CFN Instant Analysis
Va Tech 20, Ga Tech 17 OT
Logan Thomas still might be a first round draft pick in 2013 or 2014. It just didn’t look that way tonight.
The Virginia Tech quarterback has an upside as big as his inseam, an enormous pocket passer with the athleticism to do for some professional organization what Cam Newton is doing for the Carolina Panthers. However, for much of this opener with Georgia Tech, he looked more like the hurler who started his rookie year with a fizzle than the one who finished it on fire. Yes, he wasn’t always helped by the play of his receivers, and the veteran Yellow Jackets secondary is underrated. However, Thomas missed too many targets, and sailed a few too many balls, an erratic overall performance for a player expected to take his game to the next level—and possibly to Sundays once the Hokies play their bowl game.
In the big picture, Thomas will be just fine, and still possibly one of the game’s most dangerous dual-threats from behind center. However, he’s not quite as far along as many expected once the 2012 season began. Without a sure-thing in the running game for the first time in years, Virginia Tech needs consistent play at quarterback now more than ever. If Thomas is erratic, the Hokies are going to be vulnerable to lesser opponents, much the way they were this evening in Blacksburg.
By Russ Mitchell
Follow me @russmitchellcfb
Well it certainly wasn’t ESPN’s love-fest for all things Penn State. How weird was that?
To begin with, saying it’s time to turn the page is a bit presumptuous. Here’s a note from the obvious squad: the victims(s) typically get to decide when it’s time to turn the page.
Even then, it takes only about two minutes to get that message across. Yet ESPN seemed intent on turning this football game into an event, which soon got uncomfortably “The Decision”-esque. This homage praising the very Penn State football culture that we just heard PSU's president (through his proxy, the NCAA) tell us we should be curtailing, was force fed to anyone curious enough to watch Ohio ring the death knell.
Whatever – State football is indeed on a slow death march towards obscurity. Watching this process unfold will be like commuting every day past a building you loved as a child that’s being allowed to slowly decay until it crumbles. I think I’ll drive home a different way for the next four to five years…perhaps longer.
Besides just watching actual games being played on the field, the thing I enjoyed most this weekend was feasting on Alabama dismantling Michigan.
In our society we toss around praise and adulation far too easily. We manufacture famous…often for nothing more than being infamous. Sometimes even less. We cavalierly throw around words like spectacular, best, and awesome.
Bama football is awesome. Its performance on Saturday night was spectacular. Michigan had no business being on the same football field with Alabama this weekend, or any weekend this year. So great was the disparity between the talent/preparedness/execution of these two programs, it is fair to question the degree to which they were actually playing the same sport.
THAT is awesome.
Michigan was overrated, obviously, but it’s still a decent team compared to the other 122 FBS programs. In fact, it might end up being the best team in Big Ten (though my eyes are on the Spartans). Which only serves to spotlight just how far ahead a team like Alabama truly is from the rest of the pack (LSU and Oregon notwithstanding).
Excellence like this should be coveted, recognized, praised and emulated.
We’ll call what took place Saturday a “meeting”, because it was only a game in the way a cat toys with a wounded mouse. Before this meeting, we wrote that Michigan (had) taken a step forward with second year head coach Brady Hoke. And that Nick Saban and the Tide (were) about to show them just how much work still remains.
Is it too late for summer school?
By Matt Zemek
Why did Virginia Tech win and Georgia Tech lose on Labor Day night in the de facto ACC Coastal Division championship game? Go out to the West Texas town of El Paso, on New Year's Eve of 2011.
You will recall that Georgia Tech had Utah on the ropes in the 2011 Sun Bowl. The Yellow Jackets, leading by seven points, pushed Utah against the wall, putting the Utes in a fourth-and-14 situation with 1:32 remaining. Utah saw press coverage, however, instead of a zone look, and the Utes hit a 28-yard touchdown pass to tie the game, send it into overtime, and eventually win it. Monday night's game against Virginia Tech offered the Yellow Jackets a chance to apply the lessons that were learned near the Mexican border in the final hours of 2011.
Instead, it was more of the same for a defense that played so well for 59 minutes, only to let down its guard in the last minute of regulation.
With 13 seconds left and Virginia Tech trailing by three points, the Hokies faced a fourth-and-four at the Georgia Tech 47. The calculus was readily apparent: Virginia Tech needed at least 15 yards to merely have a somewhat reasonable chance at a tying field goal, 20 to get a fully reasonable chance at a tie, and beyond 20 yards in order to get an almost-comfortable shot at overtime. Converting the fourth down was not the sole need for Virginia Tech. Gaining six yards would not have achieved all of the Hokies' goals. They needed yards – lots of them – in addition to the first down. Georgia Tech's defensive backs needed to be aware of this reality.
Clearly, they weren't. Not when Hokie receiver Corey Fuller gained more than 10 yards after the catch to the Georgia Tech 24.
The rest, as they say, was history. Little details make all the difference in division championship showdowns.
By Phil Harrison
Follow me @PhilHarrisonCFN
Okay Virginia Tech, where will you go from here? The Hokies have now gotten the leg up on the Coastal division race, but even if they hold serve and make it to the ACC Championship game, it likely won’t be enough for a fan base all consumed with wanting a crowning moment.
So many times Frank Beamer has gotten his teams oh so close to playing for bigger things, only to see his team stub its toe against an under-the-radar team. This time Tech was able to dodge the early bullet that has been a direct hit so many times, but it still has the entire season ahead.
If the Hokies want an opportunity to make some noise on a national scale, and not just in the ACC like years past, there is one area that must improve dramatically. Logan Thomas has to make the transition from great athlete to solid quarterback at some point in the season. There were just too many instances of Thomas either overthrowing open receivers or making the incorrect read and slinging the ball to the wrong spot tonight.
The best news of all? The coaching staff will have plenty of time to nurture the junior. After tonight, the Hokies should be substantially favored in the stretch of games leading up to the showdown on October 20th with Clemson. That’s seven weeks of development for those of you counting.
That is, unless Virginia Tech decides to stub its toe again on the way to the dance...
By Terry Johnson
Follow me @TPJCollFootball
Congratulations to Virginia Tech, who has taken the lead in Atlantic Division race.
The Hokies absolutely had to have this game. Even though the winner of this contest has qualified for the league title game every season since the ACC went to divisional play in 2005, Virginia Tech still has the tougher schedule of the two, having to face both Clemson and Florida State from the Coastal.
However, if tonight’s game is any indication, Frank Beamer’s team is in position to win every game on the rest of its schedule.
Defensively, Virginia Tech will have one of the top defenses in the conference again this year. Every defensive coordinator in the country hates to play the 'Jackets because their offense is so difficult to prepare for. However, the Hokie front seven made it look easy, beating Georgia Tech at the point of attack and holding them to just 192 yards rushing and 3.5 yards per carry.
On the other side of the ball, the Hokies turned in a solid performance considering that it needed to break in eight new starters. While it would certainly help to find another playmaker or two, Tech will never have trouble moving the chains as long as Logan Thomas is under center.
Now, about that Clemson game….