Saturday, September 03, 2011

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: The scent of college football is back in the air

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by college football's opening day: Sweeping offseason negativity under the rug for generations.

Q: Yeah, yeah. I know. Virginia Tech and Virginia kick off today. Before we get to that, though, Ohio State announced this week that it was suspending three pla-

A: Let me stop you right there. Not today, brother.

Q: Well, that big LSU-Oregon game is being played under a cloud of suspensions and controversy today. How do you think that'll -

A: Silence! The offseason is over.

Q: "Silence?" What are you, King Arthur? We can't talk about the offseason at all?

A: Not here. Not now. We've been doing that for months. We have something else to discuss today.

Q: What's that?

A: The smell. You know the one I'm talking about. It'll hit you the minute you step out of the car today, whether you're in Blacksburg, Charlottesville, Lexington - wherever there's a game. It's that wonderful mixture of sizzling meat, bourbon, charcoal and beer. There is no better smell on this planet. That smell means it's time to have some fun around here.

Q: Do you smell an upset in Blacksburg as Appalachian State comes to town?

A: No. And neither does Doug Doughty, even if he did pick the Mountaineers in the Fearless Forecasters. He says that was a "screw-up."

Q: A screw-up? You guys at The Roanoke Times are in midseason form, eh?

A: Indeed. And I think the Hokies will be today, too. If they don't win by 30 or more points, I'll be very surprised. New quarterback Logan Thomas is going to have a big afternoon. The receivers are going to have a slew of highlight moments. My guess is that a lot of Tech fans wake up tomorrow giddy about the possibilities.

Q: David Wilson's rushing total today: over or under 100 yards?

A: Please. He could get that in two carries.

Q: How about 150, then?

A: Over.

Q: 200?

A: Over. I can't see Frank Beamer taking it easy on App State, even if his team's up by a lot. No matter what he says publicly, he knows this schedule can't compete with those he's had in recent years. So if simply earning a win doesn't impress, you've got to make sure the margin of victory does.

Q: Do I need to remind you that the Hokies have lost three straight season openers, including one to East Carolina?

A: Nope. And you don't have to remind the players, either. Which is part of the reason I feel the way I do.

Q: We'll see. Moving on to Charlottesville, where William and Mary faces Virginia. How big is this game for the Cavaliers?

A: Could not be bigger. It's going to take a lot for UVa to bring its fans back in large numbers, and beating the Tribe won't do that on its own. But if the Cavaliers can play a clean game and get a win, that's progress.

Q: What constitutes a "clean" game?

A: Four penalties or fewer. No more than one turnover. Zero William and Mary offensive plays of 30 yards or more.

Q: Best comment on the blog this week?

A: Let's go with this one from Original Greg, regarding Wake Forest's come-from-ahead loss to Syracuse on Thursday: "I thought maybe we all had Wake Forest pegged wrong. I was thinking that Grobe might be coach of the year for this turnaround job. Then I thought: never mind."

Q: Well, at least Grobe runs a clean program, unlike that other one down in the Triangle. Speaking of UNC, with Butch Davis gone and the investigation still -

A: Nice try. But if you'll excuse me, my nose and I have somewhere to be.

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