Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Even without Hosley, Hokies will be OK

This week's Q&A-Mac is brought to you by Jayron Hosley's hamstring: If there's ever a right time to hurt, this is it.

Q: Don't think Virginia Tech will miss its All-American cornerback, eh?

A: You always miss a pick machine like him. But no, the Hokies should be OK against Boston College. And if there's any pain in that hamstring next week, hold Hosley out against Duke, too. No reason to risk it. If you can't beat those teams without him, you weren't going to make much of this season anyway.

Q: But Boston College is always tougher than expected, right?

A: I like the way the Eagles play, and the media have a fantastic history of undervaluing them in preseason polls, but this is a legitimate down year.

Q: How can you say that for sure?

A: Because the reason we always underestimate them is because we don't consider offensive line play nearly enough when making preseason predictions. We think stars — quarterbacks, receivers, tailbacks. The Eagles historically have been very strong up front on both sides of the ball, so they surprise us. They don't have that hidden strength this year.

Q: Prediction?

A: Hokies 39, Eagles 14.

Q: Can UVa lose to N.C. State today and still make a bowl game?

A: Mathematically, sure, but I don't see it. You figure this one and the home game against Duke on Nov. 12 are the two the Cavs must have to get to six wins. But today's game has a lot more to it than just the bowl implications.

Q: What's that?

A: The Cavs have actually built a modicum of momentum with last week's upset of Georgia Tech. Casual fans are talking about the team again, which means some new ones might show up today. UVa's coaches and players must give those people a good experience, make them want to come back.

Q: Will UVa get it done?

A: Hoos 28, Wolfpack 21.

Q: When is Clemson going to pull a Clemson and lose a game it shouldn't lose?

A: Looked like it was going to happen last week, and it didn't. I'm becoming a Clemson believer. But it could happen against North Carolina today. The Tar Heels are better than their record, and the ACC just can't tolerate having a team ranked seventh in the BCS standings.

Q: Tim Tebow gets the nod at quarterback for Denver at Miami this week. Excited?

A: As much as one can be for a matchup between two teams with one combined win. Yeah, man, let's see what he's got. The Dolphins sold more than 10,000 single-game tickets after the Broncos announced Tebow would be starting. I know the Florida thing has a lot to do with that, but either way, he makes the NFL more interesting.

Q: Does John Beck?

A: Not really. But Cam Newton starting on the other side of that Sunday matchup does.

Q: Whose side are you on regarding the ongoing NBA labor dispute?

A: I'm in favor of waiting this out until we start getting insane quotes like that beauty from Patrick Ewing during the 1998-99 work stoppage ("Sure, we make a lot of money, but we spend a lot, too.") The NBA's problem is that most people don't care enough to take sides. Besides, I grew up a Washington Bullets (Wizards — yuck!) fan. No games means no losses!

Q: Best reader comment on the blog this week?

A: Let's go with ken, regarding Cardinals manager Tony La Russa being criticized for his Game 2 bullpen strategy one night after being hailed for his savvy moves: "Amazing how quickly La Russa's genius card was revoked and replaced with a Gene Mauch decoder ring."

Q: Would Gene Mauch start Hosley today?

A: Yes. And he'd give him the steal sign.

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