Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Wait to hop on Hokies bandwagon

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by the national media: Wayyyyy ahead of us this year.

Q: What do you mean?

A: Hyping the Hokies, of course. That's supposed to be our job. I get those emails all the time from folks who, let's just say, would prefer we didn't cover Virginia Tech quite as much as we do here. "Hey moron, it's June already. When are you going to start overhyping the Chokies?" they'll ask. Or: "When are you going to write that Tech's third-string long snapper is going to win the Heisman?" Or: "Where's your column about an impending undefeated season and national championship?"

Q: So, where is it?

A: That's the thing: I've been scooped! It started in spring practice, when Sports Illustrated, ESPN and others swooped in and started building statues for first-year starting quarterback Logan Thomas. The Sporting News compared him to Cam Newton in April (April!), saying that he physically resembles the former Auburn QB and adding, "Here's the scary part: He may eventually play like Newton."

Q: So one publication lauds Thomas. What's the big deal?

A: SI proclaimed in May (May!) that Thomas "is ready," adding that he "is a physical specimen with all the tools to be a big-time college quarterback."

Q: You don't think so?

A: I do, but that's not the point. The point is I was going to at least wait until August. And I don't think at any time this preseason I would be ready to predict what respected college football analyst Phil Steele has.

Q: What's that?

A: That the Hokies will go 12-0 in the regular season. In a conversation with Kyle Tucker of the Virginian Pilot this week, Steele said he loves Tech's soft, back-loaded schedule and is buying stock in Thomas.

Q: So what predictions are you willing to make?

A: At this point, just two: (1) David Wilson will rush for more than 1,500 yards and look spectacular doing it, and (2) redshirt sophomore defensive end James Gayle will reach double-digits in sacks. As for Thomas. ... well, the future looks bright, but I would like to see him take a few hits from ACC defensive linemen before I start throwing 12-0 around.

Q: Why are we talking football in June?

A: Because we got a nice reminder this week that any time is a good time to talk football around here. The crowd at Friday's inaugural Southwest/Central Virginia All-Star Classic at William Fleming High School was tremendous. I have to admit I was a little skeptical about how many would show up for a summer showcase -- and how sharp the players would be after months away from the gridiron -- but I was impressed on both counts. Kudos to the organizers, coaches, players and fans.

Q: NASCAR goes road racin' today at Infineon. Who wins?

A: I love this race because Boris Said always runs in it, so you have potential for lines like this: "When asked what he told his crew chief on the radio following the botched pit stop, Boris Said refused to go into detail. 'I can't tell you what I said,' Said said."

Q: Um ... OK. Your pick?

A: Let's try Juan Pablo Montoya.

Q: What was the best comment on the blog this week?

A: That comes from "The Truth Hurts," after Gov. Bob McDonnell announced that his staff would participate in "Orange and Blue Days" during the College World Series, wearing UVa colors in exchange for $4-per-day donations to the Virginia Disaster Relief Fund. The Truth Hurts noted that, because he's a UVa fan, he wears that color combo anyway whenever the Hoos play.

Q: So?

A: So he added that one day, he actually wore Virginia Tech colors because they were the same ones used by his son's soccer team. The experience did not go well. "Three people gave me their loose change and four others asked me if I wanted to buy some weed," he wrote.

Q: Your blog is full of wise-guy Hokie haters, huh?

A: Actually, no. Mostly Hokies congregate there. But it's great when we get a little back and forth.

Q: What do the Hokie fans on there think of all the national hype?

A: It varies. Hokie24 said this: "We'll have to play well every single game, and not have that trip-up game against a team we should demolish like we seem to like to do ... but 12-0 is possible."

Q: Your thoughts?

A: I agree with what Hokie24 said. My only wish is that Said had said it.

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