Thursday, November 24, 2011

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: My pick? Mashed potatoes in a rout

This holiday edition of Q&A-Mac is brought to you by mashed potatoes: They really need to be in the rotation more often.

Q:Glad we established that, but we have a cornucopia of topics to get to today, starting with the Virginia Tech-Virginia game, OK?

A:(Munch, munch) Fire away.

Q:Have you ever seen a 10-1 football team in a BCS conference get less respect than the Hokies?

A:Depends on how you define "respect." It really is pretty interesting. On one hand, the polls have them at No. 6, which means they're getting plenty of respect from the voters.

On the other hand, that ranking has caused a backlash from many in the national media (including longtime Tech ally Kirk Herbstreit) who believe that the Hokies haven't beaten enough high-quality opponents to deserve it.

Q:Is that Tech's fault?

A:Well, style points have been lacking lately. But the Hokies are winning, and once you hit the ACC schedule, who you play is out of your control.

It's not Tech's fault that other teams are losing. The voters have placed the Hokies as the lowest one-loss team outside of Boise State. If teams such as Georgia, Oklahoma and USC had one loss, they'd all be ahead of the Hokies. They don't, so they aren't. Seems fair to me.

Q:Which Tech-UVa game was bigger: This one or the one in 2007 that also decided the ACC's Coastal Division?

A:I'm going to say this one, for two reasons: 1. It feels like the Cavaliers are really on the verge of something here. This could be a watershed moment for UVa, and the Hokies are eager to smack all those good vibes into the upper deck. 2.Depending on how everything shakes out this weekend, Tech has a chance - albeit a slight one - to re-enter the national championship discussion. That possibility, even in such microscopic form, did not exist in '07.

Q:If I want to plan my Thanksgiving feast so as not to miss any good football today, when should my family eat?

A:6 p.m. Got a feeling the Miami-Dallas game (4:15 p.m. kick) will be out of hand by then. Packers-Lions (12:30p.m.) and 49ers-Ravens (8:20p.m.) have the potential to be two of the best turkey-day games we've seen in years.

Q:Virginia native Justin Verlander became the first starting pitcher since Roger Clemens in 1986 to take AL MVP honors. Agree with having a pitcher win MVP?

A:When they have the kind of season Verlander did, sure. My beef was with the MVP choice in the National League. I love Ryan Braun as a player, but you'll have a very hard time convincing me that the Dodgers' Matt Kemp - who nearly won the Triple Crown - didn't deserve it more.

Q:What are you thankful for?

A:Plenty of things, including readers of the blog who play along with all my silly bits. Like Wednesday, when I asked them what Tech and UVa would be if they were beverages. Wrote Donald:

"UVa - Water from an old water fountain. You're thirsty, it looks tempting, then you drink and spit it out while left with a horrible taste in your mouth.

"VT - A well-made lemonade. The right mix of sour and sweet to keep you coming back for more."

Q:Any Wahoos chime in?

A:Oh, yeah. Such as 89Hoo:

"Virginia - a good straight bourbon whiskey, Knob Creek, say. Smooth, powerful †drinkable on the rocks or straight up.

Virginia Tech - Coors Light (or Bud Light †like I can tell the difference). Barely distinguishable from dishwater, except it gives you gas."

Q:Sounds like the fan bases are ready for Saturday. Any predictions?

A:Just one for now: Mashed Potatoes 63, Cranberry Sauce 0. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

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