PICKS OF THE WEEEEEEEEEEEEEK

#5 Auburn (-7.5) @ #20 Kansas State

Thursday 7:30 PM ESPN

WAR DAMN EAGLE, ROLL DAMN SNYDE.

The National Champion Runners-up make their way to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Grandpa Bill’s Cats. Grandpa Bill’s cats are wily, but Ol’ Gus got Tigers on his side. KState always plays tough and Manhattan is rare territory for Auburn but the #5 team in the land is one of the few consistent squads we’ve seen so far this season. I like the Tigers to put up 40+ and with a defensive squad that has seemingly improved over last year’s I think the Tigers can and should win by double digits. Thursday night shenanigans are not a new phenomenon but I’m not about to chalk up a pick to shenanigans.

GIVE ME AUBURN AND TAKE YOUR 7.5

The 12:00 slate (outside of the Hokies) is miserable. Pittsburgh – Iowa might be the highlight? Which might not classify as a football game and could possibly devolve the sport to an irreparable state.

So let’s just skip to 3:30 because, well, because these are my picks and that’s what I want to do.

#3 Alabama (-14.5) vs Florida

Saturday 3:30 PM CBS

PUNCHO takes on the Tide. The Gators needed 3 OTs to beat Kentucky while Bama hasn’t played anyone since that close opener against WVU. The Tide are at home and I’m not buying anything about this Florida team off their 4-8 debacle of a 2013 season. The Gators best hope here is that the game gets cancelled a la Idaho week 1. Sure, Bama has some question marks but Florida is a walking question mark and Muschamp will likely Muschamp this game hard. I see this game around a 31-13 , 34-16 game.

Roll Tide, y’all.

Virginia (+14.5) @ #21 BYU

Saturday 3:30 PM ESPN

Last year, the Cougs came to Charlottesville and left with a shocking loss. I was all over BYU to win last year and now I’m all over them to win again this year. BYU’s coach is named Bronco Mendenhall. That’s all you need to know in this situation. I am hesitant about UVa’s defense which has been stellar thus far this year. Which is why, I will unfortunately take the points and take UVa to cover. I could see this game being around a 27-17 game with UVa possibly sneaking in a late score to cover the spread.

So it hurts to say, but while I like BYU to win, give me those points. 

UVa (+14.5).

UNC (+3) @ ECU

Saturday 3:30 PM ESPNU

I want to take ECU and I want ECU to win, but coming off of an emotional win last week against some team from Virginia, I’m worried about this team. They beat UNC last year and UNC has not looked good and they are at home. Ah, fuck it. I’ve talked myself into ECU.

Take those points ya dirty Tar Heels, it’s about time ECU helped us out.

ECU (-3)

#4 Oklahoma (-8) @ WVU

Saturday 7:30 PM FOX

The Mountaineers won last week in dramatic fashion against B1G power, Maryland. Meanwhile, Oklahoma won handily over  a young Tennessee team. The 8 point spread has me a bit hesitant and Morgantown is always an interesting place for a visiting team. The Mountaineer offense has been explosive this season while Oklahoma has been solid this year against admittedly weaker competition. I do like Oklahoma a lot and I think they will manage to win this game. But, I think I’m gonna go Mountaineers with the points. Give me those points. 

WVU (+8)

#22 Clemson (+14.5) @ Florida State

Well, you’ve likely heard that Jameis Winston will be out for the first half due to reasons we shall not discuss on this WHOLESOME, FAMILY WEBSITE. That said, Clemson got embarrassed last year at home and now have the task of travelling to Tallahassee to face the defending champs. Florida is still incredible and still MUCH, much better than Clemson. Not having Jameis the first half is going to have an obvious effect on this game and has already affected the spread. Clemson has played well this year but also got beat pretty good by a Georgia team that is not as good as this Seminole squad. People may be tempted to take the points and take Clemson but I’m sticking with the Seminoles. 

Florida State (-14.5)

Now, the game we all care about.

Georgia Tech (+8) @ Virginia Tech

Saturday 12:00 PM ESPN

The ol’ cut blockin boys from down south are makin their triple optiony trip to Blacksburg this weekend in the always important ACC opener. We all saw the game last week and there is a litany of reasons to not feel great about this Hokies squad going up against the Yellow Jackets. The biggest question marks for the Hokies this week are all the injuries suffered thus far. The D-Line is the unit to watch out for: Corey Marshall should be ready to go but Luther Maddy is still a question. Dadi Nicholas will be a big key to this game and must be explosive and impactful while playing disciplined. If you over pursue against this offense, you could be in for trouble. Tackling on the edges and remaining stout in the middle is a good way to limit Coach Paul Johnson’s team and I know Bud will be up for the challenge. I look for the offense to improve this week by running the ball more effectively and limiting the drops we saw last week. I think in front of a hungry home crowd and with a pissed off team coming off a bad loss last weekend the team will be raring to go. If the Hokies can get out to a first half lead then they will be in a good position to really control the game. If they allow Georgia Tech to hang around then this could be a hard game to watch. 

I’ve basically illustrated how we could win by 17 or lose by 3. It’s hard to tell what we’re gonna get out of our boys in Maroon and Orange but, ya know what? I’m bettin on our boys to go out and punch Georgia Tech in the mouth. I could be wrong but I’m gonna show some faith in our squad. 

Virginia Tech 24-16

Yep. A fuckin’ push.

Because why the hell not.

So there it is, Week 4 picks in the book. This is my first week of picks and it is coming AFTER the Auburn game started. Why? Because I ain’t no damn professional. I will be headin’ down to Blacksburg tomorrow right after work and I hope to see all of y’all fillin’ up Lane. 

LET’S GO!

Edit: Monday results: (3-4) as if my weekend didn’t already suck enough

Virginia Tech opened the 2014 Season at home against in-state opponent William and Mary on Saturday. The Hokies looked dominant in a 34-9 victory over the Tribe while some new faces made a name for themselves on both sides of the ball. I have now watched the game a couple of times (the first time was after hours of tailgating so I figured I could use a couple more times to refresh myself).

The Good

Quarterback Play

Who are we kidding? No matter how this game went we’d obviously be talking about Michael Brewer. First things first, he looked great. His poise and execution of the game plan definitely passed the eye test in his debut as the Hokies starter. Brewer was 23/30 (76.7%) for 251 passing yards, with 2 TDs and 1 INT, a stat line that left a lot of Hokie fans in a very good mood on Saturday. Brewer spread the ball to 8 different receivers, hitting Bucky Hodges most often with 6 completions to the tall tight end including an 8 yard touchdown pass in the first half. The poise of the transfer QB was shown by his outstanding pocket presence and his limited mistakes that one might expect in a player’s first start under center.

giffffr (1)

As I just alluded to, Brewer showed phenomenal pocket presence and awareness and showed an innate ability to move in and manipulate the pocket. In the .gif below (Thanks gifff.fr) you can see how Brewer feels the pressure and steps up in the pocket to deliver a strike to a wide open Isaiah Ford for the score.

While Brewer likely exceeded most fans’ expectations, his performance was not flawless. He did have an INT. The pick came on a tipped pass and I am not excusing it or defending him but it was not a result of a poorly timed pass or a bad decision or a straight up bad throw as we have seen in the past. Brewer is listed at 6’0″ so he is by no means a tall QB and tipped passes will happen much more often than Hokie fans are used to.

All in all, it was a great debut by Brewer and if he can stay consistent and provide some of the long scoring drives that he did on Saturday then fans may actually be able to look forward to our offense for the first time in a long while.

Offensive Line

I was apprehensive about this year’s unit. We felt comfortable with Jonathan McGlaughlin after last season at LT (now at RT). We pretty much knew what we had with Caleb Farris at Center, and Laurence Gibson had all the tools to be a good Left Tackle for us. The biggest questions I had coming into this season were David Wang winning out the LG job over Wyatt Teller, who made the switch to the offensive side of the ball last year, and Augie Conte at RG. The concern with Augie was his youth and inexperience. While physically, he seemed to have all the tools would he be able to handle the starting job at this point in his VT tenure? David Wang, on the other hand, has all the experience in the world and has been at Tech since circa 1987, but physically he has been limited by injuries and has been shuffled around on the line for a couple of years. It is far too early to tell how this unit will play when it has to face stronger defenses than William and Mary but they are getting my nod for a job well done this week. While they were responsible for a handful of penalties, I think they did a good job in opening holes for the Running Backs, giving Brewer the time he needed to feel comfortable in his first start and seemed to handle a solid William and Mary front 7. The impressive stat for the line was not allowing a sack all day and 0 runs that resulted in negative yardage for the Hokies Running Backs. If this unit can continue to gel and gain experience all while staying healthy then I have high hopes for a good year from a unit that has struggled in past seasons.

Offensive Identity

Be honest, who expected to see the Virginia Tech offense run that much no huddle and snap the ball that early in the play clock? Certainly not me and I LOVED IT. Finally, we got to see an offense that didn’t look stale and slow-moving. We looked fast, our players looked electric and the offensive unit did. its. job. The offense ate up clock while driving down the field and put up 34 points on a solid defensive team. The rush/pass split was fairly even at 42 rush/31 pass attempts with a 5.3 yards per carry average on the ground. Shai McKenzie looked spectacular on the ground and Brewer spread the ball around wonderfully on offense (hitting 8 different receivers on the day). I’m interested to see this offense develop and how much we can sustain success throughout the season but for once I can honestly say I am encouraged by what I see, but for now, the offense gets my props.

Young’nsgiffffr (4)

Virginia Tech dressed 17 freshman, 10 of which saw time against the Tribe on Saturday. With the talent laden 2013 and 2014 recruiting classes, Hokie fans should be expecting to see a lot of young talent playing a lot of meaningful minutes this season.

Isaiah Ford and Shai McKenzie stole the show, accounting for a Touchdown each. McKenzie eclipsed 100 yards rushing (108 yards) which included this 40 yard Touchdown run in the 3rd quarter. McKenzie is just one component of a number of talented backs that should factor into the Hokies rushing attack this year but he seemed to really catapult himself to the top of the depth chart with his outing this weekend.

The Bad

Penalties

Penalties. The Hokies accounted for a number of stupid and avoidable penalties. On the day, the Hokies committed 10 penalties for 75 yards with a number of False Starts and Holding calls. The offense is young, and the team as a whole is young so you have to know there will be some penalties, especially early in the season but when you have to go into Columbus, Ohio next week and take on one of the top teams in FBS you simply cannot hamper your team with these penalties. Against a stronger opponent these penalties could be drive-killers and while the Offense looked good this week, that was against an FCS squad. The Hokies look to take on one of the strongest D-Lines in the country next weekend and with the youth and inexperience on the O-Line, it could be a struggle. The Hokies HAVE to limit their careless mistakes against Ohio State.

Turnovers

These two items may be in every one of mygiffffr (5) game recaps if the offense is anything like it has been over the past couple seasons (although it looks like it might not be). The Hokies turned the ball over twice on Saturday: the aforementioned tipped-pass INT by Brewer and the second half fumble by JC Coleman. I have mixed feelings about the turnovers committed by the Hokies this weekend. On the one hand, it’s the first game of the season. On the other it’s William and Mary. Then, it’s a first time starter in Michael Brewer AND it was a tipped pass. At the same time, it was an experienced Running Back who was holding the ball away from his body. Either way, the Hokies can NOT turn the ball over multiple times against Ohio State and expect to win the game. Improvements can always be made in this phase of the game and I hope that the Hokies can improve.

The Ugly

Nothing. Good effort this week.

The End

Well this wraps up the week 1 recap, complete with fancy gifs. I’m gonna say, overall, it was a very good effort by our boys in maroon. i think that there is a lot to be positive about for this 2014 squad. The experienced guys seem eager to be leaders and help the (very) talented youth develop day in and day out. The entire town of Blacksburg felt refreshed and very optimistic about the season. I lucked into some seats around the 30 yard line only about 7 rows back and most of the fans behind me were very optimistic and complimentary of what they saw. The 2014 season is going to be an interesting one to follow with so much of our potential success being tied into so many new faces to the squad. The only things that matter today, however, are 1-0 and beat Ohio State.

This concludes my first ever game recap. I am the Drunken Gobbler and started this little ol’ blog during the offseason and am looking forward to keeping y’all updated throughout the season. Thanks for reading and keep a look out for the Ohio State game preview later this week.

Special thanks to Gifff.fr and its creator: Kyle Conrad @Kyle_Conrad for helping me easily make some beautiful .gifs. Y’all should check it out.