Bowling gutter balls through 9 frames, with a Turkey in the 10th

Rather than review last night’s game, I decided ahead of time to try an experiment. It wasn’t an original experiment, because I stole the idea from Bill Simmons, but it was still an experiment. The idea was simple: I kept a running log of everything bouncing around my head or coming out of my mouth during the game. I recorded emotions, thoughts, reactions, opinions, and conclusions as they developed. I may be the only person who finds this interesting, and at 2302 words, I don’t truly expect everyone to read it through to the end, but it’s preserved here for anyone interested in knowing what I thought about the Sugar Bowl or what it’s like for me to watch a game. What follows really needs no other explanation, so here it is. (Editor’s note: No remote controls were harmed in the watching of this game.)


8:01 pm – Enough about the Tigers!
8:02 pm – Auburn thinks they’re going to walk over Tech. We’ll see. “Don’t sleep on Virginia Tech” is right.
8:05 pm – And now the nonsensical advertising starts.
8:08 pm – Terry Bowden looks like one of the lollipop kids from The Wizard of Oz.
8:11 pm – Hey, look, it’s the Auburn kick line. Where are the Jazz Hands?
8:15 pm – Frank Beamer for President!
8:16 pm – Bryan Randall, ACC Player of the Year. That sounds sweet, doesn’t it? Not bad for the projected 6th 1st place Hokies.
8:19 pm – That ball wasn’t catchable, but if it’s any closer, that’s pass interference. Not a good sign that that wasn’t called.
8:21 pm – Where the fuck is the flag on the block in the back?! The incessant phone calls to my brother begin.
8:25 pm – This is not a good start. Maybe a tackle would be good…
8:26 pm – Get a little more excited. You won the SEC Player of the Year. It’s a major award!
8:28 pm – Oh, it sucks to settle for a field goal, doesn’t it? It seems to me that part of mentioning that Auburn has the 1st ranked scoring defense is to also mention that Virginia Tech has the 3rd ranked scoring defense. It’s so obvious, it’s scary.
8:32 pm – Oh, it seems like good plays won’t be exclusive to one team. Eh, heh.
8:34 pm – We’re aiming for the other end zone, guys. Turn around and run that way.
8:39 pm – It’s 3rd and 16, contain the quarterback. Over-pursuing him only lets him find his receiver. Damn.
8:42 pm – I’m pretty sure that guy’s head isn’t in the helmet that flew off.
8:43 pm – 4th and Goal from the 2 and you need to think about it? Oh, and doesn’t it suck to get stopped in the red zone? Again. (I’m officially frustrated. One more bad offensive play, and I’ll be jumping off the deck onto the back porch.
8:46 pm – Oh, you thought you were going to get us to jump offsides. Instead, you wasted your second timeout. Hahaha. Coaching wins these games. Just ask Frank Beamer if he wishes he’d kicked the field goal on the opening drive of the 2000 Sugar Bowl.
8:56 pm – One quarter down. The defensive is playing brilliantly in tight situations. I’m ignoring the aspect of this game that involves the offense putting the defense in this bad situation. Just completely ignoring it.
8:57 pm – Much better start to the 2nd quarter. Keep throwing the ball with some authority.
8:59 pm – You tell ’em, Frank. Forward progress counts in this game. Maybe it only counts for Auburn… They are really good, which I know because you’ve been telling us how awesome Auburn is. For the entire game. On every play. But it’s not getting old. Boy, I could listen to that all game.
9:05 pm – 47 hours, 56 minutes until Alias!
9:06 pm – That was an awesome sack, Burchette! Nice job!
9:06 pm – Don’t lateral the friggin’ ball when half the field is wide open. Instead of a big gain, it’s a penalty. Play what’s in front of you. But we’re having such an easy time gaining yards…
9:09 pm – The first tinge of pain from screaming just snuck into my throat. Not a good sign.
9:13 pm – That’s a nice fucking throw, Randall. Way to thread the needle. Fuck, yeah!
9:14 pm – Play action to the tight end. King is always open. Just do it. I’m telling you.
9:15 pm – Not Mazzetta. Throw it to King. (And that was pass interference on that defensive back. His hands were all over Mazzetta.)
9:16 pm – Damn. That hole closed quickly.
9:18 pm – No, don’t go for it on 4th down, Frank. Did you read what I said about coaching winning these games? We should’ve kicked the field goal to open the game in 2000 and we should kick the field goal now. Auburn is out of timeouts now. That’s bad. Think. I’m going to throw up.
9:19 pm – Stupid, stupid call. Allen has caught, what, one pass all season, so you throw it to him? How about a reasonable play if you’re not going to call the smart play?
9:21 pm – And now the defense has to protect the rest of the team’s stupidity.
9:23 pm – What is this coverage? Just let Auburn walk into the end zone.
9:26 pm – This is why you kick the field goal. Not converting the 4th down shifts the momentum back to Auburn. Stupid, stupid, stupid.
9:28 pm – Hey, what do you know. Auburn’s third 4th and Goal. And what are they doing? Kicking the field goal. Why? Because that’s the right call. Damnit! And now it’s a 2 score game. If we kick the field goal, we’re still within a touchdown. Instead, we’re now down two scores. Why are we so stupid?
9:34 pm – Nice run, Eddie! Way to juke that defender. Excellent. Now score!
9:35 pm – Run, Bryan, run! Call a timeout! We have three and we can’t take them into the locker room.
9:36 pm – Instead of a timeout, you give me a false start. Rock.
9:37 pm – Now we take a timeout. A dropped pass and a penalty. At least we wasted 10 seconds off the clock. We don’t need those.
9:39 pm – 47 hours, 22 minutes until Alias!
9:40 pm – Oh, Auburn has the. Hardest. Defense. To. Score. On. In. College. Football? Really? Who knew? I’m glad you finally told us.
9:44 pm – Halftime. It’s 9-0 Auburn. This is the worst coached game in years for Frank Beamer. Tech highlights so far: we got to see Bruce Smith on the sideline. The highlight of the game so far: announcer Aaron Taylor being so excited that he appears two seconds away from crushing a beer can on his forehead.
10:04 pm – I want football, not a special video from Tom Petty. Give me football. (Remember, some of us have to work tomorrow.)
10:12 pm – Darryl Tapp, you rule! The lunch pale rocks.
10:12 pm – What is that scatter play? I’m amused, but that’s just ridiculous to waste time allowing VT to close in on the ball. Keep making stupid mistakes, though.
10:14 pm – We need a turnover. Now.
10:15 pm – Bam! Keep smacking him like that all night long.
10:16 pm – Again with the over-pursuing the quarterback. That leads to a 53-yard gain for Auburn. Stop it. These big plays are KILLING us.
10:18 pm – HOLDING! Where’s the flag? Come on.
10:19 pm – We’ve been playing with fire all night with the bad defense. We got burned and I fear we may not recover from this. If we don’t score on our drive, this game is over. Oh, and a roughing the kicker penalty. Good move. At least if we’re going to implode, we’ll do it completely.
10:25 pm – False start. That’s okay, because there’s no life left in the team. At this rate, the rest of the night should be fairly quick.
10:27 pm – Auburn sacks Randall. The collapse is almost complete. It’s not the coaching now; they’re just outplaying us. This defensive stand will determine if this game continues with any sense of drama.
10:31 pm – Defensive sack. That’s a good start. A turnover/defensive score would go a long way to making this interesting again.
10:33 pm – Three and out and Auburn must punt. I’m optimistic.
10:34 pm – Damn. It was the right call to set up the return there, but if we’d tied to block that kick, it was the perfect snap (so high that it delays the punter an extra moment). Oh, well. Now it’s Randall’s time to step up. Finally.
10:37 pm – Down 16 points with 5 minutes left in the 3rd quarter may not be the best time to try to establish the run. I’m just saying.
10:38 pm – Three and out and Tech must punt. This is ugly. I saw better offense on my high school team and we won about four games during my high school years.
10:43 pm – INTERCEPTION!!!!! Come on, come on, come on. Time to take advantage of this. We must have a touchdown.
10:45 pm – Running the ball for 8 yards is nice, but we have to score soon. Realistically, we need two touchdowns and a field goal to win this game. With only 16 minutes to play, time is becoming a factor.
10:46 pm – 4th and 1. We MUST get this first down. Must.
10:48 pm – Just enough for the first down. I don’t know why we’re letting the clock run out but that plays ends the 3rd quarter. Fifteen minutes to play. I have faith but I have to dig deep. I’ve seen weirder comebacks, though. I can’t think of any right now, but I’ve seen them.
10:53 pm – Wow, when did Auburn get the number 1 scoring defense in the nation? Why hasn’t ABC told us about it?
10:53 pm – Wide open receiver. Randall missed him. Nice.
10:54 pm – Field goal attempt. This is almost useless. We should be going for the touchdown on 4th and goal.
10:55 pm – He missed the field goal. Completely useless.
10:56 pm – Not only have I passed the point of being surprised, I’m past the point of caring. This is the worst coached Virginia Tech game I’ve ever seen. We’ve beaten ourselves in every facet of the game. Stupid play calling, bad defensive set up, taking risks when we shouldn’t, being cautious when we should be aggressive, and lacking any motivation or sense of importance.
10:59 pm – Is Alias on yet?
11:04 pm – Tech is playing as though we’re already defeated. This game is over.
11:04 pm – Auburn fumble, Tech recovers. If we could’ve picked it up, we would’ve run it back for a touchdown. Because it’s this game, we could only fall on it. At least no one spiked himself with his cleats.
11:09 pm – I’ve resorted to dangling string in front of the cats for entertainment. The game might as well be over, so I’ve lost interest. But I’m stupid dedicated, so I’ll watch until the clock hits 0:00.
11:10 pm – Pass interference. 15 yards, a first down, and the clock stops. That helps, but we’re only fighting for self-respect now.
11:13 pm – Touchdown Hokies! Going for 2-point conversion.
11:14 pm – The throw is too low, bouncing off the turf. Auburn leads 16-6. That’s why we should’ve kicked the field goal on 4th and Goal in the first half. With the field goal, it’s 16-10. Down six points with almost seven minutes to go is a nail-biter. Down ten points with almost seven minutes to go requires a few answered prayers. I’m pulling it from places I didn’t know I had, but I still believe.
11:19 pm – 45 hours, 42 minutes until Alias!
11:21 pm – We’re close to needing to use our timeouts if we intend to keep this close. We can’t give them 45 seconds for every play. (We could if it was 16-10. Have I mentioned how we needed to kick the field goal in the first half?)
11:23 pm – Fourth down for Auburn. Tech must take a timeout. Timeout Hokies. We need this ball back immediately. And then we need a quick score. A punt return for a touchdown, maybe?
11:25 pm – Block that kick! Block that kick!
11:26 pm – Downed at the 2 yard line. Classic.
11:28 pm – It’s nice to see a little life in the team, but we’re wasting too much time.
11:29 pm – Randall forced the throw instead of throwing it away. Auburn intercepts. That’s the end.
11:36 pm – 2:21 left in the game. Auburn has to punt. Tech will get the ball back, but I don’t see how we use the last 2 minutes to overcome the first 58 minutes.
11:38 pm – Absolute stunned fucking silence! 80-yard touchdown to Josh Morgan. Auburn leads 16-13. 2:01 left on the clock. I doubted Tech and we’re in this again.
11:40 pm – Auburn recovers the onside kick. We’re done, barring a miracle.
11:43 pm – Auburn sits on the ball. The game is over. The referees allow some shenanigans with the clock in the last two minutes. It doesn’t matter because we deserve to lose. Auburn is a great team. They outplayed us and out coached us. But Tech fought all the way. If we had found that spark earlier in the game, we win. If we make better decisions early in the game, we win. (Did I mention that we should’ve kicked the field goal in the first half? 16-16 makes it a different game, no? I’m just saying.) But we didn’t.
11:50 pm – Virginia Tech finished 10-3. We won the ACC in our first season. We played in a BCS bowl, barely losing even though we played our worst offense of the season. Two of our three losses came against #1 USC and #3 Auburn. That’s a good season. I can’t wait for August.
11:54 pm – 45 hours, 7 minutes until Alias!
5:41 am – I awake after a few hours of sleep, having dreamt of championships lost, slipping just out of reach for all time. I realize it was just a dream. Dreams fade and dreams return. I drift back into slumber. The sun will rise in less than two hours.

3 thoughts on “Bowling gutter balls through 9 frames, with a Turkey in the 10th”

  1. Awww Tony … Andy was in pain for you … He kept saying .. ‘Tony must be dying right now’ .. ‘Oh Tony wouldn’t be happy about that one’ .. ‘Poor Tony’
    (He too loves/respects the FSU hate .. HAHA)

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