Back to Weekly Picks
Back to Home Page
MEDIA SCOPE - Sept. 16
Preseason (Aug. 24)
Week 1 (Aug. 31)
Week 2 (Sept. 7)
Week 3 (Sept. 14)
Week 4 (Sept. 21)
Week 5 (Sept. 28)

Week 6 (Oct. 5)
Week 7 (Oct. 12)
Week 8 (Oct. 19)
Week 9 (Oct. 26)

Week 10 (Nov. 2)
Week 11 (Nov. 9)
Week 12 (Nov. 16)
Week 13 (Nov. 23)
Week 14 (Nov. 30)

WEEK 8 Mid-Season BCS Bowl Predictions

The race for the BCS is on and already a handful of teams are making noise about playing in the big money bowls. At this point, a bowl projection of any kind is absurd by logical standards, especially when trying to fill slots in non-BCS bowls. In an effort to avoid such a catastrophe, finds more logic in sticking with the big game projections only. At the midway point of the season, here is a brief synopsis along with some predictions.

Fiesta Bowl - Miami vs. Oklahoma
The site is sticking with our original pick of preseason favorites. Miami's schedule offers two stumbling blocks - a trip to Tennessee and a home date with the Hokies (who, by the way, should come into this game undefeated, given the rest of their easy schedule). Teams from the SEC and the Big 12 pose quite a predicting dilemma with those conference championship games. Barring two losses to by the Sooners and a Texas team that runs the table, the Sooners have the total inside track to the South Division title. In other words, Texas needs to root for everyone else besides Oklahoma. But not playing in the conference title game does have its rewards. Just ask Nebraska about last year.

Rose Bowl - Ohio State vs. Washington State
This early Big Ten pick is assuming Ohio State and Iowa both have a conference loss. Under that scenario, the team with the best overall record gets the BCS bid. Since Iowa already has one loss and doesn't play Ohio State, we are sticking with the Buckeyes. Some of the folks from Columbus may be shrieking at the thought of playing a rematch with the Cougars, but with the Pac Ten being so even, the WSU/Oregon game in Pullman looks to be the breadwinner. Here, sticking with the home team seems to be the best bet. If Ohio State plans on "ducking" this rematch, it would be well advised to just stay unbeaten or hope Oregon pulls out the big win on the road in Pullman. Believe it or not, Michigan controls their own destiny since they play both Iowa and Ohio State. If the Wolverines win out, they are the champions.

Sugar Bowl - Florida State vs. Georgia
Most of you are saying not so fast; let's not forget about the NC State Wolfpack. They have as much of a claim as FSU. The ACC bid boils down to this game in Raleigh in late November. If the Wolfpack win, they are in (even if they falter along the way to someone like Maryland, Clemson, or Georgia Tech). The same can be said of FSU faltering. The SEC is another dilemma. Everyone is aware of what LSU did to the mix in last year's Championship Game. This is a tough one…on any given day any one of these top SEC teams can beat another. We are betting that no one from the SEC goes unscathed, and therefore Georgia is the leagues only hope. The SEC Championship Game winner gets in, the loser goes elsewhere, surfing non-BCS style.

Orange Bowl - Virginia Tech vs. Notre Dame
The Hokies control their own destiny, as a win over Miami in Coral Gables on December 7th cancels any worries about being a BCS reject once again. A loss to Miami means trouble, simply because the loss comes at season's end. Notre Dame only needs to win four of their next six to be eligible, and Rutgers and Navy look like sure victories. Should the Hokies lose to Miami, the door will be open to several other at-large teams - Texas, Iowa State, Kansas State, Iowa, Michigan, Oregon, LSU, and dare we say Air Force? If the Falcons get by home games against Notre Dame and Colorado State, the rest of their schedule is a cakewalk. Will a 12-0 Air Force team get bypassed for an Irish team they already beat? Listen, you can hear the screams from Colorado Springs already. Iowa State has the toughest remaining schedule, Michigan and Iowa will match up and eliminate the loser, and LSU has already lost to Virginia Tech. The only threat right now for an at-large bid seems to be a situation where one of the conference title games spells major upset, which could leave someone in the mix like Texas or Kansas State (who have remaining tough schedules of their own, as well as a duel in Manhattan this upcoming weekend). The winner of that game, or Oregon, looks to have an inside track under this scenario.

So many games remain and with the parity in college football today, anything goes. If INSIDE99 knew the answers, he wouldn't be sitting here typing this. Fans and universities have to ride it out and play the cards that are dealt. What a fun ride it will be…more upsets, twists, and turns await in 2002, that we guarantee.


TOP 25 REASONING - by Ricky Sixx

1.Miami - Close victory over Noles makes one wonder. Is Miami still head and shoulders over everyone else? Are Canes still good enough to beat almost anyone, even on a bad day?

2. Oklahoma - I hope nonsense of Texas having more talent than Oklahoma is over. Oklahoma's skill position players stepped up, so did OL. Coaching was clearly difference in Red River shoot-out.

3. Virginia Tech - Untouchables were dynamite, but Hokies still struggled a bit vs.BC. Tech now looks to breeze through the rest until meeting Miami.

4. Oregon - Not pretty but Ducks won tough road game in Pasadena…now looking at possible 9-0 record before facing Washington State in pivotal Pac-10 showdown.

5. Georgia - After shutting down Clausen-less Tennessee, Bulldogs look like SEC East is theirs to take. Winnable games vs. Mississippi, Florida, and at Auburn remain only challenges left on schedule.

6. Ohio State - Buckeyes took care of San Jose State but still not looking as good as earlier this year. Now, reaching the meat of their schedule, we can see what they're really made of.

7. Washington State - Outside of Oregon no one looks more solid in this up and down conference. Get by Arizona schools and Cougars are probably playing for Pac-10 lead when Ducks come to town November 9.

8. Texas - Once again Longhorns fail to win vs. top 10 team…most frustrating part is coaching staff didn't give offense any real chance. No doubt Texas has Ferrari talent, but if Mack Brown & staff insist on driving like senior citizens, then expect Kansas State to give Horns more than they can handle.

9. Florida State - Good news - Florida State coached and played best game in 2 years. Bad news - still wasn't enough to beat Miami at their worst. Still, no shame in losing to #1 ranked team by 1 point at their house. Take care of Notre Dame and Florida State could end up with top 6 or 7 ranking and enough momentum to get by in ACC with BCS Bowl birth.

10. Alabama - After week off, 'Bama looks to bounce back at home vs. OLE Miss. In doing so they go into a tough 5 game stretch with momentum. (includes games at Tennessee, at LSU and a home game vs. rival Auburn)

11. Iowa State - So far Cyclones have not only showed potent offense but good defense, too. Look for ISU to give Oklahoma all they can handle IF Sooners show up with a Red River victory hangover.

12. Kansas State - After soundly destroying decent Oklahoma State team (gave Texas all they could handle), the Wildcats now host the Texas. Question on everyone's mind - which Longhorn team shows up? Either way someone gets blown out…who it will be?

13. Iowa - After disposing of Michigan State, Hawkeyes have some believing they are best n the Big 10. If not for one bad quarter vs. in-state rival Iowa State, Hawkeyes are undefeated.

14. Michigan - Another close game, another close victory…but this time a little controversy. Still Michigan came out with good victory over best Penn State team in last two years.

15. Notre Dame - Notre Dame continues to play wonderful defense, ugly offense and good special teams. Keep this up vs. big boys like Air Force and FSU and there's nowhere to go but up, way up.

16. Air Force - 52 points vs. BYU isn't eye opener but holding Cougars to 9 points is! If Falcons can manage to beat undefeated Notre Dame they could put themselves in position to give the BCS some lip.

17. North Carolina State - So far so good. North Carolina State hasn't played any world-beaters…then again results are up to expectations…Wins. Expect Wolfpack favored in every game until show down with Noles. Game at Clemson only problem for Chuck Amato's kids.

18. Bowling Green - Falcons didn't look spectacular vs. Central Michigan. Still, undefeated and doesn't look like anyone in MAC will stop them.

19. Southern Cal - Slow start, but Trojan's offense stepped-up in solid victory over good California team. With win Trojans stay alive in Pac-10 title hunt.

20. Penn State - Joe Paterno's Lions got short end of another questionable call that could have changed result of eventual loss. Penn State is 2 OT losses from being undefeated. Imagine if college football still had the tie?

21. Tennessee - Ugly loss at Georgia didn't help already struggling Tennessee team… we cut them some slack without Clausen in close road game. If Tennessee doesn't show improvement over next week or two, they wind up another SEC top-25 casualty. Up next - a very good Crimson Tide team.

22. Colorado - Buffs ready…Done messing around? Colorado has a string of 3 wins…Barnett could go into Norman 7-2.

23. Boston College - Played #1 Hurricanes tough over half the time, played the #3 Hokies tough for 55 minutes…no shame in losing to either. BC is well coached…10 win season looks attainable.

24. Louisville - Not pretty, but good none the less. 4-2 Cardinals have more quality wins AND losses than other on-par teams.

25. Colorado State - Wins over Louisville and Colorado…but if Sonny Lubbick's team wants to stay top 25, CSU needs wins over Utah and BYU…faces currently undefeated Air Force Halloween night.



There’s an old college sports cliché that goes something like: “Some teams rebuild, while other teams reload.” It’s an acknowledgement of coaching and recruiting that consistently produce quality teams, despite graduation, injury or early flight of star players to the NFL. Virginia Tech is in that mold.

Wait, did he just say… Virginia Tech? There goes his credibility.

Yes. Virginia Tech. While it’s true Virginia Tech has only recently been considered a legitimate “power”(and some would still argue they aren’t), what Virginia Tech has done is reload. It’s the primary reason for 10 consecutive bowl games. True, Virginia Tech’s pedigree does not compare yet to FSU, Florida, or Nebraska. But look around at the rest - few other teams have produced such consistency over 10 years?

Oh please. They have a winning record because of a soft schedule.

OK, perhaps the Hokies built a program with some soft scheduling. However, what they did do primarily is build a solid program that converted quality, often unrecruited high school players into a selfless, cohesive unit. Beamer’s teams earned a reputation as a strong run defense, a strong running game, and the most fearsome special teams unit in college football. But their success is more impressive considering their lack of blue chip recruits.

The 2002 season opened with many questions, to say the least. The Hokies were returning 10 players on both sides. Not only that, but the team suffered an embarrassing home loss to Syracuse, were then torched by Pittsburgh the following week, once again showing vulnerability to the deep ball (as was the case against FSU in the Gator Bowl, too). Lost was the entire LB corps (including the heart and soul of the defense, Ben Taylor and Jake Houseright). Lost too was the speedy Andre Davis, the man single-handedly responsible for keeping defenses from crowding the box. Then Grant Noel (their only experienced QB) tore his ACL in spring practice and CB Eric Green followed. Of course, 2002 brought the toughest out-of-conference schedule in Virginia Tech's history (3 Top 25 teams) in addition to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome, and the National Champions in the Orange Bowl. Secretly, Virginia Tech fans estimated the number of losses they could endure without considering the season a disaster. Publicly they accepted another Gator Bowl as well as a “wait-until-next-year” attitude.

They should have listened to Beamer. Didn’t he say the year after Vick was the best recruiting class he’s ever had? Didn’t he land the #1 high school player in the country with Kevin Jones? Why worry?

The defense has been nothing short of spectacular, exceeding all expectations. The chemistry of this unit needed no time to gel. Under the steady guidance of Coordinator Bud Foster, the team is playing as if all 5-year seniors. Yet, here’s the most amazing statistic about this defense - only one of the top 15 tacklers on this team is a senior, Willie Pile. The DEs are on a tear (Adibi leading the way with 6 sacks, and Davis and Colas contributing 4.5 each). And the LBs (Mikal Baaqee, Vegas Robinson, and Brandon Manning) make it easy to cheer for Ben Taylor in Cleveland, rather than wishing he was still in Blacksburg. These guys have speed and power, and now, experience. The deep ball can still burn this defense, though. It’s an aggressive run-stopping unit that relies on man coverage on the corners. Yet with the DEs living up to expectations, that job becomes easier. The Hokies have eight interceptions returned for 150 yards.


With six undefeated games, it’s difficult to complain. However, the offensive results have been mixed. Jones and Suggs, “untouchable” in wins against Marshall and Boston College looked very “touchable” against Texas A&M and even Western Michigan (the latter from an obvious lack of focus). The passing game has been a pleasant surprise. Bryan Randall replaced an injured Grant Noel against LSU and has not looked back. He’s not being asked to do much with his arm as the Hokies are averaging less than 15 attempts per game. He has shown to be a leader on the field and has not made any mistakes. Elusive when the pocket breaks down, he’s able to avoid the rush with a pass or throw. When he does throw, he completes 65% of his passes, putting to rest rumors he’s a runner, not a thrower. Randall completes passes with zip and a touch. He will no doubt provide a challenge to Marcus Vick next year for the starting job. While none of the receivers are going to make Hokie fans forget Andre Davis, Ernest Wilford is doing his best to make them forget about the critical 2-point conversion he dropped against Miami last year. He’s averaging over 24 yards per catch and is proving to be a reliable receiver and the primary target downfield.

Special Teams
Surprisingly, this unit has caused the most heartache so far. Carter Warley has an injured back and the Hokies are now relying on a freshman kicker for PATs and FGs. While the Hokies continue to terrorize punters (4 blocked kicks so far), they were absolutely embarrassed by BC (279 return yards, including an 83-yard punt return). I wouldn’t have wanted to watch those films with Beamer, who coaches this unit.

So the million dollar question: Can this team go undefeated until December? The answer is absolutely yes. Will they? Looking at their schedule, they have Rutgers and Temple the next two weeks. Look for the Hokies to test a more open passing game during these games. Beamer knows the Hokies need more dimensions if they are going to achieve their goals, and what better guinea pigs than the Scarlet Knights and the Owls? After these games, Pitt comes into Blacksburg. This game is their toughest until Miami. Pitt has played VT extremely well, even during the Vick years. However, the game is in Blacksburg and, if the Hokies are 8-0 at that point, assume Lane Stadium will be humming. Syracuse (which always seems to play like the Pittsburgh Steelers of the 70s when Virginia Tech comes to the Dome) is absolutely horrid this year, meaning a rare walk in the park for the Hokies in Syracuse. West Virginia is still struggling to adjust to a new system and has to play in Blacksburg. The Virginia Cavaliers a curious team, exceeding expectations by beating Clemson and South Carolina, but they seem to have only a passing game. While you need to beat the Hokies in the air, if you don’t have a ground game, it’s not going to matter much (see Marshall).

With another soft schedule next year, a legitimate Heisman candidate in Kevin Jones, Marcus Vick at QB (with experienced Randall as back-up), and a team full of experienced sophomores and juniors, the Hokies’ future looks very bright. They could be preseason #1, depending on how many Canes bolt for the NFL again. Yes Virginia Tech, there is a Santa Claus. He brought you Michael Vick (the gift that keeps on giving). Virginia Tech can legitimately claim they don’t rebuild, they reload.


Weekly Preview

Editor: Dave Hershorin