Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sports columnist Aaron McFarling: Russell Athletic Bowl won't be Thomas' last game as a Hokie

This week's edition of Q&A-Mac is brought to you by your dream gift: May it find its way under your tree on Tuesday morning.

Q: What's your dream gift this Christmas?

A: Love, peace and happiness.

Q: Really?

A: Gotcha! Nah, two things: A framed picture of the Orioles lined up at Yankee Stadium before a 2012 postseason game - I still need photographic evidence to believe that happened this October - and a mini fridge to make beverages more accessible when the Orioles resume play in April.

Q: Wow, ambitious.

A: Hey, my needs are simple after my wife got me my No. 1 dream gift two years ago: a big-screen HDTV. Every Christmas from then on has been all about accessorizing the man cave.

Q: Well, your TV is nothing compared to the one they're building at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. The video boards will include 14,549 square feet of display surface - 25 percent larger than the one the Cowboys have. Think Jerry Jones will retaliate?

A: Oh, you bet. Before you know it, these stadiums. ...

Q: You mean stadia?

A: Always wondered about that. Anyway, eventually these whatever-the-plural-of-stadum-is won't even include a playing field. It'll just be fans sitting cross-legged on an expansive lawn, looking up at a piped-in image of a game being contested across town. And nobody will complain. Football's better on TV anyway.

Q: Speaking of football, the Russell Athletic Bowl is almost here!

A: I know! Only four chocolates left to eat in my limited-edition Russell Athletic Bowl advent calendar. Shout-out to beat writer Andy Bitter, who will be waking up Christmas morning in Orlando and dutifully gathering quotes on the matchup.

Q: You're not going?

A: I'll be flying in Thursday. Wouldn't leave the youngins alone on Christmas. Andy won't do that either once he has kids.

Q: Will this be the final game for Logan Thomas in a Hokies uniform?

A: I don't think so, and it's not because he couldn't find an NFL suitor if he wanted to leave. I think it's more because of what he said earlier this month on whether he would leave if he were told he'd be a first rounder: "I love the university, I love the people here, all my friends are still here, and â? I think I need some work to do."

Q: Do you think he should stay or go?

A: Depends on what he wants. If he wants to stay and enjoy another year, absolutely, stay. But if he wants to stay simply to try to improve his draft stock, go. With his measurables, some NFL team is going to take a chance on him regardless of how many picks he does or does not throw in the ACC. Don't think he has a ton to gain draft wise by coming back.

Q: Any other Virginia Tech quotes you want to read into too much?

A: Absolutely. Let's take this one from offensive coordinator Bryan Stinespring: "I think we're going back and as we prepare for this bowl game, we're going to be very conscious of what we put into the game plan. It's not so much how much we put into the game plan, but what we can execute in the game plan.â? We're not going to have a call sheet loaded up just to say that we can lead you to a toolbox and pull something out. Whatever we're pulling out to call and play, we need to do it well."

Q: Translation?

A: Tech will run, run and run some more. Sort of like what many of us have asked for all year.

Q: So you might say a 250-yard rushing performance vs. Rutgers would be the dream gift for Hokies fans?

A: Only if it comes with a mini fridge.

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