What a rough start to the season for Bowling Green. A trip to Florida. A home game against Idaho, possibly the closest thing to a breather. A rivalry game. Then a trip to Blacksburg, where Virginia Tech is always tough.
But is Tech the scary machine they were billed as? After an overtime thriller win against Georgia Tech, then a demolishing of Austin Peay, the Hokies lost 35-17 to Pittsburgh — yes, the same Pitt that lost by two touchdowns to Youngstown State and looked miserable against Cincinnati. That's a hell of a transitive property to swallow and resultantly knocked VT from 13th in the country all the way to out of the rankings. Kind of harsh, don't you think? One bad game and suddenly you're not at all a powerhouse?
That's the power of one game. It's 1/12 a season. In relation to Major League Baseball units, one college football game is 13½ baseball games, making every loss in college football a cold losing streak.
Chris Hatcher operates SBN's Virginia Tech blog Gobbler Country. He is ... he is not happy about where this team is. I asked him some Q's and he happy provided some A's back:
So, the Pittsburgh game. What the heck happened, dude?
It was the result of a confluence of factors. We heard from every Virginia Tech talking head on the team that they didn't take Pittsburgh seriously, but that followed a week of every talking head saying "Pitt's a wounded animal" or "We're not about to overlook Pitt." Obviously there's a disconnect there. Watching back the game tape in its entirety (yes, I did, and believe me it was painful), it was abundantly clear what Tech did wrong. I'll give you the abridged version for brevity.
- The secondary was absolutely terrible in coverage, completely whiffing on more plays than I could count on both of my hands.
- The offense turned the ball over four times. Frank Beamer teams don't win games like that, because Frank Beamer teams don't operate with that kind of margin of error (though few teams do).
- Because of the two causes mentioned above, the Hokies were out-possessioned (shut up, if other sports figures can say sticktoitiveness, I can say anything I want) by over 17 minutes. Simply look back to Beamer's record in games where he doesn't win the time of possession and you'll understand. The Hokies just rely so much on time of possession.
- Tech's offensive line is terrible. Terrible. Just terrible.
- Lastly, the offensive play-calling was atrocious. That's hardly new for the Hokies (just look back at their offensive rankings pre-2009. They set records for offensive futility for a ranked team), but the last two seasons, even the staunchest Stinespring haters and armchair coordinators had to be impressed with the progress, as the Hokies' offense produced the two best seasons in program history. But this season, the play-calling has been more pre-2009 than the previous two to three seasons.
No, seriously, what the heck happened?
I think the short answer is something I said to anyone who would listen all last week: The Hokies aren't as good as billed and the Panthers aren't as bad as billed, contrary to everyone on the Twitterverse who seemed to think they were the worst team in history. I'm not going to say the Hokies still shouldn't have beaten the Panthers, and soundly. I'm just saying, they're not the chumps they looked like over the first two weeks. They're somewhere in the between those two weeks and how they looked last weekend.
2. Given that loss, how concerned are you about a two-game losing streak? Any moreso than before the Pitt game?
I think you'd always have to be wary of that, especially given the Hokies' history of suffering successive losses. I'd like to think we were past that point as a program, but then again I also would like to think we were past getting drilled by an underwhelming Pitt team. It all depends on which Virginia Tech shows up.
Are you still seeing VT as an ACC contender?
It's hard to ever count a Frank Beamer-coached team out. I think it's too early to say that. It wasn't a conference game (yet). Historically, the Hokies start the season out slow and come on late. The defense, despite the 35 points a week ago, STILL has the possibility to be a top-10 defense. They're that talented. But they're not 100% healthy at the moment, and their not playing at that level. It's hard to be a great defense though if you're on the field twice as much as the offense as they were last weekend. What I can say is that unless they start to play like they can, their window will close quickly down the stretch run.
Not so much a score prediction, but what is your expectation of how this game should turn out?
After the Hokies lay a stinker like the one they did Saturday, it's anyone's guess. I think they'll win. They hung with Florida in Gainesville Week 1, although that was a Florida team that was pretty green. But just two weeks later, I can say Florida is a LOT better than the Hokies are right now after watching them live last weekend. So, it's anyone's guess. I hate to sound like a broken record, but it all depends on if the Hokies show up. If they do, they should win by 20+. If they don't, it'll be close, and the Hokies could be 2-2 quicker than they can gobble.
Heck if I can find a decent connection between BG and VT. Uh ... orange sure looks good, doesn't it?
It all depends on the color of the orange. Burnt Orange? Sure, that's my shit (don't look at me...just quoting the timeless Gwen Stefani). Creamsicle Orange? Nah. I got plenty of that last weekend as I mentioned above. Also too much Rocky Top. I might as well go ahead and make it official here: the presidential candidate who officially outlaws that God forsaken song will get my vote. Ready, go...
Yeah, there's a chance Bowling Green will win. There's always a chance. If VT plays bad, there's still a chance that BGSU also plays bad, perhaps being a carbon copy of the Florida game. All eyes are still on the Falcons wide receivers to make plays down the field — at times just catching the darn ball — and the secondary can't get burned deep like they were in Toledo. They have the playmakers to do this. But I can't count on Virginia Tech to lay eggs two straight weeks.