams ran in the prelims for the 100-meter dash, and he got smoked by Harvin, who went on to star in football at Florida and is now catching touchdown passes from Brett Favre as a Minnesota Vikings rookie. Harvin paced the field in the prelims with a 10.8. Williams ran an 11.43, which was good for 25th. Harvin later won the finals in 10.69 seconds. Williams didn’t care too much for his running that day, but at least he got to meet Taylor."
The next step in Tyrod Taylor’s development (Darryl Slater)
"Taylor’s less-obvious benchmarks of improvement, though, matter even more to Tech’s coaches. It is harder to see, from numbers alone, perhaps the greatest sign of their increased trust in him: their recent willingness to let him, and not his offensive coordinator, pick a play at the line of scrimmage based on what he sees in the defense’s formation."
Capturing the Commonwealth (Kyle Tucker)
"In the spirit of Rivalry Week, I’d like to quote a noted scholar, who once said of Virginia-Virginia Tech: "It’s like the rivalry between the hammer and the nail." That was Pilot columnist Bob Molinaro, (in)famous for his salty one-liners that often ring uncomfortably true. Sorry, Virginia folks, but the Cavaliers have been distinctly nail-like of late."
Special teams failures haunt the Cavaliers (Doug Doughty)
"Almost every momentum-changing special-teams play has been offset by a snafu by one of the units. Saturday, Chase Minnifield set up U.Va.'s first touchdown at Clemson with a 34-yard kickoff return. He fumbled on two later kickoff returns, one resulting in the Cavaliers taking possession at their 8-yard line."
Hokie and Hoo Bloggers
One-on-One With: Bud Foster (Part 3) (ACC Sports Journal)
"As a coach, you wear a lot of different hats, and a big one is dealing with your kids on a day-to-day basis. The bottom line for us and a big part of our success is that the kids know that we really do care about them. It’s not just, what can you do for me on Saturdays?"
Why I hate UVA: The Redux (The North End Zone)
"I've had and have heard of many bad experiences from people who visited or know UVA students and alums, and there are very few of them who weren't complete knobs. I hate the Yankees, but alas, I am still good friends with a couple of diehard (and actual, not bandwagon frontrunning Yankee fans) and we can have a civil discussion about the merits of both of our teams. This has never been the case in all of my experiences with UVA fans. They are all stuck-up and insecure twats."
Rivalry Reek (Beer Control Offense)
"I loathe groh, his face, his voice, his attire, his convoluted coach speak that only Stiney can understand, his sea of orange, his coattails super bowl ring, really ... I could go on for a bit. I will say 1 thing positive about him, his team NEVER quit. Even in avg to below avg years, they play hard annually .... just not well."
Game preview: Virginia Poly (From Old Virginia)
"Stuff Ryan Williams. There's a near-perfect correlation between holding him under 101 yards and Tech losing the game. Duke is the only exception. Williams is the key; Tyrod Taylor scares nobody."
Atlantic Coast Conference
If he gets the chance, Johnson will bring the hammer down on the Dawgs (Mr. College Football)
"State rivalries like Georgia and Georgia Tech are always big recruiting games. Saturday night’s game at Bobby Dodd Stadium will be no different. But in his second year at Georgia Tech, Johnson has infused the football program with confidence at a time where Georgia’s confidence is at a pretty low ebb. There is all kind of positive energy at Georgia Tech. I haven’t seen this much negative energy at Georgia since Jim Donnan’s last year (2000) as head coach. College Football 101 says that when you have your rival in a weakened position, you put your foot on the gas. If Johnson can lay a pretty good number on Georgia, he will. Georgia has enough athletic ability to make this game competitive. But I wonder if they have the heart to fight back. I really do."
The ACCSports.com Podcast (ACC Sports Journal)
"The dulcet tones of Barry Manilow open up this week’s conversation, as a tribute to Clemson finally "making it" by reaching the ACC Atlantic Division title game. But is that enough for Clemson fan? Joe and Jim also talk about the sparse crowd that showed up for Mickey Andrews’ final home game at FSU and what that means for Bobby Bowden. They then segue into "rivalry week," which really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be this year."
Tuesday Mornin' Hatin' on uga with Winfield & Dane (From The Rumble Seat)
"Dane: Beating georgia means nothing, but losing to them means everything. Mutt fans like beating Tech way more than we like beating them. I know that sounds crazy - but that's really all they had, and now it's gone. I heard "seven" more times last season than any other word, and every georgia fan I met made it a point to tell me that they owned us. No, you owned Chan Gailey. And now he's gone."
Another relic from the Bowden era: The QB succession plan (Tomahawk Nation)
"A sometimes forgotten aspect of the dynasty was Bowden's embrace of a quarterback succession plan. Bowden began to set up a recruiting structure by which he spaced quarterbacks two years apart, with redshirts factored in, so that a quarterback became a starter as a redshirt junior. New "elite" quarterbacks were recruited when the incumbent was a redshirt senior."
Road Trippin' Through The Motions (Backing The Pack)
"The game aside, we had a good time in Blacksburg, and it's a road trip you should make in the future if you have the opportunity. For an on-campus facility, the parking is surprisingly ample, and there's plenty of space for visitors who don't have a parking pass, which was a relief for us. Tech fans were very nice, though I suspect that was primarily because they all knew this game was a gimme."
How Will Bible's Diagnosis Impact State's Performance? (Yet Another...)
"Yesterday's news that offensive coordinator Dana Bible has been diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia caught all but Bible's closest confidants off guard. We knew he'd missed the trip to Virginia Tech for health reasons, but those reasons were unclear to nearly everyone until yesterday's press conference when Tom O'Brien shared the news."
Division Champ Dab-O-Meter (Block-C)
"Dabo is endearing himself to the Clemson faithful more and more each day, but his status on the Dab-O-Meter can only change incrementally now that he’s so close to Danny. He’ll have to be happy with the baby steps until I devise a new representational chart of Dab-O-Metrics. I’m way too busy trying to create the interactive Dab-O-Meter shirt. It’s like Shirt 2.0, you guys!"
Easily The Stupidest Thing You Will Read Today (Tar Heel Fan)
"What you are about to read is called stirring the pot and Josh Hailey at WRAL Fankind(no link for obvious reasons) basically shovels a bunch of manure onto the page then watches as the kids come along and play in it. It is traffic bait which Hailey readily admits up front with the classic "I know people are going to hate me for this" disclaimer which really means "I know people are going to hate me and that is exactly why I am writing it." Anyway, something like this requires a piece by piece dismantling and I feel obligated to provide it."
National College Football
Paying it forward, making a difference (George Schroeder)
"You may have heard the story of Angel Wilson, the 13-year-old Oklahoma girl with severe brain damage and cerebral palsy who somehow loves Oregon football. Or the colors. Or the Duck mascot. No one’s exactly sure what it is, but Angel lights up when the Ducks are on TV. When Ryan Wolfe heard her story, he did something about it. The result is a neat, heartwarming example of kindness, of giving without looking for anything in return."
Corn Blight Has Left The Building..... (Corn Nation)
"The one other area in which we need to improve is credibility. That's the biggest reason for the name change. Husker Mike and Jlew don't have the same problem as me. Their monikers are at least a close proximity to their real names. Me, well, let's just say "corn blight" is a long way from "Jon Johnston" and while it wouldn't take much to relate the two most people don't do it. They especially don't do it if they see it on a headline when scanning through Google News or any other web site. Bottom line - it's time for me to use my own name."
RCR Theatre: The Blind Side Review (Red Cup Rebellion)
"There's a few moments where I was fairly moved, not because of Oher's story, but because there is an unknown number of children, teenagers and adults who will never or never make it out of bad situations. There's a few lines in the movie that just makes you want to give money to poor people, and I don't even have much money to give."
The importance of Autzen Stadium going into the Civil War (Addicted To Quack)
"Going into the Civil War, I think that this home field advantage will be a huge factor. It's not getting a lot of attention yet, but it should. The Ducks are a better team at home. They play at a completely different level. And if the Ducks can come close to that level, I love their chances next week."
Autzen Stadium: Will it Make a Difference for Oregon State? (Building The Dam)
"More than anything, I think this proves that the Beavers aren't going to have another let down this year against the Ducks. But we didn't really need to look at statistics to see that-- I think we can agree that the vibe surrounding this team is better overall than it was a year ago. Everybody's healthy. The pressure is lower-- OSU hasn't had the "you control your own destiny" monkey on it's back the past month. The Beavers should be able to play loose."