Saturday, October 16, 2010

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Pillows, Payne, boos and tweets

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by The World's Largest Pillow Fight: Check it out in Blacksburg this weekend!

Q: Wow. I know Wake Forest is having a down year, and I realize the Hokies lost to James Madison, but isn't that a little harsh?

A: No, I'm talking about an actual pillow fight on the Drillfield at 2 p.m. Sunday. Saw an ad for it online. They say they're trying to break the record of 3,700 participants.

Q: Uh ... because?

A: Actually it's for a good cause, to help a little girl with cancer. Bring a minimum donation of $2 and a pillow and wail away. There's more information at

Q: I'll consider it. But first, about today's Tech-Wake game: Do the Demon Deacons have a chance?

A: Well, they're a three-touchdown underdog for a reason. They're allowing 35 points a game. Their biggest problem is they can't get off the field -- their defense allows third-down conversions 44.4 percent of the time. The only ACC team worse than that is Maryland (44.8 percent).

Q: But didn't the Hokies go 0-for-8 on third-down conversions last week against mighty Central Michigan?

A: Yep. That stat will be watched closely today.

Q: Do you have any really cool grocery item prices from 1981, the last time North Carolina won in Charlottesville?

A: As a matter of fact, I do. Back then, a gallon of milk cost a mere $2.22! And a carton of eggs was 90 cents.

Q: That's really not all that impressive.

A: I know, but I always wanted to put figures like that in a column.

Q: So, does the streak of 14 straight defeats at Scott Stadium end today for the Tar Heels?

A: I wanted to pick UVa in this game, but I chickened out. Have to nurse the Fearless Forecasters lead against a hard-charging Randy King by being ... well, fearful. But yes, the Cavaliers can win today. I would suggest running Keith Payne 40 times. Seriously. As hard as he's been churning lately and as many tacklers he's been dragging, there's no reason he shouldn't get at least 75 percent of the totes.

Q: If the Tar Heels do win, can we expect a barrage of joyous tweeting from their players?

A: Not any more. This week, UNC coach Butch Davis forbid his players from using Twitter the rest of the year. While I understand the desire to contain social networking, nothing says "We've got something to hide" like muzzling youngsters.

Q: How many snaps before Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb is booed lustily by his home fans during Sunday's game against Atlanta?

A: Three. And nice use of "lustily."

Q: Speaking of which, did Brett Favre really ...?

A: Not going there.

Q: Any good quotes from readers on your blog this week?

A: Plenty of gems, as usual. One of my favorites was from Travis Williams of Christiansburg, regarding Gilbert Arenas faking an injury so a teammate could play: "Gilbert proves that even when crazy people try and do nice things for others, the crazy factor will somehow ruin it. I really think he thought he was helping the team by lying about that injury; of course, I also think there is a really good chance he is going to end up living alone with 50-plus cats one day."

Q: Jeff Gordon's on the pole for tonight's Sprint Cup race in Charlotte. You picking him again?

A: You bet. Gordon, in victory lane. Tonight.

Q: Really?

A: Probably not. But I've picked him about 15 times this year. Can't stop now.

Q: Do you have a "5 Million-Star Lock of the Eon" to provide the readers today?

A: I do. Take Maryland and the 15 points against Clemson. Terps are coming off a bye. They've covered in eight of their last 10 against the Tigers, including five straight in Clemson. Their woeful third-down percentage notwithstanding, they'll keep this close. They usually do in this series.

Q: Is that pick for entertainment purposes only?

A: Yeah, sure. Entertain yourself by winning big with it.

Q: You sound oddly confident about this one. So if it loses, can we all beat you mercilessly?

A: Only if you use pillows.

Weather Journal

News tips, photos and feedback?
Sign up for free daily news by email