TECH-UVA WEEK IS HERE, and there isn’t a ton to discuss in terms of implications. You know what they are: the Hokies must win to make a bowl, and the Cavs must win to break the streak of eight straight Tech victories in the series.
I thought we could start this week by discussing the most likely X-factor players in the game — one from each team. In other words, whose performance is most vital to his team’s success. I’ll go first.
TECH: Marcus Davis. Quarterback Logan Thomas might seem like a logical choice here, but I think by now we pretty much know what we’re going to get from him this season: some good, some bad, probably one big mistake, probably one brilliant pass that makes him look like a future NFL star.
Davis, on the other hand, is more of a wildcard. Against BC on Saturday, he had his fourth 100-yard receiving game of the year — and he did it after riding the bench in the first half. He can take over a game like he did against Duke (five catches, 144 yards and two touchdowns) or play a relatively minor role, like he did against Appalachian State (two grabs), Bowling Green (two), North Carlina (three), Miami (three) and Florida State (two).
Even after a rough game against North Carolina last Thursday, the Cavs still rank 34th in the nation in total defense. A home run play from Davis could make the difference.
UVA: Khalek Shepherd. Obviously, if Michael Rocco were to have the kind of game he did against Miami, he’d qualify here, but you just don’t know how the Wahoos are going to use their quarterbacks in this game.
Shepherd has the ability to break off a long return that could flip the momentum after a Tech score. Against UNC, he had 160 yards on seven returns. He averaged 45 on two returns against Richmond and had two for 97 against Georgia Tech. The Hokies’ kickoff coverage has not been stellar.
Who are your picks for Tech and UVa X-factor?NASCAR
-Congrats to Brad Keselowski, who wins his first Sprint Cup title. Clint Bowyer actually finishes second in the points as Jimmie Johnson has a nightmare finale at Homestead.
-A lot of chatter that Maryland will announce a move to the Big Ten today. When I see something official I’ll link it. Update: Sounds like announcement at 2:30 or 3 p.m. ESPN reporting it’s a done deal. Wow.
-Miami has self-imposed a postseason ban for the second straight year. This gives the Coastal Division title to Georgia Tech.
-Notre Dame-Alabama…how do you like them apples? That’s looking like the probable BCS matchup, although the Irish still have to get past USC and the Tide has a matchup with Georgia looming in the SEC title game if it gets by Auburn.
What a tank job by Kansas State over the weekend getting blown out by Baylor. The Stanford-Oregon result was a little easier to grasp, but still…this game remains so unpredictable.
-Robert Griffin III goes 14-of-15 with four TDs as the Redskins thrash Philly 31-6.
-Dallas beats Cleveland in OT to move to .500, will face Redskins on Turkey Day.
-Ravens beat the Steelers 13-10 to take total command of the AFC North.
-Patriots blast Colts 59-24.
-Green Bay rallies past Detroit.
NAME THAT TUNE
Pulled in the driveway, picked up the paper
Found my key, and unlocked the door
I walked in, felt like a stranger
Like I’d never been there before
And as I wandered room to room
It was silent as a tomb
Coulda heard a tear drop, coulda heard a heart break
Never saw the flood come, even though I felt the rain
Never heard a house sound, so loud with memories
Where there used to be a happy home…