By David Teel
5:16 AM AKST, November 23, 2012
Virginia fans should stock the university jet with the finest creature comforts, send it to the 757 and fly me post-haste to Blacksburg. Failing that, a limo longer than a football field and driven by Brad Keselowski would suffice.
Virginia Tech fans should counter with a military-enforced no-fly zone south of Roanoke, or a police roadblock at Exit 118 off Interstate 81.
That’s how decisive my presence could be at Saturday’s annual football clash between the Cavaliers and Hokies.
As some Virginia Tech faithful undoubtedly are aware, I am the Hokies’ Prince of Darkness. Their Grim Reaper. Their Kryptonite.
Yes, I covered Virginia Tech’s season-opening victory over Georgia Tech. But since, the Hokies have been college football’s Kansas City Chiefs in my presence, losing to Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, North Carolina, Clemson, Miami and Florida State.
That’s 0-6 for those scoring at home. Plus, Tech has seemingly invented ways to lose, with defensive breakdowns, offensive giveaways, special-teams lapses and coaching brain-cramps that defy imagination.
Conversely, the Hokies are 4-0 in my absence, besting Austin Peay, Bowling Green, Duke and Boston College.
The net is a 5-6 record, Tech’s worst in 20 years, leaving them on the brink of missing postseason for the first time since a 2-8-1 finish in 1992 forced coach Frank Beamer to retool his staff.
At 4-7, Virginia is no better. Plus, the Cavaliers have lost to the Hokies the last eight years, usually by knockout, and haven’t won at Lane Stadium since 1998.
But Virginia is 3-2 with my fanny in the seat, and I covered its signature effort, a 33-6 road rout of North Carolina State.
So who wins Saturday? Heaven knows, I’m among the last to ask.
Last season I infamously picked the Cavaliers to defeat the Hokies. Given that Virginia was 8-3 and playing at home, the notion didn’t appear too far-fetched.
Tech 38, Virginia 0.
In August, I picked the Cavaliers to finish 6-6 this season. Not quite.
I had the Hokies going 11-1. Yikes.
Saturday? Tech is coming off an overtime victory at Boston College but hasn’t won two straight over Bowl Subdivision opponents all year. Virginia, most recently, lost to North Carolina, but has shown flash on offense with Phillip Sims and Michael Rocco sharing quarterback chores.
The key is Tech’s defense. Coordinator Bud Foster’s group is capable of dominance, witness Florida State’s minus-15 rushing yards. Yet the Hokies have a knack for butchering pass coverage in the clutch, see last-second collapses against Cincinnati and FSU.
Considering the caliber of opponent, the 28-22 loss to Florida State is arguably Tech’s best effort this year. It’s also the Hokies’ lone home setback. Indeed, for all the season’s shortcomings, Tech has played reasonably well at home, reserving its follies for NFL venues such as Heinz Field (Pittsburgh), Fed-Ex Field (Cincinnati) and Sun Life Stadium (Miami).
So make it Hokies, 24-20.
And yes, I plan to be in Blacksburg, unless corralled at the city limits by Frank Beamer’s posse.
I can be reached at 247-4636 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me at twitter.com/DavidTeelatDP
Here’s a link to my Daily Press print columns.