GC: The Cavaliers have been disappointing, going 2-9 in 11 games in what was supposed to be a better year than last. What do you make of the season to date?
STL: Utter failure is the first phrase that comes to mind. Dumpster fire, colossal waste of time, and oh dear god please not the new normal are also phrases that are acceptable given the on-field product. Whether it was the total lack of production from the QB position through 11 games without any sign of a change to come, the stout defense turning to something softer and with more holes than a moth-eaten cardigan, or the new and ingenious ways the coaching staff found to piss away close games, this was the season we wish never would have been.
GC: What is the WORST thing about Virginia Tech fans?
STL: If we could give all the blame/credit to a Hokie familiar with the dark arts, I'd be happy to. The playcalling-vs.-execution debate has been raging since the early weeks. David Watford is a bad quarterback. Full stop. So that weighs in on the side of execution. But he has been given the reins of this offense week after week. And that weighs in on the side of blaming the coaches. The offensive line hasn't been able to open up holes between the tackles. Execution. But the running backs keep getting sent between the tackles despite picking up big gains to the outside. Playcalling. And on and on it goes.
GC: In your opinion, does Mike London return as the head coach of Virginia in 2014? If so, do you think he deserves to?
STL: If I were king of the universe, or at the least the athletic department, he wouldn't. But no one has asked my opinion because I can't stroke a nine-figure check. Meanwhile, private assurances have been made that London will return for at least the start of the 2014 season. Generally, I support giving a coach at least five years. London, however, has looked completely out of his depth. His mismanagement of close-game situations-remember the end of last year's game against y'all?-has been enough for me to want him gone.
GC: If your answer was no above, what circumstance would it take for him to no longer be the coach? With the top-rated recruits coming in, how high does that push expectations for the future?
STL: Next season, our out-of-conference opponents are UCLA, Richmond, @ BYU, and Kent State, in that order. If we lose to Richmond, he should be fired that day. If we only beat Richmond out of that four and lose the first game or two of ACC play, he should be fired then. It still weirds me out to go to different recruiting services' websites and see Alabama and Virginia as the only two programs with two top-ten recruits committed. It also gives me a bit of hope. As sad as this is, making a bowl next year is the bare minimum I would expect London to be able to get by with.
GC: So now to the rivalry. Among Virginia's rivals (in all sports), where does the Tech-UVA matchup in football stand?
STL: Depends on who you ask. For the old schoolers, UNC-Chapel Hill is at least as big a rival as VPISU is, especially because the Heels can put up a fight in more than one sport. Having been raised in a family with several of said old schoolers, I tend to hew toward that perspective. Younger fans are going to see VPISU as our main rival, and there's more commercialization of that rivalry to support it. (When's the last time you saw a UNCCH/UVa "House Divided" flag or sticker?) I would rank the rivalries (1) UNCCH, all sports; (2) VPISU, primarily football; (3) Maryland, all sports (good f***ing riddance); (4) Duke, basketball and lacrosse; (5) VPISU, all other sports.
GC: What's your favorite/least favorite moment in the rivalry?
STL: Least favorite moment has been the last decade's-worth of football games. The 38-0 beat em down sticks out worst because it undid a pretty remarkable season. Favorite moment is still the 1998 comeback. Outside of football, any season is a pretty good one to root for the Hoos against the Hokies. But that also brings up the sour taste of this past year's ACC baseball tournament.
GC: I compel you to find one complimentary thing about Virginia Tech or its fans (I'll do the same for UVA if asked). Ready go!
STL: They're passionate. The stadium entrance is one of the best choreographed pieces of fueling fan fervor in the country. I also like that when the weather gets cold, VPISU's colors turn from maroon and orange to blaze orange and camo.
GC: What is the WORST thing about Virginia Tech fans?
STL: They're totally irrational. There are quantitative measures of a school beyond football performance. By pretty much any of them-and certainly by the sum total of them-the University of Virginia is simply a better school. And yet to talk to a Hokie [shudders to think of it], U.Va. is, at best, on equal footing and is probably inferior. Coming back to the "argument" that U.Va. hasn't won the football rivalry in ten years doesn't change the rest of what's out there in the world.
GC: Have you ever drank a Zima?
STL: ...Dammit. Stupid Honor Code. Yes.
GC: Focusing on the game now, how do you see it playing out? Who wins, why, by what score and do the Cavs have any chance of pulling the upset? How can they do it if so?
STL: The Hokies still have something to play for, squarely in the running for a Coastal division title and the privilege of getting steamrolled by Florida State in the ACC Championship Game. Virginia lost everything but pride weeks ago, and even pride hasn't seemed like much of a motivator. If we can get Bad Logan Thomas to show up, our defense can take advantage of some mistakes. But with Ant Harris out for the first half (#goaccrefs), I fear the game will be too far out of hand for even Logan Thomas to blow it. Bud Foster also has one of the better defensive units Blacksburg has boasted in the last few years, which will make Virginia's semblance of an offense far too painful to watch. This one's over in time to catch the second half of the Iron Bowl in its entirety. 38-10 Hokies. Virginia fans will only have our 18 national championships to console us as the season comes to an end.
Thanks again to Paul for joining us for the Q & A. For all the news and coverage from a Cavalier perspective this weekend and throughout the season, make sure to check out Streaking The Lawn. You can also find my answers to his questions here. For all the Hokie stuff you could ever want, don't move a muscle. YOU'RE ON IT here at Gobbler Country.