NCAA

CFB Notes from the Newsroom 2012 - Week 1

CFB Notes from the Newsroom 2012 - Week 1

By Michele Gordon
CSNwashington.com

It's that time of year again but it seemed like forever to get here. Another season of college football in the DMV is on the horizon so without further ado, let's get started.

Pretty much everyone is aware of the obstacles facing the Terps heading into the season. The injury bug showed up in College Park early in fall camp and did some serious damage. Quarterback C.J. Brown is out for the season with a torn ACL. Linebacker Kenny Tate is dealing with more knee issues and will miss 2-3 weeks.

This Saturday the Terps will start true freshman Perry Hills at quarterback. I've spoken to quite a few players and they have all said that they are impressed with his poise. Hills himself feels he is ready to go against William & Mary and insists he does not get nervous or the "butterflies. Redshirt freshman Brandon Ross earned the starting job at running back so new offensive coordinator Mike Locksley has his hands full.

Maryland hosts the Tribe this weekend at Byrd Stadium. The CAA has had a lot of success against the ACC in past years so you can never count anyone out. However, Jimmye Laycock's squad no longer has superstar Jonathan Grimes.

PREDICTION: MARYLAND

Mike London's squad enters this season as the unknown. Many say the Cavaliers overachieved last year but I wouldn't be surprised if they had another strong season in 2012. Quarterback Michael Rocco has been named the starter for Saturday's game against Richmond (coached by his uncle, Danny Rocco). However, Alabama transfer Phillip Sims continues to learn the offense and is not far behind. London told the media on Monday that his goal is to redshirt sophomore quarterback David Watford. Tailback Perry Jones should have another impressive season. He told me in late July that he's waiting for Coach Reid (defensive coordinator) to use him on defense.

The Wahoos host Richmond this Saturday at 3:00 (you can watch it on Comcast SportsNet). As I said above with Maryland, you can never count out the CAA. I believe new head coach Danny Rocco will do a great job with this program but I don't see an upset happening in Week 1.

PREDICTION: VIRGINIA

The Hokies have faced big-time opponents including Alabama and Boise State in season openers but this year's week one contest takes the cake. Virginia Tech hosts Georgia Tech on Labor Day night at Lane Stadium. In each of the last seven seasons, the winner of the GT-VT game has gone on to claim the Coastal Division title and play in the ACC Championship Game. Junior quarterback Logan Thomas is expected to have a HUGE year for the Hokies and Bud Foster's defense looks to be as dominant as ever. This is always a terrific contest but I think the Hokies have the advantage with home field plus a month to prepare for Paul Johnson's triple option offense.

PREDICTION: VIRGINIA TECH

It will be fun to watch the CAA this season. Defending CAA champion Towson has been picked to win again but Old Dominion is hot on their heels. The Monarchs are departing for Conference USA next year so this is their last chance to win a conference title and participate in the playoffs for a few years.

There are plenty of intriguing matchups this weekend but I'm most looking forward to watching Towson face Kent State Thursday night (on Comcast SportsNet Plus). I spoke to head coach Rob Ambrose and a couple of players at the end of July and they are a very confident and motivated bunch.

PREDICTION: TOWSON

Hypocrisy of NCAA loud and clear with Maryland Football promotion

Hypocrisy of NCAA loud and clear with Maryland Football promotion

The NCAA is a dumb and monumentally stupid organization with rules that often don't make sense for the student-athletes they govern. One of those is paying, or more specifically not paying, athletes.

In an incredible twist of irony, Maryland will give one lucky regular student (that isn't an athlete) $10,000 for something an athlete (not a regular student) could potentially perform on the football field.

This is a highly specific play that will have to happen in order for one lucky student (again, not an athlete) to win the money, but the hypocrisy is incredible and this entire situation is so backward.

A student-athlete could score a touchdown (while not being paid) for the university and while scoring said touchdown will be helping make money for the university (money they will never see a dime from). The university will then turn around and give money to a student who did nothing to earn it, except decide to stay around in the second half for a game that is expected to be lightly attended, thanks to the achievement of a student-athlete who is incapable of receiving said money. 

That makes sense. Totally.

This comes on the heels of a report earlier this week that Division 1 coaches were "spooked" and against new rules that would allow students who met a minimum GPA to transfer and have immediate eligibility.

This is all totally fine.

Anyway, I can't believe someone didn't see the irony here and think "eh, we just had one of the biggest upsets of the weekend and should have a better way to capitalize on our momentum with something cool to entice people to stick around against Towson?"

I guess not.

MORE MARYLAND: TERPS KICKOFF YEAR WITH TEXAS-SIZED UPSET

 

Virginia Tech beats West Virginia 31-24 in electric showdown at FedEx Field

usatsi_10259331_141983962_lowres.jpg
USA Today Sports

Virginia Tech beats West Virginia 31-24 in electric showdown at FedEx Field

LANDOVER, Maryland -- Virginia Tech made FedEx Field feel like Lane Stadium Northeast and got to bring that Black Diamond Trophy back to Blacksburg for the first time in more than a decade.

Oh, and the Hokies' new quarterback looks like a keeper, too.

Josh Jackson passed for 235 yards, ran for 101 and accounted for two touchdowns in his first start for Virginia Tech, and the No. 21 Hokies made a last-second stand to beat No. 22 West Virginia 31-24 on Sunday night.

The 52nd meeting between the Appalachian region rivals was the first since 2005. It ended up being a classic. The Hokies rushed the field after their defense held the Mountaineers out of the end zone on two last plays from the 15, and their fans screamed along to Metallica's "Enter Sandman" to celebrate.

"This was a fantastic win," Virginia Tech safety Terrell Edmunds said with a huge grin.

Jackson, the redshirt freshman who won a three-way competition for the job, was up and down with his passing, but showed off some nifty moves running in the opener for both teams.

"I felt calm," said Jackson, the son of former longtime Michigan assistant coach Fred Jackson.

Josh Jackson's 46-yard keeper up the middle -- which ended with him taking a hard low hit -- set up Travon McMillian's 3-yard touchdown run that put Virginia Tech up 31-24 with 6:30 left.

"I felt that one pretty good," Jackson said about the hit.

Jackson said he read a blitz on that play and the Mountaineers gave him all kinds of room inside.

"That was a bad, bad call by me," West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson said.

West Virginia's new quarterback was just as impressive. Florida transfer Will Grier, who left Gainesville after being suspended by the NCAA for failing a test for performance-enhancing drugs in 2015, pass for 371 yards and three touchdowns.

He got one more chance to tie after usually reliable Virginia Tech kicker Joey Slye missed a 32-yard field-goal attempt with 1:55 left.

Grier slinged and scrambled West Virginia down to the Virginia Tech 15. Hokies coach Justin Fuente used a timeout before the last two plays because he was worried his defense was getting gassed chasing the shaggy-haired quarterback.

"You just want them to hold on for one more," Fuente said.

Grier's second-to-last pass into the end zone under pressure was a little behind David Sills and it went through the falling receiver's arms.

"I thought I had him," Grier said. "I got hit and I couldn't see. I thought he caught it. That's the one I'd like to have back to get it up more for him."

It was a tough ball to catch, but Sills wasn't hearing that.

"I just got to make that play," he said. "That's really all it comes down to."

Grier's last throw sailed high and away, but a couple of penalties on the West Virginia offensive line made it moot.