Saturday, January 7, 2012

T.A.H. On Sabbatical

Yeah, we know we just got back from a holiday vacation, but this is a little different. T.A.H.’s editor and publisher are headed off to Haiti on a mission trip with the local Rotary Club and the Presbyterian Church.  (The link under the photo takes you to Pastor Carrie's blog about the trip.)

We are going to Terrier Rouge, Haiti to help a school and an orphanage there.

Evidently, Sean Penn can’t do it all himself and really does take a village.  Why not join the village?

So we have gotten all our vaccinations, taken our malaria pills and packed according to the instructions of former missionaries....What could possibly go wrong?

Terrier Rouge is in northeast Haiti and a good poke from the earthquake devastated areas around Port Au Prince, but it still remains one of the poorest regions in the world.  Unemployment is at a staggering 85% and simple things like utilities, while available in some places, are still hard to come by...Don't stand around waiting for the trash pick up or pizza delivery...

Needless to say, WiFi is not a Haitian priority.

We will be back on line on Monday, January 16.

Don’t panic, you will be fine.  The ACC has no dog in any remaining bowl fights and the hoops’ regular season is just getting started.

When we return, we will post info on how you to can help the people of Haiti working hard to help themselves.

Friday, January 6, 2012

What’s Wrong With ACC Football

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
While we don’t have the time, inclination or intellect to effectively cogitate on such weighty matters, others do.  Caulton Tudor of the Raleigh News & Observer published a column today titled “Here’s why the ACC was bowled over.”

It’s an interesting read as it points out that, like most things in this world, there is more than one force at work impacting this particular outcome.  There are a variety of reasons for why ACC football seems to be in a bad place in comparison to the other major conferences.

Among others, the ACC has four private institutions (Wake Forest, Duke, Boston College and Miami) while the S.E.C. (Vanderbilt) and the Big Ten (Northwestern) each have just one...

Quote Of The Day

(Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer)
“We have to fight. When we fight, we’re a really tough team to beat. When we don’t, we’re very beatable. We have to come out strong. At halftime, we’re only down two. We come out like we’re down 30 or something and our heads are down for no reason. It was a two-point game. It’s a one-possession game, and we came out and we were slow. They just kept extending the lead and they were excited. They played harder.”

-- Duke freshman Austin Rivers on the Blue Devils loss to Temple.

ACC Regular Season Basketball Opens Saturday

Here’s the long and short of it...The two top teams are again Duke and North Carolina. The interesting questions involve who will finish third through fifth and find their way to the Big Dance.

To date, it looks like Virginia, Florida State and Virginia Tech are the most likely middle tier teams, but the jury is still way out on the three squads with new head coaches -- Miami, Maryland and N.C. State.

It looks pretty grim for Wake Forest, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Boston College.  B.C. is the only team in the league with a losing record, and they open Saturday in Chapel Hill...Ouch.

To read a much more comprehensive season preview from Yahoo! Sports, click here

Saturday, Jan 7
Duke @ Georgia Tech, 12:00 PM, ESPNU
Virginia Tech @ Wake Forest, 12:00 PM, ACC Network/ESPN3
Boston College @ North Carolin, 2:30 PM, ACC Network/ESPN3 
Florida State @ Clemson, 4:00 PM, ESPN2
Miami @ Virginia, 6:00 PM, ESPNU

Sunday, Jan 8
Maryland @ N.C. State, 6:00 PM, ESPNU

Pictures Of The Day

David Casteu of France and Yamaha Racing France/ELF in action during stage five of the 2012 Dakar Rally from Chilechito to Fiambala on January 5, 2012 in Fiambala, Argentina. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images South America)
Young fans of the Clemson Tigers show support for their team against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida.
(January 3, 2012 - Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America)
Wellcome to the ACC...Former Miami Dolphins and Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Dan Marino greets head coach Dabo Swinney of the Clemson Tigers prior to Clemson playing against the West Virginia Mountaineers during the Discover Orange Bowl.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images North America)
Current Buffalo Bills and former Clemson Tigers running back C.J. Spiller signs autographs for fans prior to Clemson playing in the Discover Orange Bowl. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images North America)
Jockey J.D. Acosta rides Rapid Redux to win the 6th race at Laurel Park for his record-setting 22nd consecutive victory on January 4, 2012 in Laurel, Maryland.  (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images North America)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Tough Night For Top ACC Teams

In the immortal words of Mad Men’s Peggy Olson “It was going great, until it wasn’t”*
And the halftime show was nice...
HALFTIME...OOOOH, FIREWORKS!!! (J. Meric/Getty Images)
 *Mad Men: Public Relations (#4.1)" (2010)

Let’s Go Bowling

HOLGORSEN and SMITH (J. Meric/Getty Images)
On second thought, let’s not...

#23 West Virginia 70, #14 CLEMSON 33 -- Clemson, playing in their first major bowl game in 30 years, jumped out to an early 14-7 lead before committing three turnovers and giving up a record five Mountaineer touchdowns in the second quarter.

Game over.  Way, way, way over.

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith  tied the record for any bowl game with six touchdown passes, and the No. 23-ranked Mountaineers set a bowl scoring record Wednesday night with their high-powered offense. That said, it was safety Darwin Cook’s pivotal play returning a fumble 99 yards for a touchdown to break the game open. 

Cook collided comically with mascot Obie after scoring one of the Mountaineers’ five TDs in the second quarter, including three in the final 2:29 for a 49-20 lead. It was the highest-scoring half by a team in a bowl game.  EVER.

In all the best team from the now second-worse B.C.S. conference set or tied nine records. No, that’s not a misprint, that’s NINE.

Nice, Clemson, NICE.

Now look, we knew the Tigers (10-4) defense was suspect as they lost three of their last four games and allowed six opponents to score more than 30 points, but this game was either the greatest display of offense ever, the worst display of defense ever or some wretched combination of the two...

West Virginia’s Tavon Austin (who evidently is unable to step out of bounds, even accidentally) scored every time he touched the ball -- not really, it just seemed like it.  He did tie the record for any bowl game with four touchdown catches. Smith went 31 for 42, and had 401 yards passing to break Tom Brady’s Orange Bowl record. Smith also ran for a score, helping West Virginia break the bowl record for points established six nights earlier when Baylor beatWashington 67-56 in the Alamo Bowl.

SMITH (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
The Mountaineers (10-3) won in their first Orange Bowl appearance and improved to 3-0 in Bowl Championship Series games.  The ACC’s overall record in BCS games fell to 2-13.

“We’re a better team than we played tonight,” coach Dabo Swinney said. “Just too many mistakes. But we’ll be back.”

The game featured over 1,000 yards of total offense. West Virginia totaled 589 yards and 31 first downs and QBSmith was chosen the game’s outstanding player.

The Tigers put up 443 yards.

So Where Does That Leave Maryland?

Now that the ACC is 2-13 in B.C. S. bowls with both victories coming over teams from the Big (L)East, it would seem appropriate to ask what is the state of the worst team in the worst B.C.S. conference?

Unfortunately, the Terps at 2-10 fit that description.

As for the rest of the league the football inferiority complex seems to be thriving. Between the Hokies itchy finger on the panic button and their on-going QB fixation which seemingly cost them the Sugar Bowl and the Tigers statistically mind blowing collapse last night, ACC football is in a very dark place.

The good news is regular season ACC basketball get in full-swing Saturday.

Dribble, dribble, fake, shoot. Repeat. 

Wednesday Night ACC Basketball

WYATT (Tom Mihalek/AP Photo)
Temple (Owls, 27,803 students, Philadelphia, PA) 78, #5 DUKE 73 – Fundamental basketball truth: If you shoot 56% you win damn near every game.  And, that is exactly what Temple did.

Khalif Wyatt scored 22 points and Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson had 17 to help the Owls knock off No. 5 Duke.
Using tough man-to-man defense that limited Duke's long-range shots, the Owls (10-3) grabbed the lead midway through the first half and never let it go. When the Blue Devils (12-2) crept within three points in the waning minutes, Wyatt hit consecutive 3-pointers for a 66-57 lead.

The Owls had lost nine straight times to Duke, and hadn't beat the Blue Devils since Jan. 25, 1996. This decisive win in front of more than 20,000 fans gave the Owls wins over Top 10 teams for the fourth straight season, all in Philadelphia.

Miles Plumlee scored 17 points, while Mason Plumlee had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Blue Devils.

FLORIDA STATE 85, Auburn (Tigers, 20,446 students, Auburn, AL) 56 –  Looking to avoid its third consecutive loss and looking for answers, the Florida State blasted Auburn 85-56 at the Donald L. Tucker to end their two-game skid and effectively erase the memory of what transpired less than a week prior.

FSU (9-5) needed three extra periods to reach 75 points in the loss to Princeton and scored just 10 points by halftime in that game. But against the Tigers (10-4), the 'Noles didn't have that same difficulty scoring the basketball and scored a season high.

LESLIE (Ethan Hyman/Raleigh News & Observer)
Paced by Michael Snaer's career high 22 points, Florida State built a 50-16 lead at halftime and were never tested by the previously untested Tigers in the second period.

N.C. STATE 78, Delaware State (Hornets, 4,179 students, Dover, DE) 44 – Scott Wood and C.J. Leslie shared leading scorer honors with 14 a piece, but Richard Howell’s 12 point, 12 rebound performance took center stage. Howell notched double-digit rebounds for the fifth-straight game, and the Pack improves to 6-0 this season when the junior captures 10 or more boards.

Wood’s 14 came on 5-of-12 shooting (4-of-11 from beyond the arc), while Leslie went 6-of-12 and snagged eight rebounds.

Delaware State broke an over seven-minute long scoreless streak early in the second half before NC State cruised on an 18-6 run from the 17-minute mark to less than nine minutes remaining. The run culminated with the Pack holding a 64-30 advantage with 9:02 remaining.

Tee-Shirt Of The Day

Geno Smith celebrates. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Tavon Austin of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with fans.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Hey, at least they didn't misspell Virginia as they did following the Mountaineers N.I.T. victory in 2007.

Pictures Of The Day

Fans of the Clemson Tigers look on dejected during the Discover Orange Bowl at Sun Life Stadium on January 4, 2012 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Stedman Bailey #3 of the West Virginia Mountaineers scores a 3-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against Bashaud Breeland #17 and Xavier Brewer. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrates with teammates after he scored a 7-yard rushing touchdown in the second. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty
Tavon Austin #1 and Geno Smith #12 of the West Virginia Mountaineers celebrate after Austin caught a 37-yard touchdown reception thrown by Smith in the third quarter. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers scores a 37-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers makes a reception against Brodrick Jenkins #23 of West Virginia. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Shawne Alston #20 of the West Virginia Mountaineers rushes for a 4-yard touchdown in the first quarter while Clemson DT Brandon Thompson helps officiate the game...? (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
Darwin Cook #25 of the West Virginia Mountaineers returns a fumble 99-yards for a touchdown in the second. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Sammy Watkins #2 of the Clemson Tigers runs for yards after the catch in the first quarter against Eain Smith. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Andre Ellington #23 of the Clemson Tigers runs for a 68-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Tavon Austin #1 of the West Virginia Mountaineers scores an 8-yard rushing touchdown in the first quarter. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Willie Milhouse #85 of the West Virginia Mountaineers makes a reception in the first half against the Clemson Tigers during the Discover Orange Bowl. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Tajh Boyd #10 of the Clemson Tigers celebrates with the Clemson mascot. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Sugar Bowl Explained...

The short version from the Virginia Tech perpective...

Some things just make you want to scream!
(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Let's Go Bowling

THOMAS (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
#13 Michigan 23, #17 VIRGINIA TECH 20 - OT.

In a game dominated by the Hokies, the Virginia Tech coaches seemed to have one hand very close to the panic button at all times.  As is their tendency, the Hokie's coaching staff tends to rely too much on their quarterback, and last night first-year starter Logan Thomas simply couldn’t make enough big plays to win the game.

A fourth-and-one attempt with the Hokies leading 6-0 and controlling the game in the second quarter was anticipated and successfully stopped by the Wolverines defense which, in spite of a rather odd formation, quickly converged on the center of the line.  We predict everybody on the Michigan coaching staff, in the stadium and watching on television knew who was going to handle the ball.  

A fourth quarter failed faked punt with the game tied 17-17 seemed another example of the Hokies’ impatience and reluctance to rely on their stingy defense. Both plays led to Michigan scores.
GIBBONS (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
By contrast, Michigan couldn’t stop the Hokies, but somehow foiled both their opponents long drives and trickeration while making enough big plays to win the Sugar Bowl in OT.

Michigan’s Brendan Gibbons drilled a 37-yard field goal down the middle in overtime to lift Wolverines to a 23-20 victory over Virginia Tech leaving the ACC’s BCS record at a dismal 2-12.  The conference is a mere 2-5 this bowl season with only Florida State and N.C. State logging wins. 

The victory capped an impressive debut season for Michigan head coach Brady Hoke, who has led the Wolverines (11-2) back to prominence with a BCS bowl victory. 

Denard Robinson highlighted an otherwise unspectacular night with touchdown passes of 45 and 18 yards to Junior Hemingway.

Virginia Tech (11-3) had more than double Michigan's total yards, 377-184, and had 22 first downs to Michigan's 12 but settled for four field goals in regulation by third-string kicker Justin Myer.

(Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
However, Myer was unable to connect on his fifth try from 37 yards away in the opening possession of overtime.

Robinson finished 9 for 21 for 117 yards passing and threw an interception. He rushed 13 times for a season-low 13 yards.

Virginia Tech first-year start Logan Thomas was 19 of 28 of 214 yards with one interception.

Thomas scored Tech's only touchdown on a 1-yard keeper that tied the game at 17 - after a 2-point conversion - early in the fourth quarter, but it seemed that the Hokies relied too much on their new QB’s legs and on many occasions the Michigan defense saw Thomas coming...

Virginia Tech senior receiver Danny Coale, who ranks second all-time for the Hokies in catches and yards receiving, had eight catches for 117 yards, and nearly made a spectacular diving catch for a touchdown in overtime. Coale held on to the ball for what was initially ruled a score, but the play was overturned on video review, which showed the receiver narrowly landed on the sideline.

COALE (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The result of that third-down play forced Tech to try for Myer's failed field goal.

Michigan then ran three conservative runs to set up Gibbons in the middle of the field. As his kick sailed through, Gibbons sprinted toward the Michigan sidelined and was mobbed by teammates while the Michigan band belted out the school's famous fight song.

Game over. 

Quote Of The Day

(Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
"My kickers are not bad guys.  They just made bad decisions. And young people do that."

-- Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer who was forced to rely on third-string place kicker Justin Meyer in last nights game.  Myer has been kicking off for the Hokies since he transferred in 2009 from Murray State.

On December 30, Hokie Senior Tyler Weiss got sent home on a Greyhound bus Thursday after missing the team's 1 a.m. curfew.

The punishment comes a week after starter Cody Journell was arrested and arraigned on charges of entering a Blacksburg house with the intent to commit a felony. Journell, who was released from Montgomery County jail Wednesday on a $100,000 secured bond, is suspended indefinitely from the team.

ACC Tuesday Night Basketball

MOSELY (Patrick Semansky/AP Photo)
MARYLAND 70, Cornell (Big Red, 13,935 students, Ithaca, NY) 62 -- Sean Mosley scored 19 points, Alex Len had 15 points and nine rebounds and Maryland beat Cornell Tuesday night.

Terrell Stoglin added 14 points and four assists for the Terrapins (10-3), who scored the game's first 16 points but had to hang on late for their seventh consecutive victory. 

After the Big Red closed to 47-46, Len -- a 7-foot-1 freshman -- made a pair of three-point plays in an 8-4 spree that helped put momentum back on Maryland's side.

But the outcome wasn't decided until Stoglin hit a 3-pointer with 1:49 left and Pe'Shon Howard followed two Cornell misfires with a pair of foul shots for a 66-60 lead with 31.8 seconds remaining.

Chris Wroblewski scored 15 for Cornell (4-9) and Devin Cherry added 14. The Big Red have lost five straight, all on the road, where they are 0-8 this season.

Alabama (Crimson Tide, 26,234 students, Tuscaloosa, AL) 73, GEORGIA TECH 48 -- Trevor Releford scored 17 points, Tony Mitchell added 14 and Alabama coasted to an easy victory over Georgia Tech Tuesday night.

JaMychal Green, a first-team All-Southeastern Conference forward, finished with nine points and five rebounds in 22 minutes for the Crimson Tide (11-3). Green did not start, but played for the first time since injuring his right shoulder in a Dec. 17 loss to Kansas State.

Kammeon Holsey finished with 14 points for Georgia Tech (7-7), which has lost three straight. The Yellow Jackets dropped to 0-2 at Philips Arena, where they will host No. 5 Duke in both schools' ACC opener Saturday.

Pictures Of The Day

 Junior Hemingway #21 of the Michigan Wolverinescores a 18-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter against Antone Exum #1 of the Virginia Tech Hokies during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Logan Thomas #3 of the attempts to reach for extra yardage as he is tackeled by Ryan Van Bergen #53 and Mike Martin #68. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Fans of the Virginia Tech Hokies support their team against the MichiganWolverines during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Kicker Brendan Gibbons #34 (C) of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates with his teammates after he kicked a successful game-winning 37-yard field goal in overtime to win 23-20. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jayron Hosley #20 of the Virginia Tech Hokies intercepts a pass in the third quarter. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Brendan Gibbons #34 and Drew Dileo #26 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrate after Gibbons kicked a successful 37-yard game-winning field goal in overtime. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Justin Myer #48 of the Virginia Tech Hokies walks off the field after he missed a field goal attempt in overtime. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Jayron Hosley tips the ball away from Roy Roundtree.  (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon SMI)
Mercedes Rubio, fan of the Michigan Wolverines and and Nicholas E. Saunders Jr., fan of the Virginia Tech Hokies sit in the stands as they wait for their teams to play during the Allstate Sugar Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 3, 2012 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Kyle Fuller #17 of the Virginia Tech Hokies intercepts a pass in the first half against Junior Hemingway. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
David Wilson #4 of the Virginia Tech Hokies runs the ball against Thomas Gordon #30 and Jake Ryan #90 of the Michigan Wolverines in the second quarter. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Vincent Smith #2 of the Michigan Wolverines is stopped short of the endzone on the 2-yard line as he is tackeled by Eddie Whitley #15 and Tariq Edwards #24 of the Virginia Tech Hokies.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies attracting a lot of attention. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Head coach Frank Beamer, Chase Williams #36 and Logan Thomas #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies look on from the sideline in overtime. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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